Saturday, October 23, 2010

Grow ops

So I went to a public gardening class sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife extension today.

Skip this and go straight to their FB page.  I just thought I'd put this here because it's such a pretty flyer.
By the time I was done with that six hours, my brain was ready to explode.  I can't believe how different the recommended practices are here relative to Nova Scotia - I might as well be planning a garden on another planet.  In another solar system. 

Up north, you get one shot - Nature fires its starting pistol, you basically slam your crap into the ground inside a short window of opportunity and, if you're lucky, you pull something back out of the ground before the next glacier advances. 

Here, everything is staggered, and you orchestrate your deployment according to a county-specific regime that resembles a DNA sequencing chart:

Furthermore, because the seasons are more loosely defined, you also have the luxury of staggering your individual deployments.  So in other words, you might plant two broccoli starts per week for four weeks so that you don't end up with an entire ass-load of broccoli all at the same time (something you might have no choice about up north).  Yeah.  You stagger both your species and your individuals.  It left me thinking, Jesus Murphy, I hope someone has written an app for this!

We did projects.  And we got to take the projects home at the end of the class.  I felt like I was back in kindergarten again.
The gardenguys were utterly convinced that if I keep that central pottery piece full of water (which oozes out into the surrounding soil), I'm going to be eating lettuce out of this contraption 45 days from now.  I'm going to try it primarily to see if they're right, and secondarily because I really like lettuce.
And eating broccoli off this little sucker in the same amount of time.  Notice the tag with the name and harvest days in brackets?  That small piece of genius derived from a local Master Gardener who figured out that he could go to Walmart and buy Cheap Shit From China, specifically a vinyl mini-blind, and cut up the slats to make plant tags.  He worked out that the cost is about 1 cent per tag if he does it this way.  And the tags are extremely durable.
For the asexual reproduction exercise, we made cuttings of Russian Blue basil, and some oregano.  Once again, they seemed convinced that if we tend to this Ziploc-and-soda-straw greenhouse, this stuff'll actually take.  That would be cool, because the basil cultivar was to die for.  I've never seen stuff that nice in Lowes.
Anyway, a good time was had by all, and we'll see what the morrow brings.  Or the next 45 of them, actually.

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