Friends came to visit!

Yay, some friends stopped by on their way from Oakland to Oregon. We had lots of delicious strawberries available in the “old” patch, and they loved them!!!

I hoed the sunflowers some more today, and hoed near the pole bean bed (planted a packet last night). I think there’s a new gopher mound right next to the drip tape in the area I planted :(.

Red Noodle pole beans, iirc
how many of my seeds did the gophers dig up?
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Broccoli

Today was not a good newer-strawberry harvest day. It’s been hot lately, and the summer berries have been focused on putting out runners for far too long. The Sweet Anns aren’t very tasty. Hoping to fertilize soon.

Tonight I transplanted some of the tray of organic Walla Walla onions that I got from a local seed/seedling company last weekend into the greens beds. The dill looks great! There are some zinnias coming up here and there.

I picked a basket of green/purple/yellow (“Trilogy”) green beans tonight. I focused on picking the biggest ones- I haven’t done a thorough picking since the night I got the big bag of them. I think they are starting to slow down after only a week of production.

I haven’t been keeping track of Days to Maturity of various varieties of things that I’m planting from seed in multiple areas (corn, beans, sunflowers). Hope that doesn’t bite me in the butt come harvest time with a bunch of weird hybrids.

Yay for green beans! And purple and yellow

I lost my whole text due to a typo 😦

I harvested about 3 baskets’ worth of beans tonight! Should have edited the photo before uploading, sorry

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The winter squash are sprouting. Here’s a bottle gourd:

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bottle gourd seedlings

and a kakai pumpkin (hoping for edible seeds):

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kakai pumpkin seedling

Yesterday I did some mowing of the grass next to the beds. Stirred up lots of dust :(. In the evening I got the marigolds and the mostly too-wilted basils into the ground. I’ve been noticing that some of the older tomatoes and peppers are dropping leaves. Apparently this is due to too much or too little water. I tried putting out some extra water this morning, and this evening the area felt damp. I wonder if the problem is that we water every day, and should water for longer every other day… I think the logistics of that are mostly beyond us. Z is lucky to get out there to turn the water off and on, nevermind adjusting different things or turning off a bed before the others are finished.

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

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A bird is eating my fava and bell bean seed!

Today I was working in the Chandlers and I heard a repeated loud rustling sound. It was scrub jay eating seeds out of fava bean pods! Grr. That explains why we have so few bell bean seeds left on the bell bean plants 😦 They’ll have to be mowed this weekend. Quail eating seeds in the garden (dill seed?) one day, a scrub jay the next. The cat got something in her eye yesterday and hasn’t been around that much. She’s sleeping in our cleaning rags right now.

Quail running through the garden near where I planted dill seed a few days ago
Quail running through the chard, near where I planted dill seed and maybe zinnias a few days ago

I managed to plant the remaining 3 seedlings – Armenian cucumbers – tonight. I also weeded half of one side of the sunflowers and picked the Seascapes. Less than a basket of delicious berries. This morning I picked 2 baskets of Chandlers. It’s time to focus on removing Seascape runners and weeds, rather than spending hours each week doing that for the Chandlers.

The sow bugs are still terrible. Need to fertilize, and water less. I am not the one who turns the water on and off in the morning, tho…

Lots of weird bugs

Today I think I found a mystery mint family plant next to the summer strawberry bed. Hoping it’s lemon balm. I didn’t try smelling or tasting it. It’s probably from sometime when T and I were out planting seeds in the summer strawberry bed. Sometimes he prefers to plant outside of the bed. There’s a lot of bindweed and purslane. I haven’t been spending much time over there, as you can tell.

probably lemon balm
lemon balm?

I keep finding weird bugs everywhere, so I have started a photo album of pests in our garden. Today I think I found a lygus bug in the Chandlers. DOH!

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lygus bug?

I guess I need to figure out what plants the damsel bug likes! Apparently it shows up later in the season.

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tomatillo plant- lots of things have been eating leaves, including what looks like leafminers

Check out these gorgeous summer strawberries! I think they are sweet anns. there are a lot of big ones coming along!

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beautiful summer strawberries

Tonight I picked 2 baskets of Chandlers. I weeded a lot and pulled off all the runners I could find. That plus a tour of most of the garden took an hour and a half! I didn’t get to pick old berries because we were trying to get T to bed

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?

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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.

Busy week in the garden!

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view of the hill and the northeast corner of the garden. You can hardly see the remains of the pile of purchased compost behind the fence.
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blurry photo from around sunset tonight. it shows the new bed of chard, cabbage, and kale 

I started transplanting the cabbage, chard, kale (and, to come, broccoli) seedlings on Monday or Tuesday. I had to take a break for a few days because it got so hot out (93 degrees, I think). I put compost out over a lot of the 2 beds I’m using because I just couldn’t stand seeing all that bare soil. Dust sometimes comes up when I walk on the paths. That’s soil erosion right there. Still considering trying out some landscape fabric and/or burlap for the paths. Just need Z to stop at our local farm supply store on the way home from work.

Z got excited about getting the potatoes we bought into the ground. It’s probably too late, and the potatoes are somewhat overgrown already, but hey, we bought them, so we have to use them. I suggested putting them between the two greens beds, since there’s so much space between them. He got started today, opening the ground with the mattock and planting like 20 feet of potatoes!

Today I planted 8 or 10 feet of Trilogy bush beans and Ashworth OP yellow corn (from Fedco). Both are organic, of course ;). I also transplanted 2 6-packs of dino kale. This morning, I didn’t have much time out there because I’d had a doctor’s appointment. I weeded and pulled  yet more runners off of the Chandler strawberries, and found 4 slugs. Yay for getting those out of the way. I saw a box elder bug today, I forget which bed it was in (not the old berries, though). At the end of the night I pulled runners out of the summer strawberries. It’s crazy in that bed!!

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the north end of the summer strawberry row. too many runners! and the weeds are/were encroaching on the bed

I’m hoping to get a new compost pile started in the next few days. I haven’t had any empty buckets for some time, and there is (or was, before the current wind storm, which seems to have broken the outdoor table in our yard!) so much debris on the ground next to the old strawberries. Probably 3 5 gallon buckets’ worth. I picked and ate a half a dozen strawberries this evening. We’ve still been getting less than a basket per night.

Someday I’d like to learn about windspeed. I grew up in a place that had hurricanes and strong winds during winter storms, and I have to say that this is not a mere 21 mile per hour wind.