Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Starting steps

As I've mentioned before, starting things is easy; keeping going is more difficult. Presumably, this is a general human-condition thing. Since I missed the window to start fall-planted plants, in July, my impulse is to flop around and decide not to do anything.

But large open areas in the garden make me feel guilty, so I bought some lettuces and put them in.

And also, buying plants makes me feel guilty, so I managed to sow some peas.

I also should sift my compost and turn it to raise the heat, if I don't want to be dealing with constant volunteers.

Maybe digging potatoes thoroughly would be a good idea, too. Sigh. I planted, and that's all I'm going to focus on here. Also, supports should probably be made soon. Very soon. Maybe I'll have Eric lash me together some bamboo!

Turns out that if you hack off or break off an old, nasty, aphid-covered kale plant?

You can have a second flush of yummy baby kale, at least enough to hold you through until the combination of the few kale plants you did plant in July plus the nursery pack you bought starts to make winter amounts of new kale. Plus there are a couple of pounds in the freezer yet. We actually ate some the other night. Yay for memory!

And this may look like a redneck yard mess, but I assure you it's deliberate. Carrots can be tricky to germinate, especially somewhere like here, where it looks as though it's going to rain any minute, but really it's just fog that will blow off, leaving only warm afternoons to dry the top bits of soil. Carrots are picky. If they're not kept just wet enough, they turn up their little orange noses and refuse to germinate. Babies.The idea is that the tarp keeps the top layer nice and moist. Or at least moister than if I had no old tarp thrown over the bed. The bed which is covered with acacia leaves.

But I like carrots, a lot. Not enough, apparently, to glue them to toilet paper as seeds for perfect spacing, like Granny does, but certainly enough to sow them like an Amish teen on Rumspringa, and then enough to pull baby carrots for salads until they're spaced correctly. If they sprout, that is.

Also, I pull the tarp back when I pump a morning bath out onto the bed, which also has snow peas and sweet peas in the uncovered bits.

Guess what used to grow in this bed?

That's right!

Kale! Kale I didn't have to plant, kale from neglected, gone-to-seed plants.

The only question I have is should I just let them grown, and shovel some nice chicken manury stuff around them, because kale is a depleting kind of crop, or should I attempt to transplant them to the few areas I have listed as "kale" in the plan? I'm not sure it really matters, but I did do some thinking about my soil the other day, and figured a way to track how the heavy-medium-light feeders rotation was going.

Beds vertically, time horizontally, and color coded red-yellow-green.

Looks like, with a few exceptions, I'm actually doing something like proper attention to the feeding needs. Doesn't mean a run to the stable wouldn't come in really handy, especially as the beds sink as the organic material is used up, nor that making liquid manure fertilizer wouldn't be really smart. But I'm not completely out of line.

And that's good to know.

I don't have a complete answer to my question of yesterday, but here's a video of a worker being unceremoniously dragged out of the hive. She didn't seem to be moving much, so maybe she was stung first? Maybe she died of natural causes? For the drones, maybe the workers don't feed them and they're weak? You see if you can decide:

It's still nature red in tooth and claw in the bee yard.

This lovely wasp looks just like a wolf with her head buried in a caribou, no?

And in this video, you can see why they remind me of wolves. Especially when one comes in and two of them tussle, and then you can see a drone leg getting cut off and flung aside. It doesn't take much to make me feel like it's high drama in the yard:

I hope interesting things are happening in your gardens.


Daphne said...

I'd probably move the baby kale to its designated spot. I've did that with lettuce volunteers this spring. I've also done it with flower volunteers that come up in the middle of a bed.

kitsapFG said...

Hurrah that you have all those volunteers to pick up where you missed specifically planting fall crops! I would probably relocate the volunteer kale - they are pretty good plants for relocation if caught young.

Julie said...

How much do I love your "redneck" comment?! Whenever I go out by the big greenhouse, I have a momentary cringe of redneck-ism. It's just not a tidy as I imagine it should be, but that would require me to actually DO something about it. One of these days...

Hooray for volunteers! I, too, would also try to move the kale babies. I'm hoping some of my seeds are sprouting in the big kitchen garden. I planted 12 varieties of lettuce on Sunday, carefully thinking about color schemes and spacing...and then we had two days of torrential rain. I'm sure all of the seeds have washed to the corner of the bed, where they will morph into one oddly colored giant lettuce. Sigh. I'm actually procrastinating, afraid to go check on the garden--isn't that sad? ;-)

And yes...I also need to turn the compost. I also need bigger biceps to turn the compost--it's heavy!

Happy gardening to you!!!

Ottawa Gardener said...

It's interesting what neglect teaches us. Many of my earwig destroyed broccoli and other brassicas are making a startling recovery too. I generally get kale volunteers - thank you kale - as it's hard to have enough in my opinion. I didn't do a fall garden this year either because of misc calamities and life in general. Next year! In fact, next year I plan on having a polytunnel again: woohoo!

Stefaneener said...

Daphne, you're probably right. The bed is lousy with seedlings. It's so tough I'm sure it'll work.

kitsapFG, my bacon is saved by garden serendipity again!

Julie, in my experience, all gardens and farms, if not run by some scary cultlike entity, tend toward mass entropy. At least there are no vehicles up on blocks, and no bloodhounds (not that there is anything wrong with bloodhounds. . .)

Fingers crossed for your lettuce. Hard-crossed.

Ottawa Gardener, I am firmly in the "Kale wins!" corner of the vegetable world, feel free to proclaim your joining with me there. "Next year" is sometimes my only saving grace. I hope yours is calamity-free.

Kristin Sherman Olnes said...

Yellow jackets fighting and honeybees fighting video footage is unique. Are you taking that with your fancy phone?

Marti Peralta said...

You're absolutely right when you say that things started is easy and the problem is keeping them. That's true for everything in life! But I see through your blog that you have done very well. I really like and would love to publish in the agriculture page in my country :)