Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rainy Days, Frozen Nights, and Other Outtakes

On Saturday I headed to the beach farm, some iceberg and red leaf in van. When I arrived a fence piece was thrown on top of my greens bed. In fact, the whole plot turned, potatoes, peas, greens, and even the saffron. Shame the new plot owner didn't recognize the crocus. It's all too tiring to explain, but I will say the plot was not mine and so plain too bad for me. 

Tonight it may freeze, just a few days after our average last freeze date. No worries, then, things are late this year and I've no sprouted greens or peas to contend with. 

A good rain and warm days should activate the soil organisms. Let's hope the garlic does better than it has so far. The new plot, it is now being told to me by long timers, is cursed. Nothing grows there they say. Oh. Bless them, they all thought I could cure it of its curse. 

Below is a painting I've rekindled. Autumn and popsicle trees are great challenges to my way of painting. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Never Trust A Weed

I've planted some petunias; I can't say I've ever done this before in my gardens. What is happening? These here in pots that were empty.

The lilies are up, no surprise as the garlic is also up -including the elephant garlic I've planted around the garden.

Never trust a weed. Never.

Smothering Potentilla indica, everyhere. A garden swan song.

Always trust Dicentra eximia, anywhere, everywhere. It died two years ago, under some heavy foot traffic, but reseeded itself. Here, at the edge of the poor man's patio, it seeded itself once again. It is one of my favorite plants, all time.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fits and Starts

I started my greens this weekend. Two kinds of romaine and a buttercrunch, bulbing fennel, and Italian parsley. This watery scene is the starting tray, under cellophane wrap in the window.

At the beach farm more losses, particularly in the newest plot and particularly Turban and Creole. Disappointing yes, and now the maggots have found the rotten flesh. But I also direct-seeded a ton of mustard, arugula, and mizuna, snap peas and pea greens. Now that I am eating so many salads, I'm looking ever more forward to this bounty.

I think I prefer this scene over the prior.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Nursery Thymes

Larry has been putting out more and more each day. Today was the first for perennial flowers, space previously occupied only by the cool weather pansies, forced spring bulbs, and herbs. I can only imagine distributors of perennials itching to get these out to retail outlets. Anyways, I wouldn't buy them but they are sweet to see when I wrap the corner.

In other Larry news, he has installed large roll-up gates around the nursery. The idea is to open up the plant yard to the public instead of barricading them behind 12 foot chain link. I think it is a good idea and given the cold winter, with luck his nursery may operate in the black this season. As I pass the plants, in the dark of night, I often think of what business or residence could replace this corner nursery. To me, there is very little that ever could.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Rainy Day Beach Farming

The garlic is growing.

Some more eager than others. 'Music,' a porcelain strain, is always slow to start but is better for it.

Here, the earliest of varieties -Turban strain 'Thai Purple.' To the right, another Turban 'Xian.'

'Xian' is a much desired Chinese strain. Turban garlic has always grown quite well for me, but with this lot nearly every clove has rotted. I must remember to contact the farm. Contact the farm (reminder).

'Japanese' or 'Sakura,' another desired strain of the Asiatic variety, has been showing signs of weakness, but nowhere near as much as 'Xian.' It is also a very eager grower.

The regulars at the garden are now calling me the scientist. I am experimenting with mixing my own fertilizers, which I think is a good thing, although despite their claims I am not being scientific (measuring, observing, recording) but I am using my soil test results as the basis for my additions. Above you see Feather Meal (long term nitrogen), Humic Acids (micronutrients), Langbeinite (potassium), Corn Gluten Meal (nitrogen and wee bit of phosphorous) and blood meal (nitrogen). 

Prior experience with corn gluten meal at the fowl-heavy beach farm warns me of the feast and stomp of local geese. Pretty heavy, they do significant damage while chomping down on bits of corn. My reasoning is (hello scientist) that I will be able to discourage them via the scent of bird feather meal (aka dead birds). No, there isn't a significant odor to it, but neither is there to the cornmeal and somehow the geese still find it.

Each row then got a pass of the rake, breaking the winter-skinned soil. After spreading the fertilizing mixture I made another pass of the rake to fix it in place and hope the birds will fear the feathers of the fallen (much doubt).

We had several nights well below freezing lately; it doesn't feel like a month has passed since there was snow on these plots. But soil temperatures are up, above 50 degrees F, and ready for potatoes.

Reds and yellows placed in a trench easily dug thanks to the saturated (by sandy beach farm standards) soil. Afterward I covered with a couple of inches of composted manure and the remains of my fertilizer mix.

Grow potato grow.