I’m worried about Global Climate change, more out of a fear of the unknown, rather then having seen any changes in my own lifetime. If the world is changing as fast as some are measuring, we are in for one of the most interesting times in human history. That’s a big if, and so I’d like to begin recording my own data so that I can make my own definitive argument about any changes. My big problem with recording my own data is the cost involved. It could be rediculously expensive to record carbon levels, daily temperatures, precipitation, etc, never mind the difficulty in calibration and maintenance of the equipment.
I do have an unconventional way of measuring any possible change: Mother Nature. She has provided a wealth of natural measuring devices all around me. The easiest to read should be flowers, since they generally bloom once, then move on to other stages of growth. So, in an effort to contribute to the measurement of change, and becuase the pictures are quite pretty, here are some flowers which grow in the valley, and the dates and times I’ve taken the pictures:
I caught this sight out of the corner of my eye while petting my niece’s puppy. These green sprouts are Daffodils which are beginning to grow a few weeks earlier then last year. I took a similar picture on March 7th 2010 for my post Signs of Spring.
As I think about the timing when these plants first grow, I’m reminded that last year at this time I was busy cloning grape vines, but this year I haven’t even pruned those vines. I better get my self into gear as soon as the cold returns, or I will lose the opportunity for the year.
It’s important to prune grape vines, as grapes will only grow out of the new green part of the vine. When you prune a grape vine, your reducing the amount of top growth that the roots need to supply with nutrients. Since the size of the roots are not changed, it is easier for the roots to supply ample nutrients and water to the new growth, which in turn encourages better grape production.
I’m very happy to see that my store-bought fall-planted garlic is still alive and well. I got these cloves at quite a discount compared to garlic bulbs in most gardening catalogs. I know these are not “Gourmet” garlic bulbs, but they are an important first trial before I invest in the much more expensive bulbs. If this garlic crop does well, I’ll begin diversifying with the more expensive bulbs.
I also have some work cut out for me this weekend. Above is one of the first of many piles of manure that I hope to place into the garden in the next few weeks. This particular pile is Goat Manure, which is very good for a garden, and contains very few seeds.
A co-worker brought in some plants around the beginning of the year, and when she was on vacation, I made it a point to water the bulbs daily. Once I had the habit of watering them, it stuck even after the original owner returned, and I’ve been taking care of these plants since. A week or two ago, this particular bulb began growing very fast, and I charted it’s growth at about an inch a day. The flowers bloomed today in time for our yearly Christmas party at work, and I thought I’d share the picture I took.
Merry Christmas !
Jon, aka, I-T Farmer
Here is a water Carrier / Sprayer that Dad used to water all of the grape vines back in the day. It hasn’t been used much in the last few years, but I’ve decided it would be a huge help, and I’ve begun repairs to bring it back up to speed. There seems to be a problem with the electrical connection, which is my specialty, so as soon as time permits, I’ll try to get this great tool working again. I’ve parked it next to my car so that I have to look at it every day when coming home from work. I’ve found in the past that if you want to get something done, put it in your way, you’ll get sick of seeing it after a while.
I’m not a big fan of mushrooms, and I would never eat them unless I was sure they came from the store. They are a great benefit to the world however; Mushrooms basically suck all of the bad heavy minerals out of the soil. They have a huge underground network of roots that do wonders for the soil. This year I’ve decided to leave them grow, as well as a few other plants. Clover is also more then welcome in my garden as it “fixes nitrogen”, or adds nutrients to the soil. I also allow Yarrow to grow unchecked. It is a herb that was used long ago similarly to how you would apply neosporin to a cut. It was also used long ago to flavor beer before hops were used.
I’ve finally found the time to plant all of my cloned grapes. The one shown above was part of a much larger vine only 8 months ago. I really love grape vines, and I have even made my own wine with this flavor of grapes. I didn’t make much, but it worked quite well, and was a bit warm going down. I got some compliments when some friends tried that wine, but it wasn’t the taste that they liked. I think I let it ferment a bit too long….. Hope to make another small batch this year, but I’ll defiantly get a better recipe.
Above is the first few rows of corn we planted. It’s Early Sunglow, and should be ready in 62 days. This years crop is doing far better then last year, again, I suspect it’s the huge amount of fertilizer applied in the winter months.
Sage is a very interesting plant, with endless uses. I planted it last year without knowing much about it. I was suprised to see that it survived the winter, and I’m even more suprised that it grows some very cool looking flowers. This is definately a plant I will use in landscaping from now on, but this is just one of a seemingly endless list of uses. It can be used for medicinal purposes, cooking, and can even be used to clean one’s teeth. If you would like to learn more about all of its uses, here’s a link to a great site about it.
I have been patiently waiting for my Grape Clones to begin growing, and I was just beginning to wonder if I missed a step in the process. It has been nearly a month since I clipped these vines from the arbor by the Ice House, and finally there is some growth. When I see my work just start to grow, it vindicates all of the effort I’ve put in. Everything from purchasing the soil, to cutting the second cup to fit on top to freezing my tail off in the ultra-cold February wind to cut the canes; it all begins to pay off when the first little spec of new growth pushes it’s way out. I love the payoff I get from growing these plants.
Punxs. Phil might have been right, but I like to base my predictions of springs arrival on Daffodils. Sure, there may be snow again, but to me, when I see them popping up through the soil, It tells me one thing “Spring will be here Soon”. There are usually a week or two ahead of the official “spring” start date.
If your out to add some color to a salad, try adding some Nasturtium Flowers, which are edible. The plants can produce an array of different colored flowers, even though only orange is shown here. I’ve planted these next to my walkway, in old tire.