Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pole Beans, Peas, Potatoes, and Ducks

This weekend we enjoyed more gardening.  We shredded up some newspaper and cardboard for our worm bin and checked on the residents.  They are abundant and happy - well, at least they didn't complain.  We also used the borrowed shredder for shredding more yard trimmings for the compost.  One bin was too wet and the other too dry.  Some compost swapping seems to have that all worked out now.  I FINALLY had the chance to trim some bamboo that we had cut prior into branch-less poles.  My plan is to use them as a trellis for the snap peas, which are sprouted and about 4 inches tall now.  The snow peas, which were ancient seeds, didn't sprout.  Happily, I recently got a seed shipment from Territorial Seed, so I planted Red Noodle Yard Long Pole Beans in their place.  We also replanted some limas from the bulk bin.  Only one sprouted prior and it looked so lonely.  But this is my first time to grow limas, and I'm surprised to tell you that lima bean pods are fuzzy.  Very cute.  I replanted the remainder of the ancient broccoli seeds that didn't sprout prior.  I figure if they are down to a 1% sprout rate, planting the whole envelope might do the trick.  Yes, I realize I could just throw them out, but my optimism takes over. 

I also planted two containers on our "garden table."  The first pot has Garlic Chives, Celeriac Brilliant, and Kohlrabi Kongo Hybrid.  The chives are an attempt at growing garlic flavor that ISN'T garlic so that I don't react to it.  We'll see.  The kohlrabi and celeriac I've never tasted in my life, but I was intrigued by them in the seed catalog.  The latter specifically said not to direct sow outdoors, but I did anyway.  Why?  They were in my hand and I was planting outside, not in.  That's my only defense.  The second pot is really a cardboard Amazon box.  Friend Sara had read that this was a container gardening option when one was too cheap for containers.  So into the cardboard box went the Radishes Cherry Belle and Carrots Napa Hybrid.

We harvested the remainder of our potatoes.  We got out another 2.5 pounds - these were all red ones except for one gold.  The gold one was kinda tucked into the shade of the mandarin orange tree so that plant didn't do as well.  While digging in the raised bed we saw lots of happy worms and one grub, which has now been put into the "pet grub" aquarium.  I feel like whenever we pull anything out of the ground we outta add something back in before replanting.  Since we had no finished compost or fresh worm castings ready, I added worm castings from a bag before planting three squares of Spinach Erste Ernte (that must mean something... but what?), Lettuce Bullet Green Romaine, and Lettuce Green Deer Tongue Loose Leaf.  These three I selected for their relative tolerance for heat stress, as I recall.  Or maybe I threw I dart. 

On the topic of potatoes, one gets dire warnings about only planting seed potatoes and not those from the store.  I got mine from the farmer's market and from organic bags at the grocery, cut them up and planted them.  They did fine.  Perhaps with repeated plantings in the same area, seed-specific potatoes are more important.  I did save some tiny potatoes off the plants in a brown bag for next spring's plantings.  For the effort, potatoes are way cheap, but hey mine are organic and they are so much fun to dig out.  I love the surprise!

Did I tell you what we did with some of the grubs that had inhabited the "pet grub" aquarium?  This week, I took DS and DD to a woman's house (Kim) about 30 minutes away to get duck eggs from her free range ducks.  It took some convincing to get DS to be willing to bring the grubs as a gift for the ducks, but talking to him about needless suffering vs. happy life/quick ending did the trick.  Once he was on board with the grubs going, he seemed happy to pack them up into the jar with the air holes, which he held in his lap (along with this snack - yuck!) all the way there.  We also brought Kim some chard form the garden and extra egg cartons.  Since we arrived with such generous gifts, she gave us the $4/dozen duck eggs for free!  What a deal!  And DS even came back with a jar full of feathers and one acorn.  We learned all sorts of great things about ducks (the girls quack loudly and the boys mumble soft quacks).  DS was so excited about seeing them and her horses, dogs, tortoises, and fish.  As soon as we got home, he drew several pictures of the adventure.  We haven't tried the duck eggs yet.  I'm allergic to chicken eggs but have heard that sometimes people with chicken egg allergies can be ok with duck eggs.  I'll let you know when I get up the nerve to give it a try.

No pictures this week.  It is way too late, and I'm rambling.  Happy gardening!