Monday, March 28, 2016

Garden Records March 2016

Warmest March ever.  Loving this.  In the hoop house, the radishes (Shogoin, white icicle, cherry belle) are up, along with the spinach (experimental and bloomsdale) and arugula.  The kale, broccoli, and cabbage transplants are in the ground and doing mostly okay, since I put down row covers to keep them from being eaten (chickens? voles? mice?).  These are experiments comparing seeds of two different suppliers, because I'm just curious if there is any difference.  Obviously there is, since the plants look NOTHING alike - color and leaf shape are radically different.  More on that later.  I need more row covers.  Tomorrow after kettlebell class, I will stop at the Hobbit Hole and see if they have row covers and the larger peat disks for my starting trays.  Then I must make room on the indoor greenhouse racks for another two trays of starts, and set up my last light fixture and mail back the one that does not work.  That'll be enough to do, I think, in between doing homeschool with homeschool kid and picking up charter school kid at ICA.

Straw Bale Spring

This has been the warmest March I can remember.  And so I've used the weather to advantage... I bought 26 bales of wheat straw from a local farmer (it was Round-up Ready Wheat; I will look for organic this fall).  I set up bales in the hoop house for straw bale gardening.  That means a layer of weed barrier, a layer of hardware cloth, and then aligning the bales cut side up, with T-posts (I screwed up and bought  5 U-posts, but I'll be using T-posts ransacked from the old garden fencing for everywhere else) every 2-3 bales.  It's 2-3 bales because 2 bales are 6' long and 3 are 9' and that means either cutting down an 8' 2"x4" or finding a 10' and cutting it down.  I have found 5 that are 8' long, and 1 4"x4" that is 10' and 1 1"x6" because what the hell, I might as well use it, too.

ANYWAY, there are 6 bales set up in the hoop house in the process of conditioning (apply fertilizer at specific intervals and wet down the bales daily).  This weekend we (mostly me) got 14 more bales set up in two rows in the outdoor garden.  I will put 3 more bales in the hoop house when I have time to level the ground where El Jefe removed my remaining fig monstrosities.  And the last three will go... somewhere.  Outside for sure, since there won't be anymore room in the hoop house.

I am all excited about experimenting with the straw bale gardening, primarily because if production is the same, and weeding is reduced, my life will be SO MUCH MORE PLEASANT.  Not that I dislike weeding.  I actually enjoy it.  There is just too much garden for me to keep up with it in the time I have available.  And that is true of so much of life...