I have some really cute photos from over the weekend of T in the garden. He has been going out there every day. “Anything new in the garden?” he asks.
Today at preschool he even spent extra time in the garden — voluntarily! Wow.
I haven’t been able to pick my strawberries every night and they are getting so much pest damage. As far as I can tell, it’s mostly a new generation of sow bugs (those pill bugs) and tiny slugs. There are some other newer pests and I think there still might be some stink bugs around.
Today I finished putting out compost, perhaps too thickly, along with oyster shell lime, for another pea bed. Z set up drip on that bed tonight! I also put the oyster shell out on what I hope will be a new greens bed. Z put more compost out there with the tractor this weekend. I didn’t realize that it still needs a lot of smoothing out — and perhaps more compost. I really need to water the piles of purchased compost- that stuff is SO dusty!
I tried raking the recently-mowed grass out of the old garlic and onion bed today to see what would be left. There is still 4 hours’ worth of hoeing to do. There are healthy dock plants every 8 inches – they should be dug out, but I believe the ground is way too hard for that.
Z did a lot of mowing over the weekend- he did most of the broccoli bed, leaving the flowers (he ran the mower up at least a foot in the air :/) and the stuff at the head of the bed, which we actually ate from last night :). he mowed the 1/3 of the south side that had our cover crops and most of our pigweed, as well as the 5th bed of pumpkins. There’s still the one healthiest-looking plant there, but it’s not getting water anymore. And he also mowed the bed next to the strawberries, but the weeds are growing back very quickly.
Today was a crazy day- I had to do a lot of picking up around the house, and in the course of doing laundry I noticed that my car’s brake lights were stuck on. I had to get my car jumpstarted and leave it running until it was time to pick T up from school.
I did manage to get out to the garden for 15 or 20 minutes this morning! Guess what?! We have little broccoli heads on several Waltham Broccoli plants. Waltham is the city I lived in until I was 22 years old! I transplanted these seedlings the day before my father, who was a Waltham native, died. Here is a small amount of info about Waltham broccoli, which apparently was developed at the UMass Field Station in Waltham in 1950: http://ccgrow.com/phytotheca/broccoli-waltham-29/ It’s clearly not the correct variety for our hot northern California September and early October. I have several friends who work at or go to the Waltham Fields Community Farm on a regular basis 🙂 Here is a pdf with a little bit of info about the City of Waltham and the UMass Waltham Field Station and possibilities for “development” on the property.
On Saturday night, T and I planted some carrots and radishes. We’ll see if anything comes of that- there’s a chance that I’ll accidentally weed them out in the semi-darkness some evening. I harvested greens that night, which means that I also did some weeding.
On Sunday evening I picked about 1.75 baskets of strawberries, which was about 1.3 of the strawberry area. Ooh, tomorrow I can buy strawberry crowns. I also weeded the east side of the newer pea area, and… well, I bought like 6 six-packs of seedlings today (what is wrong with me?! well, I was thinking of maybe replacing the collards and kales that are bolting), so I looked around and tried to figure out where I can plant them. I think that rather than trying to tuck in 1 here and 3 there where other plants haven’t made it, I should use the empty bed to the left of the east bed of greens. It was prepared at the same time as the others, and I’ve kept up with the pigweed for the most part, but it is covered in bell beans and (mostly) grass. Like, it’s hard to find the drip tape. So I should move the drip tape aside and mow and then I guess hoe and put compost down before putting the drip tape back. I’ve been using just a metal file to sharpen my hoes, and I have to say that it is so ineffective! An angle grinder would be better, but I don’t have a good space for using power tools, and of course I don’t want super-sharp tools around the toddler.
When/if my sprained wrist gets all the way better (and why do I feel like when T bumped into me at one point this afternoon, I got some sort of knee injury like a hyperextension or something?) I have a lot of work to do out there- need to put compost out (I’d prefer to use the shovel and wagon, but this requires time, no kid, less pain, and no wind… but the benefit is: exercise, which I feel like I’m not getting out there these days), hoe out existing plants, get drip lines in, and plant garlic (bought seed for that, too – and can onion sets really work at this time of year?) and get ready for strawberries. Whew!
Oh, the slugs are getting bigger every day- some are over an inch long. I killed so many out there and there are so very many more. This is why I don’t want to try to grow lettuce – yet.
Today I didn’t get out to the garden until 6:00. The new greens seemed to be pretty much ok after the raccoon family’s visit – there were small digging marks near some plants, but mostly on the other side of the drip tape from where I’d put the seedlings last night.
I picked strawberries, pulled out dead leaves, and killed tons of slugs and about 3 cucumber beetles. I got less than a basket from 3/4 of our berry planting :(. The end of the season is coming quickly. We’d get a lot if we picked every three days and there weren’t so many bad ones! I usually throw the really bad ones on the ground and pick them up afterwards so they’re not just sitting out there like free food for rodents, but I didn’t get time to do that. T and Z returned with takeout right at sunset.
I picked green beans from our 2nd to last pole bean planting. We missed a bunch earlier in the week that are now really big.
I’m trying to find strawberry crowns that I can plant this month. People always recommend Chandler as a Junebearing variety. I’m having some trouble finding it (some do say to plant it in August, maybe that’s why?). A lot of places have early-season varieties that are good for planting zones 5-8, but we are “9b.” Sunset calls us zone 14, iirc, so I get really confused and can never remember our zone. But like, could I get away with planting a really early variety? Maybe if I can get just 25 of them, I could try. I got ahold of a commercial nursery that said to call back in 2 weeks, and they recommended just one of their varieties for our zone. They sell in lots of 1500 so I’d have to find some folks to go in on them with me… Last year I tried to get in on 2 different orders and none of them came thru for me (“we got shorted on our order”). So we’ll see!