After two nice days to play in the yard, it’s a rainy Sunday. Nothing better to do than ramble on a blog…

Discouragement

In desperate need of a straw bale, I drove out to Fayette Seed  yesterday afternoon. Folks slipped past one another as they jostled for the many attractive vegetable and flower starts.

I gandered at the tomato and pepper plants, the bean starts, the mustards and broccoli. There must only be one regional distributor for herb plants around here. The brand for sale at Fayette Seed is the same as that sold at Lowe’s. I hate that brand. The plants come in those “biodegradable” pots that aren’t supposed to hinder root growth. I have my doubts. If you try to peel the pot back from the root ball, be careful. Last year, I accidentally tore a tap root. That rosemary bush didn’t last long. Surely there are some local nurseries who grow herbs for market sale?

After perusing the seeds (F.S. has a very nice bulk selection, especially beans), I grabbed a few packets of carrot, a bottle of Monty’s, and a bag of bone meal. But I had another problem I’d hoped the staff could help with.

Last summer my beautiful squash plants (and I had more than a few) withered and died. What fruit I harvested was stunted. Little piles of sawdust by the vines told the story — the squash vine borer had set up shop in my garden.

Since then, I have been searching for a reliable, organic solution. Unfortunately, things look bleak. The advice I received from the gentleman at F.S.? Cross your fingers and keep your plants dusted with Sevin. Not the answer I’d hoped for. I read somewhere about inter-planting marigolds with the squash, and I may give that a go this year. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Apparently, there is a run on seedling potatoes in Lexington this year. F.S. said they’d been out for weeks and so was most everyone else in town…

Good Garlic!

Shortly after this winter’s ice storm, I looked in my raised beds and saw the first green. Garlic.

The hope and joy provided by a little green is indeed a magic thing. On the advice of the Territorial Seed catalog, I am feeding these youngsters a steady diet of high-nitrogen fertilizer every two weeks until bulbing. I don’t know what I am looking forward to more, the actual garlic or the pesto and “asparagus” that can be made from the scapes.

mid-spring garlic fills a raised bed
mid-spring garlic fills a raised bed

Another trick I’m trying this spring: inter-planting lettuce, chard, kale and carrots with the garlic to see if the garlic will ward off any unwanted pests.

Slug Party

After all this cool, wet weather, the slugs should be out in force. And nothing goads a gardener more than finding their slimy trails near the leaves of munched-over seedlings.

I hate those homeless snails as much as the next gardener. But here’s a little trick that works wonders.

Save your tuna cans, and peel the labels. Then go buy yourself a six pack of something cheap, something you’d never drink, not even on a desperate Friday night.

In the spot where you have the most slugs, dig a small hole, place the can flush with the soil, and fill with beer. The next morning, the little can will be full of slugs. Like frat boys to a keg, the slugs just can’t resist.

Sure, you can control them with diatomaceous earth or Sluggo. But why not throw them a little party on their way out of your garden?

Kentucky Wishes

A wish list for the Kentucky gardener:

  1. A local source of quality organic gardening products.
  2. A book about the region to take the guesswork out of timing your plantings.
  3. Quality, affordable bulk soil and compost.
  4.  A local seed exchange/collective.

Ahh…well, what better dreams for a boy to have on a rainy Sunday?

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