Blackberry harvest has begun!

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Himalayan blackberries

Today while we were walking past the Himalayan blackberries along the driveway (with a septic guy), I checked to see if there were ripe berries. Just in time, since there are tons of ripe berries! I went out and picked maybe a basket’s worth or so with T. He ate and ate and ate them! I hadn’t realized that they were that far along. They are delicious. My inlaws had made it sound like they’d only gotten a half a basket on Tuesday. Now there are a lot more than that, and the photo shows a small portion of the closest patch to the house.

Sad broccoli plants. Bad gophers!
Broccoli plants damaged by gophers.

The wildlife is really starting to impact the garden- 4 broccolis have been affected by gophers in the last 2 days. One or two are still holding on, if sideways. I put the others into the compost. To work on for the future: bigger heads.

Small hole where animals dug into the soil to eat pumpkin seeds, eat bugs, or find out what the fish smell was from (fertilizer)
Spot where raccoons or skunks dug up pumpkin seeds

The raccoons dug up approximately 5 of the 8 little “mounds” where I planted pumpkin seeds the other night. Boo. 😦 Fortunately I have another packet. Z thinks I should wait another few days to replant, since the animals tend to dig on more than one night. Possible reasons for the digging: use of fish/kelp meal right as I was planting (so it wasn’t watered in for a period of time before I planted), and use of compost on the surface. There’s another gopher mound along where I planted the pole beans the other night. May need to replant that section.

Z got so much done today! He chiseled 11 beds (8 pictured) and then after I took this picture he got them most of the way raked. I am not happy about the “dust” that was blowing around. He was working while it was too windy. And yes, the soil was too dry.

Today I harvested: blackberries, kale, broccoli, basil, purslane, strawberries (ate in the field), and beans (three huge handfuls). T was excited to carry two of those handfuls of beans into the house! They sure get big quickly.

Z has an interesting idea: we could grow a bunch of things that local plant breeder Luther Burbank grew. Maybe some spineless cactus, Shasta daisies (need those for the strawberries!!), etc.

a busy week!

I had to check what I wrote in my last post, since it’s been a while!

I did a bit of digging and probably doubled the length of Z’s potato bed, but never got around to putting in a longer line of drip tape and planting. I was going to work on digging this morning, but then Z pointed out that mowing would be a good idea. I think I cut more than half of the grass in the garden bed area. While I was out there, I realized that the winter greens could go in the northwest 1/8th of the garden. So we should get cover crops in there soon. I also mowed where we want to put tomatoes, and alongside the newer strawberry beds 🙂

Z did some chisel plowing this afternoon. Even after 2 or 3 passes, the beds still need a lot of work. Like rototilling work. There are humongous clods and there’s no actual bed to plant in :(. I wish we could leave it this way. Maybe for some cover crops, but not for flowers or veggies! Hopefully we can get the potato situation dealt with and get water onto some of these beds so we can plant stuff. This is a holiday weekend, so by Sunday or Monday there probably won’t be many good seedlings left at the stores. Maybe this gives me a few days to get things ready before buying more plants (?). I also don’t have a potassium-rich fertilizer for pre-planting (for the tomatoes and ‘taters).

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a garden bed that has been chisel plowed. Note the huge clods of dirt. I think maybe this bed could be for pole beans

On Friday I did some fertilizing (with Biomin Booster 153). The older corn and beans had been looking pretty stressed. I guess I put kind of a lot on the strawberries (though I ran out about 80% of the way thru the old strawberries, oops). The summer berries had been looking stressed.

I spent so much time this week pulling strawberry runners! I swear that you can pull a couple off a plant and then 2 plants later you can look back and the 1st plant has more runners. The summer plants look like they are slowing down their runner production. I kept too many of them, but I guess I can thin later. Those are probably famous last words that led me last year to have a bed that looks like this:

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Old strawberry bed. The green grass in the background has already dried out and was mowed on Saturday

I think my newer plantings of strawberries’ roots are too shallow. It’s pretty easy to pull a whole (what do you call it?) section of a plant off when I’m just trying to break a runner off near the plant. I should be using one of those little pairs of scissors that people use for trimming herb, shouldn’t I? I actually do have such a pair, but it’s in a hard-to-get-to place in the house.

The latest planting of beans and corn has emerged. It’s past time to plant more!

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corn and beans seedlings. Note end of grey kitty’s tail in front left

It’s amazing how much the weeds can differ from one bed to another. There is so much pigweed around the corn and beans. Thankfully I haven’t seen much in the strawberries. Bindweed is terrible everywhere.  There is some bermudagrass at the end of the bean bed. I have been pulling it out and putting it on a gopher mound to make it visible so I could put it into the green waste bin. I think I forgot to do that and mowed it this morning. D’oh!

Most of the greens that I planted last week are still there, but haven’t grown much – except for the Fordhook Giant chard! I think Z ran over some greens with the tractor tires – we’ve been trying to get the potato bed to go in-between the greens.

It’s hard to explain just how dry the soil is out there. After I mowed today, I went out with a rake and tried to cover a lot of the bare soil (from old and new gopher activity) with some of the cut grass.

Worked in the garden more than went to the gym!

I worked in the garden more days than I went to the gym this week (4 days vs. 3! on one day I didn’t do either because we took our kid to the doctor)! This was partly due to not wanting to waste time driving while I have a sick kid at home/staying close in case I was really, really needed. I need to see someone to get a weights workout that’s tailored to preventing some of my aches and pains. I also need to do more stretching- I used to do a long stretch/PT every night. These days I usually only do my arms and feet, I only do my situp-type abs at the gym, and I only do water aerobics 2-3 times a week…

Tonight I weeded the strawberries. This involves an increasing amount of pulling off flower buds because the plants need to grow some more and we need to get past the threat of frost before they start producing fruit. It was a bit too wet to be walking out there today- we got about 3/4 of an inch yesterday.

Tomorrow I hope to do the poor onions. I accidentally mowed some of them the other day because I couldn’t tell where the row started. I do have the plants inside of the drip tape, but I couldn’t always see the drip tape to know to avoid it. I need to pull out a row of sprinklers before they get overgrown by the grass, too.

I’m feeling frustrated that I can’t find my companion planting notes- I thought they were on the first page in my notebook. Perhaps that page got torn out by little hands. Anyhow, note to self: marigold to deter cucumber beetles. Also: figure out how to view things on the blog based on tags.

Speaking of little hands, Z and T picked some greens while I was weeding. 🙂 Z’s dad showed me the pruning that he did the other day- mostly just cutting back dozens of watersprouts from under the three pear trees that are in the garden. The poor trees are so sick, and the watersprouts don’t look much better. Now we need to figure out how to get that wood plus the walnut (?) limb that fell this fall out of the garden. I am thinking we have a truck bring it out to another pile of wood near the driveway and chip it all.