Finally back

Sorry this blog update took so long. My old macbook finally ran out of gas. I couldn’t get online at the Flagler Library, my update venue. Update – not the computer, the internet at the library was screwed up.

Went to the doc for a routine annual follow up and learned that my iron blood count was back to normal after dropping as a result of the hematoma developed from a fall in North Carolina. I had a huge hematoma which turned by backside black and blue from my waist to my knee – Really ugly and enough blood involved (internally) to drop me into anemia. Eventually the iron in the bruise blood is reabsorbed. That took about 2 months enhanced by taking iron pills.

100% of what’s grown in the garden is used – even weeds. It’s either eaten or composted. This year the wet spring and hot summer yielded the largest crop of weeds ever and consequently I have the most compost for the fall garden ever. I’ve been using it as needed and still have what I estimate to be 2 cubic yards of first class compost. I bet the whole garden will be raised up a couple of inches as the new compost is added. Aside from just being a much better growing medium, raising the level makes the garden less susceptible to flooding – better drainage. That’s important with this garden because the lake sets the groundwater level and I like to have at least a foot of soil above that.

I mentioned that I had started my winter veggies indoors using last year’s seed. Here’s an interesting bit of trivia. Chinese cabbage seed germinated in 3 days, some kale in 4 days. That’s faster than I remembered. The cauliflower and collards were a day behind but still, they were all really fast. I decided to jump ahead of my original planting schedule – just impatient, no new input – and put in a few short rows of spinach seed. I favor an heirloom variety, Bloomsdale. Deep down inside I feel it’s a few weeks early but I have plenty of seed and who knows, it may be cool enough if it holds under 90 for a couple of weeks. If that seed germinates and looks healthy, I’ll follow up with some lettuce and get our salad material started. Both spinach and lettuce are very fast crops – ready to start picking as soon as 35 days after germination. So in a perfect world we’ll be eating “garden” fresh salads by the beginning of November – a month earlier than I usually plan

Lost my cousin Billy this week. We were best buddies when we were kids. We both loved exploring, fishing, diving, camping – anything with a large outdoor component. We got into lots of “trouble” by disappearing – long walks in the woods, on the beach – you name it. I’ll miss him a lot. Not that we saw each other often but I thought about our exploits frequently and I’ll continue to do so.

Another loss – both the NY Times and the Washington post have morphed into the National Inquirer. I always knew they were way too liberal for me but thought they had journalistic integrity. Not now.

Sweat Test

Working in the garden is really, really hot, sweaty work this time of the year. I go out fully ready to tackle the tasks at hand and come in 2 hours later totally wrung out, drippy wet with sweat. I did an experiment. I weighed myself just before heading over to the garden and then again about 2 hours later when I was done for the morning. I was 2.5 pounds lighter which has to be 100% water loss. FYI, 2.5 cups of water = 2.5 pounds. So now I’m starting to get it on the dehydration front. To make sure, I repeated the experiment on Friday with the exact same results. When I’m working like that, I’ll get a little light headed but didn’t link that to water loss -but I bet that’s the cause.

Not happy with the germination of the beans so I used all the left over seeds from the original pack to fill in the gaps. I’m used to that when I use seed I’ve had for a couple of years but this was newly purchased so it must have been in the system for a couple of years before it ended up in my shopping cart. Most seed packs have a use by date but this particular information was missing on these seeds. Suspicious. But I started the gardening in earnest by making the first transfers from my started seedlings to the garden. My first planting was two Early Blue Ribbon tomatoes, two Dixie Red tomatoes, -both varieties I’ve never grown before – two Skyway’s which I have grown and three Declaration green bell peppers, an old standbye. I also planted seeds for 4 greyzini zucchini plants. The four tomatoes are part of a set that includes 4 more varieties and a total of 16 plants, a couple of paste tomatoes and a couple Cherrys. I planted the first ones very carefully and I’ll watch them for a couple of days to make sure it’s ok before planting the remainder.

I started the seeds for the full winter garden 9/16. That includes the cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and collards. I was out of broccoli and chard seed and expect delivery on those this week. I start these indoors in peat pots with a target of late October, early November for transplanting to the garden. I’ll squeeze a few lettuce and spinach plants as weather and space allow. If you can keep track of it all, it means a very full garden from November thru December when both the fall and winter plants are sharing the garden space.

Nancy and her quilt buddy did a quilt shop tour in west central Florida – over in the Tampa area. They left first thing Thursday morning and back at supper time on Friday. I can’t figure why Nancy likes going to quilt shops when she really can’t see the material – but she does.

It’s nice to be watching the hurricane season developing without being directly in the path of something. I think our Carolina friends and family are far enough inland to be spared the worst of it. I imagine they’ll lose power for a short time but no flooding or wind related problems. Fingers crossed.