Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring is Here

Even though the eucalyptus trees out my windows are swaying side to side in an Alaska-cold breeze, I can see that spring has come.  Suddenly, the weeds are shooting up out of the ground.  What was a low fringe of mallow weeds and rye grass  around the driveway threatens to become a thicket.  Tiny white nobs are appearing on the rose hedges lining the driveway, promising the first blossoms.  The cottonwood trees have green slivers appearing on their branches, and buds are breaking out of the grapevines, yet untamed by the pruning shears.

EEK! I haven't finished the fruit tree pruning, haven't planted, much less purchased the chestnut trees I promised to plant for my friend Sarah, who loves chestnuts roasted over etc.  I had thought to get some kiwi vines so I would have fresh fruit in January and February, but alas, none so far. Everything needs to be fertilized with those great piles of pellets in the pasture, left by the llamas and alpacas.  Where do I start?

Note the nettles growing up next to the fence

Here is just one, of thousands, of milk thistles, thriving, unfortunately

Table grapes neither pruned nor weeded

Still, the good news is that human-edible plants are growing, and California's amazing climate means  gardeners have year-round, delicious, home-grown vegetables to eat.  This time of year, I eat lots of salad and greens.  Unfortunately, all my potatoes are gone, but I can buy organic potatoes at the farmers market.

Fava beans can be planted from fall into winter.  On the right are beans planted just a few weeks ago, which I will turn over and bury for a green manure to fertilize the summer squash I will be planting in May.  This is a new bed, and I took a chance not putting wire underneath it to hinder the gophers.  I may regret that decision.

These favas were planted last fall, and I will save them to harvest the beans, both for eating and to keep as seed for next fall.  Fava beans pureed and seasoned make a super-delicious hummus.

Here is the garlic planted last fall.  It is growing very successfully, so much so I am beginning to wonder if I planted them a bit too close together.  Well, too late now.

Well, deep breaths, being a farmer in spring is all about loosing ground to mother nature's swelling fecundity, and I feel damage control is about keeping myself from flailing around, rushing to weed here, dig out thistles there, only half finishing any one thing. I try to remind myself to remember what I have done so far.  Progress is a state of mind for a farmer in the spring.

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