It seems the rule of thumb that when one year goes smooth as butter the next is as rough as it can get! This year is starting out pretty rough. My generally relaxed and enjoyable planning stage has been complicated by finding out that my folder that I wrote ALL my records in last year somehow got damp while in storage. It is now a pile of moldy paper and only a small amount of it can be read. Luckily I have photo records and a few vital notes have survived. Lesson learned! But if you have any suggestions on a ….less mold prone…and more digital record keeping system I would love to hear it!
April 17 we started the growing season off at the High school, we planted tomatoes and peppers. Last week we started all of our marigolds. A lot of marigolds. Why marigolds you ask? Well they work really well to repel aphids in our high tunnel. Which reduced our need to treat our plants. Aphids are one of the few pests we have to contend with here in the arctic. Last year we did see a small infestation on one of our cherry bushes but it was kept in check by the liberal use of soap spray and marigolds. I also sell marigold plants to our customer base since they work really well to repel mosquitoes an they are VERY pretty to boot! Our mosquito population here is legendary so any small edge really helps.
This week is herb, cucumber and squash week. I make it a point to grow tons of herbs. Herbs are neat because they can take a small amount of space, grow well in small pots that can be moved and place in random parts of the high tunnel and they produce consistently for a long period. Herbs are also a good way to introduce people to home cooking. Last year I made a seasoning salt from our high tunnel herbs (after drying them) and it was one of our best selling products! The fresh and vibrant herbs made a huge difference to recipes, and I designed it to go best with our local meat sources which is mainly caribou and dall sheep meat.
This year I am also going to start trying to be more diligent about blogging. Maybe focus a post on a single subject since I tend to bounce around a bit. This post was just a teaser of what is to come this year! Some changes I am making: reduce amount of tomato plants and add several short season melons, focus on strawberries an herbs and salad greens, and add more interesting flowers for pretty sake. I also am going to experiment with using half digested caribou stomach contents for fertilizer. At once point in time it was eaten as a delicacy but now maybe we can use it as a readily available resource for growing plants. I got the idea from a woman who told me about her mother who used to transplant wild plants that were useful to near her cabin and she would dump the caribou stomach contents near her plants to feed them and they grew huge!
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I’ve also just put in marigolds. Love that its so eye catching AND also puts the mosquitoes into hiding away from us.