Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Garden Notes 2016....

23 April 2016

We are looking at having a south garden for summer vegetables, a West garden for spring and fall vegetables, an East garden for a kitchen garden, a Pond garden for wheat and either sweet or hot peppers (haven't decided yet), and a Clothes Line garden for perennials and herbs. We may stick things in other places as available or needed.

A rough idea of where the gardens are.

In the pond garden, we planted a band of Pima Club wheat across the top and White Sonora wheat below that. That took about half of the garden. There was 1 pound of each. We used an herb bottle with large holes for a shaker. We're not sure of coverage: too thick or not thick enough? And the rows were not straight. There may be overlapping or gaps in coverage as we went across. We're not sure what we're going to do with it, but it is planted and we have it. We used the power harrow to smooth the ground after our neighbor plowed and disked it. That helped a lot. After dropping the seed, we used the power harrow at about 1.5 inch depth to cover the seeds and the roller on the back to firm the soil for good soil contact. Hope this works. It looked nice.

Pima Club wheat, it is good for bread and pastries and is an old wheat and has less gluten issues.

The east garden had garlic, elephant garlic, multiplying onions, and Egyptian Walking onions planted last fall on December 10, 2015. We planted them very late for this area. We need to plant much earlier next time: maybe middle to end of October? And the rows are much too close. I have trouble getting the Troy-Bilt between the rows. I mulched the rows with shavings from the poultry. I may have covered too deep. We have poor emergence. Mulching may not even be necessary here. Weeds are coming up between the rows. I needed to attack the weeds earlier. 

There were gaps at the end of the rows, the wet end of the rows where water would stand. I planted Sweet Lorane fava beans in this space. Seems to be fairly good emergence. It could be better. I just pushed the seeds into the ground with my finger. I may have damaged seeds. I may have gotten them too deep. But I still had fairly good emergence. They were planted three or four rows wide with rows about 3” apart. Not real good practice. They needed regular planting techniques.

The next row was a half row of Broad Windsor fava beans. Planted in three close rows. Bigger plants (normal). Looking good. Planted the same way.

The idea on both was to use the closeness as a support for each other so they didn't need a trellis. Starting to come along good on both. Both need weeding within the rows.

We finished out the Broad Windsor row and three more with peas. The tendril peas and the Oregon Sugar Pod peas seemed to have done well. But the rest didn't. That was probably because of all the duck, turkey, and chicken activity on the rows. The house ends had the worst of it. We need fencing.

The East Garden or Kitchen Garden, this was the garden that the Amish had here, we have just enlarged it.

We then did three wide rows. The first two were carrots, spinach, lettuce, beets, kale, and leeks. Again, chicks and friends did their thing. Poor coverage. The third row was old seed from the 80's and 90's. No sign of any germination. We're going to redo this row.

A photo of the newly plowed west garden taken from the Kitchen window

The west garden goes from the ridgeline down to the drainage line, which goes from the barn and yard area down to the pond. Down next to the drainage line, I used the rotary plow to turn the soil (after mowing it with the flail mower). I plowed around the hillside (toward the pond) and progressing up the hill for width. There was still a downward trend for the rows because of the decreasing elevation. Due to time our neighbor finished the plowing and then disked the rest of the way up toward the the top toward the fence line. It is still rough. I need to run the power harrow over it yet to smooth it out some. 

Using the power harrow.

Where I rotary plowed, I planted 3 ½ rows of potatoes. I planted 12 varieties. They were from early to mid-season to late varieties. We don't know what works for this area and this weather. Maybe nothing. We planted the Wednesday before Good Friday (23 March 2015) because of incoming rain. We are at about 70% emergence now. There is signs of ground cracking. The others will be out within days. Some are already about 5” high. Carola and Butte started the show. We green sprouted the first 11 varieties. Huckleberry Gold was an add on because of its low glycemic index and it did not get green sprouted. It is the last to come up. The green sprouting seems to have helped. Something to look forward to for future years. The Carola and Butte have been up 10 days to 2 weeks. Rows are needing weeded as soon as it drys some. And they are going to need hilled up soon.

This is from the living room window looking west, you can see the potatoes.

The bottom row was peas, beets, etc. Very heavy poultry activity. Poor crop. Need fencing.

The South garden was plowed and disked. It was rough. So I took the power harrow to it. It looks a lot better, but still somewhat rough.

I still need to rotary plow the herb garden and we still have to design it for both annual and perennial herbs.

The beginning of the New Herb Garden.

The ducks and buff's came to help as soon as they saw the first rotary plowing! 

The new plowed garden.


I am working harder now than ever. Retirement is good for me. I will have further updates as things happen. 



  1. I love those fluffy varieties of 'herbs' you have growing in your garden! haha Quite an assortment!

    Oh, and I found those Dade beans you recommended. We'll see how well the perform here. I can't wait to get them in the ground.

    I look forward to your updates! You've been busy.

    1. I love the Fluffy 'herbs' too! I sure hope the Dade work for you like they have for us. We had them for supper tonight...some of the last frozen ones. Ralph ate two servings and was sad there were none left for serving 3. Busy on our own farm is heaven!

  2. Thanks for going into detail re: the gardens- I'm a reluctant novice gardener and am taking notes ;).

    1. Just remember to grow what you like and try a few fun things too. If you have ideas...try them as well. Most of all have fun!

  3. You two are really building something for yourselves there. The place looks great. We are doing a small garden this year, maybe a bigger one next year. The scale of your gardening is impressive.

    1. We have so many things we want to try to see how they taste and if they do well here. These new few years (if things hang in there) will see us build our food reserves and seed stores. As to your small garden it is great to even have a small one for fresh eating. I wonder if pole beans would climb your trees?:)

  4. Seriously, I am impressed! And I looked at the post about the produce auction... Outstanding!! I wish we had resources like that here. You're right, you have to look around and see what's available in your area, so far I guess I'm not looking in any of the right places. Everything I've found so far is at least a 50-mile drive.

    This is a nice blog, I see I have a lot of reading to do! Hugs, Ilene

    1. We are continually amazed at what is here and close by. It must be so frustrating for you. I hope you enjoy the reading...it is fun to see some of the land search posts!

  5. Thank you Jewlz you will know what for.....I appreciate your observation and found the offending marker. I tend to focus on the gardens etc.

  6. Looking forward to your reports on the Huckleberry Gold potatoes. I just ran across this variety so it is too late for me this year. Blood sugar issues mean all but an absence of potatoes for us. It would be great if HG could make a difference in that.

    1. We just had our first "New" potatoes. The huckleberry gold are Beautiful deep purple skin with rich yellow flesh and wonderful taste! We just enjoyed these but the next batch will be science. Blood sugar before and after and we will see how Ralph feels.