Monday, January 5, 2009

Fall Planting Update

This the latest progress of our fall planting in our large raised bed. In the front row are lettuces which we have been eating almost every day. Behind the lettuce are various kinds of kale (syberian kale across most of the bed and being harvested by our son, and black kale on the far right). Hard to see, but next are some parsley, arugula and we think we planted some cabbage too. In the back are fava beans which are not yet producing beans I think due to a lack of bees to pollinate the flowers. We are still seeing bees here and there but no beans.

We just planted a single two foot row of spinach behind the black kale today where the radishes we harvested were. We also planted carrots in the three remaining wine barrels we hadn't replanted yet. We need to plant more lettuce, many more beans, some broccoli, etc. but need more space first.

We plan to add another planter box within a week or two. I have been moving dirt down to this part of the yard from above to fill the bottom half of the next box. I'd like to build it next weekend and get some more seeds in the ground. I think we have enough compost to cover the top six inches but our most recent pile never really heated up. The Santa Ana winds really dried it out (even with daily watering) right when it was started and I was never able to get it back into gear.

The worms have been doing a great job on the food scraps but they don't break down the sticks the way the hot composting does. I'll have to filter out sticks when we start the new bed. Weeds are coming up all over the yard now so we'll be back to hot composting in a week or two if I can pull some before they start to create seeds.


  1. it took me 20 minutes to scrape the ice off of my car this morning. seeing your garden is a good reminder that spring will come to new york soon enough and we will see green again. we are spending this time planning for some major planting!

  2. Planning is sometimes the most exciting part.

    Living in California presents us with an embarrassment of riches in terms of year round gardening. On the other hand we don't have traditional seasons. In fact late summer and early fall are when our native plants go dormant and look dead. It's this time of year, late fall/early winter, when the hills turn green again, creeks begin to run again and everything comes back to life.

  3. Just curious: did you treat the wood on your planter with anything? If so, would you mind sharing what you used?

    I built a small planter (with instruction from ReadyMade mag) this past summer but didn't treat the wood and it's looking a little worse for wear ...

    Thanks for any advice.

  4. Hi Adam,

    No, I didn't treat the wood on this one. I expect it to turn kind of sliver like the fence in the background. We like that aged/dilapidated look once it has fully set in but the in between phase where it is only partly dilapidated can look kind of crappy.

    If I were to treat the wood I think I would use an outdoor stain. We used Behr deck and fence stain on the shack and on many of our wood fences and it holds up pretty well but the color we used doesn’t look like natural wood. They do have natural colors which would be close to the natural orange or brown of new wood so that might be an option for you. The stain comes in both opaque and transparent colors depending if you want the wood grain to show through. The opaque looks like paint but stain protects the wood better because it sinks and infuses the wood instead of just sitting on top.

    Although I am not a big fan of it on wood, another option would be something like Thompson’s Wood sealer. If you don’t like how it looks now I think putting a transparent sealer on it might just preserve the current state of "maturation".

    Hope this helps.

  5. Eric,

    Thank you very much for your detailed reply.

    Useful info.



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