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California - What are you doing this month?

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Post  sanderson on 1/16/2014, 3:01 am

70 degrees tomorrow!!  sunny  Are you starting any seedlings? I'm sooo tempted to plant the beans and corn!

We need rain . . .
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Post  keepercjr on 1/16/2014, 11:59 am

There is just something wrong with this never ending stretch of nice weather. On weather.com the 10 day forecast is all in the 70s! And the air quality is really suffering because of it.

I stated my tomatoes last weekend in mini soil blocks. They are sprouting now and I will start to pot them up today.
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Post  sanderson on 1/16/2014, 12:52 pm

I started working on the seedling pots yesterday, so I should be seeding today or tomorrow. Problem is, the 2" x 2" pots are filled with new MM, which is made with home made compost. This compost is filled with un-composted tomato seeds, as I found out in my new fall boxes! I will have to be precise with seed placement so I can pull volunteers.

Rain dance anyone? Apparently, Sacramento has new watering laws for businesses and residences.
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Post  sanderson on 1/18/2014, 4:33 pm

Snow peas, celery, store garlic, bok choy, chard.  I covered the boxes with 4 mil plastic.

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Radishes, store garlic and carrots:
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 1/18/2014, 5:44 pm

Sanderson, Look how pretty your boxes are!  Your peas are doing great in them too.

I spent the day out in the hot sun.  It had to be 80 degrees out in my garden - weird!

I cleaned up the dead plants on my hillside garden from the hard freeze in December and added them to a compost pile.  Cleaned up the old straw bale garden, scooping up the mostly composted bale debris and adding it on top of the potato mounds that I will be growing in later this spring.

Set up the new bales and started watering them.  I won't "condition" them until closer to out door planting time.  

I hand watered my new Back to Eden (BTE) beds so that the chips are wet and will break down more readily.  Even in this terrible drought, under my chips is quite moist with only one rain so far this year.  It's quite amazing. 

Planted some new lettuce and pulled the lettuce that is bolting.  It's so warm during the day in the green house that it's almost too warm in there for the more delicate lettuce.  I may start one or two of my bales early and plant lettuce outside for the spring. 

Now I'm whooped and headed to the shower!
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Post  sanderson on 1/18/2014, 6:51 pm

After reading what you did today, I need a nap!   sawing logs 

I didn't get that much done outside, today.  I worked on proposed planting in the boxes.  Measured for another 2 x 2'!  Yep, it will fit.  And, editing an Excel chart for companion (bad companions are the most important) planting.  I ran out of screened compost for more Mel's Mix for the winter squash boxes DH is building.  Plus topping off the new stand-alone boxes next to the house.  Also washed my field worker hats in prep for next week when I get a whole-face pre-cancer treatment.

Talking about heat, I was late opening the hot house and the air was 100*!  Peppers and potato buckets mainly. I started the second bucket this week.  Plus, in the lavender pot, the overwintered sucker from an Early Girl I bought at HD.  I wonder if sweet potatoes do well in buckets?
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Post  sanderson on 1/21/2014, 2:25 am

@Mary429 wrote:Hi there!
Haven't posted in a while but I'm in Fresno too.  Smile
This will be my first time starting seeds indoors.  Do you all use a grow light, or just a window?  I can't decide whether I should spend the money on a light or not.  Also, is there a place in town that had a wide variety of seeds, preferably organic, or is Lowe's or Home Depot the way to go? 

I've had broccoli, radishes, scallions, lettuce, and potatoes in a bottomless bin all doing well this winter!  Looking forward to adding another 4x4 for the spring.  Smile

Mary

Mary, I missed your post.  Hi, there!  The 4 of us should get together.  Does a Sat work for you?  I am thinking we could all meet at the Vineyard Farmer's Market, NW Shaw and Blackstone, on a Sat late morning??

Last year I used portable hot boxes that were brought inside when ever the nights were below 40*.  Husband made them from scrap wood.
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Last edited by sanderson on 1/21/2014, 2:31 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add photo)
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Post  sanderson on 1/21/2014, 2:46 am

Yesterday we pruned the neighbor's chinese pistaccio tree that hangs over the fence plus really blocks a lot of afternoon sun.  DH used the pole saw from out side, throwing a rope with a weight over each branch and tying a knot.  Since we were going to have to cut up and dispose of the branches, I didn't want any of them to fall on the ground into the doggie bombs on her side of the fence.  I dragged them away and broke them down.  So much more sun on the west side for the future 10 sf of boxes for vertically growing squash.

Think of the number of leaves these would have produced and how much sun would have been lost!
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Late afternoon I started screening my 3rd compost pile.  I need compost for neww MM for the new boxes.  Today I finished all of the screening except for the bottom scraping on top of the dirt.  I was too pooped to finish.  My back was cursing me out in 4 different languages but I understood what it meant.  I got 33 gallons plus part of another 33 gallon trash can.
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Post  keepercjr on 1/21/2014, 11:53 am

Wow that is a lot of compost! I am jealous. I have a 3 bin system I built out of pallets but I don't keep up with it like I should. The gardeners dump the grass from the backyard every other week and they have rounded up all the leaves but they put them in all 3 bins. I need to move them to 1 bin to store I guess (or next to the bins) and turn up the 1st bin. I have been adding scraps but I really need to do more - like add the chicken manure from my hens - more often. I'm sure I will end up having to buy most of my compost for the spring.

Last night I harvested some broccoli and as I was getting ready to steam it I noticed there were little grey bugs ALL OVER the crowns on the undersides and they wouldn't wash off. So I sadly threw them to the chickens before looking it up. Turns out they were cabbage aphids. All I needed to do was soak them in some water and maybe a small splash of vinegar for a little bit and they would come off. And the worst part - the chickens aren't even eating the broccoli Sad They will happily destroy it if attached to the plant but if I cut it up they turn up their noses! I only have a few plants so losing a whole crown is just sad!
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Post  keepercjr on 1/21/2014, 12:20 pm

And WOW is it really going to be 75 on friday!?! That is what weather.com says! Only a mere 19 degrees above average and will set a another new record for that date if it happens.
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Post  Yardslave on 1/21/2014, 2:10 pm

Too hot for my fruit trees! I didn't get them pruned up in time: their buds are swelling, so I'm not going to shock them. Besides, last year they budded too soon and set fruit by early March- just in time to get torched by a 2 week frost spell that killed off 70% of the fruit. Water prices are 3x  higher than last year, so I may skip a summer crop this year (after 2 years of $900+ august water bills- It may be more financially feasible to buy a Rolls Royce and shop at Whole Foods each week!) Right now I'm nursing along onions, leeks, Brussel sprouts, kale, chard, broccoli, beets and carrots. This early heat is also bringing on a plague of aphids, so I may have to break out the sprayer. I'm also having to screen off my beds from hoards of house finches that keep getting at my greens Mad 
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Post  sanderson on 1/21/2014, 2:30 pm

@Yardslave wrote: Water prices are 3x  higher than last year, so I may skip a summer crop this year (after 2 years of $900+ august water bills- It may be more financially feasible to buy a Rolls Royce and shop at Whole Foods each week!)  
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Rolls Royce and WF!   lol! 

But seriously, I am stunned by the cost of your water!   Shocked   Sounds more like an electric bill in August!!!!  When we drive to the coast, Pismo and Santa Cruz, I keep wondering how much the coastal lush acres and acres of commercial crops costs in water.  Do you mulch heavily?
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Post  sanderson on 1/21/2014, 3:32 pm

These are the stand alone sq ft boxes for greens.  They are on the south side of the house and get sun about 10 months of the year.  They are staggered because of irrigation and drainage hardscape.  But at least I can have them on auto drips.  They bring me up to 65 sq ft.

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Post  Marc Iverson on 1/21/2014, 3:35 pm

Such an unusual look, sanderson, but kind of cool just because it look so different. Did you drill any drain holes into those boxes?
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Post  sanderson on 1/21/2014, 3:40 pm

Thanks, Marc.  This has always been a nasty, ugly flower bed to take care of.  Now with weed fabric and and 6 pavers, it will be so, so much easier to groom.  Five 1/2" holes in the corners and middle. The minimalistic look is needed because of the black widows that loved this bed because they can hide in the weep-screed.
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Post  Marc Iverson on 1/21/2014, 3:47 pm

Since the boxes aren't raised from the pavers, do you think you might have any drainage issues? I wonder if you might get mud butt on the bottom?
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Post  sanderson on 1/21/2014, 4:00 pm

Mud butt! love that!

The pavers are beveled. Plus each was set at a slight slope using a level. I just went out and soaked one and water is just pouring out of the bottom. The cedar wood is 3/4" thick and there will also be constant wicking and evaporating. You had me there for a moment.  What a Face 
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Post  Marc Iverson on 1/21/2014, 4:06 pm

Ah, that's good. All's well that ends well (with no mud butt).
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Post  sanderson on 1/23/2014, 2:26 am

Anyone know a local Fresno/Clovis source for Bunny poop?
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Post  Goosegirl on 1/23/2014, 8:27 am

@sanderson wrote:Anyone know a local Fresno/Clovis source for Bunny poop?

You could try calling some of the schools about FFA and 4H programs.

GG
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Post  sanderson on 1/23/2014, 1:08 pm

GG, good idea, thanks!  I'm now watching craig's list.
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Post  sanderson on 1/27/2014, 3:51 pm

Up to 75 sq ft.
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What are you direct sowing? I'm working on on the seed pots right now but I was wondering with our weird warm weather if I could start squash, corn, beans, etc.
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Post  kauairosina on 1/27/2014, 6:48 pm

What are those pvc looking structures on your beds that look like hand rails on all sides?
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Post  keepercjr on 1/27/2014, 7:23 pm

Sanderson I think the nights (well some of them) are too cold still for squash and corn to sprout. And we could conceivably get back to normal cool temps including freezes and frosts. I think it would be too much of a gamble IMO.
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Post  sanderson on 1/27/2014, 7:35 pm

Rosina,  I went back and looked through the photos to make sure we were "on the same page."  Those are frames for plastic covers for winter frost/hail/rain storm protection.  In the summer I can put tulle material to protect brassicas against the white butterfly/green worm.  They come apart for storage.  Last average frost date is Feb 15 so I will be taking them down shortly after that, depending on long range weather forecast.
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