Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Houseplants, floating cover, and raspberries

One of you asked when compost is ready to be used. That's negotiable. I have so much now that is so far gone that I don't have to worry. However, a general rule is that when it smells good and feels nice to your fingers, it is fine. This can be long before it is truly "mature." My uncle used to bury his garbage every evening in the garden paths, and that seemed to nourish his excellent garden, so I guess composting itself is negotiable. The books say that you shouldn't put fresh garbage or weeds in the soil because they will steal nitrogen from it. I don't understand the chemistry of that, but I do know my uncle's garden was wonderful. Most of us don't want to dig every evening; composting is far more convenient. Remember the t-shirt, "Compost Happens."

Another asked if I put floating cover over all my spring plant-outs. Certainly not! I don't want them to burn. Once I didn't take the FC off the carrots soon enough, and the tops were badly singed. This year I'm a bit neurotic about the pests, so I've used more FC than most years, but each spring and fall, I "wing it."

I had an amazing experience this morning. My best friend from seventh grade visited! I was heartbroken when she moved away in eighth grade, and we corresponded into our college days. We actually spoke for the first time this week in over fifty years. Much of our deep sharing is not appropriate for an email list, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind my telling you that she freezes her extra raspberries on a sheet and then puts them, individually frozen, in a ziplock bag. In the winter she pours out just as many as she will use because raspberries don't refreeze. I didn't know until today that they freeze well, but she says she enjoys them in winter.


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