Working towards planting stuff

This morning I was running behind because I had a nice chat with a fellow mom when I dropped T off at his school (he goes 2 mornings a week). I was also still taking it slow – today was my first time having kale with my breakfast in almost a week!

When I finally made it to the garden, I worked on raking and moving soil to level out the bed where the next strawberry planting will go. We have about 25 or 30 feet of drip tape out there, which will be fine for the 25ish crowns that I have in the fridge, assuming they are still viable as I haven’t checked on them in a while. I’m never very happy about the soil getting chisel plowed or raked when compost wasn’t applied first, and there are some weird things about the soil in the south side of the field. It sounds like a former owner brought in soil to cover up a, um, small pond that formed in the winter. This might explain the sinkhole that I filled in last fall (or this spring?) at the east edge of the field.

Some late buckwheat that sprouted on the south side of the field
Some late buckwheat that sprouted on the south side of the field
You can click on the image to see a closer-up version.

I was hoping to get out there this evening to throw compost on top of the bed, but it didn’t happen. I also need to hoe out weeds. Speaking of weeds, there is buckwheat out there! I was surprised to see it, since we’ve had some low temperatures- last night at 4:30am the thermometer outside the house said 34 degrees (and my phone backed that up, as it was the temperature that it showed in the morning). Supposedly buckwheat doesn’t like the cold. I barely made it out there tonight to turn the water on for a bit and check to see that there were no major new leaks.

I really want to get fava beans into the ground. I’d like to put some at the end of the Chandler strawberries. The raccoons have still been digging that area (and the garlic and onions) up like crazy. We have a bed that we’ve been saying would be favas, but it got really messed up by the tractor. Z thinks we should put the beans into the 4inch deep furrows and rake over them. That _might_ work, but would the beans be too deep?

National Cat Day Cat Visit

Kitty cat climbing Z
Grey kitty climbing Z

Z picked some dino kale and Grey Kitty seemed very interested in it.

This morning I had a doctor’s appointment so I only got out there for about a half an hour. I straightened out the drip tape on the garlic bed (Z had done this already and I realized that he was lining it up to follow the way the strawberry bed’s tape was laid out, so I had to put some back the way he’d left it earlier in the morning). I pulled a few weeds in the new strawberries – there are a lot! Also, the animals had dug up a few plants.

This evening, I picked a basket or so of strawberries. They seemed to me to be in better shape than yesterday’s. Picking every day and pulling off old leaves can make a really big difference. There are still plenty that have holes, and I threw out a lot that had soft spots from cucumber beetles, sow bugs, etc.

Later, I put compost out over the bed where the garlic will be. I am feeling pretty distressed about the condition of the soil in the paths. And in the beds. Z bought cover crop seed today, so we hope to plant this weekend. Z is concerned that he doesn’t want to put sprinklers out again and have them get lost in the vetch like what happened this spring. Not much rain is predicted for the foreseeable future.

I planted some strawberries!

Planting spinach and strawberries
Planting spinach and strawberries

Tonight I got to plant 19 Chandler strawberries and 18 spinach seedlings of a forgotten variety. I had 2 sixpacks of these seedlings, but since they were never thinned, there are a lot more than 12 plants. T was with me, which was ok at times, like when he was putting compost into planting holes, and not ok at other times, like when he was moving or stepping or sitting on stuff I’d already planted. Right now we have drip tape on roughly 30 feet, but that tape needs to be switched out when I reach the end of it (I started planting in the shorter row tonight after I finished the longer row).

Z mowed all of the rest of the cover crops except for one row. I was like, “we have to leave some habitat!” There are some questions about how that stuff is going to break down with winter around the corner. I guess that we could let the gophers work on it and then plant something in January (?).

Z and Tristan next to our row of sorghum sudangrass
Showing how tall some of the sorghum-sudangrass is

Z finished putting the pea trellis up tonight 🙂

We had visitors this morning, so we harvested a “greens” plant that the gophers had cut off from its roots and sent our friends home with some of the leaves! We have lost 3 plants in the last week or 10 days.

Last night I left the water on on the compost for an hour when I meant to leave it on for like 3 minutes. It was a disaster out there! :/
I hit my sprained hand, especially the most painful fingers, on the table when I was eating tonight. My pinky hurts so much! I hope it is ok.

At least I fertilized!

Raccoon heading towards fence in garden
Raccoon sneaking out of the garden…

I didn’t hit all the areas I wanted to apply Biomin 153 to last week, so I felt it was important to get out there with the fish/kelp mix today. Last week I ran out of time to clean out the sprayer, and I paid for that this week. I started to spray and a little bit came out nicely, and then stopped. I’ve twirled knobs and pressed levers, and I can’t get it to work! So I ended up pouring like 3/4 gallons at a time into a bucket (with a handle) and using it to apply the stuff. I refilled with some water here and there, and I think I still only got to 1 side of the okra.

Need to get on the corn-harvesting thing. And pick strawberries. And beans. And plant things!!! I also need to mow the old cover crops so we can get ready to plant strawberries and stuff in them.

wpid-20150922_185548.jpg
Sorghum-sudangrass

Some of the sorghum-sudangrass is heading out, so that’s interesting. We’re wondering if either our mowers can handle the sections that are 5 feet tall… Also, those spots tend to correspond with leaks in the drip system.

We found one whole row that has sunn hemp in it. I scattered it along with other seeds in some of the other beds, but it definitely was not able to compete with those other cover crops.

There's definitely pigweed mixed in with that sunn hemp!
There’s definitely pigweed mixed in with that sunn hemp!

This is sunn hemp, right?

I was going to mow, but…

I was given something of a “personal morning” and finally made it outside at 11:00. I brought the push mower (http://www.billygoat.com/Product-Categories/Detail/high-weed-mower-residential-commercial) out and walked along the lines of sprinklers to try to make a visible path so I wouldn’t bump into the sprinklers or their poles. I had two sets of two beds to do (see https://farmingmum.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/20150920_104052.jpg?w=300) – one had been mowed before and not watered much after – I think it had been mostly buckwheat, and I think one part is going to be a Junebearing strawberry bed. As I got near the end of a bed of super-green sorghum-sudangrass, I started pulling out tall, mature pigweed plants. Somehow I lost my protective eye wear and I can’t find it again. That area is too wet to mow, anyhow, but I need to find those goggles.

I decided to mow the drier area without the eye wear, and started up the mower with some difficulty. I couldn’t really get it to run at full volume, but finally I let it start mowing. It promptly sputtered to a stop, and I remembered that some drip tape had gotten wrapped up in it at the end of my last mowing. Doh! This time, it actually had spit out two good-sized pieces of tape (the smaller was like 15 inches)!  I was like, I’m not turning over a mower with a full tank of gas in the garden to pull this thing out, so I put it away. I certainly wasn’t going to try later on in a 100 degree day, especially since a slight breeze was starting up and it’s fire season.

So I hoed 3/4 of the unplanted area of the pea bed, in hopes that I’d get back out there this evening to finish hoeing and plant (I didn’t). We ran errands in the afternoon, and I was told to go to the gym (this would guarantee that I’d get a shower). I got home about 15 minutes before dark. Sigh!