Farm where you are....

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Corn woes...

I decided to grow my own corn. It is so hard to find non-GMO corn even at whole foods and I missed the summery flavor of eating it right off the cob.
Except bugs love corn, specifically ants and earwigs, as much as we do.
All I have to say about earwigs is eeeeeewwwww...gross.

After googling about a million ways to keep ants off of the corn, and find a deterrent for the raccoons who one year stripped my entire patch of popping corn clean, the day before I was going to pick it. I thought about hanging a 'coon skin Godfather style as a warning near my garden; but thought it might be a bit over their heads.

I did finally come up with a concoction of olive oil, cayenne pepper and crushed garlic dribbled on the silks, into the base of the silks. 
When I first poured it in, the ants went running for cover which I have to admit gave me some shameless satisfaction. I also dribbled it in the joints when the corn meets the stalk. It worked well for the earwigs, but in a couple of days  the ant's were back and I had to reapply. 
They obviously like their food a bit spicy.

I think it was the oil that really worked. So far my three sisters planting method with soybeans and squash  has managed to  keep the raccoons out, but my ears are only partially developed. They were full on the bottom of the ear but teeny on the top.

After some searching I found out it's from lack of pollination. What you are supposed to do in a small patch is feel up the tall stalk on the top and rub it into the developing tassel to insure proper pollination. Kind of like artificial insemination for veggies.
I did it, but then I felt a bit dirty.
I'll let you know if it works. I have a few I just did.
I need a shower now.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garden surprises...

 Lately I have a few things in my garden that keep me guessing...
These are my compost pumpkins.Well, I think they are pumpkins. They look pumpkin-y. One day a small trailing vine started and I thought, let's see what happens. The next thing I knew, my poor compost pile was buried.
What's interesting is while I may have put a jack-o-lantern or two in the compost last fall, I did not put any on the other side of the yard where I have another gourd-like thing growing....
I may be doing pumpkin giveaways this fall...
And these guys.. Japanese beetles. Gah.
I sprayed my yard last year with a "very green" beneficial nematode for grubs, which worked, the grubs were gone. Grubs are what Japanese beetles come from. What I  didn't count on was my neighbors beetles deciding my yard was yummier. I am actually considering getting one of those traps, some people say it actually attracts them, but how many more can it possibly attract? I'm already"dispatching"30-50 a night in what we refer to as "the cup of death". It involves dish soap, a lot of swimming  and finally a watery grave. It's totally crazy. It's a regular beetle love shack in my backyard. I'll knock piles of 5 and 6 having "a party" at one time with each other at all hours. I have to say, they are very non-discriminating; it's all 1960's free-love in the Rizzo's yard, until I come along of course and stop those shenanigans.
It's a good lesson to learn, though.
Note to self: reaction times are slower when fornicating.
Though they might not be too happy with me for ruining their fun. They've actually started buzzing me when I approach.
And there's my lemon balm, I've heard it referred to as Lemon BOMB. Now I know why. Unlike me, it loves to run ( it is in the mint family, you'd think I would know better.) and is quickly taking over everything including my poor Golden Oregano. I've had it in it's neat little spot for the last 5 years, it smelled so nice when I walked past it  and this year... Kaboom! I swear it's in cahoots with the pumpkins. And the beetles.
And finally, I'm explaining to my girl's how to do the beetle control. They were very enthralled until they realized the little suckers don't go down without a fight and will hang onto your fingers for dear life  if you're not quick enough.
It was not a pretty sight.
There was a lot of screaming involved.
  But life's full of surprises, isn't it? :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Summer reading

I am an avid reader and am trying to take full advantage of the kids splashing in our kiddy pool. There are a few books I've finished that are definitely worth browsing if you have the time.
I really enjoyed,
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barabra Kingslover chronicles the dilemma of eating totally local with a teenager.

This Organic Life: confessions of  a suburban hometeader by Joan Dye Gussow. I love Joan, she was recently in my last issue Organic Living and discussed how we accept toxic things in our food because we don't know any better.. she's brilliant, that leads to this segue...

If you really want to read an interesting book on where all of our popular food additives come from you can pick up Twinkie:Deconstructed.

I have to be honest though, as interesting as this book is; it made me want to throw up just  a little bit when I realized some of the thing's I had been eating. We are 85% organic at my house, but there are things I let slip by. I don't know if I can ever touch a Dorito again after reading that book. I cry over that. Also, my brother had brought us some boxes of Pastaroni. After I made it for the kids thinking what the heck?... then I read the box...half of the ingredients in it were chemical based. It really affirms whole food eating on an entirely new level. I've now branched out to making my own jarred brownie mixes and cookie mixes. If I have to give up my favorite snack food (sniff,sniff I guess Oreo's are out now too.),  I sure as hell am not giving up the sweets, so I might as well find a new way to make my fat quota with out all of the extra crap.

What ever happened to food being food, not full of chemicals? When did it become okay to wash trees with hydrochloric acid to give us cellulose gum or make imitation butter flavor out of nothing that is really edible, just chemicals and petroleum? No wonder people are so sick or overweight and have all kinds of weird allergies or even strange new syndromes. We as a population are putting things in our bodies that were never meant to be there.