We planted some cover crops!!

Well, I still haven’t planted a whole bed of fava beans (there are some growing with our greens). I pulled out some cover crop and grain seeds today. T was excited about the wheat seed, so we planted that in the nicely tilled bed that I was going to put favas in (and hurt my knee trying to hoe yesterday). The things we do to avoid huge tantrums (successfully).

I also planted Territorial’s “Wintermax” which should have been planted in September. It has tillage radish (I really want to grow that!), hairy vetch (iirc we grew purple vetch last year), and rye. I put this in 4 beds, plus maybe the end of the wheat bed. I added bell beans (some were beans that we grew, and some were from the 50 pound bag of bell bean seed that we bought. I put those seeds in the 4 (or 6, depending how you look at it) west-most beds. They need a lot of work, so hopefully some of these seeds will grow. It’s supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow night.


(not sure why Z raked the end of the south beds- maybe to pull out all the excess grass and dirt.)

I would have gotten a lot more done (maybe), but an old friend who is visiting from out of town came by for a visit with her 3 kids and hubby. It was awesome to watch the kids explore the garden together. They picked strawberries (wow, there were some to pick! i hadn’t picked in something like a week) – there were actually some undamaged big Albions. They hung out on the pile of compost. The little girl covered up some of the seeds that were on the surface (we didn’t get around to raking them in). It was so sweet. Then we came inside and they played with what seemed like every one of his toys. It was so much fun!

Z’s family comes to town tomorrow. We’ll have some kids who are currently sick staying with us, so I should really head towards bed…

I read today that nasturtiums can help repel cucumber beetles. I’ve tended to avoid them because in my experience they harbor slugs. Something to research- maybe they can grow on a fence at the edge of the garden.




I’ve still been feeling rundown but I did get out there this morning. I prepped for and planted a packet (~40 seeds) of early purple podded fava beans. We’ll see how they do (it’s a bit late for planting, for one thing, and they’re in an area where the raccoons hang out).

I told Z about how the drip lines for the new-new strawberry bed are a bit out of place. I could theoretically set up a new manifold, but why not let him do that and focus my energy on planting, weeding, etc?

Oh, the things I would do if I were out there more. Like weed in-between Chandler strawberry plants, instead of just right around them.

Those peas are still flowering. Hoping for peas for Thanksgiving, but things are moving slowly…

Missed photo of a lifetime: me and T with our sweatshirt hoods on and headlamps on top of them, ready to go out to the garden after dark. I weeded the berries a bit, but it’s so cold out there!!!

I picked a half-dozen old strawberries last night, did I mention that? I would put them out of their misery if I had more time. I guess that technically I could at least stop watering them!

I finished putting in that batch of strawberries!

Yay, 99ish strawberry crowns have been planted. The first half or so had Tyee spinach planted between them. As I went farther and farther down the row, the ground was less wet and had more grass mixed in, so I went slower and slower. The weeds are going to be crazy this winter! I wouldn’t be surprised if there is another crown out there, since T kept trying to give me one that looked humongous and then I never found one that big when I was planting. I sure do do it the labor-intensive way.

This picture was taken about 5 plants from the end.

the adorable T standing near me as I plant strawberries
Me, about some 80+ feet into the bed of strawberries, and T, rocking his rain boots

When I was out planting this morning, it was windy and cold and you could just smell the rain in the air. It was like being someplace else where it rains, not in Sonoma County (the first winter I lived here was an El Nin~o winter and it rained SO MUCH!).

After I finished planting tonight, I hoed next to the peas – just trying to get a few inches between the “path” and the drip tape. Unfortunately, if I go too close, I tend to cut the tape.

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.

Not enough garden time!

I have not been getting much time out there at all. I did get a six-pack each of collard greens, dino kale, and um… cabbage? planted at the north end of the east bed of greens in the last few days.

This morning (Tuesday) I hoed an area for the sixpack of… broccoli? I hope it’s the broccoli so I have cabbage in one bed and broccoli in the other.

I did the math, sort of, on the spinach this morning and looked up a bit about companion planting. So the spinach would be ok with strawberries. I won’t have strawberries to plant for a few weeks, still. The bed won’t be prepared until this weekend at the earliest. I would love to do this by tractor (with the chisel plow followed by the landscape rake) myself while T is at school, but Z doesn’t want me to use the tractor when he’s not home. Sigh! Plus I might want to have a lot of time in which to experiment and not feel rushed, and I do not get much time in the mornings after I bury/rebury pea seedlings and greens seedlings.

Tonight I picked ~1.75 baskets of strawberries. They aren’t in terribly good shape – we are having a heat wave. There are too many plants, too close together, so the bugs have free reign. I was very excited to see grey kitty walk through the strawberry bed, about 12 feet from me, when I was finishing up my harvest. She is very pettable.

Grey kitty!
Grey kitty!

Tonight I pointed out an okra plant that I’d heard a gopher chewing on, and T stood there and watched and listened for signs of it tonight. On one of the last few nights, he was digging up pea seedlings and moving them to different places. Nooooo!

I mowed! And stuff

I was only out in the garden for about an hour and 20 minutes while my kid was at school, but it was a productive morning. I reburied the peas and the greens (the ones I could rebury), pulled out the drip tape from the bed I was going to mow, moved the sprinklers from the strawberry/garlic area, and mowed some other spots. This evening I got out there and weeded a bit more, hoed a bit, and located a file that T had dropped (at one point he had lost 2 – in the garden!). I also picked 3/4 of a basket of strawberries, and a bunch of cherry tomatoes and some dried Scarlet Runner Beans.

(Click on an image to see a bigger version)

Area next to the eastmost greens after mowing and raking
Mowed Next to Greens
Mowed path next to the pea bed
I mowed the path to the east of the peas
Plant that was chewed off about 5 inches above the ground
Gopher damage?

Slow garden weekend

On Saturday night, T and I planted some carrots and radishes. We’ll see if anything comes of that- there’s a chance that I’ll accidentally weed them out in the semi-darkness some evening. I harvested greens that night, which means that I also did some weeding.

On Sunday evening I picked about 1.75 baskets of strawberries, which was about 1.3 of the strawberry area. Ooh, tomorrow I can buy strawberry crowns. I also weeded the east side of the newer pea area, and… well, I bought like 6 six-packs of seedlings today (what is wrong with me?! well, I was thinking of maybe replacing the collards and kales that are bolting), so I looked around and tried to figure out where I can plant them. I think that rather than trying to tuck in 1 here and 3 there where other plants haven’t made it, I should use the empty bed to the left of the east bed of greens. It was prepared at the same time as the others, and I’ve kept up with the pigweed for the most part, but it is covered in bell beans and (mostly) grass. Like, it’s hard to find the drip tape. So I should move the drip tape aside and mow and then I guess hoe and put compost down before putting the drip tape back. I’ve been using just a metal file to sharpen my hoes, and I have to say that it is so ineffective! An angle grinder would be better, but I don’t have a good space for using power tools, and of course I don’t want super-sharp tools around the toddler. :/

Seedlings purchased 10/4/15
Seedlings purchased 10/4/15

When/if my sprained wrist gets all the way better (and why  do I feel like when T bumped into me at one point this afternoon, I got some sort of knee injury like a hyperextension or something?) I have a lot of work to do out there- need to put compost out (I’d prefer to use the shovel and wagon, but this requires time, no kid, less pain, and no wind… but the benefit is: exercise, which I feel like I’m not getting out there these days), hoe out existing plants, get drip lines in, and plant garlic (bought seed for that, too – and can onion sets really work at this time of year?) and get ready for strawberries. Whew!

Oh, the slugs are getting bigger every day- some are over an inch long. I killed so many out there and there are so very many more. This is why I don’t want to try to grow lettuce – yet.

Oh, there’s a path there!

Last night we had one of our larger recent harvests. I picked a gorgeous basket of strawberries and Zak picked some others, as well as cherry tomatoes and beans.

Sept 30, 2015 harvest
Sept 30, 2015 harvest

Talk about over doing it, though – this morning I tried hoeing. We have a whole row of greens that never gets visited because there hasn’t been much of a path due to all the weeds. I think the last time I  hoed here, I had to just focus on the pigweed. There was plenty of that, and the grass is tall, so eventually when my sprained hand started hurting, I switched to just focusing on the pigweed.

Path between the east bed of greens and the
There’s a path!
Z walks between the 2 beds while T picks a cabbage leaf on the other side of the bed of greens
Z walking down the “new” path

After I took these pictures, I did some more hand-weeding around the individual plants to the right of Z. Then I planted some more peas (maybe 15 row feet?), since they’d been in T’s bucket for 2 days. T started digging up the whole area of the garden bed and was eventually taken inside. They were the Green Arrow shelling peas. My hand hurts. I spent a lot of the day without my ace bandage, since it was drying on the clothesline while I was hoeing, and I take it off to wash dishes and bathe. Tomorrow is another day.

Productive garden day

This morning I picked about a basket of strawberries. Then I spent about 45 minutes weeding and setting up the drip tape for the next section of peas. This evening I planted a packet each of Oregon Sugar Pod II and of Sugar Snap peas. T
“planted” a packet of Sugar Snap peas (I had 2 packets, total) somewhere. When we went in to get more seeds, I got him some of the Green Arrow shelling peas from my 1/2-pound bag. He mostly didn’t try to plant them. I also tried to plant some old Scarlet Nantes carrot seed, but it’s hard to see what you’re doing with about 20 carrot seeds on an extremely muddy hand.

This thing of buying single seed packets needs to stop. It’s too much money for too few seeds. That said, one can’t always find the seeds that one wants in larger quantities, or from the vendor from whom one wants to get them…

I need to be hoeing instead of doing all that ridiculous hand/Cobra weeding. The thing is, there are all these perennial weeds, so a scuffle hoe’s not quite going to do it. A sharp hoe can’t be used along the drip tape without cutting it at least once. So what to do? Keep weeding by hand and trying to not use my sprained hand!

Z checked out the sprayer and it worked fine for him and T. At least it’s been rinsed now.

It’s amazing how different the afternoon light is now – it has really changed to fall in the last 2 weeks.

One-handed gardening

I thought I’d chipped a bone in a finger on Thursday night, but by Friday afternoon it became clear that my wrist got sprained when I recoiled from the thing that hit my finger (just a bruise, no break). I’ve had to take it a bit easier this weekend.

Last night I picked 2 baskets of strawberries, and I picked another this morning. I also did some weeding in the greens, as usual. Then, since I had some time to myself while T and Z were at the park, I organized my seeds a bit- I had 2 boxes that hadn’t been added to my seed storage. I picked out seeds I’d like to get planted asap (peas, carrot, radish).

20150926_somefallseedstoplantSeeds in container

This evening I planted 2 10-foot rows of shelling peas!!! T took the bucket from me, dumped out the peas, and put a bunch of dirt and gravel in so he could make “soup.” Took me about 2 hours to weed and plant those peas :/. Need to get better at using the seeder tool we have.

Z mowed the old cover crops, unleashing several clouds of dust as he ran over mounds of soil that had been  left by the gophers. He also picked a bucket of ears of corn. The kernels ranged from still-whitish yellow to purplish. There is a ton of corn earworm damage! Half of many ears have been eaten. The corn will still be yummy, though!

Wind erosion
Wind erosion

And I learned how to add tags to posts here 🙂