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Food, our heritage.

Updated on April 9, 2014

let us grow food.

Full and plenty - an abundance of food.
Full and plenty - an abundance of food. | Source

Growing our food.

It is still winter, early March 2012, but the early spring flowers are out in parts of New Jersey and New York City, and hungry gardeners are poring over and absorbing every word in the spring catalogs coming in the mail box. Those of you in more northerly hardiness zones (lower numbers) may still be looking out the window at the snow and wondering if it will ever go away.so you can dig your hands into some soil.

Hopefully, you have been busy sending off for seeds, for you can start the cool weather crops indoors 6-8 weeks before your frost free date. The frost free date is really an approximation of average dates for the start of the spring growing season. This may vary a little even within hardiness zones and from year to year as well, but it gives you a basic window of time when you may start your seeds or the transplanting of your young seedlings.

In my area, zone 5-6, the frost free date is around 30 March -30 April. So within those two dates, it is considered safe to start planting the seeds.

starting seeds under growlights, about 4 inches from seeds.
starting seeds under growlights, about 4 inches from seeds. | Source

Grow Organic - seed-starting

Go organic right from the start. Organic seeds are harvested from plants that were not fertilised artificially, sprayed with insecticide or genetically modified to grow bigger faster, mature sooner or produce more abundantly for profit. Treating plants in such ways progressively kills the soil in the process.

Recipe for seed-starting mix, from PAllenSmith.com: 4 parts screened compost, 1 part perlite, 1 part vermiculite, 2 parts sphagnum peat moss &/or coir (the bristly coat of a coconut). For moisture-sensitive seedlings, make a lighter mix by using more moss and less compost.

Place the flats of seeds under growlights for several hours a day, and provide some bottom heat for good, earlier and even germination. Follow the seed packet directions for transplanting. Cool season vegetables like arugula, English peas, beets, carrots and broccoli can be sown directly outside several weeks before the frost free date, while seedlings of kale and cabbage can be transplanted several weeks before the frost free date. If a severe frost is forecast, cover them with a frost blanket and remove it the next morning.



A prepared raised bed, with rich compost and aged manure in the soil mix. Ready to plant food in.
A prepared raised bed, with rich compost and aged manure in the soil mix. Ready to plant food in. | Source

The Planting Bed and Natural Fertilisers

The planting bed should be prepared before sowing or transplanting. If you can, make a twice-dug bed, otherwise use untreated planks or railway ties (if you're lucky to obtain them) to make a raised bed for optimum growth conditions. The soil mix should be 50% garden soil, 25% aged manure and 25% good old free home-made compost, all of which should give your plants a wonderful, deep, friable, rich growing medium for a few months. The depth of the soil heats it up faster, and holds the sun's heat better, and the composition of the soil makes for good drainage and aeration of roots.

Some vegetables, such as cabbage and broccoli, are heavy feeders and need some extra fertilising with compost tea during the growing season. Never resort to artificial fertiliser. Farm chemicals leach into the aquifer, poisoning our water supply and causing various diseases, chief among them, cancer. Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder have been positively linked to the neurotoxic chemicals in pesticides used in agriculture. Organophoshate insecticide chlorpyrifos has been banned for every use in this country but deemed safe for us to ingest. The United States Department of Agriculture says so. Figure that out.

Recipe for compost tea. Mix 10 pounds of mature compost and 10 gallons water in a 40 gallon bucket. Keep bucket away from heat and cold, stir well daily for 5 days. At the end of 5 days, strain compost tea using burlap and use right away to water your plants without further dilution.

Compost tea is an effective, natural low-strength fertilizer for seedlings and plants, and its beneficial bacteria and fungi are suspended in the water in a form readily available to the plants. Make sure the compost you use to make the tea is mature, sweet, earthy-smelling compost. If it smells wet and foul, it is anaerobic and good bacteria cannot live in it. Be aware that compost may contain E. Coli. Practise strict hand washing after touching, and do not apply the compost tea to vegetables within 3 weeks of harvest.




Time to transplant. Youngsters learning organic gardening.
Time to transplant. Youngsters learning organic gardening. | Source
The growing season. Fine and healthy organic vegetables.
The growing season. Fine and healthy organic vegetables. | Source
A bountiful harvest
A bountiful harvest | Source

The growing season and natural pest control

There is such a satisfaction to producing organic food and embracing healthy eating. The organic garden, through its adoption of age-old practices of agriculture, produces higher yields than conventional gardening. The organic gardener works with nature instead of against it. Insect pests are controlled by beneficial insects and by companion planting. Oftentimes, the larger pests can be handpicked or shaken into soapy water.

By planting lots of flowers in or near the vegetable garden, we attract and keep colonies of beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings. Both these insects feed on nectar and pollen, but their voracious larvae happily chomp up aphids, thrips, scales, moth eggs, small caterpillars and mites.

Japanese beetles, which skeletonise leaves and kill plants, especially roses and grapes, can be controlled by parasitic nematodes, which prey on their larvae. The adult beetles can be shaken off their perch into containers of soapy water and drowned.

The yucky slimy slug loves the fermenting yeast in beer and will happily drown itself in a shallow container of beer in the ground. But diatomaceous earth is the best killer of slugs. It is extremely sharp and as the slug moves over it, cuts its body and the slug dies of dehydration.

The organic garden, through companion planting and beneficial insects, natural fertilizers and raised bed cultivation, precludes and excludes all use of harmful chemicals. The raised bed cultivation and practice of mulching control weeds and conserves water. And at the end of the season, the used plants are composted and returned to the soil to renew it. There is a constant cycle of renewal as there should be if we work with nature. We put back into the soil what we take from it to grow our food.,

This method of producing food may be more labor intensive than GMO farming, but it provides healthy jobs, saves money on chemical fertilizers and pesticides and saves on fuel used by large farm vehicles. And it saves our soil and the environment and is the only sustainable way of feeding ourselves. It is more important than ever to demand organic in order to protect our health and heal our planet. The large agribusinesses have plundered our earth for too long, laying waste to it and causing human and animal diseases. They must be stopped. The only way is by buying and eating organic and boycotting their genetically-altered products.



An Agricultural Testament

80 years ago, a very wise and dedicated agriculturist, Sir Albert Howard, wrote this book, a forewarning to us in our time, that if we destroy the fertility of the soil by modern farming techniques, we shall be the losers. All our wealth now and in future generations is tied up in the soil. Protecting the fertility of the soil is the only way for any meaningful system of agriculture.

This book is what influenced J.I. Rodale in 1942 to buy a farm, practise organic farming and propagate the practice of chemical-free gardening to the world with his printing press and Rodale's Organic Farming and Gardening. And he has been one of the greatest influences in the return to and the preservation of organic gardening. The beacon has been passed on to his son, Robert, and now to his grand-daughter, Maria

This same book also influenced Prince Charles, an avid and influential conservationist, to give organic gardening a go. The Prince is a brave voice for protecting our earth, against large wealthy businesses bent on destroying it in the name of profit. Last year, the Prince came to America to address a large audience in Georgetown University, sponsored by the Washington Post.. He gave a stirring, thought-provoking speech on The Future of Food, reiterating the truism that healthy food begins with healthy soil.

A group of writers and publishers, Maria Rodale among them, were so moved by the Prince's passionate and hopeful call to action they they decided to make a book of his speech. And after a lot of work, they produced a 48 page booklet, called 'The Prince's Speech'. Anyone who believes in sustainable farming practices should get a copy. This is a speech from the heart.

planting rice in Asia
planting rice in Asia | Source
harvesting rice
harvesting rice | Source
keeping free range chickens.
keeping free range chickens. | Source

Growing Food in Asia

Rice is grown in at least 114 countries. Asian farmers grow 90 % of the global total, with China and India growing more than half of that. The top exporters are Thailand, Vietnam, India, USA and Pakistan in order of volume.

Half of the world's population, mostly in Asia, plant rice as the staple food. Rice paddies are an integral part of the landscape in countries like Bali, Thailand and southern India. Rice is more precious than jewels in Chinese culture. Rice was found in Neolithic ruins in Zhejiang Province, proving that China was the earliest culture ever to cultivate rice

In many communities, there is a goddess or mother figure associated with rice and they pray to her for a good rice harvest every year. Unfortunately, governments are interfering in the traditional growing of rice, with disastrous results in India. In the Varada River belt, which has ferocious flooding annually, the people have been saved from famine by a heritage rice seed called Nereguli, which can lie submerged for weeks, even months, without dying but grows fast once the water recedes. The government, attempting to increase yield , are forcing genetically altered hybrids on the farmers. These hybrids drown when the rice paddies get flooded. And if the heritage rice is exterminated by government practice, there will be widespread famine. So why does the government keep pushing this GMO rice on the people? Is someone being paid?

By and large, agriculture in rural Asia is still the small scale, small-holding organic type, though there too, scientists will always find some way to interfere with nature.

Meat and chicken and fish. As with vegetables, we should insist on organic grass-fed meat, free-range chicken and wild fish. With all the hormones and antibiotics fed to animals in agribusiness and fish in captivity, it is absolutely horrendous to contemplate what the meat we consume is doing to our bodies, especially to young growing bodies of children.

The USDA does not require labeling of meat and chicken fed on grains, hormones and antibiotics in feedlots. The only way to ensure we get organic meat from animals allowed to roam in the fields is to buy organic-labeled meat.

Perhaps we should all attempt to grow our own produce. According to Organic Gardening, this is what you could get from your 1/4 acre backyard homestead: 2000 pounds vegetables, 1400 eggs, 60 pounds fruit. Those of us who have no private land, could apply to the city fathers for an allotment to let us grow food. Perhaps if enough people show the city government that locally grown organic food will ultimately reduce the city's medical bills because people will be healthier, they might see the wisdom of letting us grow our own food.


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    • jackavc profile image

      jackavc 5 years ago from Australia

      ripper hub full of great information. Great job

    • profile image

      TaraXin 5 years ago

      thanks for all the info; now if only i could start a vegetable garden on my fire escape!!! :)

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hi, Jackavc, welcome to my hub. Thanks for visiting. It was enjoyable writing it.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      What, and have the Fire Department hose it off?

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      A subject after my own heart! I am lucky to have a garden to grow my own vegetables - runner beans, peas, lettuces, tatsoi, strawberries, apples, cherries, blackberries.

      I also keep a few hens (rescued ex-battery) that can enjoy the open space; scratch, stretch their wings; enjoy sand baths (also help keep red mites at bay). Above all, they provide me with eggs for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

      Over the winter, I have been doing 'armchair' gardening, in the comfort of my living room. I use empty yoghurt pots, tin cans, jam bottles, milk cartons to grow seeds that I have kept from last year's crops. Yes, recycling, reducing my carbon footprint, knowing exactly what I am eating is as healthy as possible.

      There are also quite a lot of local shops and markets that source meat and vegetables from nearby farms and gardens. Yesterday, I bought my groceries from Lower Hardres Farm Shop, which sells bacon from happy Saddleback Pigs. Lower Hadres is a tiny village that is just up the road from Upper Hadres. Both are located just a few miles from my home; in the lovely County of Kent (known as the 'Garden of England'. The farm shop even sold chicken feed.

      On my way home, I saw farm workers planting strawberry plants in rows upon rows of polytunnel greenhouse (month of March now). The soft fruit not only end up in local shops and markets, but also on tables under marquees, where tea is served, in summer months. The birds in my garden beat me to it, when it is time to harvest my own soft fruit!

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hello, Moretea3, you are living my dream life. I did once have a house in the country in Upstate New York, with a 2-acre garden where, after cleaning out all the rocks and huge decades-old tree roots, I planted everything I could fit in that virgin soil. Seeds, seedlings, bare-root plantlets, burlap-wrapped fruit trees - they all found a happy home.

      Now, in my little apartment in the city, with 2 ordinary sized north-facing windows, I have a few decorative plants that don't need too much light.

      I need to get back to the country. Your comment takes me back, down another memory lane.

      Why don't you join and write for Hubpages? You have a good hand and lots of people would love to read your posts, and you could make some money in the process.

      Thank you for visiting my page.

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      When I drew the window curtains backIt is a nice, sunny day, and the daffodils on my south-facing window sill have flowered at last. Blooms shaped like golden trumpets heralding the start of Spring. Somebody's birthday is just round the corner. When I drew the curtains back today, I was pleasantly surprised to see runner beans seedlings that seem to have suddenly sprouted overnight. They are at least up to 4 inches high, and the easiest to grow.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 5 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      This is a very well written hub filled with great information!Thank you for sharing all this with us.

      Voted Up! PS I love all the pictures!

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      I am honored, Curiad. Thanks to you I learned how to load those pictures. I had such a great time doing them.

      I'm going to find your hub to follow it.

    • profile image

      Marylou Zulueta 5 years ago

      How lovely to grow your own food. I have a little land behind my house and I would love to produce some fresh vegetables for my family. I think I shall borrow some organic gardening books to learn from.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hi Ms Zulueta, how good to see you here.

      There are so many types of veggies that are very easy to grow, and you will benefit in many ways from working out in your garden.

      Every library should have organic gardening books, all nicely illustrated. Have fun.

    • profile image

      Urjani Omkaram 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for this informative article. I have been interested i growing my own food for as long as I can remember. Right now I have no big garden to speak of, but I plan on it sometime in the future, and so I will keep all this information handy :) Great job!

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      That's wonderful! I'm so glad that's one more person in the world who wants to make a difference by growing food.

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      It is fun to grow your own food. I do it by trial and error, then I know which vegetable or fruit grows well, how and why. Over the winter, I have been growing runner beans, lettuces, snap peas in pots that I place on my south-facing windowsill. Strawberries have not done so well in a 'grow-bag' - not sure why. Can anyone help here? I have also discovered that vegetables in pots seem to grow that bit faster. Could it be a case of using up whatever limited space is available, and 'survival of the fittest'?

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      I think it's because there's no competition for the space and food and water. Also there's good light and warmth where they are.

      As for the strawberries, how do you mean they have not done so well? Are they straggly and weak, or not putting out runners, or not fruiting?

      I can see you're having fun.

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      My strawbs just gave up on me; possibly, because they are planted in a grow-bag that contains soil for germinating seeds. I'v an inkling that they do not do well with me, as last year's plants were not that successful either! So, I stick with the familiar. Having said that, my first attempt at planting potatoes end of January this year has been more successful. Green shoots suddenly sprouted overnight, up to 6 inches (0.1524 m) high.

      As usual, my runner beans have not failed me. They are running like their names suggest - fast to compete in the coming 2012 Olympic games.

      I think I'll save myself the trouble, and revisit my old haunt, where Jane will serve me Devonshire tea - scones with Devonshire cream and strawberry jam on top, and a cup of my favourite Earl Grey tea.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      I do not think soil for germinating seeds is rich enough for strawberries. It's also very light.

      Potatoes are a joy to grow, and an even greater joy and fun to pull out of the ground.

      Do you like your bean flowers?

      Haven't had scones in a while. The ones I make don't rise as high as they should. The American 'biscuits' are a poor imitation.

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      The scarlet red flowers of runner beans are beautiful, especially against the big green leaves. There is also the white flower variety. My neighbour gave me some of her darkish purple beans - a variety that she got from France. The beans change to green colour, when they are cooked.

      On Friday, I sat out on my front porch and nearly got sunburned...lo, behold! even saw a bumble bee with orange end settle on my clematis, and a red ladybird too. Spring is here. Happy Mother's Day.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hey, Happy Mother's day to you and all the mothers in UK. We don't get ours til first Sunday in May.

      It's a hot summer's day today. Cool in the shade though. But I'll take it, warts 'n all

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      Yes, Spring is here. It is the month of April and Easter is this weekend, but I am not fooled by the weather. Surprise! surprise! snow and electricity outage up in the northeast. My 'kitchen' garden stays on my south-facing windowsill and out of the frost.

      In the meantime, here are some results of growing my own food. Lettuce and tatsoi leaves, though small, are ready to be plucked and added to my salad dishes. Sugar peas continue to do well and are using the stems of the daffodils to cling to, as they grow ever higher. Not unlike New York's skyscrapers are my Pentland Javelin potatoes that tower over just emerging seedlings of cucumber seeds planted in January...

      Hello, Marylou, have you started planting yet? Go for it and take it as it comes, but enjoy discovering your own journey at growing your own food. Good luck!

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      A late blast from Ole Man Winter in UK's northeast, and tornadoes in our South. A lovely warmish winter in US's northeast. Hmmm. Global warming, anybody?

      If you made your veggies tell their own tales, wouldn't that make fabulous reading?

      I'll pass your message on to Marylou.

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      Time for an update! How is everyone getting on with growing your own vegetables? Alas, the weather has put transplanting mine in the last fortnight of raining 'cats and dogs'. Still more rain is expected. Even lightning and thunder! The Norwegian god, Thor, is making himself well heard.

      Fortunately, I managed to get a pvc roof put up next to my kitchen door last summer. Now I have a dry space to take my tubs of tatsoi, sweet peas and lettuces to get used being outside, after their 'cosy' position on my window sills. I have all the runner beans in a bucket next to the old, dead branches of the hamamelis (witch hazel) bush, up which they are likely to climb. They are doing very well. The one veg that I can rely on.

      My apple espalier, cherry and plum trees that I planted in December have lots of green shoots on their branches. The rain saves having to carry cans after cans of tap water. There is a hose-pipe ban at the moment, before the rains came.

      Good luck with everyone, who started sowing over the winter, and/or doing so now. Let us know, too, how you have fared, or are currently doing.

    • profile image

      Henry VIII 5 years ago

      Reading your garden blog is both educational and enjoyable. The comments also add much to the flow of your writings. Interesting how well you do with various subjects from stories - movies - to gardens.

      Somehow you must spend less time in the city and get out into the countryside, and experience the wonders of the uncontrollable weed growth. Then advise on your experience. Thankfully for city gardeners, window-boxes have limited weed growth but the open soils of the countryside, help is needed. So HELP!!!!

      As Time permits, will read some of your other writings. Keep the humor in your writings -- it matches your smile.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Moretea3, I haven't been visiting my own hub for a while, so have missed your comment. Sorry.

      Looks like England's being rained out. Thankfully, you still have the loveliest countryside and the tastiest veggies.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hi, Henry VIII, how nice of you to visit. Thanks for your nice comments.

      Yes, I would love to spend more time in the country, and would be happy to help you WEED. Great exercise for losing weight.

      Keep reading, Henry, and I'll keep writing.

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      Henry, is it a large area of weed? Maybe, cover the ground with thick, black plastic, in the hope of 'burning' them. Starve them of water, so it is dry that they cannot grow. Then, hoe them. If it is a large patch, work on a manageable area to start with, and use it to grow food - so denying weeds of empty space to take root. If some do take root, quickly and regularly hoe and remove - give no chance to overgrow. Not sure if this will help. Good luck anyway. Let us know how you get on.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Moretea, Henry's weeds are interspersed with tomatoes and flowers. I don't thing he wants to black plastic them. I think he'll be one unhappy guy.

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      Oh!I didn't know that. In that case, just regular weeding then.

      Talking about getting rid of weeds: I remember that I was horrified, when I used a moss killer on my garden lawn, to see earthworms coming out of the earth and wriggling in agony. I quickly got a bucket of water and picked them all up to rinse off the chemical. That was the first time, ever, that I used moss killer, and it was also the LAST time! My lawn remains mossy in some parts, but I can live with that.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Good on you, for saving the worms! Yes, chemicals are poisoning our earth at a tremendous rate because their manufacturers persuade our watchdog agencies that they are 'HARMLESS'! And farmers are constantly sweet-talked into using them to kill insect pests, little knowing that they are destroying the fertility of their own land. They then are persuaded that chemical fertilisers are the answer to the resulting poor yields. The more the farmers use, the more they need the following year, until they give up farming their dead soil (flogging a dead horse).

    • profile image

      Henry VIII 5 years ago

      The areas are huge and the weeds are prolific. Will try to use wet newspapers under the soil in the areas perhaps surrounding the desired plants and in areas where additional bare earth is also wanted. Perhaps some black cloth in pathway areas -- but much to dig up and turn first. Limited time to do all that is required.

      Also hope to save many plants from last year -- hence much weeding by hand is the only way. Additional problem is which are the new growth plants wanted vs the weeds. This year huge areas of the onion grass and that must be dug up by hand to get the root areas.

      Actually tried some canvas covers in several areas, but results in a very slow burn of the weeds and the wind plays havoc with keeping it in place. Also the water collects in the low various areas -- could add possible breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Gives me an idea of what our original settlers had to live with all without many of the tools we have today.

      Well first it was too dry and now much rain -- will see in the next few days hopefully some additional progress.

      THANKS for the ideas and support.

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      Henry, some of the methods you are currently using, seems to be in the right direction...using wet newspaper on which you could top up with good soil and poking holes to grow seeds or plants. Read more about weeding in the links below:-

      www.organicgardening.com/ ... You could sign up for the free organic newsletter.

      www.stretcher.com/stories/990503b.cfm ...see also "Low Cost Weed Removal Alternative?".

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Great advice about the newspapers, Moretea. Henry, with the soil on top of the papers on top of the weeds, you'll finally get a raised bed on top of composting vegetation which will feed the roots. Can't go wrong there!

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      At last, the weather is dry and the sun is out, now and again. Thor is being kind on this Bank Holiday Monday. So, I must away and mow the lawn and secure the new branches to stakes. Only came indoors to get my new garden gloves that I got as a birthday present. Time to show my appreciation and start using them.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Did I say some time back you were living my dream life?

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      Yes, you did.

      Just got indoors...must have been at least 7 hours tidying everything in the garden. Apple blossoms galore, despite weeks of rain. April showers seem to have helped apple, plum, pear and cherry trees. Looking forward to biting into non-waxed fruit. Don't ask my why, but I go round pollinating their blossoms with a soft, pastry brush. Only saw a single bumble bee with an orange-coloured end.

      Mammoth task sweeping flowers that have fallen from magnolia and camellia trees. I wouldn't grow them, but as they are already there, I'll let them give me the exercise that I need to keep healthy.

      Sugar peas have white flowers - after about 3 and a half months! Potatoes are another good bet to grow yourself; they sprout easily. Henry, they like more earth piled up around them, as they grow, so more tubers can branch out to give more tatties, as we call them here. Throw some into your raised newspaper bed.

      For dinner, I'm going to dip soldiers (toast cut into pieces) in the gooey yolk of soft-boiled eggs from my free range hens (they are on holiday at the moment, with a friend, who lives near the sea...laying well, because they are happy).

      Have a nice evening, everyone.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Goodness me, mind if I join you in your idyllic life? Here's me in the middle of NYC having to go to various suppliers for eggs, fruit, veggie and so forth.

      Enjoy your unpolluted egg.

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      Just visited my hens this week. They seem happy with their stay, enjoy their food - even get fed corn at tea time, boiled potatoes. So their holiday rep (representative) informs me.

      It was funny to see my hen grab a piece, get out of the chicken run into an alley to savour it. Also to prevent the other hens snatching it from her. She does this several times. They have characters of their own and it is intriguing the sentiments they evoke in those who keep and look after them.

    • profile image

      Henry VIII 5 years ago

      Just a quick note -- sorry did not realize how quickly the time has passed since I looked on the site.

      Spare time, spent in weeding and trying to gain more bare areas. Tomorrow hope to start with the newspapers with soil on top to keep the bare areas clean of weeds. Several Roses blooming and totally beautiful. Also the several varieties of Iris in bloom. The colors -- WOW! Happy with all the buds on the various rose plants. Should be a super display when all in full bloom.

      Appreciate the above comments - will visit the sites as time allows - all helps. Mostly enjoy the many varieties of trees - plants you are describing. Actually the city also offers a super display -- sadly most in store windows -- or on the produce stands -- but still there for the enjoyment and delight to eat.

      Sunshine for the weekend ++ good temps -- sounds good.

      Keep well -- everyone!!!

      Keep smiling and laughing -- that produces super health.

    • profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago

      Hi, Moretea, I'd like to meet your chooks. Sound very human.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hi there Henry VIII, having a wonderful time with the weeds, I see!

      Actually, I would love to be working in your garden. Sounds like you're going to have a super show of roses in the summer.

      Enjoy our sunny weekend.

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      Much to my horror, I discovered today that most of the buds which will grow into fruit have fallen off my apple espalier. Have they been pecked off by birds, I wonder. This also happened the year before, in 2010 that is. Perhaps, I need to put netting over the tree during this blossoms to fruit stage. Still, I let nature take its course, and will be just as happy with fewer apples, if not the hundreds that I harvested in 2011. Let the birds (if they should be the culprits) have their day now and then.

    • mizjo profile image
      Author

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Was there a cold spell, with the cold air staying around the espalier? Because that would kill the buds. Otherwise I've no idea why they should have fallen off, unless, as you theorised, the birds got at them.

      Try to save the rest of the buds. What variety is the tree?

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      Spartan apple tree. There are a few tiny-looking apples. I'll have to consult an orchard garden centre to understand the cause and prevent it happening in the future.

    • mizjo profile image
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      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      I just saw a picture of a Spartan apple. It's a beautiful bright red. Hope it's sweet. Unfortunately, it's highly susceptible to powdery mildew, scab and cedar apple rust.

      Pity you've lost some apples from the fallen buds. Yes, a consult would help

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      They are deliciously sweet and crunchy. Can't say that the espalier has had any of the 3 problems, so far (touch wood)! I take things as they come, most of the time, but will update when I have checked the fallen buds issue out. Do you get to watch "Edwardian /Victorian Farm" on US tv programmes? Traditionally, the women tend to the poultry - hen, turkeys.

    • mizjo profile image
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      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      No, don't have that program, and more to the point, don't have a TV!!

    • profile image

      Henry VIII 5 years ago

      Where does the time go -- days turn into weeks and ouch -- it is almost another month already.

      Roses -- reds, pinks , whites and one yellow. Looks like the tiger Lilly also going to bloom early this year.

      Weeds big problem -- started with the wet newspaper but first must dig up an area then the wet newspapers then replace the dirt. -- in the hot sun -- really a back breaker. So far very small areas done -- too few to make a huge difference -- but

      The weather should be cooler the rest of this week -- so perhaps can gain a bit more on them.

      Blue berries getting big and soon the birds will have a feast.

      Also already June and tomatoes need an area also that should be with a newspaper barrier -- but -- time will tell.

      Sorry about your apples -- sometimes crops spoil in cycles -- but perhaps the birds liked something there.

      Bet the blossoms were super.

      Keep well -- keep the chickens happy.

      PEACE

      Henry VIII

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      Hi Mizjo and Henry VIII,

      Win some, lose some...I have another smaller apple espalier that has that bit more apples on it. Taking it as it comes is my philosophy.

      Weed - I sometimes wonder if you perhaps dig a spade's depth into the ground, then turn the whole clump of earth along with weeds over. That way, the weeds get smothered beneath the soil level, leaving you with a clear surface to grow new seeds, fruit, vegetables or flowers (the ones that give good ground cover help to discourage weed growth).

      Good to hear that blueberries are doing well. Apples aside, I now look forward to the blackberries that need little care, as they tend to be rather prolific and are guaranteed to give juicy dessert for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

      Keep going and good luck. Buark, buark, buark! Henry. We are putting buntings on our fences and flying the flag for the Queen on this her jubilee weekend celebrations. Enjoy all!

    • mizjo profile image
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      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Nice! I'd like to be there for the next jubilee.

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      Henry VIII 5 years ago

      The celebration sounds like it was super. Guess it allowed one to forget about the problems in the gardens which is often important to clear ones mind. The gardens can become frustrating at times so a change is good. Especially if it is a super fun celebration.

      New jokes are needed to make the men of the "foot guard" to smile -- and lately -- the supply of jokes on the internet have been sparse and not super good.

      also hope the rains stop a bit so the sunshine can do more to assist in the gardens. Too much rain is not helpful except for weeds (somehow they like all kinds of weather) and also not good for the root systems.

      Hope the rains you are getting across the pond - are not causing you additional problems with the apple tree.

      I think we should have celebrated also here with some fine teas and cakes. Although I should ignore the cakes.

      The blueberry bush is filled with blueberry's getting ready to ripen. The birds, in large numbers, have been checking out the bush. But the berry's have to ripen a bit more even for them. Then just before they really turn blue, they will attack the bush and have a super feast. The bush is super full this year so they will have their fill.

      Keep well -- keep dry and let the flowers etc grow.

      Henry VIII

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 5 years ago

      Very informational hub. I agree growing organic vegetables is the way to go. Nothing beats going out to the yard to pick your own produce. Thanks for sharing.

    • mizjo profile image
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      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hello, anglnwu, how nice to see you here. Yes, it is a pleasure to pick your own produce from your own backyard. You know it is free of chemicals from the soil and from bug sprays. And it could not be fresher. Thanks for visiting.

    • moretea3 profile image

      moretea3 5 years ago

      Henry, the recent thunderstorms (and lighting) followed by heavy showers for the last couple of days must have been a welcome. Who would have thought that the longest day (June 21st) was ushered in with temperatures up to almost 90 degrees farenheit (32.22 degrees centigrade). Weeds? Oooh, they would have enjoyed growing even more. I do have a solution for you on that, though you might have to wait for it, but not for long!

      As I will be away on holiday for the most part of the summer and right into autumn, I have slowed down on growing any more vegetable or too concerned about the apple trees. The birds need a 'wild' day now and again, like they will, your blueberries. Share the earth's harvest with our feathered friends, and the wood pigeons in my garden are huge. They are distant relatives of the extinct dinosaurs!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Here it is the holiday season, and I am thinking about the garden in back--pruning mostly right now, but thinking about the coming vegetable season. Our season is long in California --I thought this was such a well thought out hub--nicely done!

    • mizjo profile image
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      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Hi, Audrey, thanks.

      How exciting to think about the next vegetable season. Where I used to live in Upstate New York, I used to pore over the many catalogues, dreaming and planning the garden, which would mainly still be under snow! Though I like having the definite four seasons, I do envy your long season in California.

      Good luck with your coming vegetables, and thanks again for dropping by.

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