Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy, more seed catalogs!!!

Posted Saturday, December 29, 2007, at 8:24 AM
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  • We got a Twilley's back in November.

    We dream big around here this time of year, but when that humidity comes in to stay and the bugs come out to play, it REALLY takes some hard work!

    Its nice to pull the home-grown veggies out of the freezer this time of year though.

    -- Posted by mmp84 on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 8:58 AM
  • I just got my Burpee catalog today. 3 more months? Can it be Spring sooner, pleeeaassee??? Ha Ha!


    -- Posted by craftin_mom on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 4:59 PM
  • I believe Burpee has given up on me. I don't recall a catalog in a few years and I can not remember when I saw a Twilley's last. I need to look them up on the web and browse.

    With the threat of dry weather again, I am going to try to get my cool weather crops in REAL early. Bugs mess me up later anyway, so maybe I will try some hoops and plastic.

    When I met Elliott Coleman he was growing in unheated greenhouses all through the winter IN MAINE! I should be able to something here in TN.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 5:26 PM
  • Hey Steve, just curious. How big is your garden plot? All I have to work with is about 10x10 ft space. I plan to do my 'maters in individual containers closer to the house (hopefully will deter the squirrels better than having them out of my sight, ha ha). I was wondering what you might recommend for such a small plot? I tried a few rows of corn one year, got lots of those baby ears for salads.. so that's a bust, lol! I've thought about cabbage and turnip greens, but the bunnies eat those up. Our dang dog seems to invite the critters, it's like he's smiling at them and thinking, "Sure, help yourself. Eat well and be merry."

    Yeah, you've got my green thumb itchin' for Spring now, Steve. I wish I had one of those magical calendars and I could just flip the page to March-April.

    Even the stores are trying to rush time. I'm seeing Valentine's stuff, and it's not even 2008 yet. So, if they can speed up time, why can't I have one of those magic calendars, lol!

    -- Posted by craftin_mom on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 7:43 PM
  • Right now I have two basic gardens. One is about 20X40 and the other is about 25X35. That is not all growing space.

    I am experimenting with different walkways and may actually section them off with cinder blocks. Right now they are just outlined with RR ties.

    I like raised beds but with the heat and drought, I am reconsidering since they dry out so fast. My number one goal is to resolve my water situation.

    Last year was pitiful because of the drought. I tried to keep a few things going but corn was a definite casualty.

    In your square footage, I believe corn will eat up too much space, although there is not much better than ultra-fresh corn. We grow Chinese cabbage early in the year and I keep saying I am going to do some in the fall, but....

    What do you like to eat? Part of my problem is that I grow more than we eat, but we enjoy sharing. We love edamame (edible soybean) so I grow a lot of that, but we also grow a number of oriental vegetables and share them with the local restaurants.

    Your plot sounds like it could be protected by fence pretty easily. Use the fence to grow some vining plants like cukes, or sugar snap peas. With a 10X10 I would grow UP as much as possible.

    Have you seen the tomatoes grown upside down in containers? They hang them like hanging baskets. Sounds neat, but I have not tried it yet.

    I have threatened to grow something in an old, old washing machine I got at auction last year. (with a clothes ringer) The thing still works, so I hate to waste an antique but it has a natural drain hole and would look unique.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 8:58 PM
  • The upside down tomato thing doesn't sound logical to me. Wouldn't the fruits weigh it down and make the stalk break? Then again, it may be for the smaller tomatoes. I prefer my maters the size of softballs, so I only grow the "better boy" kind.

    I have thought about hydroponics... may get a pump and try it out this summer. Have you ever tried it?

    -- Posted by craftin_mom on Sun, Dec 30, 2007, at 8:03 AM
  • Hydroponics is another interesting one I have not tried. I understand there is an exhibit in Walt Disney World.

    I like the idea of combining hydroponics with aquaculture, thus recycling byproducts to sustain the system, but alas, I do not have the extra time or energy.

    Somehow, I still prefer getting my hands dirty. There was a study this past year that claims the bacteria in soil helps maintain a feeling of happiness.

    The stems adjust to the weight. I know it seems contradictory but they grow large maters as well.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Dec 30, 2007, at 9:14 AM
  • They show an upside down mater thingy on QVC if you are into that at all.

    They have some pretty good spring plant shows. Although expensive and I never order them.

    I've just always wanted to try, like, a five gallon bucket with a hole (or holes) and try the upside down maters.

    -- Posted by countrymom on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 11:56 AM
  • I have the perfect place for one right outside our kitchen. I could start it in our greenhouse.

    If I do it, I will write about it. Anyone else who has done it or will do it, please add to this blog.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 12:28 PM
  • Here is a link to the 5 gallon bucket plan. Much cheaper than the professional but might not be good if you are hanging it in a regulated housing development. http://www.seedsofknowledge.com/tomato2.html

    What I was curious about, but have not found the answer yet, was how the roots grow in the bucket. When planting in the ground, I try to let the plant get somewhat tall, then trim the leaves before I transplant, so I can get more stem in the ground.

    Has anyone dissected a bucket at the end of the season to see what the roots did?

    The article does not go into what soil mix is good for this, except lightweight potting soil.

    One fellow actually seeds into the hole, grows it for a few weeks and then turns it over. Most seem to grow determinate varieties, but you could get adventurous and try an indeterminate.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 12:59 PM
  • well, now... I may have to try it now. Thanks for the link, Steve. I bookmarked it for later. I just wonder if a PVC type of rig/setup would hold the weight, or would the bucket collapse the structure?

    Anywho, I've decided that I'm mostly going to ATTEMPT to grow medicinal herbs rather than vegetables.

    If you need any help digging up dandelions, just give me a shoutout. Dandelions are supposed to be packed with more vitamin A than carrots, lol! Herbs are a phase I've been wanting to try for a long time, but never got gutsy about it. I suppose this year is as good as any to try, lol!

    -- Posted by craftin_mom on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 4:03 PM
  • I don't know if the vitamin A stays around, but my father used to make a mean wine from the flowers.

    I roasted the roots for a coffee substitute. It is like chicory. I believe I got a headache when i drank it, but it has been many years,

    Herbs are great. I have always been fascinated by the natural remedies.

    Keep us posted?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 9:36 PM
  • Your headache may have been a caffeine withdrawal. There is no caffeine in dandelion root.

    The seeds I have purchased are supposed to help ease nicotine cravings and help cough up the crud that cigarettes deposit in the lungs. I'm pretty nervous since I usually have a hard time getting seeds to germinate at all. I've tried the Jiffy 7's, and they have disappointed me every time. I think I'm going to experiment with my own type of jiffy... cotton balls. I will unroll a cotton ball, put a seed in, then roll it back up and let the cotton wick up water. This way I can unroll it to see if the seed is trying to germinate. Just one of my many wacky ideas.

    And if you ever get stung by a bee, English Plantain will ease the swelling and the pain. I have done this myself, and it works. Pick some of the leaves and chop them up very fine, add a couple drops of water, and rub the leaves on the sting area. Or, if you're in a hurry and alot of pain, you can chew the leaves into a mush, and spread the mush on the sting area.

    Here's what it looks like, and it's quite common in your front yard, I'm sure. http://www.flickr.com/photos/94662741@N00/536658150/

    -- Posted by craftin_mom on Thu, Jan 3, 2008, at 7:11 AM
  • My brother used to buy cases of Jiffys but I have never been happy with them either. They dry out too fast.

    I have never had much luck with soil cubes either. I like the idea but they also dry out too fast. Maybe it is a lack of attention on my part but my schedule does not allow for daily attention.

    I checked to see if Dandelion needed dormancy or scarification, but it does not seem necessary.

    Much of our plantain has a wider leaf than English. I suppose it would be similar, but never tried it.

    We have some home brewed medicine that the Aztecs and Southwest Indians used to use made from a wild parsley-like root. It does wonders for bruises, but has many claims to fame. I wonder if a plantain root would do similar things.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jan 3, 2008, at 9:09 AM
  • Well, I don't see anything regarding bruises and Plantain. I have found a few websites that each say similiar healing wonders of the plantain, though. Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite herb websites, AltNature.com.


    "The leaves and the seed are medicinal used as an antibacterial, antidote, astringent, antiinflammatory, antiseptic, antitussive, cardiac, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, haemostatic, laxative, ophthalmic, poultice, refrigerant, and vermifuge. Medical evidence exists to confirm uses as an alternative medicine for asthma, emphysema, bladder problems, bronchitis, fever, hypertension, rheumatism and blood sugar control. A decoction of the roots is used in the treatment of a wide range of complaints including diarrhoea, dysentery, gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhage, haemorrhoids, cystitis, bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis, coughs, asthma and hay fever. It also causes a natural aversion to tobacco and is currently being used in stop smoking preparations. Extracts of the plant have antibacterial activity, it is a safe and effective treatment for bleeding, it quickly stops blood flow and encourages the repair of damaged tissue. The heated leaves are used as a wet dressing for wounds, skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings and swellings and said to promote healing without scars. Poultice of hot leaves is bound onto cuts and wounds to draw out thorns, splinters and inflammation. The root is said to be used as an anti-venom for rattlesnakes bites. Plantain seeds contain up to 30% mucilage which swells in the gut, acting as a bulk laxative and soothing irritated membranes. The seeds are used in the treatment of parasitic worms. A distilled water made from the plant makes an excellent eye lotion."

    Seems like this weed I used to play "rocket battle" with is actually pretty useful.

    -- Posted by craftin_mom on Thu, Jan 3, 2008, at 3:39 PM
  • Darn, I am going to check my lawn at first light. Well, maybe after it warms a little.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jan 3, 2008, at 5:37 PM
  • Of course, one should always consult a physician before using herbs. Many herbs have terrible interactions with prescription and over the counter medications. I know every doctor I've been to shakes their heads when I mention herbal remedies. But, I believe Mother Nature (or, in my case, God) has put each plant and animal on Earth for a reason.

    Just please be cautious, natural isn't always safe.

    -- Posted by craftin_mom on Thu, Jan 3, 2008, at 10:19 PM
  • Hey Steve, I've decided I'm not ordering anything from Burpee this year. Would you like to have my catalog?

    -- Posted by craftin_mom on Fri, Jan 4, 2008, at 12:55 PM
  • Burpee and many others have become too expensive for me. Great catalog though. Thanks anyway.

    I guess it is cheaper than buying the vegetable, but.... Pinetree used to be the best deal for a reasonable quantity but even they are getting expensive.

    I may do more to save seed next year. That would mean less hybrids but there are still many choices out there.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Jan 5, 2008, at 10:17 AM
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