As it's mid August, this weekend I made my first annual - and, as usual, premature - trip to my favorite local nursery for fall vegetable transplants. I usually buy broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and sometimes chard here. This year it looks like they're also doing spinach, which I may get some of since the spinach seeds I planted few weeks ago don't seem to be doing anything, but then again, it may still be too hot. But I don't think the heat will last for too much longer. I can already feel the changes in the weather. It's in the sixties in the mornings, now, when I get up. And the pool water is cooler in the late afternoons than it used to be. Their transplants weren't ready. Some of them didn't even have true leaves yet, so I'll pop back in in a few weeks and pick them up then. Still, I like to stop by and see that they're in the works.
I have already bought some transplants - broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi - which I put in the ground a few weeks ago. I was actually surprised to see them at my local big box store. I had come for something else, and there they were. I do believe it's the first time that I have ever seen fall transplants there. I wonder if it's a sign of the times, that more people are turning to gardening due to the economy?
Oh a whim, I went ahead and bought some broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi, even though I knew it was probably too early to put them in. But after a touch-and-go day or two they seem to be doing fine. I mulched them with leaves, and maybe that's helping. I did read that you shouldn't use black walnut leaves or eucalyptus leaves as mulch since they both put out a toxin that will contaminate the soil and kill your plants. My leaves are mostly from Bradford pear trees.
Can you mulch with corn husks? I have a fair amount of dried out corn stalks that didn't make a single decent cob, so I may as well get something out of them. I'm about to give up on corn. I don't think I've ever been able to produce a single decent ear. Every year, if they make cobs at all, they're eaten up inside by bugs. I am definitely staunchly anti-GMO and anti-pesticide. Still, growing food for oneself does give you a better understanding of where these kinds of technologies come from and why. In my experience I have never won a battle against bugs over an ear of corn.
And on to the book recommendation! I found this brand new Kindle e-book this week - 99 cents - and worth ten times that. It's called Simply Garden Small: End Hunger, Restore Health With Creative Micronutrient-Rich Growing Strategies from Around the World by Yvonne Scott. This book is worth so much more than the 99 cent price tag, a fact that is perfectly in line with the author's goal to end poverty through empowering people to grow thier own food. I loved that there was an emphasis on nutrition, and on maximizing the nutritional value of what you grow. It's a perspective that I have never encountered in other gardening books and one that is dear to my heart. If you are interested in starting a garden of your own but don't know where to begin or don't think you have the space, this is the book for you. It's also inspirational for gardeners with any level of experience. I've been gardening pretty successfully with the goal of producing my own food for five years now and I was making notes of things to try in my own garden.
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My books - Confessions of a Vegetable Lover and More Confessions of a Vegetable Lover - are numbers 11 and 12 today (Sunday 19 August) on the Amazon Bestseller List for Gardening and Horticulture Essays!