Thursday, December 29, 2011
After much work in the back yard yesterday and a fair amount of sore muscles this morning the green house is back to being a greenhouse again instead of a storage space for the lawn and gardening equipment. Ever since we cleared the storage building in the back yard out to transform it into Em's backyard solar powered art studio (seen here) most of the stuff that was in there migrated to the garage and into the greenhouse. There is some space behind the building between it and the back fence that we haven't done much with other than keep a compost pile there so I decided to move the pile and use some of the old fence panels we have around here along with an old tarp and put together a simple structure to keep the rain off our lawn and garden tools. It seems to have worked out pretty well and I took one of those $11 grow lights and put it into the green house along with a floodl light (for warmth) with the fern and blackberry plants we have in there now.
According to Farmer's Almanac several of the plants I intend to start this Spring should be sewn the last week of January to the first week of February for my area (for indoor planting). My sister Jeanie told me a week or two ago that our grandfather used to start his tomato plants the last week of December but I'm not going to attempt that this year. We do have a couple of onions going and I tried to get some Spinach seeds from 2009 to germinate indoors under a grow light but no luck. I think they might have been exposed to some extreme temperature swings so I don't expect much out of them. Jeanie and June (another sister who lives in Oregon) want to get together and place a seed order this year so we can pool our resources and get a greater variety. I am planning to take the grapevines out and replace them with a variety of Kiwi's that are said to do well here that don't get the furry peel on the outside like the varieties you see in the grocery stores. They are smaller, about the size of a large grape, but you can slice them up and eat them with the peel on. Did you know Kiwis come from New Zealand? I should have known I guess but I always considered them to be a tropical fruit. Not so! They are said to actually grow quite well here in North America. We'll see I guess. I wish I had paid more attention to my grandfather's when I was a kid. They knew a lot about vegetable gardening (one was a farmer but left the farm and came to work at General Dynamics around World War II the other was a farmer til the day he died). I could have learned a lot from them. My mom always had a green thumb with house plants and I grew up with lots of greenery always around.
But I am learning now and hope to really develop my skills this season. It's good to grow your own food for several reasons. Better, healthier food for your family, good exercise working with the garden, tastier food with varieties you won't find in the grocery stores and it's a great way to combat foodflation. Yes, I think I just invented that word. At least my spellchecker seems to think so! ;-) While looking over our household budget I realized we actually spend more money on food each month than we do on our mortgage. It is the single biggest expense we have. A penny saved is a penny earned so I'm going to try to offset as much of that cost to us that I can. I'd love to hear from more expert gardeners and folks who want to join me on my journey of self sufficiency so please leave me some comments!
Tarrant County Master Gardener Association
Gardening Channel - Gardening in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and North Texas.
Permies - Goofballs That Are Nuts About Permaculture
Aggie Horticulture - Home Vegetable Gardening
The Dirt Doctor Howard Garrett
SquareFoot Gardening - Mel Bartholomew