Thursday, July 8, 2010

Majority of seeds are in!

My biggest hurdle this year has been getting my seeds in!  Because of both time and money.  But I got a whole bunch of cucumber, snap pea and pumpkin seeds at WIC for free.  And then today at Walgreens they were 3/$1 so I got cantaloup, carrots, beets, watermelon, scallion and lettuce.  Score! Planting long rows is kind of mind numbing.  You can lose track of which hole you're at so I do four at a time. (And doing one at a time is too slow).  Dig four holes.  Fertilize four holes.  Seeds in four holes.  1,2,3,4.  You're always working on the last four. 

The cantaloupe I planted a few days ago sprouted.  It brought a smile to my face.  I should have known they would sprout, because last year they did for me too! (When I planted them in September.  They, of course, died soon after).  When I planted them I threw a couple seeds in each hole and now they are sprouting in little bunches.  I thinned and replanted some but there's no way I could do that to all of them.  Based on my beet observations  thinning them is critical for them to flourish.  It  pains me to throw out perfectly good plants.  I think I'll check with McKenzie and double check that it's necessary.  I'm sure it is, but it will make me feel better about it. 

These cantaloupe are part of my little experiment to find out how much of our food supply is infertile. 
  • Experiment A: the honeydew melon.  I think they didn't sprout.  It's hard to say for sure because they were buried in weeds and I didn't know what they were supposed to look like.  But there were no similar looking plants in rows.  
  • Experiment B: the cantaloupe.  It sprouted.  Will it fruit?
  • Experiment C: the watermelon.  Didn't sprout.  (At least not yet).

The weeds are just outrageous.  In the pathways between beds they are up to my waist, I exaggerate not. There is only one weed wacker between the three farm sites and I have only been lucky enough to have it once.  Every time I go though I hope that it's there and last time when it wasn't I had a bit of a manic attack and hyperventilated for about ten minutes.  It was all for the best though because I've been working til well after dark and I've needed every minute for seeding, weeding and watering (we've been having 100 degree weather.)  Once that is all caught up I can attack the weeds in the pathways. 

Every week my mentor assesses my field and writes a note for me of the things I'm doing right and the things that need attention, as well as good advice.  After the first week, I've, honestly, dreaded opening up that note on the bulletin board with my name on it. I'm sure the mentor is tempted to write "Hopeless.  Don't even try.  Just scrap the whole thing.  What were you thinking?  You were not cut out to be a farmer.  Don't quit your day job".  Nevertheless I open it, if nothing else to take it off the board and show the mentor that I actually showed up once during the week. She is good about writing compliments along with the suggestions. There have been a few bug issues- leaves with holes in them and such.  I'll have to deal with that soon.  She suggested to plant basil around my peppers to protect them!  How creative!  I've got some basil seedlings.  Maybe I can transplant them.

Today's note said that my Cambodian lettuce (don't know its actual name) is starting to bolt.  I had to look up the word bolt when I got home* but in the mean time I had a pretty good idea that it needed to be harvested because it was very big and many of the leaves brown from the heat. So I cut all the biggest leaves and also brought home a gigantic beet and three little carrots.  I think I'll pickle the lettuce.  The Cambodians eat that with teriaki sticks among other things and it goes very well with it.


*Bolting means getting ready to flower and then die. The plant often changes flavor when it starts to form a flower stalk.  Bolting is often related sudden changes in temperatures or very hot weather.

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