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Companion Planting vs. The Smörgåsbord Approach

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I have been out pulling weeds, removing early berries on the strawberry plants, checking on the blackberries and I just loving seeing it all grow!!!!!
Here is a picture of a mixed bed. I have heard that there are some real benefits to utilizing the companion planting techniques. Problem with that is-  there has to be a plan….. I sometimes just group stuff by height and width…. makes sense to me. So… if you look closely I have;
Swiss Chard, Romaine lettuce, garlic, carrots, asparagus ferns, beets,a few small weeds, potatoes way out in back and empty plastic jugs waiting to be put in service…. they will be mini greenhouses. I call it Smörgåsbord grouping. I can pick a salad without taking a step.
I was down at the farmers market this morning and saw Romaine lettuce going for $2-$3 per head and they didn't look nearly as good as mine. Swiss Chard-  bunches of 5 leaves for $3 to $4 an bunch. People were carting out bags of the stuff. Makes me wonder if maybe I can have a fourth or fifth career selling organically grown veggies….. Hmmm. Maybe I should pull out the business plan forms I picked up a couple of years ago and give it a try. The booths selling eggs ran out by 9:30 AM except for one and the line was 10 back…. $3/dz. for white eggs and $4/dz for brown. Same feed, same pasture, same bugs to eat….. there is not an advantage to buy brown eggs, they taste the same …….. the farmer likes the perceived differences!!!  
Check out my new photos from today's garden visit, Oh, by the way, my latest batch of beer is ready to drink – Farmhouse Ale…. go figure. Even my wife liked the finish, not too hoppy- just right.

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Worms at Work

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It is not as gross as you think. My wife has 3 cats and some squirrels that hang out in the backyard, I have my worms. They are my "pets" if you will…. I feed them, house them and look after their welfare. Isn't that what pet owners do? They aren't much fun but they seem to be on the job 24/7. Every time I check on them and feed them they seem to be busy.


Here is the Rubbermaid bin… probably a little large . I did a little web surfing and hit on this link that looked like an inexpensive way to start raising my little friends.

 http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/Easywormbin.htm

After I picked up my bins at Lowes and drilled the holes I ordered the little guys.

http://www.unclejimswormfarm.com/

I just ordered the worms from this site above but it is loaded with all kinds of things to get you into vermiculture….. a fancy term for worm farming. Now it will probably be months before I have some of the good stuff for the garden but I will be patient.

This a close look at the surface – they are there but just hiding – they don't like the light. Sometimes I find a few up the sides of the bin where it is a little warmer. I keep a blue tinted light hanging a few feet above the bin at night to keep them above the 50 degree range. I keep the bin in an unheated garage right now as my bride says they can't be in the house… She let's me keep my beer fermenter in the house right now – 5 gallons of Farmhouse Ale is the current batch fermenting. I wonder if worms like the trub from the wort boiling. Hmmmmmmm. I won't push my luck. 

 

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