09 October 2010

A New Season For My Vegetable Garden

My first seedlings for this season were planted two weeks ago!

The previous weekend, CJ went through all my beds and gave it a finishing touch, pulling out a few weeds (Daniel helped too).   

During August we added in horse manure, left over ground coffee beans, river sand, peanut shells, some bone-meal and the ash from our fireplace.

Two of my 7 beds’ ground looked beautiful, with thousands of earthworms.  The other 5 beds’ compost still need a little more maturing, but for now they will have to do.

Daniel was very intrigued by all the worms.

Every now and then he came to show me a new one!

Isn’t he soooo sweet!  I just love that little face!

And another one...!

I planted my pumpkin plants around plastic nursery pots.  I got the idea from Jane’s Delicious Garden. 

This way I will try to correct the mistakes I made with my butternuts and squash during the previous season. 
Pumpkins are very ‘hungry’ plants and need lots of fertilizer. As the pumpkin plants grow, their roots spread down around the bottom of the pot.  When you fill the pot with water, it slowly drains out of the holes at the bottom of the pot, directly and gently watering the roots. 

I can feed the plants with my Bokashi liquid fertilizer through the pots, delivering the food directly to the roots without any wastage.  
My butternuts and squash also got mildew in the previous season.  Watering directly into the pots avoids wetting the leaves and lessens the chance of disease. 
Lastly, but certainly the biggest mistake was sowing seeds we saved from the organic butternuts and squash we received from Ethical Co-op resulting in NO harvest from the butternuts and squash we planted. You can imagine the frustration of working for months, nurturing these little plants, to result in NO harvest!
After investigating, I realized they were F1-hybrids. 
What is the problem with F1 hybrids?  The advantages of hybrids are various.   They are usually more vigorous and productive than the non-F1 parent.  They are more resistant to disease, they establish themselves quickly and evenly! Wow, what more can you ask for?
There is one BIG catch with F1 hybrids:  you can’t save seeds from them! 
F1 hybrids are a once-of deal only!  If you sow seeds saved from an F1 hybrid, they will NOT yield a harvest!  If you want to grow a particular F1 hybrid again, you have no choice but to BUY F1 seeds from the seed producer.  This way the seed producers will over time manipulate the seed market and farmers and gardeners will increasingly become more and more dependent of them, having to PAY for seeds.  
What is wrong with that?

It wasn’t God’s intention in the beginning.  We read in Gen. 1:11 “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

God intend man to plant seeds and harvest food as well as seed to plant again. But as always MONEY is the motivation.  Obviously GM seed producers will decline it and motivate it with producing enough food for the “over-populated” world!  
Seed producers (like Monsanto) even sue farmers who sow open-pollinated seeds, since they interfere with their ‘patented laboratory produced seeds”.
I only buy and plant Heirloom seeds.  Why Heirloom seeds?  

The following is taken from Sean Freeman's blog, Livingseeds:

 “Heirloom plants can be simply defined as any plant that has been handed down from generation to generation..., that is firstly open pollinated, secondly has a history of private exchange and thirdly has not been subject to a plant breeders rights, claim to be worthy of heirloom status. Heirlooms are our genetic guarantee of future food supply. 
No matter what nature cares to throw at us, if you have a handful of heirloom seeds you can be assured that firstly you can plant the seed, secondly you are able to save the seed for the following year and thirdly, if environmental conditions change the plant will have the internal genetic diversity available to adapt via natural selection. Something that cannot be said for any hybrid or GM seed.”

Little Michael in the Ergo, while I'm busy sowing and planting

This brings me to another point: ‘Organic’ seldom means a heirloom seed, it only means no pesticides were used during the growing process. I planted the seed of an organic butternut. When I first bought organic vegetables, I thought ‘organic’ also meant no genetic modification of the seeds.  Out of my ‘experiment’ (and research) it is clear, this ‘organic’ butternut was genetically modified. 
Genetic modification of seeds is even more hazardous than the pesticides sprayed during the growing of vegetables, according to Dr. Marcola, (Read more about the effect of Genetic Modified Seeds on the fertility of our next generation).
The implication of this is that I can never again take the chance of saving seeds from any vegetable I haven’t grown myself.  The vegetable we buy in the supermarket will most probably be genetically modified and sadly enough the organic vegetables too.  
For my butternuts, I sow Waltham Butternut seeds but I also discovered BeingPlants.  I ordered a  variety of seeds from them (you can even select your currency).  Their service was excellent and 5 days after I placed my order, I received my seeds.  I also received seeds from Living Seeds

A week ago I sowed the different varieties of corn, tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkin, watermelon and melon, which I received from BeingPlants and Living Seeds. 

I thought the night temperatures had increased enough that I didn’t need the hot boxes for germination.  Most of the time, there is germination within 3 days after sowing.  With the seed trays outside the hot box, there wasn’t one seed that germinated, so on the fourth night we moved it into the hot box en within three days the seeds started to germinate!
In the meantime the beautiful strong pea-plants I planted 3 weeks ago

were eaten by snails overnight!  

I had a few peas from the second batch of seeds I sowed and planted them in the open spaces were the snails had their feast.  
The snails also had a feast on my pumpkin plants.  

We immediately threw  dried egg shells, but will have to keep an eye on the little plants the next day or two.  I may need some chemical free snail pellets.
We also replanted our Rainbow Corn plants.  
Andrew didn’t feel to well the day we replanted the corn plants.
These seeds are the seeds we saved from our first harvest of rainbow corn during the previous season.  This is a first for me.  To save my own heirloom seeds, sow them and have them germinate.  Every single one of the seeds germinated. It just felt so good!!
We now also have 5 extra hanging baskets with strawberries.  These 5 new plants were propagated from our existing plants.

We now have 11 strawberry baskets and I’m feeding them liquid fertilizer to ensure a huge harvest of strawberries for my many small children!

With love


Petra said...

Ai, so lekker om "voor" te wees in tyd en eerste aan die blog te lees!

Really encouraging to see your veggie garden. The weather is still so up and down here that I just do not know when to actually plant! Quite frustrating. We had one week of the most beautiful sunshine, since last night it has been raining and now the wind (ever so faithful in Wellington) has started up in gusts again! Exercising lots of patience!

Hey kids, you're doing a great job helping your mom! You will truly reap the fruit of your labour.

Sonja said...

Wow! Linnnie dit lyk so wonderlik in jou groentetuin! Dankie vir die inligting oor die saad! Wat sou ek sonder jou gemaak het. Ek gaan ook bietjie daar loer. Ek was bietjie teleurgesteld met Co-op se saad want baie het glad nie opgekom nie.En dit was duur genoeg.

Linnie said...

Hi Petra, seems like my children are not the only 'tools' in God's Hand to teach us patience! My vegetable garden is competing strongly for first place!

Linnie said...

Ja, Sonja, ek het ongelukkig ook baie swak ontkieming gehad met my Co-op saad en is daarom so bly oor die ander twee websites!
Lekker naweek!

Sherrin said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog a few weeks back. I have enjoyed visiting your blog as a result and reading about what God is doing in your life and teaching you. We also love gardening.

Huisvrou said...

Nou is ek eers spyt dat ons nie bymekaar kon uitkom nie! Jinne dit lyk of jy vooruitboer.

Ten opsigte van die saadmaatskappye en GM of Non-GM. My pa ontwikkel sy eie sojaboontjiesaad en het die groot maatskappye hom al sy dae gegee. Dit is regtig 'n nagmerrie die monopolie wat bestaan.

Onsself gebruik GMO-free soja's en het tot onlangs nog 'n premie ontvang indien ons dit aan olie-verwerkers verkoop. Vanjaar was die eerste keer dat die maatskappy nie meer 'n premie toestaan nie.

Vir die boer (wat ook maar rekeninge moet betaal) is dit net meer sinvol om GM te plant, omdat dit sy gif-rekening geweldig sny.

Ek weet nie of daar ooit 'n wen-wen situasie in hierdie gebroke wêreld sal bestaan nie....

Maar, die Kaap het sy mooi kant vir ons gewys.
En ek wil groente plant...

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