Sunday, January 2, 2011

Growing what grows naturally!

Yesterday I was looking over some information about starting the coming garden season's garden. Even though I've been gardening since I was twelve years old, every year I still go back and look over information that I studied in years past concerning gardening. The books that I invested in were definitely worth every penny.

I was also looking over the two seed catalogs that I received last week. One of tools I use to determine what to grow in the garden is to decide what grows without much interference in the area. If it's growing along the roadside wild or if it's grown commercially in the area, you can be fairly sure that you can grow that specific vegetable species in your area.

Last year I wished I'd had some Jerusalem artichokes (also known as sunchokes)growing. So I was looking at possibly growing them this year. sunchokes are a perennial that has naturalized to this area so I know that I can grow it without much difficulty here. I like the taste of it. We've used it in place of water chestnuts in stir fry. That's the best way that I've found to use them.

Yesterday I started the sweet potato slips. Sweet potatoes are grown commercially about 70 miles south of here so they grown easily here in the home garden. I grew them with a lot of success here in South Central Missouri and I know of a number of other people who also grow them on a small scale. The problem here with growing sweet potatoes isn't the climate but the heavy, rocky clay ground. By growing my sweet potatoes in aged sawdust in tires, my results are amazing. Previously I grew sweet potatoes from slips I bought from a local grower but this year I'm trying my hand at producing my own slips.

At the last house I lived in, we grew horseradish and I plan to get more this year for our place here. I know it doesn't take much to get them going. Basically I just need to stand back and watch them grow. They can be rather noxious though. (They can take over) so I'll probably grow them in tires as well, just to keep them contained.

Another perennial I want to grow this year are Egyptian walking onions. My mother had them up north and they came back year after year but I wasn't sure that they would do well here. Last year however I discovered that another person was growing them in their herb garden so I'm going to plant a few this year. Probably in a tire too. If planting in tires seems to be theme this year, I think it is, especially for perennials. It keeps them not only contained but This way I'll know exactly where the perennials are from season to season. There won't be any guess work, I'll know exactly where they are based on where the tires are.

I've read where others cut their tires to use in the garden but I don't really see the point of cutting off the side walls. By keeping the tires whole I will be able to use the tires year after year even when I use them for sweet potatoes and potatoes which are annuals. I don't see any point to doing extra work so I'm just not going to do it.

Recycling is a natural part of my gardening experience and I'm beginning to see tires as being a necessary part of my garden in the same way that I see recycling leaves, grass, garden weeds, sawdust, egg cartons, milk jugs, just to name a few.

As the old Chinese proverb says, the footprint of the gardener is the best fertilizer. I too am finding that I am becoming more and more a natural part of the growing process.

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