Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Old Jim

Old Jim

Last summer Old Jim stayed ashore
And pottered round the stage and store.
On sunny days perhaps he'd tend
The flakes awhile, or help them mend
The trap, and tell about the year
The big berg took his fishing gear.

He likes to overhaul the cable,
And fuss about the splitting table,
But when the fog comes in the Sound
He only wants to lie around,
And pile the billets in the grate,
To trim his pipe, to doze -- and wait.

That face of seventy and seven
Was dated by the winds of Heaven,
Through storm-torn dawns those hands, so thin,
Have brought the battered schooner in;
And, Lord, those eyes that saw an age
Would just as soon you'd close the page.

The first snow isn't far away,
And Jim has kept abed all day.
The nets are dried; the fish is sold;
The debts are paid -- and Jim is old
So, grant him seas where he may sail
Unmindful of the autumn gale.

Greg Power

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Growing plants under lights

Turnips and cabbage are doing good, had them outdoors for a couple of hours today in the cold frame to toughen them up. I'll talk about my newly built cold frame in another post.

Cabbage plants.

Peppers are also looking good.

 We have tomatoes!

Here's my high grade liquid kelp fertilizer . An energy boost for your plants. 

Last Season

Some veggies we grew last season.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Ice Pellets

Ice pellets that fell today.

Garden Agriculture in Newfoundland

Garden agriculture is a system of agriculture where crops in a community or a society generally are grown in gardens rather than in fields. Hence, garden agriculture is common in areas where large arable fields don't exist.

John Guy engaged in garden agriculture in 1610 at his plantation in Cupids, but some of the best early information about garden agriculture in Newfoundland comes from Edward Wynne's experience at Ferryland. When Captain Edward Wynne and about a dozen settlers arrived in Ferryland in 1621, their intent was to establish a community in preparation for the arrival of their sponsor George Calvert (later Lord Baltimore) a few years later. In the spring of 1622, the colonists set out to create a large garden to feed themselves, and later Captain Wynne was able to report back to England, "We have a plentiful kitchin garden of Lettice, Raddish, Carrets, Coleworts, Turneps and many other things." Although potatoes were introduced to England in 1537, they didn't gain widespread acceptance until the 1700s after they had been improved by breeding, and thus they weren't among the first crops grown at Ferryland.

The 'kitchin garden' at Ferryland, with its raised beds, wattle (interlaced wood) fence to protect against animals, and close proximity to the main dwelling remained the true-type Newfoundland garden until the introduction of potatoes. Potatoes weren't planted in the kitchen garden, but rather they were planted some distance away. The kitchen garden was harvested as the plants matured and the need arose throughout the summer, while potatoes were harvested in the autumn.

By 1800, Newfoundland's population had reached about 10,000 people and garden agriculture produced much of the food that was consumed on the island. With fish and kelp for fertiliser, anchors (occasionally) for ploughs, and boats for the roofs of vegetable cellars in winter, little food needed to be imported except chiefly for flour, sugar, and tea.

Potatoes became the staple food in the 1800s. About 100 years later, in 1935, at a time when wages were low and it was financially worthwhile to grow them, the census shows us that more than 100,000,000 pounds of potatoes (on about 2500 acres) were produced in Newfoundland. Gardening was done between breaks in other work, and the planting and harvesting of potatoes was done by 'crowds' of people over a span of a day or two.

Garden agriculture declined in Newfoundland with the arrival of jobs that paid regular wages. The construction of the Newfoundland Railway in the late 1800s, the opening of the iron mines on Bell Island in 1898, and both World Wars provided opportunities for people to leave their gardens and to buy (rather than to grow) crops. The 1955 Royal Commission on Agriculture in Newfoundland concluded that garden agriculture was a sign of a depressed economy. In the 1950s and 1960s, many young Newfoundlanders (apprentice gardeners) left home for the rest of Canada. By 1980, only 1 in 5 homes in Newfoundland had a garden.

Today, garden agriculture in Newfoundland, with some exceptions, has largely become one and same with gardening itself, one of the most popular recreational pastimes in the world.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Finished Turnip Row

Finally finished my new row to plants turnips. 

Here's my kelp compost pile that i'll be using as fertilizer.

I dug a trench through the row and layered in some kelp.

I filled the trench with soil, covering the kelp.

Here is the finished row.

Now i'm waiting for the weather to cooperate so I can put in my turnip seedlings. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Grubbing Around

(Here comes the sun)

This was a hot one. If this weather keeps up, I may get some seed in the ground by the middle of June. If not, it'll be the last of June. I took some time today to make a new row to plant some turnips. I think i'll get 8 in a row.

I put it next to my potato beds. I did the digging with my homemade grubber hoe, which I made last year as an experiment after watching some videos on the use of the Chillington hoe.

I still have some work to do, clearing out rocks and adding some seaweed compost.

May Ice

Rough ice in the harbor in the early part of May.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Cellar Dwellers

Hi all,

I've been keeping my 'mini' cellar between -2 and -5 all winter but now the temperatures outside are rising and my cellar dwellers are coming back to life. My seed potatoes are starting to chit, forming 'eyes' and the remainder of my carrots are putting out roots and sending up tops.

Another growing season in zone 5A in Newfoundland is not far off.