So, lately, we've been worried have a major water drainage problem, which does not bode well for growing food. Every time it rained and we walked around the backyard, we'd step on super super squishy ground. Yesterday we discovered we do not have a water drainage problem, we have a mole problem. Ack!! I don't know a thing about moles, but my first instinctual thought was, "what about my carrots?!? The moles must die!!!!!" In a more rational moment, I did some looking around online and it seems if you have moles around, that means you have a grub problem in your lawn (since that's what they eat). Perhaps getting rid of the moles would let the grubs go to town?? And what would they do? hmmmmm. Our veggie garden is all raised bed and it seems they haven't really discovered it b/c most of it (like the carrots) has no obvious damage. I decided we just needed a way to keep them away from the garden. Well, turns out things like onion and garlic repel them. Maybe our carrots are okay because they're planted with the onions. Also lots of stuff about the hating peppermint (so you can put peppermint oil out), and sound vibration, so you can stick a pole in the ground and tie empty 2 liter bottles to the top so they'll bang around in the wind and make vibration in the ground that will run the moles off. Ideas, ideas.
Since our longterm goal is to provide most of our food for ourselves, we try a new thing every spring. Sometimes it's a major flop, sometimes it works. This year we're trying two things. The first is "three sisters" plantings---where you plant corn, green beans and squash in the same spot. This will have to go up by the house to have any shot of growing because we also have racoons around here and I know they'll come after the corn. We might have to throw some corn out at the back fence (there's woods back there) too, so the raccoons will just stay back there. The other thing we're trying is growing potatoes. This is the experimental year and if it works, we'll grow different varities next year. We're gonna try straw bale planting (only, we'll use hay). Basically, you just lay the potato on the ground and mound hay up over it (and keep adding hay as the shoots come up). When it's time to harvest, you just pull back the straw (watch for snakes, I imagine) and have clean potatoes with no digging. I'm hoping this works b/c we don't exactly have the soil for good potato growing around here. We found a 50# bag of seed potatoes for $15 at a local place. We're splitting the bag with friends, but if it works, we should still have *plenty* of potatoes!!! I have visions of a freezer full of mashed potatoes and potatoes au gratin and twice baked potatoes and potato soup. We can even try canning potatoes, I guess.
And more pictures....
Our carrots growing like gang busters (what exactly does that phrase mean??). We have a really cool variety out there (dragon carrot) that's red. It looks interesting and I can't wait to taste it:
Here's our newly transplanted onions that we started from seed a few months ago. They are happy in their new homes and will hopefully be providing us with tons of onions right when we're harvesting tomatoes (and canning salsa):
The brussel sprouts are putting out their little sprouts and seem very happy. We only had 2 or 3 stalks last year, this year it looks like we'll end up with 10-15.
The romaine lettuce is very happy too. Unfortunately a certain little catepillar has taken a liking to our spinach, so we didn't get to eat any of it ourselves. I'm gonna take the fact that nature didn't touch the romaine as a sign that it's not nearly as healthy as the spinach, but it's something.
And sure, we have no climate change issues what so ever. Here it is mid-January---January!!! and the weather is so screwed up I discovered a strawberry bloom today!!!! I'm sure it will be dead later this week because we have been alternating between high 20's and low 70's for weeks now. It's not fall, winter or spring...it's the new season: "falltering" brought to you by the folks at OPEC. I don't like cold weather, but it is necessary in the big scheme of things and I'm gonna guess the rapid switch between cold and warm we're having (the only thing worse than a complete lack of cold) will wreak havoc on our garden and fruit trees :-(