Saturday, November 14, 2009

Patience is a Myth

I am pretty much the least patient person I know. The result? I plan future events TO DEATH because it gives me something to concentrate on while waiting for the event to happen. I think most of the world is organized into people like me, and people who are supremely irritated by people like me.

We are now officially in the non-planting period of the year, when the temps are cooler and it's often foggy or rainy. I say "often" but I really just mean a few times last week and today. Up until yesterday, really, it was still pretty warm and bright here, which isn't necessarily a good thing since most of our plants need to go through a dormant phase brought on by cold weather.

That said, we've been trying to get a jump on the New & Improved Wat Ranch Vegetable Garden 2010, since we undertook this year's garden completely unprepared. About a month ago, I borrowed a lovely gas-powered tiller from my friends over at the One Acre Homestead, and tilled up the plot where our new garden will go. Recall from this post that our previous gardening space was about 6'x20' total, so approximately 120 square feet.
Behold, the New & Improved Wat Ranch Vegetable Garden 2010 Plot:
This takes up a 40'x50' section in the southwest corner of our yard. Yes, math folks, that is 2,000 square feet. In addition to being impatient, I also tend to overdo things on occasion. :) That little black box in the corner is our composter which may or may not need to be moved when we start planting.

The goal for this plot is to have raised rows that are about 3' across, which we will sow with companion plants to improve flavor and pest control. We're also hoping the companion situation will help shade heat-intolerant plants, which can be a major issue in our unforgiving summer heat. Maybe one of these days I'll get ambitious and scan in our hand-drawn plans for the garden.

Something I'm interested in trying is "green manure." Cow manure and packaged compost can get super expensive when trying to amend over 2,000 square feet, so I followed the Farmer's Almanac suggestions for planting clover and winter wheat as a cover crop. Not only will this crop help with erosion control during winter rains, but it will also fix nitrogen in the soil and when it is mowed and tilled under, will act as a fertilizer (and it won't stink or inspire ill-timed poop jokes).

Like my homemade seed spreader? It's a Parmesan cheese shaker. I experimented with this Dutch White clover, then once it germinated I realized I needed A LOT more. Bill found a local seed wholesaler, Warner Brothers Seed Company, that I bought a winter wheat mixture and red clover seed from. It's great finding local resources, and so far the product has been excellent. See?
This is about 2 weeks post-sowing and there's green stuff popping up all over. In fact, it's so green over in that corner of the world that it's making the rest of the yard look downright brown:

Almost the inverse of the first picture, isn't it? And yes, the grass has been mowed since this was taken. We got a major case of the October Lazies and hadn't mowed in several weeks. I mean, it's not supposed to be warm this late into the fall, so who wants to mow when there is football and indoor activities to be enjoyed? And if the green appears in patches, it's because I had 2 lovely assistants (aged 5 and 7) help me spread seeds until they "figured out how to do it faster" by just dumping out their spreaders in one spot. Smart girls.

One last piece of business is garlic. I received 4 lovely bulbs of garlic in the mail (and forgot to snap pictures, so use your imagination), but unfortunately one of them was totally rotted through. I grabbed another questionable bunch from Lowe's, and planted everything that looked decent. So we'll see. I'm not feeling completely confident about this crop because I couldn't pin down a good planting time from my research, and the weather is so wonky....Anyways, this will be the garlic home for the next few seasons until it is ready for harvest mid-summer:
Godspeed little vampire killers!


  1. I'm so excited for both of our gardens this coming spring!! It is going to be a site to behold, I'll tell ya'! I'm thinking we'll be doing some canning sessions together, as's just more fun to can with company! I hear those two assistants you had are quite the handful! ;-)

  2. I loved my assistants! I'll definitely be putting them to work again when it's blueberry picking time.
    Group canning sounds fun! I've got a lot to learn, for sure.