Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gone To Pot

Actually that is how I feel - like I've gone to pot. I'm exhausted. I've been burning the candle at both ends with a poor functioning thyroid and shot adrenal glands. Will power has been all that keeps me going and a love for our daughter and grand babies. Today, we traveled six hours total to drop off the truck to be fixed and for a dental appointment for our oldest grand daughter. She had two cavities to be filled. Poor tike has very little enamel on her teeth and though we brush and brush them, she has trouble. We did learn that peanuts and cheese kills bacteria in the mouth and the dentist recommended that she have them as snacks.

That was after he nearly had a sobbing grandma. When I heard the drill I cringed, shivering inside and it took all my will power to remain in the waiting room playing with the other two grand daughters. In the middle of a Dora cartoon which the middle grand daughter and I were verbally participating in, I heard my sweet oldest grand daughter cry out for me, "Grandma!" in a frantic tone and begin to cry. It broke my heart and I nearly ran to her side though I knew her mother was there holding her hand. So with eyes glistening,, I had to sit and wait trusting in my daughter to come and get me if she felt I my presence would help. I knew she would come for she has before when one of her children needed Grandma hugs. Oh, how painful it was to let her suffer through even though I knew it was necessary.

Our daughter had done her best by switching dentists after the last one refused to use laughing gas and three people were necessary to hold her down to fill a tooth. Our oldest grand daughter is a sweet pleasing soul and that was hardly necessary so someone with more compassion was needed. That dentist was lucky I wasn't there. I just might of bit him. A reaction from the old days. You see, I had to be tranquilized to be taken to the dentist when I was a child. My first dentist was a crotchety fellow who handled me roughly and I fought back and bit him. I remember that moment and how much I restrained myself from doing far more though he deserved it. As you can see at 50 I don't regret my behavior. Nope, that dentist and the one who followed who wouldn't wait for the deadener to set in before starting to drill left me melting into a puddle of tears every time I sat in a dentist chair until I was nearly 40 years old. That was even before I found out if I had any cavities or not.

Keep in mind this is the same women to whom accidentally hooked a fishing hook in her thumb while fly fishing with her father a few years ago. Poor man had to run the hook on through my thumb, snip the end off and pull it out. Not a tear, swear word, or grimace did my father receive from me. Partly because it wasn't that bad, I have a high pain tolerance and I knew he wanted to cry far worse than I because he imagined how bad it must hurt. But enough of dentists for I probably have some of you in a grimace just reading this tale. No today actually I wanted to talk about transplanting.
For the past few years I've been starting my plants under grow lights and I've learned a few things, some good things and some bad. Those pots you get when you buy your plants are handy and I'm glad I saved quite a few. Not that other things don't work well but I like the way they can be reused and stack nicely away for the next year. Some larger pots I bought from my gardening supply catalogue. They weren't very expensive.
Though I have managed to repotted most of the tomatoes late at night after the kids have gone to bed, the cabbage as you can see hasn't gotten done yet. Why do I start cabbage plants indoors? Well, I'm trying to extend my harvest time this year with vegetables being harvested over a longer period of time. The first step in that process is jump starting a few plants indoors. then some will be direct seeded, and later I will do some late planting with crops going under row covers into the fall.
Another reason is some bugs like flea beetles are much harder on smaller plants than larger ones and since I'm not sure when those pesky critters will jump out of the ground, I like to have plants that they love like broccoli and cabbages at different stages of growth. That way I don't loose my whole crop. Also with broccoli I find it better to plant them in between tomatoes which seems to deter the beetles. Whether it is because they don't like tomatoes or because the plants aren't right next together for a tasty snack I'm not yet sure. Also for those crops I have more bug problems I not only plant them at different intervals but at different places throughout the garden. You've got to up your odds of success any way you can.
I did read about a cool trick. I'm wondering why I didn't think of it. Vacuuming up bugs in the garden with a shop vac. I've got to try it this summer. Not that we have lots of pesky bugs in our garden but a few like the grasshoppers and flea beetles are a real problem and I like to go organic with out any sprays if possible. One thing I have tried that is a great success it starting seeds in small pots and then transplanting them to larger ones. No surprise there but when I transplant them to the larger pot I put them in the very bottom. Then as the plant grows up I keep adding soil allowing the root system to expand. A large root system allows for more nutrients and water to be pulled into the plant. This causes the stem to become thicker and more robust. When the plant out grows this medium pot I plant it in a larger one and repeat the process. In this manner that spindly cabbage plant will become nice and thick and robust. This year I learned that cucumbers should not be started so early. Yup, I've always direct seeded them but with this idea to stagger crops allowing for a longer harvest, I started some a few weeks ago. I think I'll plant them in a few weeks by the fence, then staple and drape plastic down off the fence forming a mini greenhouse for them. My first batch of cilantro last year I put in a big pot and some of the pot did well and another section didn't but it took up lots of space and was all ready to harvest at the same time. This year, I'm going to plant a series in smaller pots a couple weeks apart extending the harvest time.

Another really biggy I learned was that if your soil is high in nitrogen, it is a ripe environment for aphids. Yup, the soil that never produced one aphid in the garden, brought inside soon had my plants so infested that it killed them. Oh I tried the soap, oil, and water spray and it helped but it didn't do enough to allow the plants to live. I tried commercial plant sprays touted to rid your plants of Aphids. They did nothing. A little research led me to the knowledge that different pH's and soil structures encourage or discourage certain types of bugs.
If you've got aphids already, I learned that they love yellow. So you are suppose to put a bright yellow bowl of water out for them to land in and drown. I thought the yellow sticky fly strips you use at the horse barn would work well too. I'm going to buy some extras and when I try and grow my indoor garden this fall, I'll be prepared if some of those nasty little bugs appear.
Tomorrow, it's back to pick up the pickup, I hope, for late last night we left a trailer next to our neighbors fence. He said he'd fill it with manure to haul up for the garden. We need a pickup for that task. Also my mare needs her feet trimmed and I have to haul her to the farrier. How do you ever live without a pickup I don't know. It's even hard for us to go a few days without one.
But soon I'm going to start some pumpkins, some more cilantro, melons, ----- Oh, so much to do so little time but I'm aching to work in the soil. We've got to get a children's garden going too for it is definitely a joy I want to pass on to our grand daughters. So I'd though I'd like to chat some more my house is a disasterized mess and I've more chicks to check for pasties. Sigh!

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