Friday, May 20, 2011


After skipping a day or two of rain and packed, clay Earth, we're back on track and have been getting a remarkable amount of planting done considering the weather and the manpower at our disposal (2x 6 year olds, a couple of toddlers, a woman in her 41st week of pregnancy, and a guy that has too many other things to do). We've also had our fair share of setbacks over the past few days:

1) Nearly 2/3rds of our seedlings didn't make it to the hardening-off stage, and half of those that were left were eaten by our cats. While we now know that we need at least one pot of cat grass to appease the beasts, we are SOL on growing our own from seed this year for anything with a long growing season. Peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and other basics have to be purchased pre-started.

2) The rain MY GOD THE RAIN. Don't get me wrong, once our plants are in the ground all the rain will be AMAZING, but it has severely delays things thus far.

3) Our beds are in serious need of conditioning, not only due to the moisture, but because anything dug this year is about 90% clay and rocks under invasive weed-filled sod. The only real way to make it workable at all is to work it by hand during one of th rare dry spells. We distributed all of last year's compost and found that it isn't NEARLY enough, so now we're kicking ourselves for not getting horse poo last fall.

4) I worry about the things we direct seeded. Last year we had very mixed results with direct seeding, and nearly everything that produced WELL was planted from already started plants. Our turnips were attacked by some kind of snail, our radishes were hit and miss, our peas were fine but planted during the hottest month killing production right when they looked good, and our beets didn't get nearly as big as expected. I have planted a TON of bush beans, peas, squash, beets, carrots and onions. Looking at the ground after the last few days of rain I have a hard time imagining seeds growing in that crusty grey dirt. I've also seen the occasional 6-year-old sized foot print in an already planted bed, though oddly no one has fessed up...

These are our last surviving seedlings...the tomatoes are TINY because anything larger was eaten by cats. At least we have some cucumbers that might survive.

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