It finally decided to rain, so I'm inside doing "clerical" stuff. Catching up on computery stuff, measuring and mixing the seeds that will be going in the ground over the next couple of months, and which will form the foundation of the landraces I'm developing.
Wasn't able to get all the pictures I wanted to, but I got some. Better something than nothing, and better later than never...
Thanks to those of you that contributed seeds to these mixes. You know who you are, and you're welcome to let everyone else know who you are. I was not confident that I could get enough food in the ground before. I'm a lot more confident that I can produce enough now, so long as I can keep most of it alive. And I'm way more confident that things will survive with such a broad mix of genetics to handle whatever this year throws at it. I can't put into words how much I appreciate the helping hand.
I think I'll be doing minimal video over the next couple of months. If I do video at all, it'll probably be very short, minimally edited stuff... brief garden tours and such. I just don't think I can get everything prepped and planted if I'm splitting my time between food production and video production. It took a couple of days of laying in bed before I no longer felt amped up on adrenaline and cortisol after the stress of this past week. When push comes to shove, and it finally has, I've gotta choose food over video. We'll see what happens. Maybe things will go faster than anticipated... though that's literally never happened before. 🤣 We'll see. This life has a way of being mighty unpredictable.
Well, I landed a paid writing gig. Sort of. Maybe.
I actually declined a paid writing gig because I have too much on my plate right now. I told them I'd be available at the end of the season, and they said that would work for them. Nothing's official, official yet. We'll finish the conversation and finalize things in the fall, which means things could always fall apart before then, but it seems like a really good match to me and I'm really looking forward to it.
Does anyone write for SMBs and would you be willing to PM and talk rates? I haven't done this sort of work in a decade, and it was through an agency, so I didn't see what the actual client was being billed. And I have no idea what's standard right now. I have an idea of where I'd like to be, but I need a sanity check to make sure that number isn't way too high or way too low. And small businesses have way different priorities than big ones, so I know price is a factor. Given what I've been living on, and the somewhat feral nature I've developed 🤣, there are definitely things they can do or offer to make it worthwhile for lower pay.
For the record, fasciation is fascinating. I'm not super familiar with all of the things that cause it, but I feel like I'm seeing more of it lately. I'm not sure if everything I've seen had actually be fasciation, but this one certainly is.
Also, this turnip was supposed to be for seeds. But I just couldn't not pick it. This was a volunteer, and it's the best turnip I've ever grown. Granted, this is my garlic bed, and it got a good dose of fertilizer and compost, so it's no surprise. The ones I planted on purpose went to seed super early, but I think that had to do with the weird temperature extremes we had early on. These volunteers germinated a bit later and missed most of the shenanigans. Note to self: plant early enough for a fall harvest, and Kate enough to miss the shenanigans.
Congrats on the possible gig! I enjoy your writing. Hopefully, they will too!
Everything looks gorgeous. I'm so jealous of the time you have to invest in this, while fully understanding it's probably stressful and scary for you to be making a go of it like this -- planning to live only off your own produce.
I am soaking up all your lessons, hopefully .
I appreciate the content you're producing, but also think you have to focus on yourself first. If that means no video, so be it, I'll still come read your updates.
Yep, fasciation if that's what ya call it is fascinating. Around here is it quite common in thistles, also the first flowers of many tomatoes. I wonder if it the same thing basically as a double stem fused together like an electric cord. I see that in those same plants as well. Sweet potatoes quite commonly have the fused stems but I've only seen a fascinated flower on them one time as I recall.
Mustard is basically a year round, pretty much evergreen plant around here. I have so much of it and don't pay good enough attention to know for sure but I think it is sometimes perennial.
Those are some pretty cowpeas. I planted some back when it was cold and wet and had about a dozen come up and survive some light frosts. Planted the main patch a few days ago and they are just now coming up. Transplanted the surviving early ones at the end of the new patch.
Yep, I would definitely put food, fishing, play and sleep above video if it was me. Maybe just work in some regular little shorts along the way.
Have been trying to take it easy this week. Adrenals in pretty rough shape, and I know the consequences won't be good if I just try to push through it. Took a break from caffeine, and though offered alcohol that I very much wanted to accept, I wanted to minimize the load on my body, and so skipped that was well.
Someone told me that nettles are good for the kind of run down that I'm feeling. Makes sense that I'm in such rough shape, since I missed my opportunity to harvest nettles pre-flowering and so haven't had my regular supply. I was able to find a small patch in deep shade that hadn't flowered yet and harvested enough to have three days of nettles, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also coincided with my friend needing a break from eggs, so this ended up being the week of nettle quiche. Body's feeling a little less run down now. And apparently fresh growth from nettles after having been cut is safe to eat, so I should have more to harvest after the ones I cut for fertilizer put on some more growth.
Oat straw tea is also apparently a good one for the adrenals, which means oats may have just moved higher up on my list of things to grow. Don't know that I have the desire to process the actual oats for eating, so they may end up as chicken feed, which is a perfectly fine use in my eyes. Less work on my part.
I've asked around about bartering for dog grooming but turned up nothing. It's about $150 to have my dog professionally groomed around here, and keeping her fed has been challenge enough. Grooming was completely off the table. Luckily her hair grows quickly, so while it has a tendency to develop mats, she doesn't develop the kinds of skin irritation and infections that some breeds are prone to with mats close to the skin. But it was embarrassing for people to see her like that... which is why she hasn't featured in any photos or videos. Well, this week Petco had clippers on sale with an additional 25% off coupon to boot, so I had a friend pick them up for me... of course, I thought I was going to be able to pay them back, but apparently I'm not getting paid to scythe for the landowner, which was news to me. Long story short, I've spent a couple of long grooming sessions working on her and we're almost done. Just the tricky parts (face, backside, feet) left, so we'll see if I can manage that on my own. Might at least need an extra set of hands to hold onto her so I can get the job done. She'll be picture perfect soon enough, and then you all will be seeing much more of her.
My mustard was starting to go crazy, but now most of it is bolting. Even though I planted it in the shade of the barn. Blegh. Guess I'll cull all but the last few to bolt and then save seeds from those and go from there. It had so much promise. I was sure it was going to become my new superstar green. Alas, it wasn't to be.
This is the first day that I actually had energy to get out in the garden and do a little work. I finished setting up one of the mashua trellises and planted the first two plants. The cuttings that I took and put in water to try rooting have successfully rooted. Want the roots to get a little more developed before those ones go in the ground.
Did a little bit of weeding. The carrot/parsnip bed is overrun with thistles. Beds have been getting kicked progressively thicker as I've had more mulch to use, but this was one of the first beds of the season, so it has a relatively thin layer. The weeds are loving that... Enough mulch to hold onto moisture, but not enough to keep them from pushing up through it. I'm slowly chopping and dropping the weeds, and hopefully I'll be able to get a big harvest of mulch to top off this bed.
I have at least one zucchini germinated in almost every position. Some asshole ate one where only one zucchini had germinated instead of picking one of the ones where I had multiples. I have some old sweetest seed that I saved like 8 years ago that I know has pretty miserable germinating at this point, but I might throw like 5 seeds in that spot and see if I can get at least one to come up, since I really like that variety. Might sprinkle them throughout just in case I have more losses, since that'll give me a backup, and a few of the ones that did sprout aren't looking super vigorous.
Finally warming up again after a week of cool and occasionally wet weather. Cool enough that I stopped moving my peppers and tomatoes outside. Finally put them out again today. Have no idea where I'm going to plant them, since the bed that was intended for them is nowhere near ready. I might have to just sprinkle them throughout the food forest, though that makes them harder to protect from wildlife. But at the end of the day, as much as I'd really love to have peppers and tomatoes, they aren't a significant source of calories and thus have to be a lower priority than my staples. And since I have no expectation that I'll be doing a lot of canning this year, having a glut of tomatoes isn't super practical.
Recently had a discussion about the effects of pulling garlic scapes super early... earlier than most people pull them. Supposed to increase garlic yield 20-30%. I'm growing enough to have about half a bulb of garlic a day (not counting what will get replanted), and I'm not selling it, so I'm not worried about increasing the weight of my garlic harvest. But I am interested in having scapes to eat earlier, so I plucked the first few today. Half of my garlic bed is mulched and the other half isn't. Only the half that isn't mulched—being more water-stressed, and being in warmer soil thanks to the greater solar exposure—is producing scapes. The mulched half is showing no sign of scapes yet. This wasn't intended to be an experiment, but I guess it is now.
I was worried about the runner beans that I planted for the last video. I pre-sprouted them and then used the soaker hose to water in everything in this bed. The soil was pretty dry near the surface and I wasn't sure that there was good enough root to soil contact you get them established. Well, the first beans started popping up yesterday, and more popped up today, so at least a fraction of them are going to make it. I planted half of my seeds this year and reserved the other half. Last year I wasn't able to get a dry bean yield because it was too hot to set fruit once they started flowering, and then it froze before any of the fall beans could mature. There's no sign of resprouting from any that I grew last year. As much as I would want to fill in empty spaces if some of the beans don't make it, I have to assume that the only beans I'm going to have to plant next year are the ones I've reserved. So, we'll just have to wait it out and see what happens this year.
Oh, and I had a little garter snake figure out how to climb my peatrellis. He's now an honorary member of my elite garden guard.
Anyway, I've probably rambled on long enough that no one's going to read this wall of text. I'll just throw in the few pictures I've managed to nab since the last post and call it good