The Gardener’s Journal

Yukon potatoes grown in a kitty litter bucket.

Yukon potatoes grown in a kitty litter bucket.

I planted these potatoes a week after Good Friday.  As you can see they’ve done quite well.

Baby potatoes harvested from the kitty litter bucket.

Baby potatoes harvested from the kitty litter bucket.

I harvested these baby potatoes from the kitty litter bucket.  They were harvested June 27.  Next year I will probably give them a few more weeks.

Check out this article on companion gardening:

http://www.firehow.com/2013061237366/how-to-use-companion-planting-in-your-garden.html

How to Shop a Farmer’s Market

I’m an admitted foodie.  I love cooking food, baking food, growing food and eating food!  So when I go to Lincoln, NE the first thing I do is check out the local farmer’s markets.  I live in a small town and while we have a farmer’s market during the summer, it’s just not the same as a big city.  A farmer’s market can be big, it can be overwhelming, and you can spend a lot in a short amount of time.  So here are some tips for negotiating your local farmer’s market.

Great loot from the Farmer's Market.

Great loot from the Farmer’s Market.

Bring Cash and Set a Limit

While you can find some great deals at a farmer’s market, things can add up quickly.  Decide what is worth splurging on and what is not.  For example, I got some great deals on $1 pepper plants but decided to splurge on a $6 morel mushroom goat cheese.  I decided since good goat cheese is hard to come by it was worth the price.  The same doesn’t necessarily hold true for trinkets and “antiques.”  When deciding on whether to buy something ask yourself if it’s something you can do yourself.  Can you start growing your own herbs?   Are you willing to sand and paint a set of shelves yourself?

Set Food Limits

Farmer’s markets often offer a lot of samples.  In the long run, you will be better off to skip the vendors offering baked goods and any other type of sweets.  Instead, take the opportunity to explore ethnic foods.  Try some fresh bruschetta or authentic salsa.  Ask yourself if you will feel good about what you eat or buy when the day is over.

Early is Better

If you can get there fifteen minutes before the farmer’s market starts. You’re more likely to find good parking and can spend some time browsing vendors.  If you’re someone who is not into crowds an early start means a less crowded experience.  When my husband and I went to a farmer’s market in Lincoln, it started getting crowded an hour after the market opened.  On the other hand, arriving towards the end of a farmer’s market will mean getting deals from vendors anxious to clear out their inventory.  And you will probably not want to carry something like plants around for very long.  So, this really depends on your own preferences and how big the market itself is.

Ask Lots of Questions

Use the vendors knowledge to your advantage.  Ask them for advice on how to transplant your new seedlings or how to keep your new produce fresh.  Also, ask them what kind of pesticides, sprays, or chemicals they may have used.  If you feel intimidated about how to cook produce, ask the vendors for ideas.

Above all enjoy yourself!  Always remember anyone can learn to cook, no matter how challenging the produce may look.

A link to a great article on how to enjoy cooking!

https://www.firehow.com/2013012836345/how-to-enjoy-what-you-cook.html

What to watch  out for next year:

Tomato Blight

Doesn’t seem to be affecting the plants I trimmed down quite a bit.  Ways to treat:

Purchase some liquid copper(organic) to treat tomato blight.  Consider planting in a different spot.  Prune tomato plants way down.  Serenade (organic).  Wish list for next year:

-wooden stakes

-organic insect soap

-organic fungicide

-water from underneath only

-allow more than 24 inches to allow the leaves to breathe

-plant tomatoes in a raised bed

-remove and destroy all affected plants at end of season (including Mexican sunflowers and Canteloupe)

-mulch with black plastic or landscape fabric (prevent spore from traveling from soil to plant)

-avoid planting tomatoes where peppers, eggplants, or potatoes were grown the year before

Sunflowers:

Also being affected by blight.  Remove and destroy plants at end of season.  Next year.  Use black plastic to mulch.  Water exclusively from bottom using soaker hose.  Rotate to a different spot next year.

Fresh from the gardenThese are all fresh from the garden.  What I have in the pictures includes rainbow Swiss chard, garlic chives, sweet basil, oregano, and a Roma tomato.  The rainbow Swiss chard is my favorite green so far.  I love how it tastes in salads and anything else I usually use lettuce in.

 

 

 

On the Bookshelf

Book of the Week!

Book of the Week!

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