No Worries Blog

Bed 3 Fully Planted 2 May 2010Here is Bed 3, fully planted with starts purchased today at OAEC’s Plant Sale.  In front are eggplants, peppers, a couple of green scalloped squash, and the rest are all different, interesting heirloom tomato varieties, including Al Kufta at the very back. Spacing is about 18-inches between the plants.

Bed Preparation: After “single-digging” (pushing a spading fork 12″ into the bed and moving it around to loosen the soil), raked in 6 cu. ft. home-made compost, 2 cu. ft. of  Fox Farm Planting Mix, 12 oz. Agricultural Lime, 2.5 oz. sulfur, 11.5 oz Gypsum, + 0.4 oz Boron (with the rest, 0.4 oz, to be added in the Fall).  This is all per the Soil Test recommendations from Timberleaf Soil Testing.

Home-made Compost:  Given that Beds 3-8 will require 6 cu. ft. (= 9 x 5 gallon buckets full) of compost each, that’s 36 cu. ft. of compost.  At 11.95 + tax per bag, Fox Farm Planting Mix (the only compost on the market that’s decent), that would be more than $430 just for those beds, and just for the Spring planting. Turns out that we’ve not only been composting our kitchen scraps and our bunny’s toilet (which makes beautiful compost, but not nearly enough). we’ve also composted all of the weeds we pulled last fall. And, guess what, they’ve produced “Black Gold”, the most beautiful compost you’ve ever seen, crawling with different varieties of earthworms! So, I sifted 9 x 5 gallon buckets and applied it to Bed 3. That’s why its soil looks so luscious.  My task over the next week will be to sift the huge mound of compost under our walnut trees into useable compost for our growing beds.  I think I’ll tackle about 9 x 5 gallon buckets full per day (that’s enough for a single bed) and see how far I get by next week-end.  Stay tuned.


Here’s the status of the items listed in my 8 April 2010 blog:

  1. Have yet to compose letter for soil test report and to mail in the soil samples. Hopefully, will get to this on Monday, 4/12/2010
  2. Much to my consternation, I cannot locate my jar of Hungarian poppy seeds!!!! Will keep looking…
  3. After a humungous amount of de-weeding (by hand & trowel, with gardening gloves on, of course) of the border next to Bed 0, nearest the swale, transplanted 6 beautiful marigolds in a ring under the Santa Rosa plum tree, and another 6 in a row, before the first peach.
  4. De-weeded the strawberry bed (=Bed 9). What a chore! Had to de-weed the pathway around it, too. Michael mowed the weeds in that part of the deer-fenced in garden today, too.
  5. While de-weeding Bed 9 (currently “the strawberry bed”), I noticed that some strawberry plants were doing well, whereas the majority had rotted/dried out and died. I used to think it was the poor soil. Now, I realized it has to do with drainage. This is the one growing bed that was not graded to be level. A level growing bed is essential, so that water drains down to the roots of each plant, instead of draining down to some plants and rotting out their roots by too much constant moisture. Before cultivating and further preparation of this bed for spring planting (I purchased 4 new strawberry plants at Western Farm Supply, for instance), it will be necessary to pull the strawberry plants in there already, re-grade the bed to be level, and only then proceed with bed preparation. Items 6.-9. — see above.

Apart from preparing/eating the fennel harvested from Bed 0 (our bunny, Attila, adores the fennel fronds), I’ve more or less completed all of the chores listed on April 6, 2010.  Here’s my action item list:

  1. Compose & print out cover letter for soil test, package and mail in 3 soil samples for this year’s soil test reports.
  2. Sow Hungarian poppy seeds in the greenhouse.
  3. Transplant 1 dozen pretty marigolds purchased today.
  4. De-weed Bed 9 (strawberry bed)
  5. Cultivate/single-dig Bed 9 as much as is practicable
  6. Amend Bed 9 with compost
  7. Transplant 4 new strawberrry starts into Bed 9
  8. Cover with cardboard around strawberry plants, and later with rice straw, so ripe berries don’t rot by touching moist ground
  9. Plant garlic and shallots in rest of Bed –Garlic are great companion plants for strawberries (keep bugs away).

Another planting season is upon us.  Instead of using binders to keep track of my gardening/farming activities, as I’ve done for the past 4-5 years, this year I will start something new: blogging!

So, today’s goals are:

  1. De-weed Bed 4
  2. Take before & after pictures and post these on the No Worries site
  3. Harvest the fennel from the Southern side of Bed 0, prepare the fennel for dinner tonight
  4. De-weed the Southern side of Bed 0.
  5. Single dig the Southern side of Bed 0.
  6. Take soil sample from Bed 0.
  7. Compost Southern side of Bed 0.
  8. Finally, transplant the 18 broccoli di Cicco starts I purchased yesterday from Fiesta Market (Wildwood Farms) on 12-inch centers or 15-inch centers, as recommended by John Jeavons.