Err… cover crop polyculture

Cover crops (bell beans, peas, grasses) with borage and various weeds

The season is on!

I'm trying out 72-cell trays instead of the 48's that I usually start seeds in - hopefully a better use of space
T using our new seeder to put pepper seeds into planting holes

Long time no blog… It takes me so long to write a post- even if I’ve written it in my head already! But, dear blog, I do think of writing on you and possibly even stimulating some discussion. Here’s a quick report.

I’ve started a lot of seeds. We had a really wet and long spring, so the ground is still too wet for planting. In past years I was out all winter putting out wood chips and compost. Last summer we weren’t comfortable buying extra mulches, but I got some last month. Instead of my usual composted wood chips, I have the “vineyard mulch,” which I sure hope doesn’t have anything in it that would inhibit plant growth – but that’s why I’m putting it only on paths. I put a few inches of mulch on the center path in the garden every year, and every year it starts to get bare by mid-summer and the end of spring. So I’m putting that not-quite-finished Vineyard Mulch out, and in some places, to keep it from being slippery or from blowing away in the wind, I’m adding a bit of the wood chips from the crabapple tree that we recently cut down.

Fresh-mowed cover crops

Z flail mowed almost all of the cover crops today 😦  He was supposed to do only the main cover crop area where I want to put our main summer crops, but he went and took out almost all the bell beans, borage, and grass that was out there, as well as the volunteer phacelia. In some cases, the plants were flattened- some were killed and some weren’t. All that I could find of the phacelia was one fallen stem with a wilted flower on it. Z moved the silage tarp and, since he had done it by himself without waiting for me to change into my farm clothes, he complains that his chest muscles hurt. Well, guess what? You have to stretch and you’re not in good enough shape to do it alone. It was really windy today, so we’re lucky that it didn’t try to sneak away from him.

Most successful people put dirt on the edges to hold their tarps down. Our soil doesn’t lend itself to digging when it’s dry, nevermind when it’s still wet! So uh we now have some buckets, a bag of potting soil, some rocks, and some cut grass on it. It’s not straight, though. I want to get permanent bed markers set up this year so we can find our beds each spring and maybe have permanent paths along them.

I’ve started a LOT of seeds- there’s a plant sale at the fundraiser for T’s old preschool next weekend, and then a month after that there’s an auction at the end-of-the-year event at his elementary school. Hopefully I can plant my greens in a week or two.

Kindergarten has gone well – he’s learning Spanish and is very advanced in math. He’s made a few friends, but those kids are mostly cousins, so it’s kind of hard to get close to them. He has started taking more interest in the garden the last few weeks- he’s even more of a summer gardener than I am! I think I might have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Kind of hard to get diagnosed with that. Speaking of diagnoses, my vitiligo has expanded a lot in the last 3 months and I’m finally going to see a dermatologist this week. Not that I expect them to do anything. I’m trying to wear protective gloves when I’m driving or standing around outside, but it’s hard to always be protecting my skin, which is rapidly losing its pigment and now more vulnerable to sunburn. 😦 I’m part of the 3rd generation in my family in a row that’s gotten it.


Stormy weather!

It hadn’t rained for weeks, so the 3 or so inches we’ve gotten in the last 2 or 3 days (2.72 today) are making my garden very unhappy. It’s actually way more widespread than this, I just didn’t want to show the full extent of it that’s visible as one steps into the garden. I brought a wagon to the northwest corner of the garden to get some wood chips and was scared that it was going to sink. It’s the kind of wetness where you know better than to walk on the same place twice, because your feet will sink down several inches when you walk there again.

I was trying to dig and mulch (lol) trenches to drain the water away from the entrance to the well house, but the area I was draining to (the well-mulched northeast path) was inaccessible due to the fact that the whole path is under inches of water 😦

Standing water inches deep in the garden
Standing water inches deep on path down center of garden and along my kale bed

Fire season continues….

We have had horrible air quality and visible ash on plants, a result of the Paradise Fire in Butte County, California. Freezing cold nights. This morning they were predicting a low of 41 degrees F, and now they are saying 33. At least this time they are changing the forecast to reflect the much lower temperatures! It is currently 38 degrees and only 10:30pm. We have had eerie silence due to no wind at times. At others we get winds from the north and/or east – the kind of winds that favor fires. It/I was sad to go from late-summer to late December over the course of two days, and to have the cold continue. The smoke caused a couple of cold days, too. Brr. #ihatewinter