Our 2021 garden: an experiment, plus the jiggler is in!

Today I took my mother to her doctor’s appointment, so I got very little garden stuff done today. Last night, however, I was able to start prepping the toilet paper tubes we’ll be using to start the Montana Morado corn in.

I picked up this coolant funnel long ago, because it’s perfect for jobs like this! πŸ˜€

I neglected to take photo of the next step. After filling all the tubes with peat, I used the 1/4″ hardware cloth I still have a piece of, laid it over the bin, then sifted peat over everything. Aside from topping up the tubes, I wanted it to get in between the tubes and fill the gaps to hold them in place. Especially in the spots where the wheels of the bin are, with a “fender” on the inside that I couldn’t put tubes on because it was too uneven.

After that, a whole lot of water was poured over all the tubes using a watering can. It would have been much easier to use a hose on “mist”, but by then it was night and too cold to use the hose.

The sun room was nice and warm still, though!

Adding the water had two unexpected effects.

The first was, the tubes started to float! I should have expected that. The problem was, you can’t actually see that it was floating. I’d added another watering can of water before I reached out to even the tops of some tubes, and the whole thing sank!

The peat may have been all light and floating, and it takes a long time to absorb moisture, but the tubes are a different story! They not only quickly absorbed water, but some of them started to come apart at the seams. Thankfully, they’re packed tightly enough to hold each other in place.

It did make be wonder if this would work at all.

I think it will. Here is how it looked this morning.

The cardboard actually seems to be helping the peat absorb more moisture. I went over the surface with a spray bottle. You can see in the photo that some of them still have dry areas. This is all being absorbed from bottom, though, so they should have been mostly moistened through. Normally, I would have premoistened the peat, but there was just too much needed for this job.

I’ll check it again tonight and see if I can start planting the corn, or if it will wait until tomorrow. There is still enough water in there that the tubes in the middle are still floating a bit, as the bottom of the bin is sagging from the weight of the water in that area.

After I got home from helping my mother, I made a quick run into town and made a special trip to a dollar store. I picked up some hula hoops. We haven’t been able to find row cover supports, so my daughter thought of cutting hula hoops and using those. If it works out, we can get more later.

I also cleaned the store out of pinwheels (they only had 6 left), plus I got some spinners and wind vines. When I did my rounds this morning, I found birds digging in the dirt in the bed we planted carrots in. 😦 All those beds now have shiny metallic pinwheels in them. I’ve set up wind vines at the strawberry spinach, and as close to the garlic beds as I could. I put spinners in the ornamental apple trees over where the spinach was planted. We still have a few more of those, but we’ll save them for later. I will probably get more pinwheels after the store restocks. It would be good if we could replace the plastic grocery bags on the pea trellises with things like that. I noticed there was a solar motion sensor floodlight that would be good for startling deer, but it was out of budget. :-/

The girls and I were quick about putting the bird scarers out. I had hoped to cover the beds with plastic, but it was just too windy. So I watered the beds again. The water will help regulate the temperature in the soil as temperatures dip overnight. At least, that’s what I’ve read! I didn’t get any photos because, to be frank, I just wanted to get back inside again! When I checked the weather once I was inside, it said we were at 2C/32F – but the windchill was -6C/21F! It certainly felt like it was below freezing. Meanwhile, the thermometer in the sun room was reading about 28C/82F.

One of the things I made sure to do before I went to my mother’s was to get the mail. The last of our onion sets were in, but so was another pleasant surprise!

The kit to convert our pressure canner to use a weighted gauge (aka: jiggler) is in!!!

I can hardly wait until we can test it out!

That might be a while, though. We’ve got lots of outside stuff that needs to get done, and we won’t be in a position to continually monitor the canner while it’s being tested.

I’m really looking forward to it! πŸ™‚

The Re-Farmer

2 thoughts on “Our 2021 garden: an experiment, plus the jiggler is in!

  1. What about tin plates from the dollar store as pinwheels? Or stretched out slinky? Do the birds eat the slugs? And grubs?
    Are you ready for mosquito 🦟 season?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was looking at those plates! Might still get some.

      They might eat the bugs, but right now, they’re going to dig up our seeds and transplants in the process. :-/

      No one is ready for mosquito season. Ever. LOL


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