Here’s why I need to mark my rows

Because my strawberry rows are a mess! Planted 25 this weekend. It fe

els good to have my hands in the dirt.


Book sale=saved tons!

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.

Z picking tomatillos; T picking tomatoes


need to look up these bug eggs
and we have blossom end rot on our peppers – need to put some oyster shell lime before we get any more problems (that’s why I weeded tonight)

Pumpkins are growing!

Tonight I planted the first peas of the season. Yay!

Please tell me that this is a Cinderella pumpkin! I think that’s what it should be.

a small pumpkin that's growing in our garden
hopefully a young Cinderella pumpkin
Kakai pumpkin
I sure hope there isn’t any cross-breeding with 2nd generation hybrids that are across the driveway!
these might be orange tomatoes

Finally passed some food over the fence!

5 cabbages harvested on July  25th

I texted my neighbor (on the garden side) the other day to tell him we have veggies to share, and didn’t hear back. I persisted because the fridge was so full- tonight I said “and strawberries.” That got him out to the fence! I gave him the half-basket I’d picked, the oldest one from the fridge, 2 cabbages, and a half a bag of green, yellow, and purple beans. T helped carry one of the cabbages, and the neighbor’s kid carried that one to their residence.

I also called the neighbors on the other side of us and they said they are drowning in green beans and cabbages, but would try to help out by taking some stuff and bringing lemon cucumbers. I think lemon cucumbers in northern California are a bit like zucchini everywhere- once they come on, there are too many. Speaking of which, I didn’t pick green beans last night and there were a lot that were too big. I put most of them into the compost.

I made a call about delivery of compost from the company that I and many other local sustainable growers am/are loyal to, and found that I could save $40 on delivery of 20 yards, or spend $60 less to get 40 yards from the other company I’ve been looking at. When I put it that way, I guess I should just get 20 yards delivered! For some reason, both are located in Marin County (atm) and neither is in Sonoma County. But it’s from farther away (as they lost their site last year, muy complicado), and they are only CDFA organic rather than OMRI-approved (they are on a new site this year). It’s not clear to me if this “organic” designation actually means anything.


Sick kid=less garden time

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


Productive Friday!

On Thursday evening I planted more corn and green, yellow, and purple green beans. I snuck a few more Blacktail Mountain watermelon seeds in, too. I don’t have a lot of luck with this method. I also tried to fill in some of the spots where I had poor germination (eaten seed?) in the last planting. That was 2 weeks ago, oops.

This morning (Friday, a day that peaked around 93 or 94 degrees) I tried to smooth out the west-most beds. The soil is so sandy there! There is still a lot of grass, which I wish weren’t a problem. Then I prepped some more ground for potatoes. I only went about 12 feet because there’s no drip tape past where we’ve already planted, so the soil is really dry in the top several inches. Then I forget if I did something else (maybe checked the Chandlers?) but I went and picked some old strawberries. I put Camarosas in one basket and Seascapes in the other, but I don’t quite know which is which.

This evening T and I planted sunflower seeds! I had a big bag of mixed sunflowers, and a packet of old Mammoth sunflowers (packed for 2014) and another packet of a big sunflower. I tried to put the big ones in the middle of the bed just in case they can block some light from hitting the house, which is on the other side of the garden. I want to cover that bed with compost but I am a bit concerned that we only have 4 or 5 yards left. There are way different bugs in that bed than I’ve seen anywhere else in the garden. We’ll see if they just eat the seeds, or what. I also worry that I could have planted the seeds too deep.

To do: hoe the greens, add all those buckets of stuff I’ve got to the existing compost pile – it will be much bigger that way, pick strawberries, plant dry beans, plant flowers, plant cover crops (Z needs to prepare a lot of beds for this), plant pole beans, plant the other sunflower bed, go to herb fair and get some perennials to plant…where?

Z has pretty much mowed the whole back area with the tractor. He moved the tractor and mower back under cover tonight because he’s noticing new rust. A few mornings ago the fog was down to the ground, so I’m guessing that that’s why. That was the day I had all this weird wilting on the Chandlers (did I write about that?).

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?

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.

Got a few tomatoes in

Z – far left- putting out a line of drip tape

The garden is really, really coming along now! Z did some more plowing and raking. The tomato bed looks almost perfect. Several other beds are as ready as they are going to get (sunflowers, possible pole beans, or some cover crops), and I was trying to straighten out the potato bed this morning. We put in irrigation for the other beds this morning and afternoon. It was rough since there was a toddler in the garden who only wanted to breastfeed. I think he wasn’t feeling well today. I was reminded of why I am always happy to do just about everything except irrigation- putting some of that stuff together really hurts my hands! And I hate how things tend to pop off. But anyhow, we’ve got some drip and, for now, some sprinklers.

me and T in the garden. You can see that my shirt is pulled up a bit from breastfeeding.

This evening I planted our 6 tomato plants (2 cherry, 4 others- gotta have those Sungolds!). I’m hoping to get more plants on Monday. It’ll be a holiday, but the farm supply store is open for 5 hours – I checked! I’d like to get the potatoes in, too, but we didn’t prep them for planting at all (didn’t cut them and let them dry). I’d also like to get some smaller-seeded crops planted to keep the greens, potatoes, and tomatoes company. Dill, basil, carrots – that sort of thing.

grey kitty catches some shade under our wagon. T’s feet are visible nearby, and it’s clear that she’s looking up at him. Moments later he grabbed her roughly.

I didn’t get around to picking strawberries. I did pull a couple of perfect-looking ones out at the end of the night and they were squishy. 😦 I’ve got to go cut some up for freezing before bed!

Getting a sense of things in the garden

Yesterday, I planted the rest of the garlic, and the onions (not recommended for this time of year, I’ve read, as onion sets in winter will likely only yield green onions. Last year we planted them in the fall and lost the whole crop. this spring i planted seedlings and got 2 onions- the animals kept digging up the bed and eventually I wasn’t able to replant them all). Zak did some re-mowing in the garden. I picked some strawberries. I cut them up and froze them that night.

There were all these things that we would have done if the #norovirus hadn’t been in town.

I did make it out there at sunset. I picked some dino kale in case I can eat greens tomorrow morning, and picked what broccoli I was able to find in the older bed. I was second-guessing myself and wondering if some of those heads were actually collard greens. We need to come up with a better way of marking beds. The seedling labels tend to get moved around by our little assistant. Z was surprised when I told him tonight that I’d like to cut out the old broccoli plants – there’s a lot of leaf for not much broccoli. I tried to explain that it’s our first time growing it – and we’re experimenting with varieties, aren’t we? We planted De Cicco and Waltham varieties. Hopefully we’ll get bigger heads next time.

I also want to cut or pull out the corn. I keep finding bent-over plants and parts of ears on the ground. I doubt that the raccoons have left us much. Next year we need to plant corn much earlier (and more often, as this was our only planting). I think the nights this fall were too damp to be able to dry corn properly. I’d been fantasizing about grinding up the corn and making cornbread to share with family around Thanksgiving. Ha!

I think that our best crop of peas in what remains of this fall will be the first planting, the one that’s flowering now. Maybe we will even have some for Thanksgiving. The other plantings are too far from the newer trellis, and in some cases too wet.

The raccoons dug up a lot of the garlic last night. I think it’s because I put out fish meal in some places. Grrr! I think that next time we use it we have to leave the bed fallow for a bit so the raccoons can dig it up. Maybe I’ll do this with the corn bed, although I really want to get some cover crops planted…