Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring harvest

I harvested my ginger and turmeric today. I have tried to grow ginger in about every soil imaginable--compost, potting soil, sand, clay, and combinations of soils. The most I got was a single rhizome that let me try again. This last year I tried it two different ways--regular garden soil mix with sphegnum moss added in to break up the pack, and straight sphegnum moss.

Ginger harvest (2015). Soil on the left, sphegnum moss on the right. The sphegnum ginger grew larger in bulk but didn't have as many pieces.

I've tried turmeric almost as many ways, and the roots always died. Rotted, dried up, and last year a giant cutworm found it. This year I had two roots survive (not grow, but survive) so I put them in sphegnum moss as well in an attempt to save something. One of the parent roots is still solid but has no eyes. The other will go back in the moss to try again.

Turmeric harvest (2015)

Harvested and repotted all the turmeric (except the rhizome that didn't have any buds). I put the ginger in a mini greenhouse and I'll plant it later. I'll probably do a combination again, some in moss and some in soil.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring garden update #1

I just finished the first transplant for my seedling tomatoes and peppers. Into pots.

Last summer we finished the last piece of the planned garden extension, so our garden area has basically doubled. This means that not only can the tomatoes and potatoes be rotated a few years apart, but we have room for more stuff (which to me means I can experiment more).

The oats last year grew just fine, but they're very labor intensive. I'm keeping seeds in case they're needed in the future, but I can't spend hours threshing or lose half the harvest trying to winnow the chaff. The seed pods are so light, or so steamlined, that the wind blows away pods that still have oats in them. I tried using a number of different things to get the oats out, but nothing worked. The best was an old meat-grinder, but the oats jammed it up and it broke the oats so that, again, everything blew away when I tried to winnow the mess.

I need to try oats again some time, but not this year.

This year my "test" plot is a dry bean, called Idaho Pink. Beans are a good source of protein, and if we can grow beans rather than buying them, we're better off. At this point nearly everything growing in the yard is useful. Even the grass is used as a weed barrier. I'd like to get rid of the bushes in the front yard, maybe replace them with huckleberries.

I still want to do morels (mushrooms) under the oak, but there is some concern from various parties (not me) that the morels will "cross" with mushrooms already there and turn poisonous. Had to laugh at that. Mushrooms would be another good source of protein, but only if we know that what we're harvesting is edible. I was thinking of growing shitake mushrooms as well, but those will both have to wait. Unless I can find someone with spores...Hm... *heads off to Facebook*