Saturday, June 4, 2011

Georgia Outdoors

     Last week I travelled to the deep South for a trip home to Georgia.  I stepped off the plane and thought, "Man it feels wonderful here."  It had just finished raining and the air was warm and a little less-humid than normal.  The next morning as I was huffing it up a hill on the family's morning walk I thought, "Am I inside some sort of steam room?"  The moisture and humidity just hung in the air.  Still, it was beautiful.  Georgia is so lush and green that, even when it's hot and humid, I can barely bring myself to go inside.  Eventually though those damn horseflies drive me back in.
     I promised my friend Carol that I'd take pictures of Dad's garden and would also get the answers to a few questions.  So, first the pictures:
The sign above Dad's garden says "Gitmo Garden."  I think the security around it rivals Alcatraz!

Cucumber blossoms


Squash vines

Tomato blossoms

     I do have pictures of the various rows of plants, but I thought these were prettier.  Now for the questions:  When do you begin planting?  What do you start indoors and what do you start outdoors?  As for outside planting, the year starts around the first of Febuary with seeds (planted indoors) for the early spring plants; (lettuce, arugula,mustard, brocclli, cabbage, chard,early tomatos for the upside down planters)... all these will stay in the greenhouse til around March 15.  Around the first of March I plant red potatos and snow peas in the garden  About mid March I plant my seeds (indoors) for the peppers and tomatos,  they take 30-45 days until they are ready to transplant into the garden.  Most of the seeds that I plant directly in the garden are planted in May,  (squash, green beans, okra, cantelope, watermellon).  Some of these I start in pots 2-3 weeks ahead of time to give them a head start, and to give a more uniform stand.  Also I use succession planting , ex  I will plant purple hull peas in the row where the lettuce is when it finishes up this week.  The peas will make and be done in about 60 days (August 15) then I can plant a fall plant in that row around September 1...greens, collards, etc.  I try to chose something different to follow a plant so that you don't have pests and disease from the previous plant waiting on the tender new plants.

Tell me about your composting methods. 
On composting, to be very general, you need: 1. A carbon source, (dry leaves, dry grass clippings, sawdust, tree bark etc)  2. A nitrogen source (green leaves,  green grass clippings, leftover salad, vegetable peelings), and 3. Microorganisims to digest the carbon and nitrogen.  The easiest source of the microorganisms is plain ole garden soil, or compost.  There are commercial compost starters that you can buy, but they are expensive and hard to find.  Start the pile with about even amounts of carbon, nitrogen and soil.  The bigger the better, but at least 3'X3'x3'.  Water it well and keep it evenly moist.  Turn it about once a week to areate it and speed the break-down process...this is where the multiple cell bins are nice, you just shovel the compost into the next cell of the bin.  Once the pile is going, you can add kitchen waste as it accumulates...almost anything of vegetable origin, as long as it's not too greasy.  Also; egg shells (calcium) are great, coffee grounds, tea bags, left-overs.  Compost is ready when all the ingredients have decomposed so that they are un-recognizable (usually 6 weeks to 6 months depending on the weather.  I send mine thru one additional step.. the worm bed  I let the worms hang out in it for several months to really work it over.
Here are a few more pictures from my trip.

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