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Gardening with Orgone
Mid-April, 2005: We are having an unusually early growing season this year. At least the plants seem to be expecting it. Not only do I have the usual April dogwood flowers, but it isn't even mid-April, and the wild cherries have already flowered, and some of them have already dropped their flowers! My dwarf cherries have already dropped their flowers. My Asian pears have beeen flowering for some time.
Even my apple is already in flower! Here is a pic, taken 4/15. The red balls are unopened flowers.
And my Brown Turkey fig is already about to leaf out. This is way early. Pic taken 4/12/5.
Incidentally, this fig suffered scant damage last winter, despite some single-digit weather, and no protection except for a heap of mulch over the roots. I suspect because it is closer to heavy orgone than my Celeste fig, which seems to have most of the above-ground portions frozen back, which is usual for my figs. I will need to place some more goodies near the Celeste.
This pic taken 4/22/5. Note that the tips did not freeze back on the Brown Turkey fig. Some small, lower branches did. It is normal for most of the above-ground wood to die back (I planted only varieties that will fruit on new growth from the root). I have never had the tallest branches fail to freeze back at least halfway down from the top. As I said, I gave them no protection from the winter wind. I recorded 2 degrees F on 12/23/4 and 12/24/4, 3 degrees on 12/25/4, and 6 degrees on 1/23/5. It was a cold enough winter to kill most of my shrubby St. Johnswort perennials (which happens every few years).
The above pic was taken 4/24/5. All of the tall stalks survived with only negligible damage at the tips.
On 4/26/5, I noticed that the tree had already set several fruit about 1/2" in diameter!
This tree is fairly young. Last year was the first year it produced good fruit, maybe 30 or so delicious figs. I ate the first 2 of those on 8/14/4.
Here's a gratuitous pic of sweet rocket, taken 5/1/5. I like sweet rocket: the deer and bunnies don't touch it, despite the fact that it makes OK salad in March before anything else is edible, along with chickweed. Bugs don't bother it. It spreads like a weed, but is extremely easy to pull up where it gets in the way. I don't know of another plant that has such quick-release roots coupled with such a thick, traction-grip handle. It is colonizing areas of my property.
The color is a rich purple, much nicer than in the pic. In rich soil, it grows tall and very thick. In poor soil, it sends up a skinny, short version (see background).
Here's my other fig, already sprouting leaves.
Only one shoot appears alive so far, and only partway up.
I accidentally left the cage door open after I photographed it, and a day or two later discovered that, apparently, a fawn or something had gone in there through the dead stalks and nibbled off those few leaves. Must be something about young fig leaves. They never touched the ones that poke out the cage in the summer.
Notes of June 16, 2005: Agnihotra and agnihotra ash. I have been doing agnihotra in the garden a fair bit, as well as using the ashes. I was curious about the panacea-like effects I had read about.
I have on 2-3 occasions watered a Russian Hawthorn with ashes in the water, maybe a couple tablespoons each time. This plant had been very eaten up by mildew the previous year. This year it is doing a lot better so far, but it has also been a lot drier this spring. And there still are mildew problems. This plant is some distance from where I did the fires, though. I suspect the ashes are helping significantly, but not as miraculously as I'd hoped.
Interestingly, I have seen no trace of the usual Colorado potato beetles or their larvae on my potato plants yet. I have watered them many times with ash water, as well as sprinkled ashes on the leaves a few times.
The other plants in or near the garden where I did the fires are also doing very well. Except my tobacco starts are getting munched before they get 1/2" high. And a couple tomato starts I bought early have always been grossly stunted despite everything. There was something wrong with them. The other tomatoes have been doing fine.
Jan. 12, '07: Whew, I had a bunch of weird crap, droughts, demons, etc., I had to deal with, but now that that's pretty much done, I can get back to what's truly important: gardening.
Update: That Brown Turkey fig also leafed out real early in '06, after surviving some more single-digit weather without protection, whereas the Celeste again froze down. Is it genetics (there are lots of variations within each cultivar type of fig) or orgone? I don't know. On the one hand, the Celeste doesn't seem to have gained any advantage. But, I also noticed that my pawpaws, all of which regularly, every winter, froze to the ground pre-orgone, never do anymore, even tiny ones.
I noted no potato beetles the last 2 years, and would have to credit the agnihotra ash for that much. The Russian Hawthorn was healthier last year. The stunted tomatoes never grew much; I suspect they were genetic mutants.
Pine tree orgone: It appears that conifers, especially pines, are generally more orgonaceous than deciduous trees. One interesting species is Pinus sibirica, called Siberian Cedar although it is a pine. Several months ago, I received an unsolicited mailing from Toronto. In it were 3 brochures from a group I had never heard of. (www.ringingcedarsofrussia.org) Also a disk of wood, about 1.5" diameter and 1/4" thick, with a hole drilled in it for a string. This slice of pine had the most wonderful energy to it, so I carried it on me a lot.
Later, Kneweyes got into this stuff independently and sent me some info from their site. One is supposed to wear the slice as a pendant, and rub it occasionally with the left hand for good health, longevity, etc. I'm a believer. When rubbing it with the left hand, one gets remarkable good energy. I wear it most of the time.
There is even a reputable vendor that sells the saplings for planting in the US (info) but I am just south of the climactic range, and probably would do just as well with my native yellow pines.
These latter seem to have more positive energy that the other trees I have. The energy is mainly driven downward into the Earth.
Sometimes I have to remove a pine tree to allow more sun on other plants, so I lean my 17' ladder up against the tall trunk and climb up there and cut it most of the way through, leaving enough for me to get back down safely. It falls within a few days, leaving a 20' standing snag for wildlife habitat. This continues to send significant orgone downward for years, though it fades.
A few months ago I had to cut 4 big pines down to the ground. I wanted to use them for making raised beds in my new garden space, but most of the logs were so heavy that I recently cut them into 17" sections (17" is a good orgone length, as are other lengths mentioned on my coil info page) and stood them upright in a circle, which I filled with compost, etc.
I put all the sections base downward, that is, with the same orientation they had when alive. This sends loads of orgone downward.
They should last several years, after which I can compost what's left of them.
April 9, '07: Nature did not predict the unusual hard freeze on Easter after an unusually warm March. I had 24 F yesterday morning and the morning before. Many things had leafed out and/or flowered early. Even my native hickories and wild persimmons got their leaves all wilted, dark, and drooping. So did the early potatoes that had sprung up from last year's leftovers, my hydrangeas, pawpaws (which were in flower), buartnuts, and my 3 Chinese treelings: che, Li jujube, and wild black persimmon..
My mints and some grapes got half-frozen off.
Amazingly, my Brown Turkey fig, which leafed out some early as is its wont, does not appear too badly burnt, hopefully. My Celeste fig had not yet poked out. And some daikon I'd planted a few days ago is pushing up out of the soil! Yum.
Lately I have cast and distributed a number of little orgone devices for my plants. While the epoxy was curing, I used my SE-5 radionics device to imbue them with N or NPK, as well as other energies and nutrients. I even put small amounts of a better high-phosphorus synthetic fertilizer in many of them: 10-60-10 with a few minerals. I almost never use synthetic fertilizer.
These things have wonderful energy, and I'm hoping to possibly relieve myself from the necessity of having to supply physical nitrogen to the plants.
Also I always add a tiny pinch of agnihotra ash to the water when planting stuff.
May 15, '07: Actually, the Brown Turkey fig did get nailed good. And so did a few other cultivated and native plants. Though a few are producing a few fruit despite that.
Dig this: note how the daikon closest to the edge of the garden bed are small, whilst those near the center are large? The difference was even more striking with the beets. The peripheral ones were so tiny you could hardly see them in the pic I took, which is why I'm not publishing it. Carrots were similar.
Why is this? Are the pine logs exuding something toxic? Or is it that much more dried up toward the edge? Or, or... could it be that in the center I had a couple epoxy devices, one old one with a water bottle in it, that I retroactively programmed with nitrogen, etc. freqs, and a newer disk like I mentioned above? Well, I suspect the latter, so I made up some more of those disks, and put 4 more around the edges of the bed, at the cardinal directions (I'm into cardinal directions).
[No, duh, it was compostables I had buried in middle months before.]
These disks contain only some old fast-curing epoxy I had around that is not much good for sophisticated devices, and a little bit of 10-60-10 with its bit of iron, manganese, and zinc.
June 5, '07: Here's a special "orgone carrot" I picked today.
I have satisfied myself that it is true what they say about the futility of starting cantaloupes early indoors. All the ones I planted like that were stunted compared to the ones I planted from seed later. With the lemon cukes, there is no discernable difference between the ones planted early and transplanted, and the ones I planted directly from seed.
All my "bolt-resistant" daikon bolted early, and are now pulled up. I did get to eat a few that were 3/4" diameter, and one that was 1".
Everything I have been eating out of my round garden bed is super-yummy. All picked on the small side because, well, I'm hungry. Just daikon, carrots and beets so far, but I have zuke plants coming along.
June 18, '07: I am embarrassed. A couple days ago I suddenly remembered what is no doubt the main reason for the uneven growth noted May 15: I had not loaded the bed up uniformly at all.
When I filled it last winter, I avoided putting any of the richer, livestock manure compost near the edges of the bed. Plus, a few times I dug holes near the center and buried coffee grounds, flour sweepings, etc. from the bakery.
I have read that it can be done, gardening with little nitrogen input, but so far in my experience the lushness of growth is fairly proportional to the amount of coffee grounds I manage to scrounge up (can't drink the stuff).
I'm confident that the orgone disks do help the plants at least a little, but obviously they are no substitute for physical nitrogen. Though the comfrey I planted last fall from chunks of root has been doing real well so far with very little physical nitrogen. Growing in mostly clay. I found out the hard way that that is what comfrey likes, after killing several plants by planting them in fluffy compost.
Comfrey, of course, is a well-renowned fertilizer, so if one were able to grow quantities of it with little nitrogen inputs, one could still come out ahead.
Here's an oddity. I grew a different variety of russets this year, and a few of the plants formed berries. I did a web search, and found they are very poisonous.
I sprinkled very small amounts of agnihotra ash on the plants every few days, and once again had no potato beetles at all. Also, I have not yet seen any blister beetles this year (but it's still early).
July 13, '07: Still no blister beetles.
I noticed a couple weeks ago that the comfrey had stopped growing, and the leaves were discoloring and looking sad. Despite relatively cool, mostly overcast, damp weather. So I fed the plants a bunch of nitrogen in the form of diluted urine, and sure enough, they picked right up and put out a bunch more lush growth. So obviously, I'm far from weaning my garden from nitrogen inputs.
Aug. 3, '07: On July 18 I found this tomato on one of my 2 Arkansas Traveler plants. I don't know what caused this. [Update: it is a very dark caterpillar that looks like a slug at a distance, I noticed years later.] But so far, no other blemishes or flaws of any magnitude on the fruit. No bugs in evidence, except for a few tiny holes in some of the leaves. I've been sprinkling a little agnihotra ash on them every few days. Ordinarily, I would have expected blister beetles and hornworms by now. Not to mention blossom-end-rot, which I have aways gotten some of before. I did find a few blister beetles on 7/20 on some beets in the lower garden that I had not ashed. Also on that day I picked my first 2 ripe tomatoes -- very late due to all the cool weather.
The tomatoes and my cantaloupes are in my upper garden, which is much hotter on a hot summer day than down below.
Although the 'maters were late, the cantaloupes were a bit early. I have been growing these Jenny Lind cantaloupes for years here, but the earliest I ever got ripe fruit was Aug 6. Sometimes it takes until fairly late August. Yesterday I picked up a couple that fell off the vine due to ripeness, and ate one today. I guess all the rain, plus the heavy layer of composted bark mulch I put on that garden last year, helped. Also, the melons are growing on a dog-wire trellis that is connected by a wire to the mobius circuit in the big upside-down chembuster buried under the trellis. Just a single wire spur wrapped around the trellis suffices to make the trellis radiate good orgone. Plus I've been sprinkling a bit of the ash on them, too. This is the most impressive crop of melons I've grown yet. Despite the wet weather, their leaves hardly got any mildew.
Unlike my cukes and zuchini in the lower, cooler, shadier garden. Though these are still producing.
Aug. 14, '07: There's been a dry heat wave here the last couple weeks or so. The melons and 'maters are growing in a spot that gets very hot on a hot day. I've had a great crop of melons, despite the fact that many are getting scalded/softened by the heat before they ripen. I've thrown many away. I have not been watering the melon vines, which are pretty shriveled up now. Grasshoppers love heat, so congregate in this garden now, and munch holes in the occasional melon.
So far I have found 2 tomatoes with blossom-end rot, and a few with minor insect holes. One with a bird hole. But most are still cosmetically perfect, or nearly so, amazingly. I water them daily. Still no hornworms or blister beetles. I don't think the grasshoppers are eating them much, either. It's the ash.
The zucchini still has not suffered much from bugs. I haven't ashed it in a while, and the grasshoppers got after it some. The older leaves are covered with white mildew, and the new ones are green.
I tried growing ashwagandha this year, and found it hardly grows at all unless it's really hot and well-watered. Then it grows quickly.
Aug. 20, '07: These last few days I have been getting a bunch of blossom-end rotted tomatoes. This is an ailment normally considered to be associated with mineral deficiencies.
The heat has abated some. I still have a few green cantaloupe vines, and a few melons.
Despite ashing, I have some unrecognizable tiny black bugs (not aphids) on my zucchini. But I'm not sure they are eating the leaves; they might be preying on smaller pests, like aphids, that I haven't spotted. Also the zukes have ants, but again, if they are farming aphids, I haven't seen those.
Aug. 22, '07: Despite a faint ash sprinkle 2 days ago, I have stinkbugs and grasshoppers nibbling on the tomatoes. I also picked off the 1st hornworm of the year, and several more blossom-end rotted fruit. Some good-looking green fruit coming along, but with the intense pressure (droughty and nothing else juicy to eat) it is difficult to deter the bugs.
Sep. 3, '07: A couple days ago I sprayed the tomato plants with bio-insecticide. They were covered with stinkbugs, hornworms, and grasshoppers, their fruit largely munched. I haven't checked back yet. Weather is still dry and pretty hot.
Never did see any blister beetles this year, except for those few once in the lower garden.
Today I ripped out the 3 zucchini plants from the round bed in the lower garden. They had a few tiny fruit on them, but these were not growing much. I presume the vitality of the plants was flagging due to age, although they were still producing some new leaves and flower stalks. Possibly with a shot of something high in nitrogen and some extra water they might have picked up again. But I wanted to prep the bed for root veggies which I will plant in a few days.
It is noteworthy that the zukes never got squash vine borers at all. This is the first time I have planted zukes here, having been so intimidated by how notoriously voracious these bugs are around here. Of course, the first year will always be lighter on this kind of bug. I'll try again next year. I suspect that the holy ash and maybe the orgone helped a lot to repel these bugs.
Sep. 6, '07: The late-summer drought has broken. Almost 4.5" in the last 2 days.
Today I planted daikon, beets, and carrots in the lower round bed, and more beets and acorn squash in the top garden. Found 3 tomatoes that would have been perfect except they'd split their skins from the sudden rain. Only a few stink-bugs on those plants today. I sprayed some pyrethrum stuff on them, gave them a good shot of N (urine) and some more water. Probably will get more good fruit; weather's still warm.
One of the ashwagandha plants up there had fruited. I tasted the fruit for the first time.
Sep. 18, '07: The daikon I planted 12 days ago is about 6" tall, and the beets much smaller. No carrots noticed yet. Grasshoppers or something were mangling the daikon, so I sprinkled holy ash on them, which seems to work.
I am impressed by the ash. I did have a record infestation of stink-bugs on my tomato plants late this summer, though. Maybe the ash doesn't do much to them.
Acorn squash is up, but I suspect it's too late in the year to produce fruit -- we'll see.
Got some clean-looking tomatoes on the vine again, but I'm uncertain whether they will get good color or flavor this late. Yet, we have daily 80s and even 90 degrees in the week's forecast, so maybe.
Sep. 21, '07: I neglected to ash the acorn squash, so they got munched. Tomato plants look healthy again, with a number of green fruit. I picked off and killed 3 stinkbugs, is all. Sprinkled some ash on the plants. Daikon are coming along. I sure hope they don't bolt; it's been in the upper 80s a lot lately.
My juneberry by my cabin had a few late flowers lately, but I don't think any fruit set. And now my best-fed dwarf Korean cherry is flowering so late! Maybe I'll get fruit this year after all.
When I approached the garden, I sensed a good entity, that "evaporated" as I approached. I think it was a nature spirit of some sort. I haven't had an awareness of them before.
Oct. 2, '07: Radionics v Moles? on 9/29 I noticed that moles had gotten into my round raised bed with the young daikon plants, etc. and had churned up much of the top surface, stressing some plants so that they wilted. This is despite the fact that I had a steel mole-chasing whirligig (usually fairly effective) 20' away.
That night I had my SE-5 with some orgone stuff and a lotus coil on it, set to REPEL MOLES from that space, and program the orgone devices in the bed with the anti-mole freq. Next day, no evidence of additional mole activity. I ran it again that night for good measure. No more moles since.
This morning I moved the whirligig to one of the steel posts holding up the fence around the bed.
Still got healthy tomato plants with fruit that is still green, despite daily weather in the 80s.
Cuke plants still alive, but not producing. A cantaloupe plant is flowering.
Most of my comfrey plants got fried to death, apparently, last heat wave (during which I did not water them). At least, they haven't re-sprouted yet.
Nov. 23, '07: Still no more moles down there. Don't know how much of that is due to my moving the whirligig closer.
The first day of Fall was on Nov. 1 at my place. Colors were pretty nice for a couple weeks, then faded. Yesterday morning was the first it got below freezing this fall: 31 degrees. And 21 this morning.
Green figs that never ripened, ditto those late tomatoes (with few exceptions). The late cherries got munched by something. No wild persimmons this year.
Been eating nice daikon with a diameter of 1 to 1.25".
Dec. 4, '07: Growing nice daikon has been a challenge to me. They bolt in the spring here no matter what, and in the past I have not had luck with a fall crop, either. But this season I planted them as soon as the heat/drought of the summer broke in early September. We haven't had any severe frosts yet. I cover them with blankets when it gets down to 30 or so. The weather has been mild enough that they are still growing.
I got some lunkers coming along now. This one is 2" in diameter, the first serious-sized daikon I have ever harvested.
Yum. I just ate the first half, will eat the rest tomorrow. Flavor is superb cooked, but too hot to eat raw. Almost no woodiness has been noted in the roots so far.
And still no more moles in that bed. I did have to sprinkle ash on the plants until a few weeks ago, to slow down the grasshoppers.
Oct. 30, '08: It was a good year for gardening. I hardly even used any agnihotra ash, yet saw only 1 blister beetle all year, as I was tearing out my spent cantaloupe vines. No potato bugs, even in areas where I had never grown stuff before or sprinkled ash ever. But things aren't in ideal balance, as today I had to sprinkle diatomaceous earth on a bunch of plants that were infested with those green-with-black-spots beetles as well as grasshoppers. The latter were a bit worse than usual this year.
I did have hornworms earlier, too.
I grew a couple plants this year that are useful for orgone devices. One is holy basil AKA tulsi AKA tulasi. All parts of the plant have good energy. In the past I have used commercial Indian tulsi, a very fine powder, in orgonite mixes, sometimes quite liberally. Also I have some Indian carved beads made from tulsi stem.
Tulsi is reputed to be a very healthful herb for teas: adaptogenic, anti-oxidant, etc. I like to munch a leaf or two in the garden.
It has a strong taste, and bugs and diseases seem to avoid it. The cluster of plants seemed to radiate good energy.
I harvested some for the herb, and also ripped out several entire plants for the stems and roots.
Then today I noticed that the remaining plants, which I was hoping would produce seed, but never did, had turned brown and wilted after the recent frost. So I ripped out the rest of the plants, which had been in flower for a very long time, and snipped off their roots. The roots (depicted) have the strongest energy. The root hairs are strong, too.
I had the intuition to merely shake off as much dirt as I could, and let the roots set in the sun for a few hours before bringing them in to finish drying. I had the feeling that the sun would improve the energy.
The other plant is nicotiana rustica, an ancient Indian tobacco that is like 20X as nicotine-rich as cigarettes. Surprisingly, the bugs love it. In fact tiny hidden hornworms ate a bunch of my harvest while it was drying! Of course they grew quite long and fat in the process. Even in tobacco that was mostly dried up, the hornworms seemed to thrive.
I sometimes use both of these plants in devices. Usually a very small amount is all.
Jan. 1, '09: 2008 was the year for entities in the garden. I had greys and reptilians hanging out in my plants and stored water supplies. I'd remove them and more would come. Meanwhile, good entities were starting to inhabit the garden, and the bad ETs would harrass them.
I eventually programmed a big rock to sweep for and arrest these ETs, but I would have to mentally nudge it occasionally for it to work well. Then 4 military male type elves of the Um (oom) species installed themselves and were excellent at keeping my property clean of bad ETs. Except their effectiveness diminished the deeper underground that the bad guys installed their nests, so I still have had to occasionally sweep way down there. One of the bad ETs' favorite places to nest was deep under the location where the Um guys hang out, at numerous different depths simultaneously.
But now I am having scant problems like that anymore.
Right now on my property I have:10,000 pixies2 million sprites (many of these are inhabiting my orgone devices)20,000 devas4 warrior elves1 kami (powerful nature spirit that helps a lot with weather matters)
Now if I even take a cutting and stick it in a pot, immediately a sprite will inhabit it. The sprites seem like tiny points of flashing light, and they like to hang out in orgone devices containing blinking LEDs and crystals.
The pixies are ~6" tall humanoids. I'm not getting an impression of the color. Often one will adopt a plant for the season, and hang out with it.
The devas I don't know much about. Many of them hang out in the rocks on the ground, others in the plants.
Pixies and devas hang out in my orgone devices, too.
The elves are ~4' tall, white humanoids.
The kami has so far shown herself to me in 2 shapes. Mostly she has manifested as a 5D, 9' tall, hairless, light blue, broad, voluptuous, attractive woman. But sometimes she's a gorgeous, slender, 6' tall 7D girl with golden-brown skin, curly red hair, and brown eyes.
I emailed a friend asking what his impression was of the appearance of kamis, and he said 25' tall, very hairy, gorilla-type things! Well, I haven't been shown that yet, but I get that that is her 11D appearance. Why they would have such a seemingly coarse, brutish appearance on a higher dimension, I do not know.
Jan. 17, '10: 2009 was a good year for gardening. I still have the same number of allies in the garden, but the number of elves has increased to 10.
Here are a few pics of specimen root veggies I grew: beet, parsnip, parsley root, carrot. With the exception of the beet, these veggies have been grown in a raised bed that had mostly clay loam in it, as I had run out of compost. Therefore, many of the roots were stunted, split, warped, etc. These were the best specimens.
2010 should be better for this bed, as the bark mulch and earthworms I added have softened the soil some, plus I plan to work in some goat poo.
I put together some large, deep raised beds. I have become a great believer in the magic of raised beds and planters. A large part of the reason is explained here. If planterizing rocks for a year in a deep planter imbues them with remarkable programming, what does the energy responsible for that do for your soil and veggies?
I have already started prepping more old tires to use as planters in 2010. These are a great choice becauseYou can get them for free at places that replace tractor tires, etc. They may even load the bigger ones into your pickup for free with a forklift.They resist the sun's rays for a long time (I have heard of people painting them, even).Their roundness means that the strong summer sun will not hit a flat surface that absorbs the heat more.
Some tips on this:You should try to get fat tires to take advantage of the magic that happens when you have 1 foot of soil in them. However, for growing things like mint, I use thinner ones. Incidentally, another advantage of planters is that you can keep aggressive plants like mint sequestered from the rest of the garden.
Also one can stack tires on top of each other for more height.You need to remove the sidewall from the top side, and maybe the bottom, too.
At first I labored hard with a utility knife. This can be done, but you have to score the cut many times before you break through. Hard work.
Then someone told me to use a saber saw with a metal-cutting blade. I fired up my generator and ran my saber saw. It was hardly less work than the utility knife. A lot more vibration than cutting.
Then I figured out, instead of using a short-bladed knife, I should use a sharp knife with a long, thin blade. Maybe a steak knife or fisherman's knife. Use a spade bit to drill the initial hole. Due to the long blade, you can saw through the sidewall much more easily than scoring shallowly with a drywall knife.
Then it occurred to me that my short-bar chainsaw would probably work great, especially on real big tires. I haven't tried it yet, but will soon.
We had a lot of wet and cool weather in 2009, so most of my tomatoes did not do well.
Because I had so much new raised bed space, I experimentally planted some species I normally wouldn't mess with. The only ones that did well were my favorite standby Arkansas Traveler which I grew from seed, and a Grape Roma hybrid plant I bought. I didn't get any good-tasting fruit from my Husky Cherry Red, although I have grown this variety in other years when it was excellent. I did not get a single decent tomato from my Cherokee Purple. They all cracked long before ripe. I got 1 decent tomato from my Brandywine, off a remarkably large, lush plant with plenty of big fruit, which mostly split/rotted before ripening. I don't think I will grow either of these 2 again, as in a best-case scenario they can only hope to occasionally equal the quality of Arkie Travs.
All these tomatoes were grown in deep planters filled with fluffy compost, which had excellent drainage, as well as regular watering when the weather was dry. Nonetheless...
Bugs: I did not use agnihotra ash at all, hardly. I only did 1 homa fire in the garden.
I had no potato bugs, but then I didn't plant potatoes either. A few came up volunteer.
I had some little caterpillars on the radish leaves, which I fought by sprinkling diatomaceous earth on the leaves. And manual squishing.
I had blister beetles and some stinkbugs, mostly on the tomatoes. Only a few at a time. I sprayed these almost daily at times with a solution of natural soap. I used a stronger solution than one would use for misting aphids or the like, but shot it in a straight stream right at the individual bugs, which is deadly to them without drenching the plant with soap too much. The wire cages made it inconvenient to manually pluck the blister beetles.
I had a few tomato hornworms, which I picked off and squashed.
I had a few more holes bored into tomatoes like in the green tomato pic above.
A late freeze nipped my fruit trees, so I got no fruit off them except wild persimmons. Also my Charlie's Golden autumn olive fruited for the first time. And I got plenty of green figs that never ripened, as well as a few dozen good ones . Wild muscadines did well.
April 24, 2015: OK, time for an update; it's been over 5 years since I last wrote anything on this page. Then later I'll have some interesting new subjects to write about.
The Russian hawthorne has been dead for many years. As has my Celeste fig. And the Chinese wild black persimmon. And the Charlie's Golden autumn olive.
My old Brown Turkey fig is not doing real well, as I have ignored it for years since I started a new one at a lower altitude, which is doing well. Or was until the brutal winter of 2014 which froze it to the ground. Then it came up from the roots that year, but never fruited, and the winter of 2015 froze back the new growth. The roots have not yet re-sprouted but then it is still cool weather at night.
I haven't done agnihotra or homa in years, and only on rare occasion sprinkle a bit of the ash on plants. However, I credit the ash for having rid my property of certain insect pests that had shown up the first year I gardened here. Specifically, it seems to have permanently rid the place of potato bugs. And virtually rid it of blister beetles. I used to have to harvest dozens of blister beetles off my tomatoes daily, but now I have seen virtually none in years, and never near my garden. That is a big deal.
However I have not found homa ash very effective against hornworms, stink bugs, squash bugs, or aphids.
My pawpaws all died, the bigger ones due to failure to irrigate in the hot summer, and some tiny ones in pots got cut off near the soil by bugs. I do have one small one slowly growing in a good place, though.
My pine-log raised bed was torn down rotten last December.
I doubt that the epoxy disks I made in May '07 are of much value, but since I have gifted my gardens with various new programs (which also are not objectively tested).
Apparently what I've had is voles, not moles. But the whirligigs usually repel them, except when some populations adapt to the noise.
Maybe next update I will explain how I defeated squash bugs, and give some tips on growing turmeric roots.
April 28, '15: A couple days after I posted last, I noticed that my fig was sprouting a little already.
OK, here's my secret to growing squash despite squash bugs. Well, at least it has withstood the test for the past 2 summers.
Years ago I grew squash for 3 years straight without seeing a squash bug. Then the next summer, I had them, and the following year they were terrible, and also had lots of stinkbugs hanging out with them. They ruined my crop.
Then I didn't even try to grow squash for a year or two.
But someone told me that the thing to do is to keep row cover on the plants until they flower. Then remove the cover so that the pollinators can do their thing.
The result being that this delays the advent of the squash bugs. So by the time they've done a lot of damage, their eggs have hatched out, etc., you'll already have gotten a fair bit of fruit.
However, it turned out much better for me, because I delayed planting as well. Apparently if the squash bugs don't find anything edible when they hatch out, they eventually starve or move on. So I waited until the soil was pretty warm to plant, and thus by the time the plants flowered, and I removed the row cover, apparently the bugs were gone. And also I did not have stink bugs on them.
Thus I had healthy plants and plenty of mostly perfect fruit. I even started a larger 2nd crop mid-summer (not needing to bother with row cover then as obviously there were no bad bugs out), and got loads of fruit off that, too. I sliced up and dried a whole bunch for eating through the winter.
I love summer squash.
May 1, '15: BTW, I don't actually eat sweet rocket. It is supposedly edible, but the fact that neither the deer nor rabbits will touch it, makes me wonder.
It is in full flower now. I have spread it over much of my place.
Turmeric: Last Sep. 15 I blogged:
You can get fresh roots on eBay early in the year and plant them. However, based on years of experience i have found that it takes at least 5 weeks under ideal conditions for the shoots to pop up, then they grow very slowly for a month or 2 before getting of any size. Right now i have a few plants around a foot tall, and the rest are smaller, some still tiny even this late in the year. But summer arrived late this year.That was last year's crop. It was puny. My yield was about the same as my input of roots. Some of the plants did not even produce anything.
Next year i will see how early i can buy them and pot them them indoors until it is reliably warm out.
In fact i did that with a few tubers this year; stuck them in pots with a shallow layer of dirt, and later planted them in the ground. Even some of those are still small. In fact one is still in a larger pot, which i will take indoors this winter to see if i can get an early start next year. In fact i may pot up some of my smallest plants and do the same.
An expert herbalist once told me that the little penis-like offshoots from the main tubers are the richest in compounds which relieve muscle pain. So if i get a big tuber in the mail, i will break off the little arms and plant the main body.
The ones i potted up early this year were sent to me by my mom who bought them from Whole Foods, allegedly organic. And many of the offshoots were missing, suggesting that perhaps someone had broken off and bought the offsets at the store.
If you refrigerate the fresh roots for more than a few days they will spoil. They are best stored (after being washed and dried
if you plan to eat them) in a paper bag in a dark, cool, dry place. However they will then dessicate slowly over the months. (If there is any moisture they will mold.) They can be pickled or preserved in alcohol like diluted vodka.
At the end of the season, I potted up 2 of the smallest, and kept them indoors over the winter. I now have a sunny grow room in an outbuilding, so I was able to keep them from freezing. These 2 have not resprouted yet.
Also when I came back from Virginia late last January, I brought some more of the tubers from Whole Foods. Some I ate but I also potted up 8 larger pieces.
These as well as the 2 from last year I kept slightly moist, but not soggy. As the weather got warmer I kept the room warmer and also ran fluorescent lights. Finally in mid-April one of the roots I had brought back sprouted! That's the one on the left. The other one sprouted a week or so later. Today I planted both of these outdoors with a dollop of bone meal, in an old tire with the sidewalls cut out.
So far none of the others have sprouted, but it looks like I am getting an early start. For comparison, in 2011 (the only year I kept notes on growing turmeric) I recorded them sprouting on July 26.
However, I also got a somewhat early start on a few specimens last year, and it didn't do me much good. We'll see how it turns out this year.
I did grow a big crop here the first year I tried. They didn't really grow much until around September, as I recall, yet I ended up with a large amount, and gave a lot away. I do not know why all subsequent attempts did poorly. Maybe the fact that I have had no animal manure to add since then is a factor.
July 7, 2015: Here it is about 10 weeks later and what progress has happened with the turmeric? We have had warm weather but not scorching.
The 2 depicted above are now 15 and 17 inches tall. And only 2 more have sprouted. One was the largest, a plant I had dug up and potted last fall. It sprouted May 11, and is now in the ground and 28" tall. The other one only sprouted recently, and is 3" tall.
That leaves me with 6 which haven't even sprouted. They may have rotted because I potted them too early from bought tubers in winter; I have not poked around in the pots to see.
And I have several yellow squash plants growing under row cover.
July 13, '15: I waited until this morning before pulling the row cover off my squash plants, despite the fact that I had been noticing flowers on them. I was surprised to find that several fruit were already forming, despite blocked access to pollinators. Each plant was sequestered from the next, so these plants must be self-pollinating, unless some little beetles or something crawled under the cover and pollinated them. I can find no references for self-pollinating squash.
BTW I only grow Horn of Plenty squash, which is the only type of hybrid I grow. They are great.
I upended all the turmeric pots which had not sprouted. All their roots had rotted away. So I only have 4 turmeric plants, one of which is still tiny. Next year I may just order some roots online in April or May and plant them in pots indoors.
Late Nov, 2015: I harvested turmeric on Nov 26.
Three of the turmeric plants grew over 4' tall. The biggest one even got a big flower cluster, although supposedly turmeric can't be grown from seed. I didn't happen to notice any seed.
The 4th plant was shaded by 2 big ones and remained much smaller. It hardly produced anything; the cluster below the ruler in the pic was from the 4th plant. The stuff above was from the other 3.
It was a big hassle to clean. In warmer climates, people leave some plants in the ground over the winter to grow the following year. But I don't think I'll grow 2nd-year roots again. The differences I noticed:
I don't know why many of these roots are oddly pale.
- The offsets were often like stubby little toes that were all cramped together, meaning I had to break them off in order to clean the dirt from between them.
- Many of the tubers had tough, stringy feeder roots coming out that I had to tear off.
- Some of the pieces have an unusually bitter taste.
Turmeric sure has an orgoney vibe.
After leaving them spread out in a dry room for several days, I put some of the tubers in a breathable bag for eating over the next month or 2. The rest I cut (if necessary) into moderate-sized pieces. Then I let them air-dry for 24 hours so that the ends were no longer moist. Then I put them in a freezer bag and froze them.
Next year I will probably just buy roots in March and pot them up and keep them indoors until planting time.
My squash did fairly well. Some of the leaves got ragged-looking and attracted some very small, dark insects. The fruit often had beneficial soldier bugs standing on them, guarding them.
The plants ran out of oomph much too soon. Next year I will try to plant a 2nd crop in July in order to extend the production.
I did dry and save a fair bit, but not as much as last year.
2016: Aug 11, '16: This year we had an earlier start to the summer heat, so I pulled the row cover off a month earlier than last year. And just today saw my first squash bugs: several tiny grey ones sitting on a squash I harvested. First I've seen in 5 years, I think.
But I have been enjoying a huge crop of yellow squash. I have been drying a bunch for winter, eating some, but still have to give away a bunch. I planted twice as much as I thought I'd use, because it is a risky crop that can go wrong.
I also planted 3 spaghetti squash from seeds I took out of a commercial one last winter. Very vigorous, sprawling vines with surprisingly big and fast-growing fruit.
Turmeric: this year I bought a pound in March, planting them in little pots on 3/23. But by 5/8 when I transplanted them outside, none had sprouted. I didn't notice the first little sprout until 6/23, 3 months after I had potted them. (I also ate my first squash the day.) And even now, many have not come up, and the ones that have are small.
I did have a couple volunteers (tubers apparently accidentally left behind last year) come up in a bed very early, maybe early May, and one of these has grown well.
Also had a terrific, early crop of cantaloupes. Normally here they ripen sometime in Aug, even late Aug sometimes, but the first ones this year ripened early in July, with plenty of perfect fruit. I only had to throw away 4 that got ruined by heavy rain. And there are more fruit coming along.
This year I bought a chipper-shredder just to create mulch/compost, and I have ground up many cubic yards of chips containing a lot of leaf matter, This make a huge difference.
Aug 26, '16: Amazingly, I have seen no more squash bugs. But I was bedridden and was not able to harvest for over a week, during which time we got more heavy rains. So my yellow squash production cratered after that, but I have a few fruit coming along. A few plants are dead or dying.
Turmeric: got some smallish plants coming along but very slowly. But the Spaghetti Squash is putting out new fruit even this late; I presume these will end up a smaller size than the big ones that have been there for months.
Melon rant: I still have a few cantaloupes coming along, but haven't harvested one in weeks. A couple days ago I was in a grocery store and spotted some real nice melons. It had probably been a couple decades during which I had not tasted a commercial melon. I have during that time, several times grown Jenny Lind cantaloupe, an heirloom variety I love and save the seeds of. I only bought the seeds once. I really like these.
So anyway I bought 2 perfect-seeming melons at the store. One cantaloupe and one honeydew, both much larger than what I grow. Yesterday I cut open the cantaloupe. It was perfect in every way, was my initial impression. Perfect, even ripeness. Great aroma. The first 2-3 bites tasted terrific. But as I ate more of it, I could no longer taste any melon flavor. It tasted like pure sugar. It was so sugary and otherwise flavorless that I had to force myself to eat most of the first half. I hate wasting food. But eventually I realized I was only poisoning myself with such ridiculous amounts of sugar, and I put the rest in the compost.
So this morning I cut into the honeydew. It also was "perfect" and not quite as sweet. I managed to eat the 1/2. I will probably eat the other half tomorrow. But only because I hate to waste food. It is also too sweet. But at least it has melon flavor.
Now I know melons are supposed to be sweet. In decades past, it was more of a concern that melons I bought be sweet enough. A melon that is not sweet does not taste good. But now they have apparently hybridized these varieties to be intense sugar-bombs. Americans crave heavy sugar in everything.
The grocery store in Marshall often carries a few organic veggies. Years ago a couple times I bought organic parsnips there. But they, too, were inedible unless you are making a pie with them or something. Way too sugary to put in a veggie stew. Ordinary parsnips taste pretty good to me, but the commercial ones tasted more like super-sweet fruit than a root.
Dec 5, 2016: I harvested my turmeric late Nov. Only got maybe a couple pounds yield. Some of my plants produced little or nothing, possibly due to excess shade where I planted them. But the flavor! I have always liked turmeric but never really quite regarded it as an exquisite gourmet delight until now. No bitterness at all. Even just smelling the aroma when cutting it up is heavenly.
In fact several things I grew had exceptional flavor. The spaghetti squash which I grew for the first time tasted better than the origininal store-bought organic squash I took the seeds from. (I plan to grow about 4X as much next year.) My yellow squash which I grow every year tasted about the same fresh, but the ones I dried for winter use taste just as good as fresh, whereas normally the dried ones taste inferior.
Wracking my brain about what I did differently this year, the only thing I can think of is that I used about half a gallon of Neptune's Harvest fertilizer, which seems to be an excellent product. And I only used a relatively small amount for numerous squash plants plus turmeric, tulsi, etc.
Also, I bought a chipper-shredder in the Spring and chipped up dense thickets of saplings for mulch, which I used on the garden, even working a lot into the soil mix. However, it wasn't even well composted and I feared it might ruin the flavor of the squash. So I doubt the flavor improvement can be attributed to that.
Dec 23, 2016: I was going to mention how well freezing works for preserving turmeric roots. The turmeric I grew in 2015 turned out 2 ways: some was orange with good flavor, and some was pale yellow and very bitter. After freezing, the flavors remained the same. I ate all the dark ones, but most of the yellow one are still in the freezer. I might feed them into my worm bin gradually.
So this year, I harvested only pale ones (even though the bought tubers I had planted were quite dark and reddish). For 3 weeks I ate from these almost daily, and all the tubers were of excellent and mild flavor. Then I put them in the freezer because they were starting to dessicate too much. And all of them turned bitter! Every one I have eaten since tastes like the bitter ones from last year.
I don't know why. Perhaps the ones last year froze in the ground, causing the pale ones to turn bitter before harvest? Seems unlikely since last year we did not get any hard freezes before harvest, and this year we did.
I have searched online for info on which chemical makes it bitter (it might be a desirable antioxidant or something) but found nothing helpful.
October, 2017: I did not plant turmeric this year, but I do have a smallish volunteer plant.
I did plant CHAYOTE though, an unusual type of squash. I had eaten it a few times in FL in the late '70s and remember it was tasty. So I read up on it and last winter bought 2 fruit at a grocery store. One plants the entire fruit, which only has one seed, which requires the nutrients in the fruit to thrive. One plant is supposed to be enough for a family of 4, but I bought 2 in case one was not viable. In fact, one has only grown a tiny fraction as much as the other.
The fruit sprouted vines over the winter, and I planted them when the ground was warm enough.
I battled squash bugs all season on my other types of squash. I had planted them too soon, before the squash bugs were gone. But the bugs never messed with my chayote. Even after the plants died late in the season, none of the bugs migrated the few feet to the chayote.
All parts of the plant are edible and nutritious, even the starchy tubers. And if you can keep the tubers alive over winter, they will produce plants the next year. They are a bit cold-sensitive, though.
In fact they are supposed to produce an earlier crop from the tubers. The first year, the plants flower very late. I did not spot a flower until Sep 26! And I spotted the first fruit Oct 9. Ate the first fruit Oct 12. Yummy. Even tasty raw; reminiscent of cucumber but different.
Subsequent years should have earlier crops, providing I keep the tubers alive.
Pic was taken Oct 27, just before the first mild freeze. The bummer about chayote vines is the slightest frost totally kills them. So it's a gamble this far north. If it had remained above freezing a few more weeks, I would have gotten a decent crop. The vine was just starting to flower prolifically.
I got about a bushel of fruit in all.
But part of the problem is that this is a first-year crop. If I keep the tubers alive I will get fruit earlier next year. That's kind of dicey this far north too, but I am building a big compost pile over the tubers. Hopefully voles won't eat them.
Another idea is to dig up a few tubers and overwinter them indoors. But I could find no mention of this practice online for chayote, and don't know if it would really yield an earlier crop than planting a fruit. Seems it should, if you did it right.
I tire of the taste of chayote more quickly than summer squash or spaghetti squash. I can eat it 3X a week compared to 5X of the other squashes. But it is also good to mix in with other squash, or raw, with cucumber which it sort of resembles.
The cold nights have also dried and curled half the leaves on my fig tree, which has a bunch of green figs. They seldom ripen.
I did not hassle with growing turmeric this year.