Garden Transitions- The Fall Flip

I plan my garden very strategically so that there isn’t much work to do in June and July… For many reasons… Maybe first because I was a garden teacher for so many years that I planned spring and fall gardens with very little summer maintenance.  Even though I am not running a school garden this year, I now have a tiny baby and can’t really garden much at all…so it is convenient that I don’t have much to do but harvest in the high heat.  It is also convenient for leaving town during the hottest, driest time of year which we all want to do.

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Yeah for harvest help from our good friends from Ampersand, love you guys!!

And probably the biggest reason I plan so much for spring and fall gardening is that is when gardening in the high desert is at it’s best!  There is cool air, cooler soils and real water falling from the sky!  I start things outside as early as February (my pea crop was started then and yielded my best crop yet!)  and am eating out of the garden till Christmas eve.  Summer is for being lazy anyways right!?

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So though I am still being very lazy, I am starting to think about the transitions about to happen out there, the good old ‘fall flip’.  This is when I pull out all the lettuce and peas that have stopped yielding and bolted into pure bitterness that may still remain and I plant a whole new slew of cool season crops.  IMG_0273

Because it is only the 9th  of  July I can still plant a nice beet & carrot crop.  Later in the month I will plant more lettuce, spinach, cilantro, and whatever other cool season greens I wish.  I also have started planting big beautiful marigolds this time of year to have for autumn garlands.  IMG_9387

High summer I hear a lot of people say, ‘oh I am too late to have a garden this year’…but you are not!  Autumn harvest is within reach.  Plant now and you will abundance you will reap!!

Hardening off & planting out

I am sure many of you spent Mother’s Day weekend filling shopping baskets with new baby plants to bring home and fill your garden with, it is a Mother’s Day tradition,  (and it may be the only day of the year you can get the whole family to help you in the garden without complaint).  I received the wonderful gift of my son and mother planting a brand new climbing rose for me while I took a nap!! Heaven!!

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However around these parts Mother’s Day week and weekend is also famous for snow storms, which is why the last frost date is in fact May 15th- not May 5th!  Transitioning things outside and toughening them up enough to go from lush nursery conditions to exposed windy high desert gardens is an important step to protecting your investments.

IMG_3382Here is a post from years back that talks about the hardening off process and why it is important.

IMG_3379Here is another on with ten transplanting tips.

IMG_1946And lastly one about transplanting tomatoes, which is what I will be doing this weekend… and for many days to come until these babies are tucked cozy in the ground!  If you are planting according to the Bio-dynamic Calendar, Friday and Saturday are not only fruit days but (specially good!!) So hope you are hardened off and ready to go!

 

 

Happy Leaf Day

Over cast skies full of promise, moon in Water Sign of Scorpio…all signs point to leaves today.  ImageIt is really starting to feel a bit warmer out there and we will spend the day prepping Hoop House Beds, watering our little sprouts that are coming up in there and of course Planting Leaves.ImageWe do many sowings in the greenhouse early & transplant things like Kale and Collards outside a bit later….But today we will also start direct sowing Lettuce, Spinach, Mache, Cilantro, Chard & Arugula outdoors.  ImageI will lay some row cover over them to keep them moist, warm and protected from the birds…and in about a month they will be fine just left in the great wide open.  We are now harvesting Spinach from baby plants I transplanted outside under row cover this fall.  They are now starting to really take off along with the Lettuce, Kale, Onions and Garlic that share it’s bed.  How does your garden grow…

PS if nothing yet, not to worry, we are just getting started here we have lots of time to sow. Happy Leaf day from my Garden to yours

Planning for Spring

It is still frigid outside, but folks remember this IS a GOOD THING.  The longer that snow stays on the ground the better off we will all be come spring, and all the more thankful!!  All this cold just gives us more time to sip tea & dream our abundant garden plots to life.IMG_4023

I have been at this gardening thing for long enough, that the planning is kind of second nature, but how to share it is always a challenging task.  I teach gardening here and there and everyone asks every year– What do I plant when? IMG_8368 It is actually a harder question to answer than some might like because, well it depends…on the weather that year, on what your garden is like, on when you want to harvest, how much space you have…on pretty much everything…  But I finally bit the bullet and just made a rough draft of a calendar for my students and friends to follow. I aligned my gardening experience here in the high desert and all that I have learned along the way with my favorite guidance from the stars to create an easy to use guide to chart the course of our gardens this year. So folks here it is–IMG_8366   IMG_8367 IMG_8369 IMG_8371 IMG_8370Thanks to snapfish and lots of photos taken over the years, I am pretty pleased with it I must say. It is mostly useful for folks gardening in zone 6 but if anybody wants one, I could have more made, just let me know– good price for you!!

Starting the new year right

Or at least we are attempting to….Image

Juicing Carrots, Beets and Ginger for a little mid winter zing.  Oh and did you notice the magazine I used as coaster? Yep, these very hands made the cover of the Spring SFCC       (Santa Fe Community College) Continuing Ed course catalog.  I have been helping them start a garden there that will produce food for their student run cafe!! So cool!  ImageFriday will be our first harvest ever, I am anticipating a couple of lbs of Spinach, some Parsley and maybe some Chard if we get lucky.  I am not officially teaching in the garden this spring…but some of my cohorts are and their classes look great.  Check out Botany for Gardeners by Scott Voorhies or Amanda Bramble’s intro to Permaculture.Image

Jangy and I started on cleaning my bags and bags of seeds yesterday in the greenhouse..let’s just say seed cleaning with a 20 month old is…interesting.  But we got a bunch lettuce seeds and they went right back into a flat sown on the first Leaf Day of the Year!! (the 7th) along with some spinach and sprouts– indoors of course.

We also got to work on trying to de-ice my little hooped lettuce beds.  I am sure they are alright under there, snow is a pretty good insulator…..Image

But I simply can’t reach them to harvest.  I put a few layers of plastic, one black, one clear.  I am hoping with a few of these warmer days and some greenhouse action they will open for me.  This what they looked like on Christmas…Image

Hang on little guys, I will eat you up soon!!( or I could just wait and let them grow even more, but they look so good don’t they).

I am also trying to post a bunch of new jewelry on my Etsy page

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Oh and attempting to ritualize an awesome yoga class into my life…..Here’s to a new start and good intentions!  What are you sprouting up this year?

All Prepped up and ready to Sow!

This watery full moon in Pisces brought me back to the garden, knowing it would be one of my last chances to plant fall greens, I went at it with great gusto.  Though not a great time to harvest roots, I simply had to make room in the garden for greens so I dug up a potato row, planted around St. Patty’s Day.  It was a beautiful harvest, perfectly rain moisten soil, cool air and sunshine on my back, baby and daddy sleeping and just me and the mother earth..and 16lbs of perfect plump taters…

After I dug, I sprinkled a nice layer of compost I had stashed from this spring onto the bed

And then the Zen art of raking a bed, brought me back to my days at CASFS, where I studied gardening as a fine art.  We would spend what seemed like hours, leveling and raking the beds, so they were perfect plane and the very finest of tilths.

The finer and fluffier the bed is, the easier it is for those tiny seeds to nestle in and take root.

Then I laid down the drip tape and made little furrows along it for my seeds

Tucking in so tenderly the last lettuce of the season

Ahh.. nothing like the joy of seeds well sown.  I covered them with a thin layer of straw so the birds wouldn’t get them too quickly, and of course to keep the freshly raked soil nice and moist and warm.  I also placed 19 gauge wire hoops over it, for when I cover them with row cover when the cold does come..and they act as a good baby deterrent too,  though he was not too happy about not being able to walk on my perfect bed..

Ok big watery harvest moon, rain down and let’s get one more salad crop out of this season.

Flower day

It seems everyday is a flower day these days, but none quite like today. The moon was in Libra……..So thus a flower day in the biodynamic calender, so I planted out Snapdragons, Verbascum, Thonia, and Calendula, cleaning out the greenhouse so the tomatoes, cucumbers and basil can now go full force.

…But as I planted and watered and doted on my beloved flowers I got an amazing show from the Oriental Poppy off in the corner of the garden, minding her own and only business of blooming.

At 7am she looked like this…

Pushing off her little hat, showing her blooming face to the world for the first time

And then by 11am she was open for pollination…

Full of powdery pollen

By 2pm she was all a glow in her glory….

Unfurling to the sun

Then when the light hit just right in the afternoon…

All a glow

By evening they had started to tighten back up…

Curling back in for the night

And I was reminded of one of my favorite Quotes by

Anaïs Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

Though for only a few days, she shall remain open

I hope you too are enjoying these glorious flower days!!

Water Moon

Oh spring rain we are so very grateful!!  Filling our buckets, calling the whole family outside to see the gifts you bestow upon us.  Some of you may know I garden religiously and for the past few years I have been planting according to the Biodynamic Calendar.  This Calender guides plantings not only by the waxing and the waning of the moon, but which Zodiac sign the moon is in.  Basically you plant roots, in earth signs, leaves in water signs, flowers in air signs and fruits in fire signs.  It is hard to say if it is “working” but it gives me guidance & rhythm, it also calls me to pay attention more to how my day activities are guided by the night.  I have started noticing all kinds of subtle things, the heat of fire days, the winds of air days…..

Good Friday-Full Moon in Virgo

What has struck me most this month is the water moons.  Right now the moon is in Scorpio, a water sign…and water it did bring, a spring thunder shower, first of the year!!  Last week, when the moon was in Cancer, yes, water again, though in the form of a luscious snow!  Just another way to pay attention, just a deepening of relating to the myriad of mysterious forces that are working on and around us every day in the subtle magical ways.