Monday, June 22, 2015

Farming: Ow.

I have any number of long-handled gardening tools. A collinear hoe, two hula hoes, a rake, a weird claw thing for roughing up dirt that, I discover, doesn't work nearly as well for that purpose as the hula hoes. All the same, gardening seems to involve a lot of crouching, and then my muscles hurt and I have to take a hot hot hot bath and they're still there, slightly mollified but demanding "What did you DO to us?"

That may be the first time I've ever used the word mollified.

Yes, this is probably going to be one of those free-association posts.

I just prepped seventy-two square feet of garden bed, which would be thoroughly unimpressive if I'd used the tiller, but I didn't, because the tiller seems to be tilling really shallowly. So I hand-dug. Ow.

I didn't double dig. I just read in The Four Season Gardener's Cookbook that an alternative to double digging is to use a... uh...hang on while I try to find the page...

A broadfork, that's it. The page was easy to find because the book joined me in the bathtub, so that page is a bit rumpled.

So, anyway, seventy-two square feet. With a shovel, not a broadfork. I just learned about broadforks. One shovel depth. Three four by six blocks. I discovered last weekend, which was the first time I planned to dig that area, that dryfarming may be all very well for growing some crops, but it does not leave the soil in a diggable state...

My spell checker thinks that when I type "diggable" I really mean "dig gable." Just so you know.

...diggable state, so yesterday I let a soaker hose drizzle over it for a couple of hours and today it was in reasonably nice shape. Sprinkle fertilizer (organic, natural materials, stinky), spread compost (organic, natural materials, including bat guano, also stinky), dig, shove the dirt clods around with the hula hoe until they mostly give up, re-cover with weed barrier. Yay. I sort of wish I'd taken a photo, but oh well.

So, taking credit for anything that has so much as broken ground as a seedling, the garden is growing Blacktail Mountain watermelons, Costata Romanesco zucchini, Armenian Slicing cucumbers, Candystick Dessert Delicata winter squash, some kind of peas, Bright Lights chard, Red Russian kale, Early Girl and Sweet 100 and Sungold and San Marzano tomatoes,  Bountiful Bush beans, Blue Lake beans, Nevada and Tennis Ball and Adriana and Freckles lettuce, Bull's Blood beets, some kind of basil, some kind of dill, red komatsuna, some really sad blueberries from the time that I was in denial about acid soil, some thriving blackcurrant, Copra onions, some forgotten kind of strawberries, Quinalt strawberries, Purple Peacock sprouting broccoli, parsley, chives, tarragon, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, Howden pumpkins, Orange Rave pumpkins, some kind of zinnia, Art Deco zinnia, and some kind of cosmos.

So there.

Believe it or not, it all looks kind of sparse. The first planting of several things failed, and the second planting is debating whether to go past the seedling stage.

Within a week I also plan to plant three kinds of bunching onions, a few kinds of sunflowers, one more kind of zinnia, a couple more kinds of lettuce, Bear Necessities kale, and those peas that supposedly can be grown in summer. When I prep more ground for the winter garden, I'll put in Purple Sprouting broccoli and Purple Cape cauliflower. Probably. They're for overwintering; you cut little sprouty things, sort of like broccoli raab, in winter and spring.

When the fall/winter rains start I'll prep areas for raspberries and blueberries and roses and more strawberries. French gray shallots and garlic will go in around this time, too, though they may need to go in before the rains. Some perennial flowers will probably go in where the zinnia and cosmos and sunflowers are this summer.

And like that.

Meanwhile, ow.