Saturday, October 17, 2009

The camera's fixed! Long post. . .

So I figured I'd just throw everything at one post. It's kind of like if you came over and innocently answered, "Sure!" when I said, "So, you want to see the garden?"

Bwaaa haaa haaa.

There's more out there these days. An overview first, from the deck! This was the day after we got 4" of rain. (Just trust me; I didn't take pictures of the rain gauge.) The new beds are all installed, but the back ones and the front left/west one aren't full of soil yet. Neither have I finished cleaning up the half-done patio area, or leveling, weed-blocking and mulching paths, and the laundry line looks a little . . . well, declasse. Oh well, I'd be talking so much you wouldn't get to say anything, anyhow.

The first stop for my morning rounds is the chicken coop. They crowd the wire, demanding some kind of treat -- in fact, I think I need to refill the feeder tomorrow. They also occasionally flip the waterer over. Eric and I are going to have to talk about retrofitting or rebuilding that coop. It's not holding up to the weather and spilt water. Lessons learned, I guess.

Sometimes it's leftovers; sometimes it's weeds or thinnings, but they're pretty appreciative.

I have enthusiastic help gathering the eggs. Cat is getting almost tall enough to check all by herself. In fact, she's pretty enthusiastic about most gardening . . . for a few minutes.

She points out new-sprouted peas (very back right bed, unfortunately where the oregano still is). Canoe and Alaska, both short varieties are in there. Canoe is supposed to have a lot of peas per pod. I may put some brushy sticks there but not a huge trellis.

She also weeds and is getting much more able to tell a grassy weed from a carrot seedling, which, admittedly, can be a challenge. This is the spinach/beet bed, down where "anything green is a weed; I haven't planted here yet," as I told her.

Patiently waiting the arrival of the soil mix that's going to top off the old bean bed is the flat of different-length broccoli seedlings. You can see where the best water and light were happening under the light unit. I'm working on increasing each shelf from 4 light bulbs to 6 to avoid the dark spots on the edges. I think it will help (and it was fun to kind of MacGuyver it some). I have high hopes for broccoli. Oh, and I'm trying something new -- I'm marking the plantings with little stakes made of old blinds, and on each stake is the variety name, date planted, amount planted, date sprouted, percentage (roughly) sprouted, date transplanted, and on the back of each stake, the days to maturity according to packet. If I carry a sharpie and keep up with this - and don't forget what day it is - that makes a good record backup for my garden log.

I may also punch holes and tie tags to certain plants with notes, such as "save for seed."

Front right bed -- Danvers half long and Nantes half long carrots, and . . .

Pretty lacy red kale. I hope it tastes as good as it looks. Still so small compared to the big kale planted much earlier!

The "Cute Fancy" zucchini is still going gangbusters. Who needs male flowers? I guess it figures it might as well throw everything into fruiting. The leaves are big enough to serve as umbrellas. Just the first bitty bits of powdery mildew on the lower leaves.

Next to that -- and these are both older preexisting beds - is the pepper patch. Still going well. Today I was wondering if I liked any of them enough to try to keep them over the winter. The Poblano/Ancho, probably. If digging it up or building it a mini-greenhouse made it get going faster in the spring, I might consider it (a greenhouse would make crop rotation tricky). Very very nice pepper. It's sort of in the middle with the dark green peppers, behind the ruffled pimento.

To the west of the peppers, the happy happy True Siberian kale. I've got some other stuff seeded past it, but only a few things have sprouted. The kale almost vibrates with vitality. Huge leaves, and so very tender and tasty. Only a few aphids and such, too. Sweet peas towards the house (that's what all the strings are for). I hope to have nice smelling bouquets in the spring.

Past the kale is the Asian greens bed. Tat soi (pictured), carrot mixes (pictured, just in front of the last, powdery mildewed zinnias), komatsuna, and pak choi and Napa cabbage. I may have to reseed some as I'm getting spotty germination.

Turning to look back toward the house, you'd see the tired tomatoes. I think tomorrow is P-day for them, as I pull them out readying the bed for the Snow Pea Invasion. Hmmm. Our window looks crooked. I hope it's a camera trick and the house isn't listing.

The Lacinato kale/transplanted lettuce bed. This is a good view of how I've tried to use the soak hoses as well as possible. The outside corners are dry for seed starting, but any bigger plants would do okay with reaching, I think. There are definitely sweet spots. though. I'm looking forward to being able to fine-tune the system, and maybe run it off a pump from the water bins, which are full from that storm!

These tomatoes, Stupice and Cherokee Purple, were planted late, but have done well. Stupice is still trying to flower. I may pull it just because.

On the other hand, someone is eating well among the tomatoes.

Finally, when you really wondered if I would ever. stop. talking. I would turn and there would be the whole thing laid out the other direction. The west side, with the chickens and bees on your right,

And the east side, with our lovely neighbor's house and the tip of the earthquake supply trash cans.

Then we'd go inside and have scones and tea and you'd tell me to finally finish the porch and clean the place up, why don't you?


Heather said...

I love, love, love the expanded raised bed garden! I would love it if you would show your watering system for these beds in more detail. (Hint, hint) I also have raised beds and have never found the perfect way to water them. Your's looks fantastic!

el said...

I'm with Heather and am quite impressed by your hand in the hydrological system. Goodness, no wonder things are still a mess: you weren't just dumping dirt!

FWIW, I spent almost all of yesterday outside "tidying" and it barely looks any better than it did before.

And isn't it fun to have the help of small hands with your green tasks?

It is interesting to see what you're planting now, too. Such a difference in our zones! Kale and collards, leeks and carrots are about the only things that "make it" outside all winter. And broccoli is only iffy in the greenhouse. Happy winter harvest! And...what kind of scones?

kitsapFG said...

The only thing missing with the garden tour is that you are supposed to hand me a mug of coffee to carry around with me while we look at your garden and talk!

So glad the camera is back in business. Your little helper is charming and the garden expansion is really coming along.

Jeff Vandiver said... got a big garden, now. How many sqft is it? I think it's cute that the little one is helping out. :-)

Dan said...

What an update! Love those baby broccoli plants.

Mr. H. said...

I love it, everything is looking so great and it's so neat that your daughter can be part of it all. Perhaps you should give a real garden tour.

Stefaneener said...

Heather, I'll get right on that. I broke a piece yesterday ripping out tomatoes, of all things. Sigh.

el, it's still in progress! I bet your garden looks much better, really. We have true four season gardening here, and winter is so easy and productive (just more weedy, actually). Um, lemon-huckleberry scones?

kitsapFG, I would cheerfully give you coffee to go with my morning tea. The works is paying off -- yesterday my son and I laid three more courses of brick!

EG, I think it's roughly 668 feet in beds, plus the front yard space and some fruit trees/brambles. It's going to be fun! The little one is my constant companion!

Dan, they are fun. I plan to get them in ASAP. Since they have differing maturity dates, I can put a whole flat in at once.

Mr. H., nice to see you again! When the yard is looking decent, I will give a tour (maybe coupled with Denise's). We'll do breakfast in one and lunch in the other, maybe do a workshop or something
; )

Daphne Gould said...

Oh wow now you have a much bigger garden. I only dream of that, then I get real and think my size is good enough or I'd get annoyed with all the work.

Michelle said...

Wow, you are going to be harvesting an incredible bounty from all those beds, plus your fruit! You have a nice variety of veggies for the winter. I'm having a tough time getting my seedlings going, could be a little lean this winter. Oh well, I've got a freezer full of tomato stuff!

Could I please have some of your honey with my tea and scones?

Kristin said...

I see that you now have a drip system. Hurray! Now you will have time to take on fifty more activities.

The number of planter boxes is impressive.

Kudos to your timeliness, for having your winter seeds sprouted and planted already.

My chickens have become obnoxious with their demand for treats.

Jeff Vandiver said...

668 sqft? Holy Moly......That's 3 times the size of mine. There's no way I could effectively take care of one that big on my own.

Stefaneener said...

Daphne, I think you do more than I do outside of gardening (says the woman avoiding grading 25 papers).

Michelle, I really ought to give you some honey. Aren't you close enough to visit both of us? Denise still has live tomatoes. . .

Kristin, you are so funny. The drip system right now seems like a good thing. We'll see how we can finally get it running off of the rain water. That's when I'm going to feel really on top of things. Your chickens are following the old goats' behavior, right? Maybe you train your farm animals well
: )

EG, maybe I'm out of my mind. I was hoping to get to the point that I didn't need to buy any produce. I think it can be done, but I don't currently have a lot of good homemade compost, either. And it doesn't rain all summer here. . . I'm trying to sound not insane.

Esperanza said...

The beds look great!!