I called Tierra Miguel Farm and I am going to start volunteering on Saturdays. It's an hour drive each way but since they are closed Sundays its roughly the same amount of driving I was doing. La Milpa was 30+ minutes each way. They are looking for some projects that I can do that are in tune with my interests but experience is experience. Plus they are a Biodynamic Farm and I really want to learn. When I know enough about biodynamics I'll post some stuff but right now it is a mystery. So Saturday at 9 am - very excited.
Knocking out some much needed garden maintenance. A lot of people in this world are so worried about doing things the wrong way that they never do anything. This cannot be said about me. Honestly, I have just begun to accept that the first time I do something I am going to mess up. It is a real treat when I don't. So what have I messed up so far this year on the garden? At first I started with poor soil, small pots, and overcrowding. I had a few successes - the potatoes, green onions, garlic and sunflowers being the best. Then I made the broccoli leggy. Leggy means that it got too tall before it really started to form. I had hung baskets on the inside of the patio railing. This only gave them a little light so the seedlings grew 3X the normal size to get to the light. This made my broccoli unhealthy and open to attack by the imported cabbage moth. Who is back by the way.
|Look at the legs on that one|
So now all of those are under control and I now know what to look for. I just planted some Romaine Lettuce, Thyme, Lemon Balm, tri-colored Cauliflower, more Broccoli, California Poppy's, Nasturtiums and some assorted Carrots. I'm stoked about the purple, white, and green cauliflower and the orange, purple, yellow, and white carrots. Next week I'll start up some more green and red leaf lettuce. One thing I haven't been very good about is Succession Planting. That is planting so that as I harvest it I have some to replace it. The key to this is a Garden Journal! Good record keeping is essential to allow you to learn what works and what doesn't. I'm not that good at keeping records. My checkbook stays balanced for 3 days after payday and then I'm reconstructing all the spending at the end of the month. I never learn. Yet a Log for your garden is essential. It really does take your gardening to the next level. Even if you only have a window sill garden, knowing when you planted what will help you grow more effectively. This will undoubtedly translate to higher yields and lower over all costs. Both of which are good in my book.
While I was messing about with planting I decided to put some worm castings on top of my soil. Here was the plan. I have a big soil tub that I mix soil with composted steer manure. Then as I fill up my pots I mix the soil with compost. I press the soil down to smooth it and to create a seed bed. I then seed the pot according to the plant spacing required. I then lightly cover the seeds with a layer of soil to the depth indicated on the package. I water thoroughly. Next I was going to add a layer of worm castings but my bin is way too wet and my castings look like mud. Finally, I top it off with hay that my rabbits kick out of their cages. Later I'll add some rabbit manure to the surface to slowly leach out as I water. Rabbit pills, as they are called, are pretty high in Nitrogen. I didn't try and add worms to the pots as I am trying to build up the number of worms I have plus this mud issue. Plus I haven't refined my potting mix just yet.
Back to the worm bin. The mud is just nasty and the problem is that my bin is too wet. I never water my worms. The combination of the black bin with the yellow top insures that moisture stays built up in there. So I have over fed them. As the food breaks down it releases moisture. It is all this moisture that is turning my once beautiful worm castings to muck. The solution is simple - stop feeding them for awhile and leave the lid off to dry out a bit. In a couple of days this should be back to normal.
While I was digging around in there I saw these.
|BTW see the supposedly compostable potato chip bag all in one piece after months of sitting in here???|
|Mulching my pots. I use the hay my rabbits kick out of their cages. I'm cheap I know.|