Monday, October 5, 2009

First Monday of October

Wow, time has flown by this year. I remember when I couldn't wait to get the garden going and now here it is, done for the year. Guess I was just so busy this year I missed the chance to enjoy it more. That's a shame because this life is such a wonderful thing.

Oh, I still have tomatoes going! Nobody believes me since everyone else around me has had to pull theirs. Not me tho, the plants I put in that mineral tub are still going strong! I've got some side shoots looking a bit rough from the cold overnight temps but we've not hit frost temps yet and the plants are still flowering! This was the tub full of home made compost, the horse manure, rabbit manure and the creek sand mix. I put 12 plants in that tub, 3 for each tomato cage and the plants grew double what the cages could hold, spilled out and over, hung down to the ground and produced tons of Roma tomatoes. Folks always seem to forget about what heavy feeders tomatoes are and end up with only half a growing season on them from lack of nutrition. I always tout the rabbit poo as awesome stuff and it's because you simply can not buy a fertilizer that's more efficient than bunny poo. The levels of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and potash are always perfectly balanced, you can use it fresh without burning your plants and you can never overdoes with it, the plant only breaks down as much poo as it needs to feed itself. How can you go wrong? You can't, you just can't. Plus, you can eat the rabbits!

It's not hard to grow any vegetable in a bucket. It's just like planting it in the ground with minor adjustments for watering and feeding. You must water your container plants more often than you would plants in the ground. The sunlight heats the soil and evaporates the moisture quicker than it can in a ground garden. The more you water something, the more you wash the nutrients out. If you'll think about that fact, the poor gardens in areas where there was so much spring rains will make sense. We had soooo much rain this past spring in the southern Illinois area that the regular gardens did horrible and if the plants were not supplemented with some sort of fertilizer, the crops simply did not even come up! Even with all the land I have here that could be planted with food crops for my family, I still put plants in containers. Every growing season I spend a day mixing up my special concoction of container planting soil mix. Each year and I am pleasantly surprised at how well the container grown plants perform for me. So, when you're out and about, always keep your eyes open for contaiers you can plant in. Remember tho, some plants need at least a 5 gallon bucket worth of root space!

Oh my aching back! I spent 2 days with my favorite neighbor helping to vaccinate 90 Charlois(I think that's how you spell it) beef cows. They are a creamy white cow with plenty of attitude! I got to be the sticker, I loaded all the needles and poked every cow with at least 3 needles, a few got up to 6 needles! Got chased by a young bull(he was most certainly angry) and slobbered with plenty of cow poop. Several of the young heifers scared the fire out of me, they're much bigger and are so much different than the pets I raise to butcher. There's something to be said for naming your feeder calf and playing with it every day! At least I knew how to catch the tiny calves, they weren't too much trouble but they sure did make my back hurt. Just not as young as I used to be......

I've got my winter kitchen window garden started. The tobacco I grew in the ice cream bucket is flowering, I used a q-tip to pollinate the flowers by hand yesterday. I've never done that before so I'm not sure if it will work as well as tomatoes and cantalopes do, just have to wait and see if I can get seed pods from it. The coffee plants are still going strong, I might split them up into their own containers in the next week or so. I need to have about an hour of free time to do it tho and I haven't even had time to make a good supper lately. Good thing I put bread and a few meals in the freezer or I'd be one hungry farmer!

Soon the ground will be frosting in the morning and I'll have time to do all those little projects I want to get done. Like what's in Hobby Farms Home magazine this month. It's a nice little article about using your eggs to make ornaments. I've had a kit and book to make those Czech design eggs(pyansksa or something like that) I'd look at the book but since I'm at the library....

I'll bet I have 6 dozen duck eggs in the fridge right now. Since I've been so busy running around at other peoples farms, I've just not had the opportunity to use all my eggs in those delicious recipes I have stashed in that notebook. I need to be cooking sometime soon! The duck eggs are nice and large and would make great shells for the ornament decorating.

I also wanted to get into a whole rant about something in this months Mother Earth News, 11 great places you (maybe) never heard of. They listed Carbondale, Illinois as one of those great places. Hello?!? The author must have visited another Carbondale, Illinois and for sure not the one I hate to drive to....... Or perhaps didn't even visit at all and just phone interviewed the head of the local food co-op and someone from the tourism office. They sure didn't mention the crime or the traffice or the garbage all over the streets and the tourist spots in the Shawnee Forest that have been ruined by ignornace, trash on the ground and spray paint.... shame shame Mother Earth News, I'm pretty disappointed with you all for this one.......

Well, once again my time on the library computer has come to an end and I must stop. I really need to get back to the farm and at least act like I want to do chores today! LOL


  1. Glad things are going well. Your posts about how busy you are always make me tired!! I can only imagine how you feel! :-)

    I think my tomatoes are done. I tried an heirloom variety this year along with my normal hybrid variety. I'm so disappointed with the heirloom! The bugs LOVED it and most of the tomatoes, though huge, rotted on the vine. If not, they'd rot after I pulled them. Quite a disappointment. I probably only got 5 good tomatoes off of those 8 plants. Don't know that I'll be trying that variety again. My hybrids did good, but are just about done. Almost ready to let the chickens in the garden to finish it off. Take care! BTW, the cheese is almost done! Quesadillas again tonight--Yum!!

  2. Your post made me tired! lol With work and school I don't seem to get anything I wanted to do for the house and garden this year. I still have my lone watermelon out in the garden but it looks like it will be picked in the next week. (You pick when the vine dries out, right?) We have a neighbor about a mile down the road who has a hugh tomato plant growing, just loaded with tomatoes. I told Wendell I was tempted to go pick them for him!

    I guess one would find Carbondale nice provided they didn't spend a lot of time there. I can still remember going there when I was just a kid. Mom and Dad would take us once in a while and our big treat was visiting McDonalds, if we were good.

    Take care,

  3. Hey Gen! Sorry that the heirloom disappointed you, sometimes those heirlooms perform better in different areas of the country. Hard to grow an heirloom that likes cool and dry in a hot/humid area. Or, maybe it was just our terrible Illinois weather! hard to say sometimes, so many things affect the plant. Don't give up on the heirloom tho, maybe try a different variety? The ones that flopped this year, try them again next season in a container and see if they still do poorly before you scrap them.

    Hey Deb! Good to see you! LOLs, I hear the tired thing, I am tired no doubt! Always so much going on here. The melons, I pick mine by sound. The thump test. The vine isn't always dried out tho but it's working on it. They're close to ripe when you touch them and the vine acts like it's going to break off too.
    Carbondale is a nightmare now. Crossing over Crab Orchard lake is now a 4 lane highway, the traffic is horrible all the time, the 2 huge malls right on the east side of Carbondale, all the stop lights, the college kids walking down the middle of the streets, it's a madhouse every day of the week! The magazine said 43,000 for population, LOL, that's a serious miscalculation! More like 143,000....


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