Category Archives: Conservation

Bad News For Your Pocket Book

Sea ports are closed or operating at 40 – 60 percent capacity, a truck driver shortage of 80,000 drivers. Rising fuel cost, rising labor cost, sky rocking cost of new replacement transportation vehicles. Forced closures of container storage areas and closure of warehouses (Biden, governors and mayors lock-down mandates.) Most experts in the transportation industry do not see conditions improving for months or possibility years.

Ports in Asia and Europe are not fairing any better than American ports. This is compounding the shipping problem by causing a shortage of available ships, trucks, rail cars and shipping containers at manufacturing businesses world wide.

When Donald Trump was president October 2020, the price to ship a 40 foot container from Asia to California was $3,800. That price under Biden’s administration cost spiked to $17,000 per-container in October of 2021, according to supply chain technology company Freightos.
Freightos said that shipping a container to the east coast is more expensive than the west coast, with rates reaching $20,000.

More than 100 ships were reported this week to be anchored off the coast of California waiting their turn to dock and unload full containers. But the seaports are stocked so high that ports are forcing vessels to wait up to 1 month before unloading.

As many as 200,000 40 foot shipping containers are stranded off the coast waiting to dock in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles had nearly 500 thousand 20-foot shipping containers, about 12 million metric tons of goods waiting in drift areas and at anchor for spots to open up along the port to dock and unload, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California’s master queuing list.

The effect of rising fuel costs, a large container vessel used in Trans-Pacific trade, with an actual, maximum container capacity of 3,875 FEUs (forty foot containers.)
With the cost of bunker fuel at $552 per ton, and with fuel consumption of 217 tons per day, a 28-day round trip voyage for this one vessel would produce a fuel bill of $3,353,952. This cost does not include the daily cost of operating/maintaining the ship and it’s crew.

Biden administration, Governors and Mayors forced coronavirus lock-downs has had a tremendous negative impact on the transportation industry nationwide, causing headaches at sea ports, warehouses, railways, and trucking companies.

Will history books record 1816, the year Without A Summer and 2022 the year America Did Without everything?

Food Inflation and the Supply Chain

This past year my annual food cost have risen around $600 to $1,000 dollars during 2021.

For some this is not a real financial burden. However for me being on a fixed income a 7% or 8% cost of food increase is a burden and must be dealt with the best way(s) I know.
To this end I have been collecting unused canning jars from friends and family members and buying what I can’t find free with the goal of doubling the amount of fruits and vegetables I can to carry me through the cold non-garden months.

My vegetable garden space has doubled from past years and I am adding a few more fruit trees to my tiny orchard. Much to my dismay and sticker shock my normal list of vegetable seeds are 3 and in some cases 4 times the price from last spring. I’ll do much more seed saving this fall.
Planted Hybrid seeds do not come back true to it’s mother plant, they tend to revert back to one of it’s parent plants. Often this is not a good thing.
Heirloom plants are open pollinated and do come back true to it’s mother plant and as such are the best choice if you plan to save seed for next years vegetable garden.

Small bare root fruit trees and many grape vines if you can find them at all have shot up in price from about $25 dollars last spring to $45 to $75 dollars each this spring planting season. Almost every fruit tree variety I have been looking for is simply not available this season.

For the first time in many years I harvested and processed 2 bucks and 4 does to supplement my meat supply this year.
I am in the process of cleaning, repairing, painting my old rabbit hutches. I haven’t raised meat rabbits for about 10 years, however it’s time to get 3 or 4 does and a buck. Properly managed each doe will produce 3 litters a year averaging 6 kits per-litter. Growing to a butcher weight of about 5-6 pounds each in 6-8 weeks. Yearly each doe will produce 25-30 pounds of healthy, low fat, great tasting meat.

Happy Safe 2022.

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Coronavirus Death Report

2,000 Gallons Water Produces 1 Pound of Almonds

California supplies about 80% of the United States almonds, and dedicates 80 million gallons, of water to grow Almond crops.
To grow one almond requires 1.1 gallons of water, and to grow a pound of Almonds takes 1,900 gallons of water. Walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, and cashews all use roughly the same amount of water to grow.

Ten percent of California’s water is guzzled up by almonds.

Ebooks and Books in PDF format – Download for Free

I have been meaning to post this Link for a while.
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Hope you find something that makes your life easier and filled with fun.

Herbs make common foods taste special

Most herbs will do well in container gardens and window boxes. If they are conventionally located to you and your kitchen you are more willing and more likely to use them cooking and serving every meal.

Sage does well if properly cared for. It requires a lot of pinching and cutting to keep it from becoming woody too soon. As a rule, sage will need to be replanted after about 3 years since it will become woody stems with little leaves no matter what, so keeping it in a pot makes this change that much easier. Sage dries very well and if you pinch the leaves throughout the growing season, put a rubber band on them and keep them safe after drying you will have that wonderful sage all winter to give your family and guest a special treat.

Rosemary is always a kitchen favorite. It dries perfectly, holds its strong taste all winter, comes indoors and keeps growing in a sunny window and is rarely bothered by insects. Use rosemary for many herb standards or topiaries. The woody stem is perfect for crafting. The stem also seconds as skewers so I feel that each harvest yields two separate things: leaves and stems. Keep the stems in a freezer bag in my freezer and use them for grilling skewers. Since rosemary doesn’t like to sit in water but likes to dry out between watering, I think that being in its own container makes the herb grow that much hardier, since it can receive special care.

Basil is one of the most rewarding herbs to grow in a container. It really lends itself well to the other popular container plants like the tomato. Basil likes to have plenty of water to keep its fleshy stems and tender leaves plump, but is susceptible to mildew. In a container, you can be sure the plant gets plenty of airflow.

Thyme is an often undervalued herb. Many times it gets planted and never used. Thyme deserves a higher standing on our list of culinary herbs! It will thrive in a container environment, needing only minimal watering. Some varieties grow into small shrub-like plants that enhance an entrance, and its tiny purple flowers are lovely. Being such a low maintenance herb, you can see how well thyme will fit in your container garden.

Mint is notorious for getting away from the gardener. You plant one and soon twenty will follow. If you are trying to keep your varieties pure, cross pollination is easy to do if the strains are too close together. Containers can be placed far enough away from one another to keep your pineapple mint from suddenly tasting like catnip-pineapple mint. Planting a bottomless pot into your garden is one way of controlling mint, but keeping it out of the garden completely, by using a separate container, is a better idea. Mint is also so tasty, it can be used more often if it is handy.

Chives Leaves/Flowers
Fresh or Frozen Soups, salads, salad dressings, eggs, dips, vegetables, chicken, soft cheese spreads, butters, white sauces, and fish.

English Thyme Leaves/Flowers
Fresh or Dried Game, beef, soft cheeses, fish, chowders, pâté, vegetables, and tomato sauce.

Tarragon French or Spanish Leaves/Fresh or Dried
Chicken, fish, eggs, tomato juice, butters especially nice on steak, vinegars, salads, mustards, sauces hollandaise, béarnaise and tartar, Soups, chicken, fish, mushroom and tomato and marinades for fish, lamb or pork.

Greek Oregano Leaves/Fresh or Dried
Sauces white and tomato, stews, soups, fish, lamb, pork, vegetables, butters, and vinegars.

Rosemary Leaves/Fresh or Dried
Beef, lamb, fish, poultry, stuffings, soups, stews, fruit cups, soups chicken, pea, and spinach, vegetables, and marinades.

Sage Leaves/Flowers Fresh or Dried
Stuffings for fish, poultry, and meat, pâté, eggs, poultry, pork, beef, lamb, pasta, cheeses cheddar, cream, and cottage, sauces brown and meat, soups cream and chowder, beef stews, and vegetables.

Hint of the Day: Use fresh herbs blended with ‘real’ butter or sour cream for that special taste. Herb’s go well with fresh baked potato’s and fresh garden salads.

Old Hens… Chickens not people

Before you purchase your chick(s) look 2 years in to the future.

For some people chickens only serve two purposes, primarily a source of fresh eggs, second as a source of fresh meat.
But for some they become pets no different from the family dog. This is where looking into the future is important.

Chicken commonly live 5 to 7 years, however it is not uncommon for them to live to the ripe old age of 10 or more years.

Egg production starts at about 24 – 26 weeks of age (6 months) and will decrease sightly every year after that. By 3 years of age it is likely to the point that you will need to replace your laying hens.

What do you do with them at this point in time? Sell them? Give them to an unsuspecting friend or neighbor? Butcher them to be served for Sunday dinner?

If you have become attached to them for what ever reason butchering them is not an option. However you must decide if the pleasure you get from their presents is worth the reduced or no egg production and the daily cost of feed and maintaining a safe and secure living space.

All is not lost. Even with reduced egg production they are still good weeders and eat every insect find and can catch.

Hint: Keep Them As Broody Hens/Mothers
If you own a broody hen (or hens), consider using them to hatch a few eggs. Those old hens will be perfectly happy sitting on some eggs all day, and it would save you the cost of buying an incubator.

Happy Gardening

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Every Dog Needs A Little Girl

2021 – Purple Martin Northern Migration

Nearing the end of March, 2021, Purple Martin scout birds have been reported as far north as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

If you haven’t put up your Martin house now is the time to get your Martin house up in the air.
Location of your Martin house is an important consideration.
Poor house site location can lead to few or no Martins nesting in you Martin house.

Best results will be achieved if:
Martins prefer housing that is placed in open areas with clear flyways. Choose the largest open spot available, about 30-120 feet from human housing and at least 40-60 feet from trees.
Height of the housing should be no lower than 10 feet. Keep tall bushes, shrubs and vines at least 6 feet away from the pole.

Good luck attracting nesting Martins to your yard and garden.

Germination Chart For Annual Flowering Plants

Germination requirements (light and temperature) vary among the different flowers and vegetables. The various crops also differ in the length of time from seed sowing until the seedlings are transplanted outdoors.

The following chart provides germination information for many of the commonly grown annual flowers.

Annual Germination
Temperature
(Fahrenheit)
Lighting Days to
Germination
Weeks Sowing
to Planting
Ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum) 70-75 L 7-10 8
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) 70 L 7-14 8-10
Wax Begonia (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum) 70-75 L 14 10-12
Annual Aster (Callistephus chinensis) 70 L-D 7-10 6-8
Vinca (Cathranthus roseus) 70-75 L-D 14 10
Cockscomb (Cleosia spp.) 70-75 D 7-10 6-7
Bachelor's Button (Centaurea cyanus) 65-70 L-D 7-14 8
Cosmos (Cosmos spp.) 70 D 5-7 4-6
Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) 75 L 10-14 14
Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) 70 L-D 14 7-8
Sunflower* (Helianthus annuus) 70 D 5-7 3-4
Strawflower (Helichrysum bracteatum) 70-75 L-D 7-10 6-8
Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) 70-75 L 10-14 8-10
Annual Statice (Limonium sinuatum) 70 L-D 7-10 8-10
Melampodium (Melampodium paludosum) 65-70 L-D 7-10 7
Four-O'Clock (Mirabilis jalapa) 70 D 5-7 6-8
Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana alata) 70-75 L 10-14 8
Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum) 70-75 D 7-21 12
Petunia (Petunia x hybrida) 75 L 7-10 8-10
Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora) 75 L 7-10 10
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.) 70 L-D 7-14 10
Red Salvia (Salvia splendens) 70-75 L 10-14 8
Mealycup Sage (Salvia farinacea) 70-75 L 10-14 8-9
Creeping Zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens) 70 D 7-10 6-7
Coleus (Solenostemon spp.) 70-75 L 10-14 8-10
Dahlberg Daisy (Thymophylla tenuiloba) 65-70 L 14 8
Nasturtium* (Tropaeolum majus) 65-70 D 10-14 5-6
Zinnia (Zinnia elegans) 70 D 5-7 5

*Sunflowers and nasturtiums do not transplant well. Both should be seeded directly into peat pots.

Light conditions during germination are critical for many annual flowers. The seeds of some plant species require light for germination. (In the table above, annuals that require light for germination are designated with the letter L in the lighting column.) After sowing these seeds, lightly press them into the germination medium, but do not cover them. The seeds of other flowers require darkness (D) and should be covered with the germination medium. Finally, those designated L-D should be lightly covered, leaving the seeds as close to the soil surface as possible.

Category: Horticulture
Authors: Richard Jauron
Iowa State University

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Garden Vegetable Germination Chart

Vegetable Germination Chart