Deirdre here... I am super excited that we planted Chamomile seed last weekend and it just sprouted a few days ago! Since it has actually been raining here, the soil has been moist enough that the chamomile came up without having to put any sprinklers on. Yay! I planted it in our short 50 foot beds which hopefully we will devote to herbs and flowers, two of my favorite crops! We are looking forward to drinking our own Chamomile tea and this will be a great beginning to growing more herbs! Next on the list we plan to plant some mint, another one of our favorite teas with lots of health benefits as well.
Max here... We were working the last couple days to get these new beds ready for planting garlic. We have never planted in these beds before, I shaped them with the walking tractor not too long ago. We grew our first bed of garlic somewhat successfully last year, and this year, I wanted to try growing more.
Something funny happened when I was ordering my seed garlic. I ordered 25 lbs instead of the 5 lbs I ordered last year from High Mowing Organic Seeds in Vermont. A few days after ordering, I was talking to another local farmer, Steve Sprinkel. I often buy produce from him for our online farmstand, and I was picking up an order from him when he randomly asked "Hey Max, do you want to buy any garlic for planting?" "What variety?" I asked. "Inchelium." He said. Inchelium was the very same variety I had just ordered 25 lbs of from High Mowing! Fortunately, they let me cancel the order, and I bought all my seed garlic from a local farmer in my own valley! And it was a better price too! I love it!
We were working as quickly as we could to get the beds all prepped and planted before rain came. We have been getting quite a bit of rain this winter, which is a much needed resource for us. In fact, I have not turned our sprinklers on at all in the last several weeks, the rain has been consistent enough to water all the veggies. To prep the beds, we used our broadfork for gentle deep tillage, spread an organic fertilizer because garlic needs a lot of nitrogen to grow well, spread compost and old micro green soil on top, and ran our power harrow over it as the final step. I have been coming to realize that our soil is a bit heavy on the farm, and really benefits from more compost and other organic matter being added to it. That may sound like a no-brainer to those of the organic mindset, but sometimes I am surprised just how much compost a bed can take to get it really producing well. I am definitely going to make a goal of building up the soil in our beds even more in 2017.
We got all the largest cloves planted in four beds, and covered them with row cover to keep the nicely prepped soil and compost from washing away in the rain. With beets that we transplanted a month ago, the rain came and washed some of the soil away because it was newly tilled and soft. I didn't want to make that mistake again. I covered the other two unplanted beds for the same reason, and we have a box of smaller cloves to plant in those beds. I am planning on planting them closer together, and harvesting them young in the spring as Spring Garlic. Having garlic available at the Farmers Market is really nice, because whatever we don't sell will just hold over to future markets. It's a totally different story with most other veggies, which need to be sold fresh, or you lose your money in growing them.
The two pics below are of our little wheat patch which is growing very nicely!
About the Authors
Max and Deirdre Becher farm together on First Steps Farm in Southern California. They love farming, raising their kids, playing music, contradancing, cooking, and working together to create a vibrant culture of celebrating life. See it all unfold right here!