Winter garden notes

Hello, dear imaginary reader,

Our rainy season has finally gotten going in earnest. We’ve now had 64% of our normal rainfall for this point in the rain year, which began on October 1st. At this point last year, we’d gotten 171%. Since this is an El Niño year, a lot of rain is expected to start falling in a few weeks. I have not managed to fertilize with the fish/kelp stuff. There have been preschool events, home repairs, and a sick child in the past month.

We have had a lot of frosty nights, but our garden has been holding up ok. We still have greens, although we are down to one chard plant (we had 8. I am hoping that what ate them was “only” gophers and not some sort of nematode or something). I still go out and pick a few days’ worth of kale and collards, and what little broccoli there is (and what cabbages there were), every few days. The plants at the northeast end of the garden are all pretty stunted, which I am guessing is due to the soil (that, or late planting) – something to keep an eye on.

T and I have scattered rye and vetch a few times. I can’t see the vetch against the dirt once it’s wet, but I can tell when the rye I planted is still there and when  it seems to have been eaten by birds! I think the wheat has started to sprout. Our very haphazardly-sown bell beans have roots but no shoots yet. The Chandler strawberries have up to 4 leaves, while the Sweet Anns (was that their name) are, in some cases, starting to have leaves. I did some good weeding of the garlic around Thanksgiving – this has made it possible to see the garlic and the few onions that have come up. 🙂 I wish that I had had extra straw to scatter in the berry and allium beds, because in some places you can see damage from the rain hitting the soil.

I planted some peas at the end of the pea row a few weeks back, and the seedlings are visible now. The purple podded fava beans at the end of the strawberries have also come up 🙂

I need to start a new compost pile, and I don’t want to put it where the ground is very mushy. I do, however, want it to still be inside the garden. I’m very confused about what to do. I think I will need to buy straw for the pile (the last pile didn’t have enough browns and is still kind of stinky), but it’s very hard to find organic straw, and even harder to transport it with a carseat in the car. SIGH!

I’m hoping to do some crop planning for the spring someday soon. The seed catalogs all look awesome!



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