In the fifth month Farmer Bubba made a cloud
By Farmer Bubba Scott
How's the garden growin'? Let me guess. It's lookin' a bit used and I'll bet it doesn't get as many gardener visits as it should.
Hey, you're not alone, but it helps if I make my presence known in the garden late in the evening. Late one evening I was picking peppers and checking my garden out. The sun was almost down, and the mosquitoes were waiting for me, but I noticed they aren't as bad at night as they are earlier in the day. That means I had more time in the garden without pesky, biting insects in my way.
Can you believe it's August already? What does August mean? It is time for seed starting for the fall garden, the nights are a little cooler, and shorter days are on the way.
With a couple of weeks to go before the farm goes 'throttle up' on the seed starting and planting, I thought we would discuss all those crazy ideas I come up with while I'm farming.
This will take a couple of columns to complete, so I'm calling this first part, 'What's Sprouting in Farmer Bubba's Mind." Being inside my head can be scary, trust me, I know, but this exploration is inspired by my friend and GLOB Content Editor, Lynn Dirk. I hope you enjoy this Farmer Bubba Mystery Ride.
When I look out at my farm, I also look back to where some of my ideas have come from. I'm not a big reader, I'm a dreamer, so most all the farm ideas I dream up come from a seed that was planted in my head at a young age.
When I was 8 years old, my dad bought a garden watering hose with my mother's S&H Green Stamps. Are you old enough to remember Green Stamps?
Well, I was told not to touch the hose, but I did. I got an ice pick, poked holes all along the length of the hose, pinched the end and circled it around my mother's giant elephant ear plants.
Then I turned the water on and voila, I created my first water drip system! My mom thought the drip system was nice. However, when my dad got home, the drip system didn't seem like such a good idea.
Later he did tell me he liked the idea, but to listen to him when he tells me not to do things. Guess what. Dad left the watering system in place.
BUBBA NOTE: I wrote a column recently on what the plants in my garden might say to each other if they had voices. But without using a voice my plants and animals have a way of giving me their opinions on how I can make changes to the garden.
I've also mentioned in previous columns something I call my 'cloud'. Now I'm going to talk about that. It's not really a cloud, but a hot house/pole barn with a very different roof I built to protect my plants on hot days.
While living in Hawaii, I noticed how plants that were under palm trees got a limited amount of sunlight but did better and lasted longer than plants that were always in full sunlight.
Seeing that, I got the seed for an idea -- replicating a palm tree canopy for plant protection on my farm. I already know how to mangle a perfectly good garden hose for a better use. Next I would mangle a roof.
When I moved to High Springs from Naples, Florida, I started building a hot house. At one point, I placed a thin strip of tin metal atop my poles. As I continued working, I noticed how the sun was on plants that were under the metal strip for while and then the sun was off the plants, and then after awhile it was back again.
The seed sprouted: "I'm going to create a cloud and palm tree myself." I put down more strips of tin metal with equal spacing between them running east to west. My mangled roof does the same thing as a cloud - it gives the plants a break from sun.
BUBBA NOTE: Before my mother went to be with the Lord, she told me, "You'll never grow up, will ya?" My response to my mother was "I hope not, Mom." We all need to keep the kid in us at all times. If I ever grow up, I'll be buying my produce in the store and wishing I had a garden.
I built my cloud in the months of April and May. With my winter crops still thriving, I knew they would give in to the heat of the upcoming summer months. Some shelves I built under the cloud became the new home for my container greens. With plants in place, here came the sun and heat. And guess what? My plants thanked me by supplying me with green all through the summer.
Later that summer, I was home at the farm checking my plants, and here comes that WOW experience. At the end of the day, in full summer sun, the plants made a successful transition from winter to summer. How did the plants thank me? Let me just say I ate lettuce all summer long.
A garden cloud can be made from a lot of materials. Old lattice work, wood pallets, old palm fronds. My idea is to give the plants a little sun and a little shade during the hot months. Shading the plants helps 'em with the heat, it also limits evaporation from the soil. In other words, the plants stay cool and hydrated all day long.
One thing I did when I built the Cloud was to write down the time of day that the sun was shining on the plants in my containers. After working under my cloud for several seasons, I can now tell ya what time it is by where the sun is hitting shining on the plants.
It’s funny how one little idea can grow into an even bigger one. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s the kid who lives inside me making things grow when everyone around says it can’t be done.
BUBBA NOTE: Take a 2-year-old child. Give 'em a rock. They're gonna have fun with that rock. When the rock wears off, give 'em something new. It's fun time all over again. For some reason or other, things get old and we all need a new rock. For me, I wake up, go in the garden, and I just have to find my new rock, a stick, some more pieces of metal -- that is, as long as I keep the child inside.
Next week week I will tell you how I invented the Farmer Bubba Cloud Sprinkling System.
Support your local farmer, buy local and get to know the people who grow your food.
Aloha from the desk, on Farmer Bubba's Farm.
Do you have a gardening question for Farmer Bubba or a photo of your garden you would like to share? Email Bubba or add your question in the comment window below, and Bubba will try to reply as quickly as possible. Farmer Bubba is an all natural grower who sells seeds, plants, and produce in various N. Florida locations. Email Farmer Bubba for a location near you and to do whatever it takes to get you get your garden growing.
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bob Thursday, 09 August 2012 12:55 Comment Link
Another great article Farmer Bubba.I remember green stamps and yes everyone should have some kind of a cloud.It would make their lives more interesting and productive.Keep up the great work,your column is awesome. Depot Bob