No, I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ve just been sick. Still. This cold is brutal, but at least it’s not the stomach bug that’s going around T’s school. Speaing of cold, it was 35 degrees last night, according to our wildlife camera, and we had our first rain today. Not a lot, just a few showers. A total of .15 inches, according to the weather folks.
I finished transplanting my old seedlings and got some more yesterday. Today I put a sixpack of collards and half of one of broccoli into the ground. Picked 5 ears of corn on my way out! Zak picked a lot of peppers – the padrons, I think, and the habaneros, and is trying to dehydrate them. He moved the habaneros out of the kitchen because the smell reminded him too much of getting burned from peppers.
Z did some mowing (mostly our yard and along the driveway, but also next to the corn, which is good because the western neighbors entered from that side last week and it looked terrible!) with the pushmower this weekend, and did some chisel plowing this morning while it wasn’t windy and it seemed that the rain was able to catch most of the dust. I want to get cover crops into the ground! It’s a bit early, but not if we are having an early winter (?).
This morning I made a list of the fall/winter cover crop seed that I have in the house. I tried to organize all of the seeds that are in the 2 containers, but I was there too long with T and he disorganized them. (roots, summer crops, herbs, flowers, and maybe lettuce/greens is how I organize them, with tons of packs of peas lying around, too)
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.
I spent around $35 ordering 4 books from Chelsea Green Publishing because they are having a huge sale (I saved over $90 off of normal prices!). I feel bad not getting the books from a local bookstore, but on the other hand, those prices! And at least it’s not Amazon.
Last night, T hung out in the garden for quite a while. At first he was trying to walk off some miles while playing Pokemon Go, but he also got involved in some projects, such as trying to get water out of the hose, which was off. Whatever keeps you busy, kid. When he comes to the garden in the evening, he often asks me to show him what’s new 🙂 He loves to pick green tomatoes. Z found some really nice corn (see below). I didn’t get much done this week between the street getting paved and T staying home sick one morning. Last night I did turn the compost and pick 4 1/2 baskets of strawberries, and tonight I weeded and pulled bad leaves out of the tomatoes and peppers (east side of the bed). More pics below.
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-posts to try to hold the lower branches off the ground. Now I can weed, fertilize, and pull out dead leaves -time permitting!
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 one 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.
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!
Today I harvested 3 cabbages, 3 kinds of kale kale (the kale is starting to bolt), dill, 3 kinds of basil, broccoli (including the kind of tight heads that one finds at the store) and broccoli greens, nearly 4 baskets of strawberries, a handful of Sungold cherry tomatoes, and a handful of onion greens. I picked 3 carrots to see what they were like- tiny and without roots. One was rotten halfway up the carrot. Too much water and too many gophers? Soil disease? Time will (or may) tell.
For dinner Z made pasta with sausages and pesto with our basil and a salad with cabbage, the neighbors’ lemon cucumbers, our dill, onion, garbanzo beans (gotta have ’em), and lemon juice.
My father-in-law picked a basket or two of blackberries, and my mother-in-law picked like 4 baskets of the old strawberries (how did she find that many?).
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.
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.
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.
I’ve been keeping up with picking the Chandler and summer strawberries and some compost turnings, but little else this week. My little sweetie pie missed 3 days of preschool due to being sick. And he’s been clingy!
Today he and his dad went to the park and grocery shopping, and I got out to the garden. I picked a quick basket of berries, then fertilized: the corn and beans, the new strawberries, the tomatoes, the greens, the potatoes, and the old strawberries. Yay! Then I hoed the mostly unplanted new sunflower bed and part of the one I planted some 10 days ago. I was on the phone with my friend who was complaining that it was 82 in San Francisco (she was driving with air conditioning on). It got up to at least 87 here while I was out there, and was 80 inside until around 9pm.
The broccoli raab bolted really fast and I need to pull it out. The dino kale and the one collard plant that’s left from the winter look like they are about to bolt :(. One of the tomatillos is really huge! The chandlers are, I think, starting to slow down. We have missed a lot of really good berries in the old patch. At the end of the evening I got to plant 10 or 15 feet of sunflowers with T (I think he put about 15 seeds into a deep hole he dug, lol) and I tucked in a few melon seeds, too. I shouldn’t have stayed out until 8 because that did not help him to get to bed. I think I’ve reached peak evening garden time (and thus garden quantity time) and have to start coming in earlier to try to help get him to bed earlier. I’d really prefer to always be outside at sunset. 😦
Today Z finished prepping for 3 rows of winter squash/pumpkins. He was working on chisel plowing a bed or two on the south side when he sheared a bolt on the chisel plow and bent the top link on the tractor! Photos are all his. He thinks that he can probably still use the landscape rake, lol. It’s probably not a good idea! File that under #ridiculousthingsthathappen