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Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

"I Just Want To Celebrate another day of living"

Posted Saturday, December 28, 2013, at 6:56 AM
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  • Well, the rain did not come fast enough. I wore myself out shoveling chips, loading wood, preparing more gardens, grading the driveway and separating more chips for loading and spreading.

    I had time to load the trailer with more chips but I knew I had no more steam in the engine so loading more would just make me feel guilty about not spreading it.

    The chips are well decomposed so I will use some of them as a base in my new bathtub gardens. I've always grown short stubby carrots but plant to grow some long ones in the tubs. I won't have to worry about heavy clay or rocks.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Dec 28, 2013, at 8:49 PM
  • Does anyone have trouble with crows raiding your corn seedings? The concept is not new, but a woman out of British Columbia is now sewing crow decoys that look like dead crows laying on the ground.

    During my youth, we used to shoot the crows and purposely leave them on the ground in the fields. Apparently crows are very smart and recognize their dead brethren and the fact that danger exists.

    The woman claims that during the first hour or so of placing the decoys the crows will sound the alarm and then come down to pay "last respects" before flying away and avoiding the area. She recommends moving the decoys occasionally to avoid them catching on to the ruse.

    Here is the website if you want to learn more. They are kind of pricey but if I had to sew these I am sure they would take too much time and probably look like a black blob. www.perfectmurderdecoys.ca

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Dec 28, 2013, at 8:55 PM
  • Cute kittens!...they look like they are resting in awe before a good wrestle....so what are you planting in those tubs?..flowers maybe?...I was at Whole Foods yesterday, and the produce was very pricey...I can't imagine paying over 2 dollars for cabbage..the department was mostly citrus...they are usually moderately priced on produce..I was after Japenese yams but apparently they are out of season now according to the veg clerk so I went for the red and white quinoa...have you ever considered growing a few grains in your garden?..I would think one would need a larger space to actually get enough to harvest, and it would attract the birds, but some wheat and grain varieties are beautiful filler.....did you happen to catch victory garden this past week?..they were placing newspaper down between rows for weed control, then covering it with straw instead of hay so it would not add more weed seed..they really had great looking rows...clean lines and weedless up to the plants...it was awesome looking.

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Sun, Dec 29, 2013, at 9:51 AM
  • Grains do take up more than I am willing to give. I probably won't even do corn, although Mark's Floriani should did make great cornbread.

    Missed the Victory Garden. Is it on channel 8 or the Cookeville station?

    I am running several experiments with newspaper, colored advertisements,cardboard and just extra wood chips. The newspaper will stop the weeds for a while but I was trying to see if cardboard stopped weeds but also rotted quicker.

    The advertisements are clay coated so I expect that they will stop the most and be slower to disintegrate. I put them in the walkways but the cardboard and newspaper are actually in the growing beds. I plant to cut through them when I pant.

    Although I use some newspaper for starting the fire, I have saved a bunch this year so Debbi is happy that I am finally using them. I am putting them thickly under my bathtubs to stop grass for a couple years and only four layers under some tire beds to slow the weeds down.

    I'll decide what I am going to put in them after I place my last seed order, but I am think herbs. Probably will have those orders in by year's end.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Dec 29, 2013, at 8:24 PM
  • Here is an updated email I got regarding the crow details:

    The decoys are very durable....I individually hand craft each one with longevity in mind. I'm not a fan of the disposable world we live in, I want to make a product that lasts.

    The bodies are a heavy duty outdoor coated nylon fabric for all weather and fade resistance....stuffed with poly stuffing which is mold/mildew resistant and holds shape.

    The wings and tails are a rubberized foam which does not fade....the glue used to bond the feathers together is well tested and does not get brittle or break down making the wings plyable even on the coldest days.

    There is light wire in the wings to allow subtle manipulation....the wire then gets stitched into the body to keep the wings firmly attached. I use "no-rot" upholstery thread to stitch it all together and finally the beak and feet get a thin rubber coating.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Dec 30, 2013, at 8:47 PM
  • Yes channel 8...I do remember them saying the regular newspaper disintegrates within the year and just discard the coated adds, they take several years to biodegrade and the inks are different but regular color on the same type as the paper print was fine....did you need that seed company catalog to order this year?...I'll be glad to share.

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Mon, Dec 30, 2013, at 10:43 PM
  • No need, I pulled them up on the internet.

    I am counting on the advertisements taking a few years. Used them in the walkways for just that reason.

    I brought up another load of wood chips but they look so good I almost hate to use them in the walkways. I'll make sure they are used IN the beds and planters first.

    I have plenty more but they are hard to get to because of the stumps mixed in and the area is extremely wet right now, so the tractor and truck have some challenges, even though they are both 4-wheel drive.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Dec 31, 2013, at 9:27 AM
  • Steve, plant some corn "square foot" style in one of your raised beds. A 4'x4' bed will hold 16 plants; a 4'x8' bed holds 32 plants, etc... I find that to be a lot easier than traditional row-style corn growing; and it can be a great no-till way to grow corn too.

    Row cover fabric is a great way to protect corn seedlings from the crows. A chicken-wire "tunnel" can work too, but I find the row cover to be easier. Just remove either when the corn is a foot high or so; big enough that the crows won't bother it any more.

    -- Posted by mg.mark on Tue, Dec 31, 2013, at 11:28 AM
  • Speaking of Floriani Red Flint Corn and the exceptional cornbread made by Mark....... I mentioned it was the best I have ever had....So good in fact that I ordered many pounds of kernels for an adventure.........Therefore.......If anyone is interested I can let you have some at 5$ a pound for your sowing, grinding or baking pleasure. No tax....No shipping....No searching. It should be here next week...... Just in time for drooling...

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Tue, Dec 31, 2013, at 2:04 PM
  • I'll pay you for a some and give it to Mark if he will volunteer to make us some more cornbread with it...I'd say he has his secret technique...it sure had me wanting more...I'll eat a small piece on diet cheat day!...I definitely saved the recipe.

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Tue, Dec 31, 2013, at 5:25 PM
  • Wow, how much did you order Palindrome? That must be some adventure you have planned.

    mg.mark, I will try that. I have always done a double row traditional but it took up way too much space. Or at least more than I wish to give up.

    I got my 2014 Baker Creek seed catalog today. What a pleasure to browse. I have not even started on the seeds yet, but I plan to do some more "reading" tonight.

    They're not the cheapest place to buy, but I know something about their values and have met some of the people, including the founder and I just want to support their effort. So even though I bought most of what I needed while there, I will see what I can add.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Dec 31, 2013, at 6:10 PM
  • I bought 5 gallons of kernels........Most places I researched offered it for 7-21 dollars a pound plus shipping....Nothing motivates me like a deal !!!! Thought it would be prudent to have a bucket in our neck of the woods. Hope you all agree.....If not......I will be enjoying a lot of cornbread.....Farmer's Market ?

    The kernels have not been delivered yet but the pre milled was dropped off this morning....I will be making my first batch tomorrow.....Thanks again Mark. Yum Yum.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 3:19 PM
  • That recipe and corn are good enough to put in dessert shops. I almost always like a nice pat of butter with each bite but that probably would have been too much with the recipe mg.mark brought us.

    I agree, yummmmm!

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 3:58 PM
  • mg.mark. do you think one squash plant could prosper in among the 4X4 bed? I know squash can be a companion plant but wonder about that small a space nourishing all the plants.

    I was hoping that if I planted the squash after the corn got about 18-20 inches tall it might be camouflaged from squash bugs or vine borers. Those are a constant battle for me, like the flea beetle is with eggplant.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jan 3, 2014, at 4:04 PM
  • chef... If you've got the kernels, I've got the iron skillet! I'll be happy to cook up another batch of Floriani whenever time allows. But, maybe Palindrone will bring us some cornbread anyway... hint, hint.

    steve... Don't know about the squash in the square-foot bed with the corn; I haven't tried any companions in those beds. Like you said, I also wonder if it might get a little too much competition in there. Maybe you'll have to conduct that experiment and report on the results.

    -- Posted by mg.mark on Sat, Jan 4, 2014, at 2:53 PM
  • I often try to push the limits, so I probably will. :-)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Jan 4, 2014, at 8:23 PM
  • Steve.........I believe if you FEED and water it enough you should be fine. Of course it is not always easy to know what the optimum amounts would be......

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Sat, Jan 4, 2014, at 10:44 PM
  • Corn is a heavy feeder by itself, so I am sure I would have to supplement it, but that is not my kind of gardening, so I may try one to experiment but if it needs a lot of attention, I will just pull it.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jan 5, 2014, at 3:33 PM
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