My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, ... thank you!

Volcano equals short growing season?

I was reading some info online about the volcano erupting in Iceland. The article mentioned a close-by volcano, and that if they should both go at nearly the same time, it could essentially cause the opposite of global warming (global cooling). The article went on to say that basically, the SO2 that would be thrown into the stratosphere will cool the planet so quickly that we will have several years of bad harvests.

If that's even a slight possibility, then perhaps I should think about our little homestead/hobby farm in a different light. Here at this altitude in the Colorado Rockies, we already have a short growing season (between 90 and 120 days). How much shorter would it become?

I mean, the scientist wasn't talking about another ice age, was he?

-CORN: I had already chosen Black Aztec corn to grow this year, which can be used sweet (immature and yellow) or dried for corn chips and tortillas (mature and black). It has a maturation date between 75 and 90 days. That should work ok, especially since I start it indoors 2 weeks before I transplant outdoors. OR ... maybe next year I'll get Hickory King yellow corn which is good for roasting, grits and cornmeal, and matures by 85-90 days. What is the fastest growing heirloom corn good for sweet and cornmeal?

-SQUASH: The CORNFIELD Pumpkin (pepo) matures in 90 days which is really quick for a pumpkin. Good for growing in the cornfield (hence the name). Small fruits (10-15 pounds). JACK BE LITTLE pumpkins (pepo) are small, grow in about 90 days and are perfect for feeding livestock as well as using for human consumption (not just for decoration!). BUTTERNUT squash (moschata) matures in just 90 days and really stores well for winter. TABLE QUEEN acorn squash (pepo) has a 80 day growing season... short! So... What is the fastest-growing longest-storing heirloom winter squash?

-POTATOES: This is my first year of growing potatoes. Well, not quite true. We tried in 2008 but a neighbor killed them. How quickly do potatoes grow? From planting the seed potatoes to harvesting, how long does it take?

-MILLET/AMARANTH: This is our first year to grow these. From planting seed to harvesting, how long does it take?

Beans and radishes grow really quickly, as do greens, berries, summer squash, and a few other items. If tomatoes are started in doors and helped along with water-wells after planted outdoors, they will produce quite well before 90 days are up.

As long as we have balanced stores (as in storage, not shopping), and if we have sweets from time to time, we should be fine.

We had already started to set up a "grow room" in our house with "natural light" (grow light) bulbs. So far we just have seedlings, plus full-grown lettuce and strawberries. By the end of this Summer we'll have harvested from this room basics like carrots, radishes, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, zucchini, etc. Maybe even beans!

Of course, there's always installing a greenhouse which is what we plan to do. Not exactly good for growing grains (corn, amaranth, millet, etc) or winter squash (pumpkin, butternut, etc.) Maybe I could grow these in the yard, and put some in pots too (to bring into the garage during early frosts). Perhaps that would work.

I guess I should re-qualify here that I'm NOT panicking, and I'm not being the little red hen, or crying wolf. We moved to this little 2 acre plot because we want to be self-reliant and grow just about everything we eat. That, of course, includes growing for our chickens, quail, goat and rabbit. So being prepared JUST IN CASE the alertists are right is just a good idea. In my opinion.

Rambling while writing. It's what I do best!


Michaela Dunn Leeper said...

IIRC potatoes can withstand colder temps since they are underground. We're just north of CO, and our grow season is *supposed to be* 101 days. Max. Last year was our first garden in the Rockies. We're accustomed to the South where we grow 8 months out of the year. Last year was cooler & shorter according to the locals, so I too, wonder- how much shorter can it get? I've already got many starts inside, many more to do & have peas outside.

This year I did choose some cooler temp/short season crops, many with names like "Russian" & "Yugoslav" in the names. I look forward to reading about your shorter season crops as you grow them

Vikki and the Kid said...

I almost hate to post this, but I actually googled "IIRC potatoes"!!! Ok, so I now know that IIRC = If I Remember Correctly. Duh.

Anyway, I did some more research and found that days to maturity are: Early varieties 70 to 90 days, mid season varieties 90 to 120 days, late varieties 120 to 140 days.

I too will be purchasing seeds for next year based on a growing season of 90 days or less.