Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Last 3 blog post from Mr. Jim Kennard

Way to go Jim :):):)

Improving Growing in Early Spring
3 days ago

The Shirak Region of Armenia is much like parts of the Northern United States in that frost-free growing days come late in the spring and end fairly early in the fall. And since many people depend on their gardens for their primary food supply it becomes very important for them to maximize their yields. Purchased seedlings are too expensive for most people to be able to use, and the only thing they can buy is sold bare-root with very little root system anyway, so growing their own seedlings is very important. We are trying to teach and demonstrate the best ways to do this - first with a proper seedling greenhouse, and then recognizing that most people can't even hope for a greenhouse we are building and growing in a "tunnel"-type coldframe/hotbed. Several village families in Getk have these, and depend on them for their seedlings. However, they have no heat source, use no fertilizers (even manure), and grow in the native dirt, ending up with bare-root seedlings - again with little root systems. In the next few days we will publish pictures of villagers' coldframes as well as our own, with the differences. We will use horse manure as the heat source, will plant in a sand/sawdust/dirt mixture, and will fertilize with the Mittleider Pre-Plant and Weekly Feed formulas. More later

In-The-Ground Tunnel or Cold-Frame/Hotbed
4 days ago

Most family gardeners in Armenia (and other places as well) just plant seeds and hope for the best, thinning the excess plants when they come in too thickly, and replanting when they die from the harsh conditions most places experience during early spring. A few are able to buy seedlings, but most seedlings for sale in this country are leggy and have very little root systems, having been ripped out of the ground and sold bare-root. We are demonstrating a better solution, which I hope to show in the Photos section of the Mittleider Method Gardening Group on Yahoo Groups in the next few days. We dig a hole 24" - 30" deep about 5' wide and 15' long. We fill the space 18"-24" with manure - horse preferred - then put in a sawdust/sand mixture. If sawdust isn't available clean straw, sand and a little clean dirt isn't too bad. We cover with bent steel poles and plastic that's secured and covered with dirt all around. I'll describe the planting process in another blog. Cold weather gardeners should consider this for producing healthy seedlings 4-6 weeks earlier in the spring!

Greenhouse Construction - Pictures
4 days ago

I have been able to download some digital pictures of the 20' X 40' greenhouse we have built and put into production in the village of Getk, in the Shirak Region of Armenia. When we arrived in the country the property was under more than a foot of snow, but luckily we had most of the welding done last November. Meanwhile, we began a couple of flats of seedlings indoors in a warm place. When they germinated and emerged we put them in a South-facing window and put them under 4'-long fluorescent lights as well. The pictures show healthy plants by the time we finally were able to transplant them in the greenhouse. To see the pictures, join the free gardening group - the invitation for which is on every page of this website. After joining, go to the Photos section and look for the folder called Armenia 2006. Enjoy!


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