Thursday, April 14, 2016

Libraries and Personal Agricultural Studies

By Sara:

I have always loved books.  When Anthony and I committed ourselves to being missionaries, we bought e-book readers and sold all of the hard copies of books that we were able to get in electronic form.  This was very sad for me because I like being able to hold a book in my hands and flip through the pages...but books are heavy.  And since both of us read a lot, it is much easier to transport hundreds of electronic books to another country instead of hundreds of pounds of real books.

All that to say, I am always really excited to go to the library while in the US.  It is amazing.  Much as I love to read fiction, though, I am restraining myself and focusing on non-fiction books to give myself further education on agricultural subjects I will be using in Kenya.

(I read all these books in a week and a half - it wasn't a very busy week for me...)

Anyway, I am learning all sorts of amazing things that I am excited to apply in my work and in my own garden.  I just want to share a few of those facts with you.

I read a book about common garden remedies and how some of them are beneficial and others are just myths that don't actually work.  So I discovered that coffee grounds can be helpful if you sprinkle them around plants like lettuce.  But if you mix the fresh coffee grounds into your garden, instead of sprinkling them on the surface, it can make the soil more acidic, keep plants from being able to use nitrogen, and can suppress the growth of your veggies!

I also found out that powdery mildew does best in hot dry conditions, so you can control it by spraying your plants twice a day with just water - baking soda doesn't actually add anything to the powdery mildew control unless you combine it with oil and soap.

In another book about backyard farming, I learned that tansy is a useful herb to grow because it attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings which will eat aphids.  Apparently it also keeps cucumber beetles away to some extent.

I did a bunch of reading up on bees too and learned that bees are pretty exceptional little creatures.  The forager bees can fly up to 10 kilometers from their hive.  If you compare our size to theirs, it's like us traveling 1300 kilometers.  Bees can also fly about 15 miles per hour (that's about a 4 minute mile...) so unless you're really fast and have some serious endurance, don't try to out run them.

So there are some fun facts for you.  Also, I hope you are inspired to enjoy your local library as much as I am!

No comments:

Post a Comment