Fire Mountain Garden Exchange


February Rant by Editor
February 5, 2011, 8:19 pm
Filed under: Flowers, Fruits, Natives, Perinnials, Vegetables

We were away from our garden for the month of January, travelling in SE Asia (more on that later), but the results of our fall work paid off. We came home to a garden full of lettuce of multiple varieties. The snow peas are in full fruit and I have straggler beets from my summer crop that I left in the ground to mature. I just boil these as a side dish (I pickle most of my beet crops). I still had a great crop of red and white onions. I have given up on weeding arugula out of the entire garden; I just let it grow in the paths, so I always have some. All in all a good start for a tossed salad.

Our trip to Vietnam and Cambodia was very instructive, a culture shock giving us insights into their history, our history and into a people who have been living off the soil in this area for thousands of years. The markets are an indicator of eating habits of the great majority the Vietnamese and Cambodian people. As much as I love the Vista Farmer’s market, it gets a 1 on a scale of 10 when you compare it to the street markets and the breadth of items available. These are very efficient gardeners, the country has not been corporatized in farming yet (yet!!!!) so we are talking about old style farming (Water Buffalo is the tool of choice!!). Everything is fresh every day. Imagine that here!

They transplant all of their seedlings, be it rice or lettuce, which means that they can optimize the space available. They can concentrate fertilizer and water on small areas to produce a tremendous amount of plants. Judging by what I saw, I would estimate that we are underutilizing our dedicated veggie garden space by a minimum of 50%! I am going to do this on my next crop of lettuce. The pictures I have here are obviously small commercial operations, but by the looks of it one 4’ x 4’ plot of lettuce could supply most of the neighborhood.

This is a last chance to spray Volck Oil on your fruit trees before they leaf out; I would recommend you get right on it. Every year that I have sprayed my 40 year old nectarine and other stone fruits, the results have been much more rewarding than years I just got lazy and didn’t spray.

One last aside, I remember when I was a kid in the ‘50s growing up in Oakland, my parents subscribed to Sunset Magazine. It was what was cool in Cal at the time. I started subscribing when we bought our first house, which was a mistake, because Kristine could always find something for me to do! Unfortunately, the magazine went into a decline. We received a promo offer last year, so I agreed to try it for $10 a year. It’s a little light and fluffy, but they have come back to presenting some good gardening tips. It seems to be worthwhile checking out.

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