Getting ready for rain

I realized yesterday that my biggest priority in getting ready for this week’s rains was to cover the ground between the strawberry and tomato beds. There’s room enough for a whole bed there, although it’s nice to have a nice, wide path in which to throw bad fruit and not have to step on it while I’m picking other fruit. There were a lot of spots where the ground was bare and hard because the gophers had left mounds that had dried out in the sun. I am trying to limit opportunities for rain-caused erosion. Today I finished picking up the rest of the fruit and leaves off the ground there and put out 10 wagonloads of compost. It might be a bit heavy, but when the tomato plants are gone, I might be able to spread some of it at the edge of the bed where I apparently did a really good job of hoeing the weeds out.

Brown leaves visible on the ground
Behind these zinnias is the space between the tomatoes and the strawberries. Brown leaves are visible in this photo. They have all been picked up and composted.

The other thing that I did today was start a new compost pile. I had a big pile of corn stalks, leaves, husks, and bad ears from when I pulled out about half of the corn plants the other day, plus some other weeds and some 13 buckets (5 of them had bad strawberries and some tomatoes in them, and there were a lot of corn cobs and husks in the buckets from the house, lol). The compost pile is still like half the size it needs to be to compost properly. #goals While I was building the pile, T did some walking around the garden all by himself (with pokemon go on his dad’s phone, of course). Yay for exercise and his sense of accomplishment! Boo for screen time.

The amount of rain we’re expected to get in this week’s storms has been decreased, thankfully. I’m still trying to figure out how the fava bed can be prepared so I can plant into it- it was chisel plowed but not raked, iirc.

Z is putting a lot of pressure on me to get the pumpkins sold. I guess we need a marketing person, lol. People are really not willing to pay very much for pumpkins. And the stores charge WAY too little for them!

view from northwest corner of garden includes grass on the road around it!
Grass is visible on road around the garden (far right) after last week’s rains

 

These shorter days are driving me nuts!

I’ve had such a hard time keeping up with the strawberries that I’ve had to start picking in the morning. I think they’re better in the evening after all the water they soaked up has gotten processed (I could be wrong). Today I managed to pick the west side (about 3 baskets) in the evening and pass them over the fence. The neighbors were having a party. I can’t remember if they invited us in advance or not — I certainly didn’t put it on the calendar if they did! Yay for picking a whole side one one day (that’s around 60 plants, but I used to do both sides in 40 minutes). The pests are terrible.

Last night (Saturday) T and I planted about 30 row feet of snap peas. Yay! I need to plant more, but today we bought more greens seedlings and their new bed just needs a bit more water before I plant. On the subject of the greens, the bed I planted a few weeks ago has been dug in by the raccoons. Grr! We need to take the row cover off to see how many plants remain. I found one under there, a russian kale (those seem to really thrive here, which stinks since I don’t like them these days), that was really big and robust-looking!

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the raccoons dug along the drip tape šŸ˜¦

We’ve been struggling to harvest stuff. Z got a bunch of things yesterday and made a salsa, a pasta sauce, a cucumber-dill-Sungold tomato-onion salad, and I don’t remember what else. Yum! I might try to make yellow crookneck squash chips since we have so many… baseball bats.

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“You don’t even eat much squash!”

Tonight I picked 2 baskets of purple pole beans šŸ™‚ Sadly, they were mostly pretty big. I’m glad to be getting a good amount, since so few plants have survived.

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peppers, tomatoes, and Sungold cherry tomatoes from our garden

I literally have so little time for compost-making that we keep buying buckets. I’ve been trying out the idea of using weeds that I’ve pulled to cover up areas where gophers have dug. I like the idea of keeping the soil covered. I also like the idea of keeping organic matter in the garden. I’m not sure if it’s ok to provide potential habitat for pests such as voles.

The weather has been cool and foggy for much of the days – today I think the sun didn’t come out until around 1:30pm!

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pole beans and summer squash; old allium bed; Chandler strawberries; three beds of pumpkins/gourds; old greens; corn; pear trees; “mountain” and fog

 

The in-laws rock out again

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Z’s parents working in the tomatoes. Photo taken from bathroom šŸ™‚

Yay, my in-laws helped me tie the tomatoes so they are up off the ground a bit. We tied some of the branches to the tomato cages (for the plants that had them) and they strung a u-or-v-shape between t-postsĀ to try to hold the lower branches off the ground. Now I can weed, fertilize, and pull out dead leaves -time permitting!

Bartlett pears that we picked
Pears from trees that are in our garden

Z’s dad also got out there and picked just about 2 buckets of pears from the 3 trees that are in the garden. Pear season is on! And then, guess what? They went inside and cut up pears (a website recommended 1/4 to 1/2 an inch, but these were much thinner) and added some lemon juice (I got a ton of it at costco even tho it’s not organic, because i use it for cleaning the toilet), and put them into the dehydrator! So I need a vacuum sealer. Can’t afford to pay for a new oneĀ unless I sell like $160 worth of produce 1st.

I got out a bit later and finished making the compost pile. T helped for a while – he loves to spray out the buckets. He made some rainbows in the air, too. It’s still a bit less than 2/3 the size that it needs to be, but it might be the biggest one I’ve ever made. I need to get some compost bins for storing it once it’s cooled down. That would keep the compost out of the sun and moist.

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sunflowers- amazing height variations (probably different varieties as this was a mix)
Collard greens in a bed that has corn, beans, and calendula
Our beautiful collard plant

The (1st?) pea bed now has water lines (I straightened them this morning). I noticed that the line for the pea plants has to be on the same side as where the trellis netting meets the t-post so the plants are closer to the netting. That’s not the case this time.

I picked over a half a gallon of strawberries last night, and a huge Armenian cucumber, and some basil and dill. Today my father-in-law picked almost a half-gallon of ageing blackberries!

A trip to the farm supply store

This morning, Z and T planted some potatoes while I worked on the old strawberries. I picked a basket and also pulled out half of a 5-gallon bucket of junk. So now I have 5 buckets of old leaves and strawberries, and 1 or 2 buckets of kitchen scraps (including lots more strawberries and their cuttings that came off so I could freeze them) to add to the compost pile. I’ll consider it a new start. The compost pile I started 10 days ago is still warmer than my hands, so that’s good, but it’s pretty small! There’s also a problem with the inconsistent particle size (things like squash rinds, broccoli stems, etc can really mess up the cohesion that’s needed to maintain the heat of the whole pile).

We went to the farm supply store today (tho it really is more of a garden-scale store) and got more seedlings, more seeds, 5 or 6 tomato cages, some more fertilizers, those arm-protectors that will be helpful with the blackberries that are coming in a month or so, and another hat, since we have to buy the XL ones when we find them. All three of us have huge heads. I need to look at my receipt, because that doesn’t sound like $200 worth of stuff.

The seedlings were the “end of the long weekend” leftovers. Some were pretty rootbound. I watered my plants before I brought them into the store to pay for them, since several (especially the Sweetwater ones in the round pots) were pretty dry. Tonight I planted 7 tomatoes, 2 tomatillos, and about 5 teeny tiny basils. The tomatoes I transplanted yesterday, especially my Sungold cherry tomatoes, look so yellow! (they are at the top right in the bed in this picture). I am worried that my tomatoes might be too close to my Sweet Ann and Seascape strawberries. Only time will tell. The strawberries don’t look so great- lots of tiny red spots on the leaves. I will have to look that up sometime, huh?

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2016 tomato bed (#1?). Photo taken before I put some tiny basil seedlings in-between some of the tomatoes

Is it bad that I am planning on putting the peppers that I bought into the tomato bed? I sure hope not.

Make Your Own Compost seminar

Yet another thing I would go to if I could. Hm, actually I could ask about an extra afternoon of preschool…

At my (more recent) alma mater:Ā http://ucanr.edu/makecompost

Make Your Own Compost Seminar forĀ landscapers & small-scale farmers

Wednesday June 8th, 9am-2:30pm
SRJC Shone Farm, Forestville CA
$25 through June 6, $40 after and at door. Includes lunch.
Register: http://ucanr.edu/makecompost

Feasibility, Benefits, Regulations, and Local Resources

Speakers include David Crohn, UC Compost Specialist; Will Bakx of Sonoma Compost; Andrew Logansbill, NRCS Soil Conservatist; Paul Vossen, UC Specialty Crops Farm Advisor for Sonoma & Marin Counties; Leonard Diggs, Shone Farm Manager; Paul Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm; Paul Bernier, Sonoma County farmer; Josh Beniston, SRJC Sustainable Ag Instructor; Michael Scott, Sonoma County Farmer.

I took Will’s #compost class at the Junior College and I’m interested to hear from him about the state of compost in our county (didn’t go to the event about this the other week). Also very interested in several of the other speakers…