31 March 2009


Lots of steady rain. Turned over the pile and used up 2/3 of it. One part put over a last layer of old leaves where the potatoes will go- now it's a nice, black patch, not full of weeds or blowing around anymore. The rest put on the long bed- broke up the top inch of soil w/metal rake and raked it in. The compost only half finished so still lots of large pieces of leaves; going to leave it settle a week and then clear those away w/the light rake. Put some more of the compost around Garlics in the raised bed, and already they are standing up tall and boldly greener than before. They like it!

27 March 2009


It's definitely celery coming up!

And what I thought was Romaine is weeds-
Here now the little seedlings are sprouting.

Radishes, too!

And onions.

Turned the pile today. But more fun using the macro setting on my camera!

26 March 2009


Some of the garlic cloves in our fridge sprouted like these here, so Isa and I went out in the rain and planted them alongside the established patch, six little sprouts barely poking above the ground now, next to the taller plants that grew from cloves planted in the fall.

25 March 2009

sprouts, compost

Celery is beginning to sprout under the kitchen window, and I think some Romaine as well, although it looks a lot like broadleaf weeds, so not sure yet. Weeded the rest of the long bed today. At the very back the Fennel still coming back up. I cut this plant down last year right after we moved in, thinking it was one of the many tall weeds. Now I'm going to let it grow back, for even if I don't use the herb, the yellow flowers attract butterflies. I want to move it though, but not sure if it will withstand that.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow and through the weekend. The pile is heaped up with green weeds now, so after they're all wetted by rain I'll turn it over again on the first sunny day and see if there's enough half-finished compost to rake into the long bed and prepare for planting. It shouldn't need much. I learned from Thalassa Cruso that my leaf mulch probably did a good job of feeding and warming the soil overwinter, so I might not even need to dig, as long as put down more top-dressing of compost through the growing season.

23 March 2009


Weeded the front tulip beds, raked and swept leaves and debris off side yard, and planted some of the raised veg bed today:

Sunflowers - Mammoth (7-14 days)
Marigolds - Jaguar (7-14 days)
Broccoli - Green Goliath (10-21 days)
Lettuce - Simpson Elite (7-10 days)
Swiss Chard - Fordhook Giant (7-14 days)

Saved half a pack of all the seeds for later except Marigolds, used all those. Should have bought extra packets.

21 March 2009


Frost on the grass this morning. I'm afraid I was too eager and planted my lettuces to early. I hope the onions are okay where I already pulled off the mulch. Maybe I should put some back, is it better to protect from cold than smother their tender little green tips.

20 March 2009

more compost

Turned over the compost pile today. It's far easier with the new round plastic bin than the old square one I had rigged up out of nailed boards last year (fell apart). All the way down to the bottom the material was steaming and smelled even richer than last time I dug into it. Fluffed up enough to refill at three-quarters, and topped off with some pulled weeds from the front tulip bed.

18 March 2009


Turned over the dirt in raised plot. Then after it was loosened, dug shallow trenches and buried a few inches of half-done compost under. Raked the soil even on top, it looks fresh and ready to go but I'll wait a week to let the compost break down a bit more. The pile is already "cooking"- I only had to lift aside top few inches of leaves to find a rich smell, steaming heat, and blackish material. Need to turn it- the outside and edges are pretty dry, but my back and arms sore from turning over the soil so I'll do it later in the week.

13 March 2009


Today planted the bed under kitchen window:

Cauliflower - Early Snowball A (8-10 days)
Celery - Early Utah #5270R (14-20 days)
Radish - Crimson Giant (4-6 days)
Spinach - Bloomsdale Long-Standing (7-14 days)
Romaine Lettuce - Little Ceasar (7-10 days)
Romanie Lettuce - Paris Island (7-10 days)

12 March 2009


Back in october I potted up some basil and brought it inside for the winter. We had fresh basil for four months. Now there's only a few stalks left, but it still appears to be fairly healthy. It's supposed to be an annual, but I'm going to replant this in the garden and see what happens. I've been setting it outside a few hours each day in the sun to acclimatize it first. I'm going to plant more basil from seed too, it does so well. Then I'll put mint in the pot.

Today I raked clean the two main beds- the raised one near the patio and the long one against the opposite fence. All the material (including pulled weeds) off the raised bed I heaped on top of the pile. The leaves raked off the long bed I put in large black trash bags- filled four of them. Will save to add to pile later. I was surprised how much there was. The soil underneath is soft and dark. Did the leaf mulch help warm and improve the soil overwinter. I still have to weed the long bed.

11 March 2009

stuff is growing!

I was happy to see when carefully uncovered of their winter leaf mulch that the onions survived and are sprouting. The trees in the front yard have bright crocuses coming up around their base (previous owners must have planted those bulbs, I put in bluebells last fall but don't know when they'll sprout) and the tulips are coming up strong. One lone purple crocus came up on the side of the house that was full of purslane last year; I'm going to plant a row of marigolds there soon.

It was so nice to work outside. The day mild, warm, cloudy heading on to rain later this afternoon. Raked up the entire back lawn for the first time- lots of my winter leaf mulch blew all about and it was messy. Looks so much better now! (This fall will bag up all the leaves and use leaf mold or partly finished compost for mulch, it will stay put better) The turned-over pile completely filled up the new bin (even with the bottom part removed), so after topping it off with some pulled weeds mixed with the last three months' worth of kitchen veg scraps (sealed in buckets) and half the dead leaves/grass raked off the lawn, I put the rest of the leaves/grass into the empty buckets. I still plan on keeping a veg scrap bucket in the house, so the material is partly decayed by the time it gets out to the pile, and hopefully won't attract rats. Maybe instead of getting more sand I'll layer it with the leaves/grass off the lawn, to smother and add brown material.

Lots of birds around. Today I saw robins, a bright cardinal, a flashy magpie, dozen juncos, and a pair of woodpeckers. They're all very busy, and Irwin intent on stalking them.

09 March 2009


Turned over the compost pile today. Almost surprised to find the bottom fourth of it nice, dark material- still very coarse, but Isa and I kept saying: "yay, we made dirt!" It didn't make much, though, used it all on the bed under kitchen window, where the soil is full of little rocks and hard to dig in. Layered it on top of soil surface around the sprouting garlic, and on top of damp newspapers where I'm going to plant the lettuce. This is the only spot where I'll try the method I learned in Weedless Gardening; I don't have enough well-rotted compost to do more. Have to manage the pile better this year. The other garden plots will get turned over w/half-done compost raked in or trench-buried like I did before.