Today (April 1st) was the 3rd and final session of the cut flower production class that I took through the Community Education program at our local junior college. The first two sessions were on the main campus, but this one was in the lab. Most of the class today was about seed starting. We did a little exercise of planting a tray of seeds. The woman I was paired with thought that I worked very quickly (!). I actually heard one of the instructors say something later (during the presentation about harvest and packaging) about how you have to work quickly so you can get more done. 😉
After my inactive morning, I was excited to start prepping my strawberry bed by hoeing the grass off. The soil is still too wet! It was smearing. Our soil is a “sandy clay loam,” and it seems to me that it is a lot heavier than the name implies. I am concerned about my strawberry crowns (bare root plants) since the fridge they are in is only running at 55ish degrees. That should be fine for storing cut flowers overnight, lol. In class, one instructor asked me if I had a cooler. I don’t remember the school farm having had one out in the field, but we were looking at the one that’s there. My answer was: “Ha!” I wish we could invest $10k or $15k into the garden this year. We’d really be able to do a lot.
I tried starting some seeds today. I planted Dino kale (4 sixpacks, iirc), Red Russian kale (last summer I had White Russian- is that more of a summer crop, I wonder)? – this reminds me that I need another green curly kale), cabbage, broccoli (though it is a fall variety but I can’t resist a broccoli that’s named after the town where I grew up and went to college), some poppies (perhaps too late?), zinnias, lavender, rosemary (mine didn’t make it through the winter. iirc i want to companion plant this with my greens), scallions, and I forget what else. T “helped” and only spilled 90% of the contents of one seed packet on the table. It’s lavender- I would like to be able to try to broadcast it under the pear trees in the garden… Wish me luck with my seedlings, please! I couldn’t get our little cheapo greenhouse’s door to zip closed, and that means that the raccoons could just knock the buckets blocking the door out of the way and check out my trays. Z thinks he got it fixed. I hope so! It would be so cool to grow my own seedlings.
I went to school at the JC fulltime from 2010 until 2012, when I got my Associate’s Degree in Sustainable Agriculture. I took a bunch of Animal Science classes, too, but when I got pregnant I stopped taking classes. It’s interesting to see the changes that have taken place in the garden over the years – things like occultation and the use of broadforks are brand-new from the last year, I think. I also saw some red plastic out there! I wonder if the strawberries are in a new spot…
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)
Yesterday I got a longer garden day than usual because my kid started going to an all-day preschool (he’ll go there 2 days per week). I fertilized! And then I removed bad weeds from the garden and put them in the green bin.
Today I didn’t get out there until after 5. I picked 3 baskets of strawberries from the west side, which is usually less productive than the other side. Note that I did not pick on Friday.
Then T came out with me and we planted some dill, bunching onion, and zinnia seeds (can zinnia grow this late in the season? September tends to be a hot month) in the greens bed. There are a lot of missing plants under that row cover. Maybe we can sow some seeds for those.
A buyers’ club that I belong to is downsizing and getting rid of fridges since she’s not going to do as much produce and things that need to be kept cold. Here’s one of them. We’re hoping to get another that is reportedly better. Is there any hope of that one being Energy Star rated (an appliance that uses minimal electricity)?