Friday, after school, was a bright and beautiful. I spread wood chips into a few gardens by the bucket full. I hardly even made a dent in the pile of chips. Here is the check list of chores done before the sun set and Sabbath began.
•Strawberry bed cleaned up, sprinkled with lime, a layer of alfalfa meal (like candy for the worms), followed by a layer of composted horse poo (a gift from a neighbor), followed by a layer of homegrown, wormy compost and finally by a layer of wood chips. It looks pretty (I also cleaned up all the brush encroaching on the strawberry bed…love the chop and drop method of cleaning up brush, which is actually a landscape plant that I do not know the name of, I think the local bumble bees call it buzz bush). Note, I did not drop the blackberry vines, I still toss them back over the fence.
•Spread buckets of wood chips on the fava beans and peas (nothing has sprouted yet)
•Opened up the garlic-shallot box to the fresh air (and later, to the fresh rain)
•Put the nuggets in the tractor for the afternoon (too much stuff has been planted to let them roam, poor chickens) Gave the girls the bucket of weeds and cracked snails from the strawberry bed. If they see me put a bucket of yum in their run, I don’t have to argue with them about going back in when tractor time is done.
•Covered the new rhubarb with wood chips.
•Covered an area in the new front (and probably last) SFG with the same layers as I put on the strawberry bed. But this time I took my spade and worked it all in before putting a bucket full of wood chips back on top. Ray was going to build a hoop house over that garden but worried that it would not look pretty enough for the front yard (we hear scary stories) so he repaired and set a portable cold-frame in the garden instead. Under that cold-frame I planted the Wolf Moon lettuce and Mesclun mix . I had a peek, they both look fine.
Saturday, I putzed around the green house while it was raining. Finally gave the Wolf Moon onions a haircut. I also up-potted the Imperial Star artichokes. The Green Globe artichokes that I up potted a week or two ago are doing fine. Every year I worry that I will kill the little sprouts by transplanting them and every year they prove that they are tougher then I am clumsy. The little purple artichokes have not even sprouted yet. Both the Parsleys are starting to get real leaves. I know where I will put them, but I think they need the cold frame too. In the PNW a cold-frame does protect from cold nights, but just as important, it protects baby plants from drowning in the rain. Spinach starts are ready for the garden. I will put them in the same area as the parsley. They can probably wait a weekend or two, but the younger, the better in my book …..err, blog. I moved a tray of peas (green arrow and maestro) in soil blocks from the 2nd shelf of the sprouting rack to the wide mouth of the potato pot where they will get more light. The Potatoes (some kind of yellow from the natural food co-op) are showing sprouts but are tentative about really growing in my unheated green house. So I do not feel too bad about giving the peas temporary quarters on top of their big pot.
The one job that I have not done yet, that I should have done a couple of weeks ago, is starting my tomatoes. Mostly this is because my bin of soil-blocker mix has a crack in the lid and the mix has turned to mud. Ray bought a new bin and the ingredients that we did not already have to make another batch of mix. But it won’t be soil block mix until we actually do the mixing. I keep reminding myself that it is still February. Then I panic because really, it is the 2nd week of March. Arrrgh! In addition to the dozens of tomatoes I already have seeds for, I will trial Jaune Flammee, apparently an earlier Tomato in the PNW, and Gold Medal, a full season PNW tomato.
Summer dreams… while the rain pounds on the roof. March 10, 2014: Underground Weather is putting their best face on this sticky wet weather: Showers, becoming less numerous. Basically it is going to rain most of the day. At least it should cool down at night, a good sign, it means things are clearing up a bit. 50/38 Sun’s up at 7:31 — 11 hours and 36 minutes later it sets at 7:07. A promise of sun is coming!