Monday, January 20, 2014

Permaculture corn? Why not!

I am more and more interested in Permaculture. With the perennials I have established, I can harvest with my cane in one hand and grocery bags in the other. Corn is not generally grown using Permaculture, as it is an annual. Still I see no reason why it cannot be grown as part of a Permaculture guild! (A guild is a variety of plants that support each other's growth and health).
An exciting development at my place has occurred: my husband and son want to raise and sell sweet corn! And, none of us are very physical. So, I thought long and hard about how corn could be raised in a Permaculture fashion. And, I came up with some very interesting ideas.

The first thing to do is to scatter fertilizer and then till the ground, let it rest a week so any weed seeds can germinate then till it again as shallowly as possible. Grass is a formidable weed here in Kansas: the pioneers who said grass grew "as high as a horses withers " was not kidding! I hope that tilling twice will do a good job at killing the grass.

Then, clover seeds can be scattered and lightly raked in, as any bare spots will not stay bare for long. Hopefully by seeding it with a short, vigorous plant like clover I can prevent the growth of anything nasty! The clover will be allowed to live: its job is to cover the soil and shade out any weed seeds that grow. After the sweet corn has been harvested the clover will be treated as the rest of the lawn is: it will be left alone excepting for regular mowing.

After the clover seed has been raked in, the corn can be planted by hand. I also have some squash seeds and such to start: as the corn comes up any gaps can receive a squash seedling or some other seedling. Squash has grown under corn for centuries: we will see if the newer varieties do as well! 

The main crop will be corn because early corn sells very well. Honestly, the other plants will be more of a test-the-market crop than anything else. I also intend to add onions if I can get the bed of onions the house uses large enough to sell when the corn is ready. I have always known my onions were underfertilized but I do not mind small onions when I cook. The onions all get chopped up anyways. Customers, however, tend to like onions that are fat and attractive.

We will not be weeding: we will be watering. Mineral oil can be applied to the ears of corn when they silk to prevent worms.

After the harvest I can use the riding lawn mower to mow everything down and let the clover take over. The clover and mowed over corn stalks will act as a fertilizer for next year: clover is a legume and it should fix some nitrogen.

I hope that I do not have to till again the next year: if the clover is strong enough then I should not have to!

I chose Permaculture partly because it is cool and I want to see if this works. The other reason is that nobody in my home is particularly healthy: DH and I have our middle-aged type problems and my son has never been that strong *AND* he does not like gardening! While I expect him to do the lion's share of the tilling I know him too well to think he will weed for hours on a hot day. The kid was a micro-preemie and, well, he runs but not very fast: he lifts weights but not as heavy as a person who has never been sick: he gets out of breath more quickly than any other kid his age, and so forth. If he is doing something he likes then he will put his back to what he is doing but he does not like to weed.

I believe that running a tiller will be dramatic enough so that he will work hard: weeding with a hoe can be dull. I know him too well to believe he will pull many weeds. He is OK with a chain saw and I think he will be OK with a tiller but with a hoe? PFFFT! On the good side the kid likes drama as much as any other young man in his late teens, and he would rather use a chain saw than a hoe! And neither DH or I are fit enough to keep the corn weeded. So, for weed control we will need to use Permaculture.

We will be selling at the Farmer's Market, and splitting the money. My son will do most of the tilling and his share of the watering and other work, and my husband and I will cover the expenses and some of the watering and harvesting. Paying for everything is made easy for my husband and I because we already own the tiller and we have a fair amount of leftover fertilizer in the garage. The seeds are not cheap but because I paid for them I also chose them, and I have firm ideas about which varieties are best! I did not want the newest on the market (I wanted something proven), but I also wanted some of the NEWISH short-season hybrids to get in the early corn.

By the time the summer heat gets bad I hope to have gotten all of the corn sold: we will not work the market garden all summer. By the time the corn is ready I hope to just need to pick and sell, and then the stalks can be mown down and we can have the rest of the summer off. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I hear that the Congress has an approval rating of 5%!

They deserve it, too.

Seventeen years ago the government also shut down, and after the initial surprise it was business as usual for most of the citizens. If this goes not much longer we will all adapt and not think about it much, but in the short term a few people have been cut off from their needed medical care, some folks have no paycheck, and many folks are worried that the Congress will be stupid enough to default.  I do NOT think that they are that foolish, excepting for a niggling little suspicion every now and then. OK, I AM worried, even though I try not to!

Mostly I think that the Congress is playing "chicken" with the country. For them it is a game and a gamble, and the stakes they are playing with are too darned high!

The garden is still producing, for now. I plan to cover the Fall greens with a sheet of plastic, as we have been too busy to plant and cover the greenhouse. So, instead of having an unheated greenhouse to play around in, I will be folding back plastic to harvest. I think it is worth it: this month we got the garage cleaned out and the bathroom vanity in, and I have the paint and supplies to freshen up the bathroom walls. There was not enough time to do everything, an for right now not having a greenhouse to play in is a small sacrifice.

I might feel differently next spring, LOL!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Least said, soonest mended: my beloved daughter has moved out.

I would LIKE to say that she came home and said "Mom, I got an apartment", but it did not go down that way. Instead, a few months ago, she stopped taking her psych meds and she lied about it. She is pretty good at keeping things together for a few months, meds or no, but she cannot manage it forever.

She also started bad-mouthing us to anybody that would listen: of course we did not know about it!

So, she ended up in the hospital just over a week ago, and they put her back on psych meds. When she was discharged she went to stay with friends, who opened their door to her because, according to her, we are horrible people and we treat her horribly.

Now, I would blame her mood disorder, excepting that she is now stable and she has not taken anything she said back. Instead, at age 20, she has moved out and is staying with friends.

She *IS* 20, and I would not mind at all excepting for *HOW* she moved out.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I am going to be taking pills instead of shots.

The shots for multiple sclerosis are just not good enough any longer, so we will be trying other meds. They are PILLS! Yay!

But, things are not at ALL well here. My daughter is again in the hospital, which is not surprising as as near as I can figure she went off of her psych meds 4? months ago. She has been lying to me about it all this time.

She is blaming us for her problems and she has decided that she is not coming home when she is discharged: she has the social workers helping to get her into a place. She is saying horrible things to the staff about us-I think- and they are being terribly PROFFESIONAL and cold when I visit my daughter.

She is 20. If she wanted to leave then why didn't she just move out when she got her job?

Monday, August 12, 2013

I met my daughter's fiance's father yesterday!

It actually went VERY well: I really like him!

We were all nervous, of course, and so when the FiancĂ© and his Father went home at around 10 that night, my daughter acted out. First she scolded her brother for leaving the cupboard open,(how dare he, LOL!) and then went off to lodge a variety of complaints with her Father. My daughter, when she is anxious, really LIKES to complain about things, and since she was also meeting her intended FIL for the first time she had every RIGHT to be nervous! So she complained about this and that for almost an hour!

Sigh. Between the squabbling and meeting the gent for the first time I did NOT sleep well at ALL last night!!!!!!! It was midnight when I finally settled down, and then I had to get up at 5 because of all of the diet cokes that I had drunk while we were all getting acquainted!

This morning I picked 2 nice cucumbers and a tomato and a fistful of okra. The green beans need picking and so I will do it tomorrow, and I ate a fistful of blackberries. One of the two cabbages that survived our late spring blizzard has a head that is cracking and it really needs to be picked and eaten, and I see that the raccoons have already eaten THREE icebox watermelons and they were barely PINK inside! This is ominous: I might not get my fair share of watermelons this year!

My daughter picks fights when she is under stress: I wind down outside!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

An Update.

It has been about 7 months since I posted last.

The garden is actually doing reasonably well, when you take into account the many late frosts and the chemotherapy. I am putting some carpet scraps to excellent use, as I can smother out any grass that grew through the weed barrier. Of course, it does look tacky! The brown against the black weed barrier does not look BAD exactly, but it does not look good either. I also used the carpet scraps to protect the seedlings with fair results: I did have to replant several times! Our last average frost date is about April 7th, and we got 2 major blizzards in May!

I do have one row that I hand weed: I have some very good bush beans in that row, and 4 tomato plants. I am well content. We have picked and eaten perhaps 2 gallons of green beans.

I fell behind on spraying for cabbage worms, and my lovely kale has been shredded! So I have sprayed again, and the new leaves should be good. I use an organic insecticide soap, and it actually does pretty well when I use it!

The chickens are laying well. I hope that my elderly banty gets broody, as I would dearly love to have chicks.

By for now.


Monday, February 4, 2013

I have not been posting on my blog. I am sorry.

I have not been well. Not sick: not really, just not WELL

The brain fog has been really bad for the last few months. Among other things, that means that I feel stupid and not creative at ALL !

I have changed doctors, and the new neurologist ordered tests, which has been done. My NEXT appointment is not until March! So I have a ways to go. From out discussion at out last appointment, I excpect new meds.

I expect to pop into other folks blogs from time to time, but I think that I will not post here, or if I do I will not post much. I simply lack the mental energy.

I hope to come back in march, after new meds, with enthusiasm for my new garden