It’s time to plant the garden, I started prepping it last week, these days it takes me a long time to arraign everything. But it takes me considerably longer to do the heavy lifting, digging and fertilizing. The vegetables are grown in the raised beds my grandsons built for me. I’d like to say with me however they did all of the work I merely told them how. There were 9-3 cubic foot bags of compost left to spread in the last 3 boxes, I called in a grandson for re-enforcements. He did more work in two hours than I was able to do during the past two weeks. Of course I had to take a few days off due to my being totally whooped.
California Quail showed up on the Levee early this morning, they surprised me as most things do. But this time was different I was actually prepared to take a photo.
The Grandson showed up, it was his second attempt at it, yesterday he was supposed to but something came up and he couldn’t make it. They had to play video games until 4am; hey he was sure I’d understand; OK I kinda did. He backed up and made another shot at it today, he’s a good 20 year old kid. He’s a bit uh
flaky too easy going for his own good. There is a reason for it, he’s a natural born artist. One of those that don’t realize just how good he is, I suggested a few years ago for him to put together a portfolio. but being an artist he didn’t think it was important, he’s now going to school to figure out what to do with his talent. He’s thinking of Graphic Art; it will beat being a starving artist producing art for his heirs to cash in on.
The male is all full of himself strutting around the Levee as if he owns the joint, I suspect their nest is near and they are merely taking a break. There have been numerous Quail in a ground flock around the slough; It appears their population is increasing.
My Grandson works hard once he is motivated to get started, in fact it’s a bit irritating to be asked “what’s next?” every 15 minutes. He worked while I got everything that was ready planted, the last was the Zucchini. I planted two then was going to set 4-5 seed mounds between the two plants. Reality slapped me a good one, two Zucchini is enough to feed the neighbor hood with enough left over for the 4 restaurants in town. Twelve Tomato plants, that’s right 12, 6 Roma’s for sauce, 3 Early Girls, and 3 Heirloom Black something or other.
I suspect the Female (pictured) is on to the Male; if you notice she’s leading the way. He acts as if he’s the King but I suspect he knows what side of the bread is buttered by whom. They don’t fight as the rest of the barbarians do around here, they merely stroll around.
I make my own fertilizer, well I don’t actually make it my worm farm does in the form of castings. They are rich in natural Nitrogen ready for immediate ingestion by the plants with no risk of burning them. Unlike synthetic offerings it includes Worms, Worm Eggs and Egg Shells. It has bits of everything they eat in the mix, it’s a blessing and a curse, uneaten seeds sprout. It’s easier to pick them out of the garden than it is ridding the castings of them.
He did finally catch up to her, the undignified bloke, I have a suspicion a lot of males are like that regardless of the species we are included in; as if we share one.
I make liquid fertilizer known as “Worm Tea”, yeh it sounds a bit gross but it’s not too awfully bad. I use a paint strainer bag, 5 gallon bucket with a lid, aerator and 5 gallons of water. Worm castings are put in the bag then lowered in the bucket of water from a string through the lid and left to aerate for 24 hours. Five gallons of raw tea is capable of being diluted up to 10x, it could make 50 gallons. However I don’t do that of course, I mix it 30/50 to 50/50. The 50 gallon mix is good for use on lawns or general spraying over a garden. I use it in place of Vitamin B to help the plants resist being shocked from replanting; it is very effective. The results are noticeable nearly immediately, actually it takes about an hour; but it is noticeable the next morning in spades.
Late this afternoon just before dinner I spied this Canadian across the slough, at first glance I thought it was a new pipe sticking out of the rocks. There are several more Geese on the pasture behind him and two more in the slough on this side of him.
The Tea is not only rich in Nitrogen but has bacteria (good stuff) enzymes and nematodes which are all beneficial to the plants. It’s not so healthy for Aphids and other nasty gram bugs roaming the wilds of the raised beds. When I plant, a scoop of castings is set at the bottom of the hole dug for the plant which is set in on top of it. Another scoop or two is set around the roots followed with a cover of soil. More castings are placed above the root ball on the surface covered with more soil. I then water it with Worm Tea followed with a good soaking of water. Then all that is left is the three W’s; Water, Weed and Watch all summer long.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance