Sunday, April 19, 2020

Now we have time to think.

This article in the link below really moved me. It put it's finger right on something that's been rattling around in my heart since this situation we're all in first started, and set the stage for me to sit here for the last hour and let it sink in. It explains what some might not have noticed: when the universe recently pushed the reset button, it gave us a chance to start our lives all over again, to rebuild them into something we always wished for but didn't have time to make.

It's given us time to think.

Caring about something takes time. Time to learn about it, to actively seek out more information. Time to think about how we feel about it. Time to figure out what we can do about it. Then Time to DO THAT.

The universe is offering us the clarity needed to declutter our lives of all the extraneous bullshit and make room for more meaningful things, and all we have to do is choose to grab it and run with it. We have time now to figure out which items on our overstuffed calendar are really worth having to turn a blind eye to so many objectionable things. IF we choose this, we can come out of this with enough time to do something about those objectionable things - not all, but at least one.

Can y'all imagine what that would look like? What our neighborhoods would be like if all seven billion of us figured out one thing to try to make better, then spent that hour a week we found that was previously filled with shopping or Netflix or whatever pablum we used to use to "find peace" when we were really only finding distraction - if we all used that one hour on making that thing we care about better instead?

We can have that. All we have to do is have the courage to see what this virus has laid bare, then CONTINUE to see it after the main threat is over. When the opium sellers come calling, trying to convince us it really wasn't that bad, we really didn't see the man behind the curtain, close our eyes and buy this thing or believe this other thing and it'll be okay just like it used to be... please, please, don't listen to them.

This chance - it won't come again. Please just think, and don't close your eyes.

Friday, April 17, 2020

No more mud in the garden

Hauled five tractor bucket loads of mulch from the pile in the pasture to the new garden today.  Got it spread in the pathways, too.  Now I can work out there without having so much mud stuck to my shoes that I'm two inches taller.  I even moved a little metal pen to one corner so I can enclose it and turn it into a duck house.  Yep, I'm going to get ducks.  DUUUUUCKS!!  Garden ducks!  I can't WAIT.  

Gonna' feel this tomorrow...  But tonight I'm a happy woman.


Thursday, April 2, 2020

Growing Your Own Sweet Potato Slips

As I'm writing this, we are still in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown.  Yesterday our governor issued a statewide stay-at-home order, so all non-essential businesses are closed, and this will likely continue for a month, if not more.  Seeds and some transplants were already being sold for a while before the lockdown, so you may think you have everything you need to plant your vegetable garden.  

But not sweet potatoes!  Most likely not anyway.  Sweet potatoes like really warm weather, so usually aren't sold 'til later in the year.  Mid April or so actually, and on into May.  Sweet potato slips are already hard to find in a normal year, so with all this, they're going to be even HARDER to find now.  So you may think you're out of luck for planting them this year.

Nope!  Just grow your own!

Roots coming off them are normal, and good.
You won't believe how easy it is.  Really.  You can grow them from any sweet potato you have already or can buy from the grocery store.  Grocery stores are still open, and I don't see them closing at all.  So there ya' go!  They may be out of some things when you go, but we're not talking toilet paper here, so just check back and I'm sure you'll find them restocked.

One caveat though: Since diseases that affect plants don't transfer to people (not that I've heard of anyway), supermarket produce meant to be eaten isn't tested for them, so if you do this it's possible that you can infect your soil with a disease that will live in your soil for years.  But it's really unlikely.  I don't know of any offhand.  Still, if it does happen, most of them you can kill by solarizing the soil, so at most you'll only lose a season or two of growing time.  Or just don't plant anything in the sweet potato family for a few years and starve it out.  (In case you didn't know, that's their cousins the morning glories.  I know, right?!)  

Seven sprouts!  Each is counted as one slip.
So, back to growing your own...  

All you have to do is plant that sweet potato and keep it in a sunny spot.  Really.  It's that simple.  Plant it in some potting soil, pointed end down, water it well, and sit it in a sunny window or on the porch.  

You can even suspend it in a glass of water with toothpicks if you want, sitting it in that same sunny window or out on that same porch.  Do you remember your mom or grandma doing that in the kitchen window, ending up with the longest and most gorgeous green vines growing up and over and around the window?  Yep, same thing.  

I put this one in water about a week ago.
Once you have your potato suspended in water or planted, it won't take that long for sprouts to appear.  Depending on how long the potato has been in cold storage, it could be a couple weeks, but some of mine take only a week.  But once they get going, they're going.  They usually sprout from multiple places on one end, as many as eight or more.  

When those sprouts get some size on them, say more than six inches or so, break them off and put them in a jar of water in that same sunny spot.  Don't worry if they don't have roots.  They'll form them over the next week or so.  

Keep breaking them off and putting them in your jar of water until you have enough.  Then simply plant them out in the garden a couple feet or so apart, keep well watered 'til the start to actively grow, and you're off to the races.  

I like to plant them under my okra to maximize the use of space.  Okra plants are upright while sweet potato vines sprawl over the ground, so there is room for both in the same spot.  Just remember you'll have to water and fertilize a bit more, but I think it's worth it.  And you will, too, come Thanksgiving when you're the only one with homemade pie from home grown 'taters. 

More sprouts will grow soon. You can see one at the top of that
beige-ish stem/growth point already.  See the tiny little green leaf?
Cute little thing.

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