Friday, June 20, 2008

Hailstorms & Gardens

Here's an entry for the garden geeks...

Well, our garden didn't suffer, but imagine my surprise when I heard a loud "THOCK....THOCKTHOCK....THOCK.....THOCKTHOCKTHOCK" on the roof of the yurt this afternoon!? Hail is a rare occurrence here, especially in the summertime. I was eyeballing the thunderhead-looking clouds today wondering if we'd get a little precip. This year is the driest ever on record for this part of summer. I am hoping for the unusual, but not unheard of deluge at the end of June.

I've been meaning to write a little about our garden, and my session with my garden journal re-inspired me last night. My garden is ROCKING! In the last few days, we've eaten snow peas, lettuce, mustard greens, beets, kale, broccoli, and radishes. I'm just so pleased with how it's going. Tonight for dinner, we had barley risotto (from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) with barley grown in Arcata, beets and beet greens, peas, and broccoli all from our garden. It was delicious!

This year, I decided to focus on growing a lot of plants that I can preserve. In addition to what I listed above, we're growing tomatoes for sauce, salsa, and fresh eating, a lot of corn for freezing and fresh eating, peppers for freezing, salsa, and fresh eating, winter squash, summer squash, herbs, eggplant (baba ganoush, anyone?), tomatillos for salsa, basil for pesto, and a rotating cast of brassicas, which can grow all year round: broccoli, cabbage, tree collards, and I will plant more brussels sprouts. I'm hoping, too, that when our raised beds are finished, we will grow all the gopher-risky crops, like garlic, carrots, and potatoes, not to mention the long anticipated asparagus, which can't be harvested for three years after planting.

If you're wondering about our layout, our main strategy in the garden is wind protection. We get STRONG north winds regularly in the summer anytime there is a high pressure center out in the Pacific and a low pressure either at the Central Coast of California or in the Great Basin. I'm not talking about it being a little breezy, I'm talking about somewhere over the rainbow wind, where large objects get moved overnight. (Honey, where did the wheelbarrow end up?) So I'm growing corn in the north, with shorter things in front, then tomatoes on trellis (we'll see if this works), behind all the warm weather goodies (squash, cukes, basil, eggplants, etc). We found last summer that even a 24 inch tall "windbreak" made a huge difference for the bed immediately downwind.

In any event, it feels really good to be growing SO much food. Tonight after dinner, Ella helped me plant the pole beans among the corn, and the last thing I have to plant are the black beans. Then that's it until rotation plantings of brassicas, beets, and lettuce, and maybe even wheat, for the winter garden.

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