Tiny farming: direct seeding

When the well runs dry

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[From 2-Jul-2012] End of the line: what it looks like when your well bottoms out and the water stops flowing. Just like a power failure… We’ve  been watching the level in the dug well we’re using, and the refresh rate is pretty dismal. Today, while watering in newly seeded beds, the water finally stopped. After last fall’s failed well drilling, figuring out short and longer term water solution is big here now. The water will come back eventually in this well, but the water table drops as the winter reserves go, and at this point, the well won’t refill high enough or quickly enough to be useful even for seedlings. Water barrels filled from the house well and distributed by watering can is a possible labor-intensive emergency measure. And of course, there is always…rain.

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Garlic goes in again

Planting garlic

Yep, like just about every year, the new growing season starts here with fall garlic planting. Miserable, damp day, though not so cold. Andrea M (close) and Rochelle (far) are working on different sections to hedge bets on which areas of the field dry out first in case of a disastrously wet spring. Crafty! The little metal pails, paint pails that happen to be from…Home Depot, turn out to be perfect for this job (they’re useful all over the place).  Handy!

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Last in!

Last direct seeding of the growing season

Today, the last direct seeding of the season: spinach, radish, Asian greens mix, arugula, and a lettuce blend for baby leaf… Here, Tracy does the honors with the always-generous Earthway seeder, laying down thick lines of Rebel radish. But is it…too late? Well, who knows?! In good summer conditions, all of these crops can be ready to harvest in 40 days or so from seeding, but the sun is getting weaker now. Hopefully, this round will come up fast, catch the last of the reasonably strong light through September—there WILL be lots of sun!—then continue growing slowly until ready for the last couple of markets through the end of October. That is the…plan. Fresh young veggies at season’s end are a welcome treat!  If it doesn’t work out, oh well (and we may get a chance to do a few days at the indoor market in November). In any case, we have the space and the seed, and pushing for the absolute latest planting date seems to me always worth the gamble. Seeing what happens is kinda…exciting!

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