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Little bits and bobs [edited]

Saturday, 24 Apr 10 17°C / 62°F

Today I’m doing things in little bits, and I’ll just keep adjusting the journal as I go. I’ve got huge quantities of pain, zero stamina, and a lot that I should try to do today (we’ll see how much gets done), so the built in element of procrastination should be good.

  • Put more orange peel mulch on the blueberries; this has become a daily activity. I’ve gotten their PH down to 7 from 7.5 when they started. Part of that is probably the sulfur gradually doing its job. I’ve read that acidity is hard to maintain unless your soil is inherently acidic (whatever that means), so I’m hoping that as the orange peels break down they will be helpful in maintaining acidity over the long haul. Besides, it’s good to have an excuse to eat lots of citrus. It’s becoming one of my favorite things about the blueberries.
  • Noticed a potato sprout. Just one so far, but there are upheaval-looking cracks in the soil where the other potatoes were, so more sprouts can’t be far behind.
  • Checked on the spinach, which is mostly dead. I’m seriously unhappy. I was going to check on everything, but got distracted by the spinach. It’s not worth doing anything else out there until I get this cat under control. The cat hasn’t dug up the bed since my most recent row cover attempt, but there was a fresh footprint.
  • Pulled off all the discoloured peppers from my ristra of thai chilis. I don’t think I’ll be doing that again (drying chilis, that is); it’s too humid here for things to dry properly and they end up molding and going bad. I tossed them into the mortar and pestle and have been grinding them down. If the inhaled pepper dust is any indication, any discolouring badness that makes me uncomfortable eating them hasn’t had any impact on their capsicum levels. Yes, peeing kitty, these are for you. I realize I’ll likely be in for serious quantities of volunteer thai chilis, but that’s a small price to pay for no more peeing kittys. I might try reseeding the spinach; I should be able to get some baby spinach even if there isn’t enough time for full blown plants before they have to come out for the tomatoes to go in. Although I think the tomatoes can go in in a couple of weeks so it might just not be worth it. I can try spinach again in the fall or (cringe) buy it. Or just not eat spinach for a year; that’s not a huge problem either. Must decide… Per xan’s suggestion, the ground up peppers are going on the bed where the cat likes to dig. I think I’ll keep the row cover as well, but I want this down on the dirt as well, just in case.
  • planted more parsnip and carrots; neither of them had done anything. The carrots might be duds, and they’re all used up, so I must buy some seeds from a store next time I’m at one. Although there might just be cat issues, since although this bit of the bed wasn’t dug up, it had clearly been walked all over and sat upon.
  • planted more scorzonera. About 4 of them had come up, but the others hadn’t.
  • decided not to plant more spinach. Instead, pricked the big bundle of volunteer mustard next to the spinach and spread them out in the bed to give them more space. Did the same thing with some 2 tatsoi seedlings and a kohlrabi.
  • 1 asparagus is coming up. Whew. I was worried they’d all be duds. I had to rebury another asparagus root that was completely exposed from the digging. On the plus side, it didn’t look dead, and it looked substantially happier than when I had planted it. But on the negative side, it hadn’t actually started to do anything either and who knows how long it had been cat-exposed. If I ever see this cat, there’s going to be some serious reckoning. I have a garden hose, and I know how to use it.
  • planted squash. Not sure if it’s early enough to take or not, but I thought I might as well since there are plenty of seeds and I only want two plants. Worst case, I plant more seeds in a couple of weeks, best case, they get a bit of a head start.
  • I tossed some flower seeds around the squash patch. I’m not going to record varieties. Too much effort and I have too little faith. I will mark them in as established if/when they sprout. I think I have to limit my careful bookkeeping to things I care more about. But for the record, I put out calendula, bachelor’s buttons, statice, tithonia, and sunflowers.
  • a couple of sweet peas have sprouted. Which is nice, because I’d started to think they were duds.
  • I planted out two more celeriacs that somehow didn’t make it out when the others did a few days ago.
  • It looks like some arugula and orach might be starting to pop up in the haphazard bed. This is good, because I was getting seriously concerned about my plan to not put in any effort and just let things reseed instead.
  • It looks like my sylvetta arugula and salad burnet have died. I think they came out of dormancy too soon and got set back by the frost and couldn’t recover. I haven’t decided if I’m going to put out more salad burnet or not. The sylvetta arugula I am worrying about zero because it self-seeded amazingly well and I should have an abundance of new plants.
  • The beetberry self-seeded amazingly well and has pretty much covered the zokalo bed. It’s nice, because it’s now acting as a cover crop and I’ll be able to wander through and eat it all when the time comes to plant other things.

Still to do:

  • I need to do a once-over and check which cinder block pots made it. I still have tons of beet seedlings I can put out if there’s space and more nasturtium seeds if I need them. I’m officially too tired to do any more today, so this will have to be the next thing I do.
  • Weed the squash patch. There’s some borage coming up near the compost pile and it’s got to go before it gets stingy. And there’s grass coming up in a few places and I want it gone.

Photos

This entry is about

Day 16

blueberry: Burgundy

Vaccinium angustifolium

Day 16

Blueberry: Brunswick

Vaccinium

Day 38

spinach: regal hybrid

Spinacia oleracea

Showing True Leaves
Day 14

potato: yukon gold

Solanum tuberosum

Sprouting
Day 21

Parsnip: Lancer

Pastinaca sativa

Resowing
Day 21

Carrot: Nantes

Daucus carota subsp. sativus

Resowing
Day 21

Scorzonera: Hoffmanns Schwarze Pfahl

Scorzonera

Resowing
Day 21

Radish (mix)

Raphanus sativus

Showing True Leaves
Day 38

Asparagus

Asparagus officinalis

Sprouting
Day 380

Arugula: Sylvetta

Eruca sativa

Established
Day 381

Salad Burnet

Sanguisorba minor

Dying
Day 35

Tatsoi

Brassica narinosa

Showing True Leaves
Day 35

kohlrabi: early white vienna

Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group)

Showing True Leaves
Day 35

kohlrabi: early purple vienna

Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group)

Showing True Leaves
Day 35

Senposai

Brassica rapa var. komatsuna

Showing True Leaves
Day 46

Kale

Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group)

Day -1

Squash, Summer: Costata Romanesco Zucchini

Cucurbita pepo var. cylindrica

Sown
Day 30

Sweet Pea

Lathyrus odoratus

Sprouting

Comments

  • puu

    puu wrote:

    our blueberries do pretty well in soil that isn’t terribly acidic. I think that as long as there’s a lot of organic matter and humic acid in the dirt to buffer things and keep ions in solution, the pH is less important. bringing pH down isn’t going to hurt your cause, but you might be knocking yourself out more than you need to on that particular front.

    Posted on 24 Apr 10 (over 4 years ago)

  • flowerweaver

    flowerweaver wrote:

    I just had a dumb thought…what about setting out a litter box near your bed and encouraging the cat to use that instead? Would a cat forgo your spinach patch for a nice box of minty fresh clay litter? I dunno, but maybe worth a try!

    Posted on 24 Apr 10 (over 4 years ago)

  • cristyn

    cristyn wrote:

    @puu: thats good to hear. Although I’m not terribly concerned about knocking myself out with orange peel mulch. It gives me something to do with citrus waste which I can only give to the worms in tiny quantities (or so I’ve been told), so it gives me a nice proactive feeling whether or not it is helping.

    @flowerweaver: It’s not a bad idea, but I’m allergic to cats and I can’t handle maintaining a litter box. I think the real key is to catch it in the act and establish some boundaries.

    Posted on 24 Apr 10 (over 4 years ago)

  • CityGypsy

    CityGypsy wrote:

    wow…your list of things done was quite alot. about the cat…recently we decided to “do something” about the alley dogs who just love to come up against the fence line and do their business. its not so bad when people are walking their dogs and clean up after them…but some people DON’T and of course there are sometimes dogs who are roaming around freely. anyway…we got plum sick and tired of cleaning up dog crap in that one spot in front of the fence, so, we mowed it down really low and we sprinkled a pretty hefty dose of black pepper there. im talking like two regular sized containers of it. now, i have spied dogs getting near the fence and and then stopping and leaving…a couple of times i saw a pooch getting too close and sniffing…he sneezed pretty good and then promptly bailed out. i don’t know if this would work for cats. in our case, the black pepper is pretty well surrounded by grass so the wind doesn’t kick it up much…i don’t know how well that would work in dirt.

    Posted on 24 Apr 10 (over 4 years ago)

  • outdoorlady79

    outdoorlady79 wrote:

    Have you tried spraying citrus oil where you don’t want the cat to go? Supposedly they hate citrus.

    Is this your first year with the asparagus? I really like the way it looks when it goes to seed.

    Posted on 26 Apr 10 (over 4 years ago)

  • cristyn

    cristyn wrote:

    @outdoorlady: I haven’t tried citrus oil; I’m not sure what it would do to the PH and going out and buying products is a huge point of inertia for me (which might be why chili flakes won out). But if they don’t work, I can add that to my list. This is my first year with the asparagus. I’m very excited about it. I’m keen on gradually getting in more perennials for earlier harvest and less effort.

    Posted on 27 Apr 10 (over 4 years ago)

  • outdoorlady79

    outdoorlady79 wrote:

    good thought on the citrus oil possibly affecting PH. I was thinking more of spraying it around the perimeter of the bed not specifcally in the bed. But don’t consider advice from me to be good, I’m new to all this. shame no one in my house will actually eat it to merit me planting some. What other edible perenials are you growing? i’m trying to gather ideas for what I want to incorporate next year. I’m really torn on planting some dwarf fruit trees, we don’t plan on staying in our house long term so I won’t get much fruit out of them before we end up moving and future homeowners in our area tend not to appraciate such things.

    Posted on 27 Apr 10 (over 4 years ago)

  • cristyn

    cristyn wrote:

    I don’t have space for trees, but I’m branching out into berries. I don’t even have space for large berries, so my options are fairly limited. When we put in our initial garden 2 years ago, we put in some perennial herbs: oregano, chives, lovage, thyme, mint, sage. Last year we put in 3 gooseberries, rhubarb, walking onions, bunching onions, sorrel, sylvetta arugula (unfortunately died due to extreme weather wackiness despite coming back earlier in the spring), salad burnet (also died after breaking dormancy too soon), lavender. The gooseberry/rhubarb order got lost and they sent the stuff way too late in the season for sensible planting so 1 gooseberry and the rhubarb died (the rhubarb was actually moldy when we got it!) so we used the refund towards another rhubarb attempt and 2 blueberries this year. I also put in the asparagus this year. I overwintered my chicory and I’ve read mixed reports on whether it is just a biennial or if it will successfully perennialize. I’ve read similar mixed reports on leeks; I left a few over the winter to see how they’d behave this year. I’m hoping next year to go for some musk strawberries and who knows what else. Puu keeps tempting me with talk of things that should grow in my zone but I can’t find sources for, so I’ve got things like starting up a large pot of groundnuts and sunchokes on my list for future expansion if I can find them. I think I’ve got a lead on a source in Massachusetts, but none of my road trips this spring have taken me that direction and I think I’ve already bitten off as much as I can chew this year.

    Posted on 27 Apr 10 (over 4 years ago)

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