alpine flowers at Grey Rock

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saving Seed

With GMO(genetically modified organisms) invading our seeds from many fronts, I found it both interesting and possibly necessary to be more proactive about saving seeds this year. I let a Red Russian Kale go to seed and from two little branches, I took enough seed for me for probably three years. I planted the "carrot forest" from seed I saved. I took volunteer tomatoes from random spots and put them in rows with my hybrids. I am reading Babara Kingsolver's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and finding she points out much I know in a way I must reconsider my farming goals and what growing food is all about. It is certainly about doing so for myself, my family, and my friends. It is not about paying the likes of Monsanto to do so. That's my Saturday soap box for today.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Garden Blogs

If you like garden blogs, which I do of course, you might want to check out some of the ones I have listed in my wandering across the blog vastness. The latest one I added, the Last Frontier Garden is hilarious. She posted an essay about the use of plastic plants and flowers in her Alaskan neighborhood. We really don't have much of that around here, but it is sometime disturbing when you do see it. She also posts the "tarp of the month", or the misuse of those blue tarps to "cover" messes. Lots of blue whales in our neighborhood, and our yard! Blogging should be for entertainment as well as information, and this one is certainly entertaining, whereas several of the others have lots of information. The Inadvertent Farmer has quite a bit about farming with children and has a good view of the struggles of farming in eastern Washington. I could review the others, but I have to go farm now, so you look around if you are interested...

Friday, June 18, 2010

More On Leaf Miners

Here are a couple pictures to aid in the identification of leaf miners as a culprit in the garden. The spinach leaf on the left shows the underside with damage and tiny white cluster of eggs. The photo on the right shows the top side mosaic of the leaf miner worms track as he ate his way out. This spinach patch is now covered with floating row cover, the lightweight fabric designed as an insect barrier. I am Neeming weekly on baby stuff and leafy greens to prevent a multitude of bugs that will arrive soon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Leaf Miners

A comment/question came in about strange rot on leaves of chard. I am going to take a stab at it being leaf miners because it is now their time to show up. They make leaf tissue into greyish almost clear area where the worms eat their way out to become flies which then go and plant eggs on other leaves and repeat. Look for white eggs in tiny clusters on the undersides of the leaves of the tender leaf crops like beets, chard, and spinach. The flies can be seen hovering over the crop during the day sometimes. Neem is a wonderful preventative, but washing the eggs off is mandatory to prevent the worms hatching and eating the leaf tissue, or pick the big leafs off, wash and have a salad. then spray with Neem for the next crop. Blue sticky traps set here and there on wood sticks will catch any flies if they are really bad. If this not your problem, tell me some more about how the rot looks, i.e. slimey, curled leaves, black, etc. and we can go for a new diagnosis.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gopher Tender

The wet weather has not been good for my head gopher tender. He works around the house getting an occasional rodent, but as far as venturing out to the garden in the rain? No, he is not that enthusiastic. He had the same attitude about having his picture taken for the blog. Thanks Miles, for putting up with your human.