The Backyard

The Backyard

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Balancing Act for 2010

This year will be the year of balancing. Gardens, riding bike, kayaking with hubby, trail running, painting the front porch (its a Victorian gingerbread porch -- how stupid was that!), trail work on my local bike club trails, blogging (it's going to virtually disappear) and holding down that full-time job that takes two hours commute time out of the day. Last year was the year of the organic garden and it consumed the majority of my time, leaving the biking/paddling/running on the wayside and squeezed in when I wasn't planting/weeding/harvesting/cooking. This year, I want to try to balance them all. You've seen the reduction in blog posts - it may get even less. And the garden planning includes a reduction in what-to-grow to make more time for exercise. I have two guides for what to grow and what not to grow: what does hubby eat (or not eat); and what is least important to grow that I can get at a farmer's market that doesn't need to be organic. Onions are the first thing that is crossed off the list of things to grow. They typically are not sprayed and are the lowest in pesticides. And hubby never eats the tomatoes. So I'm drastically reducing the tomato crop. Maybe I'll only do a plant or two of heirlooms. Other things are getting crossed off the list too - green beans, potatoes, and maybe some of the greens. Balancing should be easy, right? I am a LIBRA aferall. I'll figure it out.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Goods Getting Delivered

I feel like I'm the luckiest organic gardener in the entire world! To have fresh horse manure delivered to my door step is an incredibly happy time. My work recently had a motivational speaker talk about team building and a couple other things, one being getting stressed out and don't let it happen. He went around the room asking what de-stresses us. Of course I said exercise; but I really should have said is, "everyone here knows I ride bike, run, kayak and do a lot of things outdoors. What you guys DON'T know, is I love to play in horse shit and find IT to be very relaxing and enjoyable." Yup, horse shit is very high on my list of pleasures. What it does to the garden and the plants that grow in it is phenomenal. What it does to me physically when I start tossing it, turning it, and hauling it is also pretty darn cool. I couldn't live without horse manure. Even when dear-old dad ain't around any more, I plan to go get it myself at the local horse track where several horses are stalled. It's truly a gardeners gold.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Enjoying the Winter Break

There's not much going on garden-wise right now other than I'm planning to start some leeks in the next week or two. Hubby and I just spent the weekend in Canaan Valley, West Virginia enjoying their 30+ inches of snow on the ground. It was fabulous. Pennsylvania winters can't come remotely close to these guys. We ski at a cross-country destination, Whitegrass. It's the best.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Seed List for Chili's Backyard

New Year's Day was perfect to sit back, peruse all the seed catalogs, take left-over seed inventory (ditch the hybrids and old seed), and decide what seeds to order and from what catalog. I narrowed the choices of catalogs down to Fedco (last year's winner), Seeds of Change, High Mowing Seeds and my newest catalog, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. My primary reason for these four was to focus on non GMO seeds. Yes, organic was initially a factor, but after seeing that certified organic seeds are more expensive and since I don't have a certified organic CFA or reason to make sure the seeds are organic (other than they must be non-GMO), I opted for non-organics and focus on non-GMO. Thus, Baker Creek Heirloom won the order. Every seed in their catalog is non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated and non-patented. They do not buy seed from Monsanto-owned Seminis. They boycott all gene-altering companies. In other words, I'm getting "pure" seed that I can save from year to year if I don't use the entire pack. Since I went over-board last year, the seed list was minimal this year since I could use most of my seeds from last year. So here's the order:

Broccoli - Waltham
Corn - Ture Gold Sweet
Eggplant - Pandora Striped
Melon (Cantaloupe) - Schoon's hardshell
Red Pepper - Quadrato D'asti Rosso
Radish - Saxa 2
Squash - Sweet Dumpling (single serving size - good for stuffing)
Red Tomato - Granny Cantrell German Red
Cherry Tomato - Fox Cherry

And Zinnias and Sunflowers to attract beneficial insects. I'll do a post on heirlooms in the future. Heirlooms are unique plants worthy of a post all their own. What's up next? Leeks. I'm starting those seeds in the next two weeks.