Wednesday, October 15, 2014

High Calorie Gardening requires learning by doing!

An important point of High Calorie Gardening is you can only learn if you are activity gardening. Yes you can read, watch videos, etc. but to really understand you have to get your hands dirty. Let me give you an example based on my week. 

I had grown Jerusalem Artichokes for a number of years with no problems. This year my plants were badly neglected due to illness in the family. So I went to harvest my 55 tubs of chokes and I found about a dozen white grubs in each tub of chokes. Now this was minor damage to my plants but it is likely the stressed plants became attractive to the insects that hatched the grubs. I will now spend some time trying to get the grubs identified. So far it looks like it will be one of several moths that eat sunflowers. Jerusalem Artichokes are part of the sunflower family. If I had not been growing these I would not have learned about this problem. Now I have an opportunity to learn how to live with this problem.

On another note I have tried growing potatoes that I could winter over outside. Well about three years ago I thought all my outdoor potatoes I was testing died. Well this winter was hard and my thyme died. I did not have time to deal with the tub that had thyme so it just sort of sat for the summer. So I was cleaning it out and what did I find, potatoes I had planted years ago. They had been growing with the thyme for several years and wintering in the pot with them. I collected all the potatoes I could find and will be babying these to plant next spring so I can increase their numbers for another test. I may have found my overwintering potato!

In another area I finally tried my new jab planter. I like it a lot but I wanted to use it in wet clay soil. The problem is the plate the protects the seed drop fills with clay. So I am ordering a replacement spade part for it that is a few inches longer. Once I get the part lined up correctly for my soil it will allow me to plant when soil is too wet to work. All I have to do is tarp the ground to kill the weeds and jab the seeds into the ground. I will be using it as is this weekend to get some field peas in the ground where the chickens are. They may eat them all but they are being planted as fodder for the birds anyways. Once I get the jab planter working right I can just keep replanting different fodder crops. I will likely also be setting up a bucket fodder system to give the chickens greens in the winter.

I could go on but you get the point. There is so much I am constantly learning by actually doing. It is ok to start small but start you must if you really want to learn.

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