The season has started.

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    The seed catalogues have been coming for some time now. The gardening column in our paper said it is time to start onions, leeks, broccoli, etc. inside. I bought fresh onion seed and need to get the planting trays out and cleaned up.
My garlic is still standing up despite 20° F weather. If it gets warm enough one afternoon soon I will get out and prune off all of the dead branches on the herbs. Maybe I will keep some of the leaves. Should be the same as drying them.
I have a program that tracks my seeds and keeps records like where did I buy them, when did I start them (in the greenhouse or in the garden), when did I set them out and when did they start producing. My biggest problem is that the company went out of business a few years ago and every time I change computers I have to go through and fix a bunch of stuff. Seems to be working now. Fortunately it is not an installed program. Too bad Win 7 wants to do too much for you and it is not always what you want.
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North Carolina Foothills
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Here the day time temps are in the high 60s F to low 70s F. Night time temps running around 27 to 31 F. We have had 2" of rain to date. Last year it was 22". Presently, there is no rain in sight.
<http://pressdemocrat.com/article/20140108/news/140109698#page=0 Looking like it will be near impossible to grow a garden this year, if we don't get some rain soon.
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Billy wrote: ...

that would make for some tough gardening.

where do you get your liquid gold (water)?
i thought that things were getting better this year, but it looks like most of the rains/flooding and heavy snows have been in the Rockies. indirectly this benefits where you are at via the Colorado River feed to California. not as dire as it could be, but i do think it a very responsible move for the govenor to declare the water emergency.
i've not seen any actual updates on the affects of the floods yet on the resevoirs. i do recall a bit ago asking my sister (who is out in NM and southern CO) if things were ok for water this year with their resevoirs and she said they were doing ok as compared to last year. when she visited this past fall for a bit we did talk about water out there and she said that there were ponds/lakes in places that she had never seen before because of that big storm they had that caused those floods. a help to recharge the ground water/aquifers. she's been out there a long time (30yrs at least).
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Unfortunately, the Colorado River water is partitioned between 8 states. Usually none of it reaches Mexico to quench the thirst of Mexicans, or to flush out the Gulf of California.
About 60% of the water in the lower Colorado (7.5 million acreft/year) water goes to California for agriculture in the Mojave Desert, and for tap water for the inhabitants of Southern California. I'm unaware of any of it finding its way to Northern California, or California's Central Valley.
The Central Valley, and Northern California rely on a melting snow pack to feed our rivers which provide our water. Water diverted from the Eel River for hydro-electric power provides most of the water in the Russian Rivers, which in turn services the coastal counties of Mendocino, Sonoma, and Marin (North Bay). San Francisco receives its water from The Hetch Hetchy Project which transports Tuolumne River water 156 miles from the Central Sierra to San Francisco and peninsula cities (South Bay).
Local cities are taking up the question of water rationing, which was on the to do list at the Healdsburg City council tonight.
At present, there is no rain in our future. February and March are usually our wettest months (but not last year).
The silver-lining is that there should be fewer mosquitos this year.
<http://www.dw.de/industry-non-profit-groups-divided-over-how-to-increase -food-production/a-17373112> Global population growth has shot up precipitously in the past 200 years. In 1800, around one billion people lived on the planet. Currently, Earth is populated by seven billion people, with that number expected to rise to nine billion by 2050. All of those people have to be fed, which confronts society with major policy problems. Already, 850 million people worldwide suffer from hunger and two billion are malnourished.
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Billy wrote:

ah, i wasn't aware it only went to south CA.

seems like a wise thing to do, along with many other things to reduce water consumption and encourage recycling.

:) never free of them here once the season warms up. i found one inside a few days ago. and yesterday a lady bug which i moved to one of the few houseplants (which hasn't started regrowing again yet for the spring flowering).
today it is windy and blowing snow around. i was surprised to see a squirrel out in the wind picking and eating berries off one of the bushes in the north hedge/treeline. it would sit with it's tail up to the wind using it to protect the rest of it's body from the cold. i'd not seen one do that before here. with these really cold temperatures for this long it must be a challenge even if you hibernate part of the season... no fresh bunny tracks seen yesterday or today, they're hunkered down, like us...
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I'm not sure what's on our squirrels menu, but with 70 F days they are acting as if it were spring, when a young squirrels fancy turns to, well, you know. We are on the side of a hill, with our bedroom window looking int the canopy of an oak forest. Seems there is always a squirrel in pursuit of another squirrel, ah, to be young again.
Sadly our library doesn't have the Firefox book on distilling. If you can make booze, everything else will flow to you.
Some of the herbs are pushing already. THe "mothers wort" is up. I wouldn't be surprised to see bud break on the grape vines in February. There are still a lot of unpruned vineyards waiting for the shears.
The big news is that there is a 50% chance of showers on thur. Keeping my fingers crossed. I'd like one more garden from here. I think by Fall we will have moved on.
You heard of grafted tomatoes?
<http://blog.oregonlive.com/kympokorny/2011/04/grafted_tomatoes_grab_atte ntio.html> Unveiled last year in limited release by Log House Plants in Cottage Grove, the first crop of grafted tomatoes took off like a caped crusader. Portland Nursery, one of only four garden centers in the country to carry them, sold out quickly. As soon agraftcloseup.jpgView full sizeCourtesy of Greg Lee/Log House Plants Log House Plants did extensive research in the exacting art of grafting vegetables such as tomato, pepper and eggplant. The scion (the top part of the plant) must be the same size as the rootstock (the bottom part of the plant) and the two stems must meet perfectly.
as people hear about the altogether-different tomatoes, they line up at the checkout counter. Who doesn't want the promise of a plant that produces more fruit for a longer season on a disease- and pest-resistant, vigorous plant that needs less water and fertilizer and adapts to poor soils?
SOURCES Garden centers throughout the Northwest supplied by Log House Plants. Store locator on website.
Territorial Seed Co., 2 1/2-inch plants for $6.95
GardenLife, 4-inch plants for $11.95
TIme to go toes up now. Gotta get up early. I don't quite understand it, but when we should be winding down the lab work, I find myself doing 40 hour weeks. What's up with that?
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Billy wrote: ...

:) the same squirrel was back the next day going after those berries again. no running around with the others yet, i think it is still survival times, and hard pressed with this cold being so prolonged and the snows being fairly deep.

or you will be so pickled you won't care.

hope the rains come through for you there.
any plants you'll take with you as favorites or are things generally native and best left alone?

... yeah, we'll see what they do, perhaps they'll endrun the GMO debate and then become popular and common enough to be cost effective. i suspect anything that does not get the beefsteak type name Ma will ignore. she's kinda stuck on them. i should have a good population of feral tomato plants next year. we'll see what happens. that's pretty much going to be my motto for the next 30-40 yrs.

you've become useful and dependable. poor sod. :)
cheers and happy snoozing,
songbird
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The Cook wrote:

i'm always interested in what you are planting, methods, etc. especially when it comes to onions. this past season i harvested several hundred onion seeds and so have them on hand for planting, but my results so far for onions have been mixed. mostly i think because the weather last year was poor during prime bulbing time, but also because the starts were not very good, the soil is gradually improving, but perhaps not enough.

garlic here is under 1ft of snow/ice. the bunnies are running around making tracks in the snow. i have yet to see any sign that the owls/hawks are doing the honors for me so i may have to hunt them come spring.
it depends upon the herb, but some will not have nearly the same flavor when left on the plant and out in the elements as compared to harvested and dried.

i took a look on the web for open source seed saving software of any kind. found a few, but nothing that made me think it would be fitting for what you seem to be indicating. the name of the old program would be helpful so i can see if i can find a description of it and what it does.
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seed of a variety suitable to your tastes and to your latitude (probably "long day")—IME, local vendors rarely know either. Start fresh in "rich" soil with a boost of phosphate; a fungal inoculate wouldn't hurt, too. . I often save seeds from the generic "green" onions that we grow only for their tops but always buy fresh seed for the Red Creole "cooking" onions grown for their bulbs.

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Derald
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The permaculture books I've read says that at some point the predators will become aware of the easy pickin's you got, and balance will return to Happy Valley. ;O)

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Billy wrote:

i'm hoping it will start happening soon as the management is agitating to get me to shoot them every time she sees one (and we have at least four of them around, probably more than six or eight).
the general problem with our site is that it is too busy (obstacles) for flying predators to get an easy strike and the only other predators than the hawks/owls/eagles is likely to be the semi- feral cats from the neighbors place. far enough away from there that the cats do not make regular appearances (but they do come through once in a while during the warmer weather as i see them and their tracks and sometimes i even see them hunting chipmunks or ...). there are tracks out there now in the snow from cat too, but nothing that looks like they actually made rabbit dinner.
i was really hoping the red tail hawk that visited last summer would become a regular. since then i've only seen a bird that might have been it once in the north hedge/treeline.
there are coyotes that run along the river but i've never seen them here. also there are red fox about, but i've never seen them here. the surrounding farm fields isolate us somewhat from the woods down the road and the road itself takes a toll on many wild life critters (free fertilizer if i notice them before the turkey vultures or crows get them).
we'll see what happens...
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reached. Consider, too, that equilibrium may not include a useful quantity of the desired veggies. Bunnies and deer are (so far) not a serious hazard to my garden but grasshoppers, in seemingly infinite variety and number, are pure evil incarnate and are present during all save the coldest periods. Tried "nolo" without significant success and won't use poisoned baits for obvious reasons. Have learned the hard way that "equilibrium", in my garden, does not include baby lima beans (the hoppers eat blossoms off the racemes as if they were corn on-the-cob) or speckled butter beans. Damage to other crops is bearable—I just accept it as a tax for invading the hoppers' space—so I just settle for name-calling.
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Derald
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Do you have bird feeders in the garden? Birds can be a problem with seedling, but once the garden is established, birds are a gardener's friend.
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non-migratory population. One contributing factor is that two near "back fence" neighbors, adjacent to each other, have taken steps over the past thirty-or-so years to greatly increase grasshopper habitat and breeding area while also providing winged adults a virtually unimpeded path to within just a couple of hundred feet of the garden. I'm fairly sure that's why the "nolo" results were not what I'd hoped. Oh, well; I was warned, albeit indirectly, by another NG member that my effort might be futile. There seems little point to trying to control the population locally when adults can just fly in willy-nilly. Adult grasshoppers travel great distances during the hot season and they are prolific. It never stays cold enough for long enough to reduce their number significantly.
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Derald
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Derald wrote:

they are good eating. :) we have a steady population of nice sized ones by the end of the summer here. i'm always glad to see the birds wrestling them in the gravel, but to me they are also a back up food source if times get tough. they are big enough it wouldn't take many to make a nice side-dish.
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songbird wrote:

Here you go:
http://www.faculty.de.gcsu.edu/~cbader/ghprecwithinsects.html
recipes for snacks, mains and dessert.
Please advise on any that you try.
D
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

I think I'd rather feed the 'hoppers to the chickens and eat *them* ...
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I know I'm repeating myself, but how about a bird feeder next to your beans?
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wrote:

I buy seed for Granex and Red Burgundy onions. I managed to get 144 seeds planted in the plastic trays in the greenhouse yesterday. I also got the dead material off of the herbs. it is going into one of the compost boxes. Yesterday it was almost 60°F so I did what really needed to be done. Cold today and they are predictions 12°F tomorrow morning and maybe some snow tonight.

The program is Seed Planner. If it looks interesting, email me. This is a workable address.
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The Cook wrote: ...

ah, that's too general of a name for me to work with, i'm getting all sorts of stuff. i was hoping something a little less generic that would let me find the company that used to sell it.
looks like there are all sorts of web apps and on-line planners out there, but as of yet i'm only finding a few more specialised programs.
what i'm beginning to think is that a small business inventory control program should have all the functions needed for tracking and expiring seeds and some small business accounting programs even let you schedule, produce and adjust inventories.
still that's much more than most people would want to get into.
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