I have noticed that my posts have focused on grumping about the kids and my health a lot lately, so I am going to attempt an entire post with no complaining at all.
Years ago, I put Corel PhotoPaint 9 on my puter. Oh, gosh, this computer is old!
Anyway. I am just now getting around to figuring out how to use it. I had to order a book about it off of Amazon.com to figure it out, but I am getting there. That's how my new header happened. I am pleasantly surprised that it is a lot easier than I thought it would be. Once you figure out what all the stuff is, everything becomes pretty common sense. I even managed to get my book pretty cheap (under $10) since my version of Corel is older and the book was used. I am sure techi-type folks will read this and cringe that I have something so totally out of date, but it works for me. 'Sides, those photo altering programs are expensive! I am gonna use this 'till it no longer functions. Especially since I don't plan on doing anything too incredibly crazy with it.
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I have been busy figuring out my garden and my seed starting operation. I didn't keep very good records of yield last year, so I am unsure about how much of the different things I should plant. I know that everyone in the family wants lots of my beans (they are soooooo good), but beyond that I am lost. I have a few charts that give guidelines on how much food you can expect to get from x amount of row of several different veggies, and I think that will help a little. I wonder how accurate those charts could be.
I am also torn on what to grow. I know that I will be doing the basics (tomatoes, beans, peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), but am not sure about the rest. Mr. Barefoot keeps pushing for melons. I have NEVER had any luck with melons. I don't think the plants have ever even survived past the first couple of weeks. Usually the bunnies get them. Of course this won't be an issue if I get the fence up right away, but I still have a vague memory of the vines growing but not getting any fruit off of them. Besides, I am not a big melon fan. I would prefer to use the space for something I can freeze or can and then use the money I would be saving to purchase melons from the farmer's market.
Mr. Barefoot is also pushing for pumpkins and other vine-plants. I don't know. Dad always gets his acorn squash because he loves it and, after all, it is his property. I would like to grow some patty pan squash and maybe a zucchini and a yellow summer squash. But that is a lot of space taken up with plants that we don't really eat the produce of very often. I love, love, LOVE summer squash in stir fry or grilled, but that is about the only time I want it (and the rest of the family doesn't really eat it, either). I am cool with the acorn squash, because I have discovered that it is FABULOUS cut into cubes, mixed with cubes of 'taters, 'bagas, kohlrabi, and carrots and then baked. I am even thinking that it might be good to plant more than one vine. I just keep running into the space issue.
I SHOULD have set up trellises for vine veggies last fall when I put the raised bed boxes in. Lack of energy and foresight got in the way. Now I have to weigh the pros and cons of the different things I want to grow because there isn't enough room for all of it in the amounts that I want.
Speaking of my raised beds, Dad told me that their old neighbor (who has since moved out of town but still lives nearby) saw them and thinks they are fugly. I am hurt a little. I thought they were beautiful! Just to refresh your memory (or show those of you who weren't here last Nov when I posted the pic), this is what the garden looks like. Rather what it LOOKED like before the snow fell and covered it all up. My plan is to put grass clippings covered by carpet scraps in the walkways as weed control and use the Square Foot Gardening system in the boxes. I have 10 boxes that are 4x8feet.
Do you folks think it's ugly? No, I am sorry. Not just ugly, but FUGLY. I think it is kind of pretty, myself. Of course it will be much more attractive when each box is full of green growing things, but for empty beds I figure they look just fine.
I am considering making bed covers out of PVC pipe and heavy plastic. Maybe then I could get a few more weeks out of our growing season. I am looking at this pic taken on Nov 27th of last year and thinking that with a little bit of effort I could have still had some of the more cold-hardy veggies still growing in there. Of course, it would take effort and time (something I seem to have lots of in the spring but then trickles away to nearly nothing by fall). Maybe I should focus on trellises for Mr. Barefoot's vine crops first, and then worry about row covers.
Anyhoo, I think that concludes my complaint-free post. Have a good one, all!