25 August 2007

The Battle of Wounded Knee

Why does Bad Stuff always, always choose the worst possible time to happen?  Spring is almost upon us; I am expanding the planting space quite a lot -- from the 13 beds that we already have, to at least 26.  (For the first time ever I'll be making beds in sizes other than 10m2.  Gosh! Adventure!)  I have already dug 6 of the new beds.  I also have to get compost heaps going to feed all those new beds, otherwise they'll be quite useless.

Work was coming along quite nicely, when it all came to an abrupt halt.  About a week ago I managed to do Something Evil to my right knee.  Now, I have quite a high tolerance for pain, so, in my normal fashion, "just lived with it", apart from trying to move in ways that don't agravate the pain or stress my knee.  I figure that pain serves a function.  But alas! It's no good. I keep doing Bad Things, like kneeling down to pull some weeds, or cut some Lettuce for a salad. Yesterday I gave in and resorted to anti-inflammatory tablets.  Trouble is, right now, faced with the busiest time of year, I can't do much of anything.

Just as well we had rain for the last few days -- a nice, soft, soaking rain -- not much in volume, but it has done a world of good for the soil and seedlings.  That kept me indoors and quiet (and frustrated, and cabin-fevered) for most of the week, and now the soil is far too wet to work for at least a couple of days (except I could be hauling horse-shit and making compost heaps, and spreading wood-shavings in pathways, preparing insect-netting, building a greenhouse...) Still, happy to have had the rain, though.

The Tomatoes and Chillis I planted last month have started showing-up in their trays.  Some of them are still MIA, but I'm quite surprised to see anything of them at all.  This weekend will see the start of serious planting of Tomatoes, Chillis, Basil, Tomatillos and Tamarillos in seed trays.  Pole Beans, too, if The Knee holds out, since that means bending down.  Last weekend was the Squashies.

I always have a great deal of difficulty with the Squash Tribe as they fruit just when Fruit/Pumpkin Flies are at their most prolific, and we frequently lose close to 100% of the crop.  Last year I partially solved the problem with a very light-grade shade net -- 12% shading -- and got a decent harvest.  Trouble is its a damn expensive way to cover a very small area.  We've only last week eaten the last of the stored Squashes.  Black Futsu proved themselves quite hardy to the Fruit Fly stings, with about 40% of the crop getting by without any netting at all. Then I heard a secret from the largest ("conventional") veggie farmer locally. "Sow seed on the 14th of August."  By the time the Fruit Flies are rampaging, the Squashes and Pumpkins are hard and thick enough to resist the stings.

So that's what I did.  Here's hoping it works even a little bit!

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