Saturday, October 28, 2017

Fall planting for 2018

I'm still not recovered from my resistance to being outside after getting Lyme Disease this summer and seeing far too many deer ticks (including one that got on me just a week or so ago).

But I finally got the garlic planted for next year. Except I forgot to count how many cloves I had. Probably in the 60 to 75 range for the Russian variety. We'll see when they come up next spring. And I forgot to set aside some seed cloves of the German variety, so I decided not to worry about them, since I've got volunteers all over the place in order to continue the line. I did have a handful (maybe twenty cloves?) of the German variety, and I did toss them into the garden. They were on the small side, though, so not likely to be much of a harvest from them next year.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Recovery versus recovery

My garden suffered this year while I was recovering from some health issues (Lyme Disease, among other things; I became part of the statistics on the increase in incidence and wasn't at all inspired to go outside where I might get munched on again by a disease-bearing tick). It didn't help that we were in drought for much of the summer. Plus, there was more critter damage (wiped out the green beans and swiss chard), now that my garden cat is gone.

Here's the dreary harvest totals (and most of the harvest is from spring and early summer, before the Lyme and drought hit):

asparagus: 18 stalks
rhubarb: 2 1/4 pounds
Russian garlic (smaller heads due to drought): 61
German garlic (also smaller): 60
Shallots: 4
Grape tomatoes: 6 handfuls
black raspberries (plentiful, but I was too sick to harvest): 1 cup
yellow squash: 2
zucchini, pumpkin, butternut, swiss chard, beans: 0
paste tomatoes: less than a dozen
basil: 2 cups
dill: produced seeds, but not harvested due to being sick

Friday, May 26, 2017

Planting 2017

So far, we've got:

80 Russian garlic (planted in 2016)
60 German garlic (planted in 2016)
6 shallots (planted 10 in 2016)
the usual rhubarb and asparagus (perennials)
the usual perennial herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, chives)
bramble patch for black raspberries (perennial)
6 banana peppers
16 New Ace peppers
5 cherry tomatoes
6 Roma tomatoes
a row of green beans (not up yet)
a row of swiss chard (not up yet)
3 or 4 yellow squash (not up yet)
dill in a bucket (with nasturtiums)


I still need to plant a zucchini or two for zucchini bread and maybe bread & butter pickles.

The spring tatsoi went to seed due to some unusually hot weather.

I'm waiting another week or two before starting the butternut, so it won't get too big before the garlic it shares space with is harvested.

The garlic count above doesn't include some transplanted rounds of Russian, and there are quite a few of those.

I waited too long to plant snap peas due to variable weather. I'm considering planting a fall crop.

No onions this year. The local nursery has changed hands, and they only offered white onions, and I prefer growing the red ones.

Costs 2017

Local nursery $9
(6 each: banana peppers, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes)

Ventura Grain (composted manure) $19

Different local nursery $12
(16 New Ace peppers)

Seeds from Johnny's:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

We must cultivate our gardens

In recognition of the incompetent and dangerous forces that are in charge of the American government as of noon yesterday, the idea of a "recovery garden" has an extra layer of meaning for me now. I'll be cultivating my garden, both literally and figuratively in the coming years.

In addition to the reckoning I've given in the past for my literal cultivation, I'll be documenting my figurative cultivation.

In the last two months, I've donated to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center, who will all have an increased burden in the coming years. I've been knitting brightly colored chemo caps as a contribution to the health care system, which will be under attack in the coming years.

Yesterday, at the time of the inauguration,  I was marking my opposition by donating to a food pantry, to help what I anticipate to be a growing need over the coming years as income inequality is exacerbated, and more people fall below the poverty level.

My main focus going forward will be on issues relating to access to health care. The health care system is broken in so many ways, and the first steps that were taken in the last eight years in order to fix it, the things that were finally coming to fruition and making a real difference in people's lives are now on the verge of being undone, sending the system into chaos and threatening many, many lives.

There are promises to create a better system for all, and I hope I'm wrong that the promises are lies, but in the meantime, I will be cultivating whatever seeds I can find to improve access to good health care.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fall planting for 2017

In a marathon of digging, compost-spreading and planting, I got the garlic into the ground (a little late, since I aim for the second half of October, but it's only 3 days after that). Still need to get all the garlic rows (and the 10 shallots I also planted today) mulched.

Tally: total of about 150, broken down between 80+ of Russian and 60+ of what was supposed to be German, but I mixed up the heads during the harvest, so I suspect that at least half of them are Russian. I'm not too worried, because we still have a ton of the German stock growing wild, so I could always transplant them into a new bed and let them grow to their potential. I also have a significant number of rounds of the Russian variety that were transplanted in the summer and have sprouted, some of them to about 3" high, although I didn't keep count.

Big change from last year, when only 30 or so were Russian and 75 were German.

One thing I noticed today that I hadn't before -- the papers on the Russian ones are a lot tougher than the German ones, making it harder to break the heads apart for planting. Probably not noticeable when breaking up a single head for cooking, but annoying when breaking up double digits' worth of heads.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Worst Garden Ever

This summer was absolutely, positively the worst gardening season I've ever experienced. Hot and dry. Everything withered. Truly pitiful harvest:


  • asparagus (before drought): 40 stalks
  • rhubarb (before drought): 1 pound
  • German garlic: about 60 (smaller than expected)
  • Russian garlic: about 30 from previously planted cloves, another 30 or more from rounds. Kinda' lost count. They were small enough that it was hard to tell which were Russian and which were German
  • Snap peas: a dozen or two
  • Green beans: 2 quarts (two separate plantings)
  • summer squash: 5
  • butternut squash (from volunteers; purchased plants died): 4
  • Kabocha squash: 0
  • banana peppers: half a dozen, puny
  • Ace peppers: half a dozen, puny (and the nursery where I got the variety has closed, so I don't know what I'll do for plants next year)
  • onions: 30 white (small to average), 20 red (small)
  • shallots: 9, but only good for replanting
  • Cherry tomatoes: best crop, but still far fewer than in a normal year
  • swiss chard: 3 plants. Puny.