Sunday, April 17, 2005

Late Photo Commentary

Well, I was going to take those photos I posted yesterday and turn them into one post with comments but I didn't get the chance to get back on the computer yesterday (imagine that on a beautiful spring day!) and people have commented so I'll just say something about them here.

First of all, the photos are from last weekend.

The birthroot is one of my favorite early spring understory plants. Tincture of its root is used, tada, for birthing women although the white flowering variety is actually preferred. I didn't know this plant until I was pregnant in early spring with child #4 and decided to do all my own tinctures and wanted birthroot tincture and all the sudden there it was when I went looking for it. Plants are like that -- if you need one, it will show up. I've known sprigs of raspberry leaves show up in January even simply because I had need of them.

The pear blossoms, well, aren't they grand? We do spray the pears during blossoming against fire blight (a bacterial infection treated with a common antibiotic) which we have had problems with. We'll probably spray the apples with that one substance too when they bloom, although we haven't had near the fire blight on them. Instead they get this leaf curl thing that our agricultural extension state specialist in fruit trees didn't know a thing about but a bit of malathion took care of it. So, those are not strictly "organic" -- but if we didn't treat those things effectively then the whole trees would die and no fruit. Those big pretty so-called organic apples in the healthier than thou store -- cr*p, I don't believe it. I grow stuff and I know better.

The mulch is most important. The cabbages pictured are the ones there was a photo of a few days ago being transplanted. They were first mulched with aged horse manure we get from a nearby barn -- that's the dark stuff. Then I mowed last weekend and they are further mulched with green grass clippings. I always think of the grass clippings as a magic mulch -- they suppress weeds probably better than anything else, are easy and pleasant to handle as long as they are fresh, regulate the moisture level of the soil and also cool it substantially (for the cool loving plants like cabbages and lettuces a must because heat will inhibit growth, make them bolt to seed, and/or make them bitter tasting), they enhance the fertility of the soil in the longterm, and they seem to call to the earthworms to come and do their thing. Within a day the green clippings have matted and dried out and compressed down and more can be added if needed. The cabbages are planted that closely because when they get a little size on them, they will shade out any weeds themselves -- no hoeing.

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