Most of the stone fruit trees are budding and many in flower. The Blue Bonnets are showing with their bright blue sparkles. I didn’t realize how color hungry I had become, then the first flowers and the Bonnets show and I think I’ve been living in black and white.
I have 2 subjects to cover this time. Perennial, Annual and Biennial vegetables and what is all this talk about carbon and what does it mean. Annuals are plants that live for one season produce seed then die back, and can and will return the next season from last years seeds that were dropped. Perennial is a plant that lives more than two years, or longer in some plants such a tree and shrubs which are classified as perennial. Biennial take two years to produce seed or viable seed such as carrots. If you have a flower bed you know that most of them are perennial and in the whole scope of work they can and do take care of themselves, with a little weeding and watering some feeding from us.
Where the Annual Vegetable garden is more work, with a sharp intense growth spike, blossom, fruiting very quickly and then they are finished. With much more preparation of soil and plant starts. Then care of the growing plants as they mature racing to their ultimate job of producing seed for next spring. So why not include more perennials in our garden and our quest for longer living vegetable and less work.
Here are some perennials for our growing zone. Rhubarb, which I find tricky to grow here, It needs a shady area or sun in morning and shade at the peak of heat. Sorrel, is one of the first greens to come up in spring and we have an abundance of it as a wild plant. Asparagus, The roots are planted in trenched mounds and not harvested for 3 years as each spike is also forming a root and needs all the energy it can get from the sun and air to form a hardy large root system, they can live for many years, but do not like competition with grass. Chives and Garlic chives. These will tend to clump together and need a yearly separation and replanting in the spring. Sunchokes or Jerusalem artichoke, a small tuber with tall spikes and sunflowers. They are good for challenged soils and need to be dug as they can become wild spread. Horseradish, one of my favorites and Walking onions, I call them Wild onions they are very abundant here. Some folks have taken Elephant garlic and made it into Garlic patch, they leave a few in the ground and as they grow and divide they harvest what they need. When you do add perennials to a garden plot it is wise to place them in an area just for them. So if any tilling or digging needs to happen they are in a relatively safe space.
Carbon to nitrogen, the amount of carbon and nitrogen in manures C:N ratio. There is a chart for those of us who question what is this carbon to nitrogen ratio in manure used in compost. There are many good sites on the internet to see the charts for this but a good and easy one is at modernfarmer.com. Carbon in manure. Here are a few. Large herbivores like cattle and horses are all in the ideal area 25 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. Nitrogen is always a 1. This is considered “cool” manure full of hay and woody bits still visible and can be tilled in without worry of over fertilizing. Sheep is 15-1, Swine 12-1, Poultry 7-1 These lower carbon numbers need to be composted to bring the nutrients to a safe useable ratio. And if your wanting to add inoculants to liven up your compost simply save some from the last compost batch and add one handful to the new compost. One handful equals 27 miles of microbes. And by placing a handful of your own native soil from a wild or woody area it will inoculate with Essential microbes or EM. See we have all we need right here at home. With the beginning of spring we are enjoying the blossoms we realize we are Growing Green, Jannie