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Beating the Rain

June 12, 2014

Big Sigh.  Rain.  That means all the seeds planted in the last week will take a chance and germinate.

Me and Jane on headland detail

Me and Jane on headland detail

This morning I got all the remaining transplants out of the greenhouse and into the garden and finally got some hog mowing done behind Jane.  She’s worked her way around the dry garden, compost piles, and now she’s heading toward the the other garden and greenhouse.  This is the second grazing so it’s a little spotty, clipping behind her is in order.

Mowing done - heading back to the barn.

Mowing done – heading back to the barn.

Lovely rain, the pasture and hayfields need you.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2014 4:43 pm

    Lovely June rain…

  2. Chris permalink
    June 12, 2014 5:07 pm

    Just wondering…does Jane or any of the other residents in the barnyard ever make their way up to or around your actual house or are they all fenced off? I mean, Jane is the house cow, right? 🙂

  3. June 12, 2014 7:16 pm

    I never thought I’d be glad to see rain in June, but everything was bone dry so I’m saying it, “I’m glad it’s raining.” The blueberries are actually smiling, OK only a few of them, but the rest want too, I’m sure…

    • June 12, 2014 9:11 pm

      I know exactly what you mean – it’s too dry, well, until now…

      • June 12, 2014 11:22 pm

        Same here. We might have to cut the hay soon, as it seems to have forced the grass to seed too early 😦 We normally cut in July

        • mom24boys permalink
          June 13, 2014 9:45 am

          Not only will the rain help our gardens, I am supremely thankful for it because of allergies.

          I live at the southern end of the Willamette Valley (grass-seed capital of the world). At home, pollen isn’t too bad but I went into Springfield/Eugene (23 miles north) and had an asthma attack while still in my air-conditioned truck! What is even more telling is that my asthma is usually only triggered by excessive exertion coupled with extreme temps – cold or hot.

          This lovely rain will wash the air a bit so maybe I can take care of some appointments!

  4. June 13, 2014 2:40 am

    It’s rained so often here in Western Mass., I’ve wondered if we’d been transplanted to Seattle, WA. I managed to get 2 more flowerbeds cleared and planted yesterday before the rain set in. Hope to try for more today, between raindrops. I’ve got 5 flats of flowers and herbs still to get in. But they are saying sunny and 70’s for Sat and Sun, so maybe I’ll finish this weekend.

  5. June 13, 2014 7:55 am

    Clutch is out on the tractor. We’ve been using push mowers behind the dairy cows. It’s a little messy.

  6. Karen permalink
    June 13, 2014 8:05 am

    Getting rain showers also. Love the view from the tractor, Matron. Does it have a name too? 🙂 I’m curious about your dry gardening techniques. I’ve read Steve Solomon’s book. Have you found it works better for certain crops, such as potatoes, and not so well for others? Seems it would also work better in certain regions and soil types.

    • June 13, 2014 9:18 am

      Lovely rain, even though I’m soaked right now from moving the cows, it’s wonderful. Poor tractor it’s just known by it model # 444, affectionately of course.

      Dry gardening is for patient people, and it’s the way I learned. It definitely is less intensive and more extensive in space use, but I planted many things yesterday, and the soil is damp about a 1/2″ under that dust mulch despite weeks without any rain. The dry crops this year are potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beets, rutabagas, lima beans, dry beans, celeriac, winter squash, and corn. In the other garden we water some but not religiously we are growing cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, onions, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, garlic, cucumbers, summer squash, green beans, salad stuff, and probably ten things I can’t think of right now. Weekly irrigation in the greenhouse is devoted to tomatoes, peppers, and melons, onions and an extra row of misc brassicas that needed to be put somewhere. The way it works around here, is that when a hole in the gardening space opens up we fill it up with a succession of something, sometimes it ends up being an irrigated space and sometimes not. I can reasonably say I’ve grown every crop we like to grow without water at some point, with the exception of pickling cukes. It definitely takes longer to reach maturity and takes attention to detail as far as thinning, but I like gardening this way. Direct seeding helps too, since there is no transplant shock at all, which allows the taproot to get to work right away finding moisture.

      • Karen permalink
        June 13, 2014 11:00 am

        You are the only one I know that follows this method. Makes total sense to me on paper but not in practice. Guess it helps to have some seriously good soil to start with. And, like you said, patience… Thanks for the info.

        • June 13, 2014 11:48 am

          It’s interesting to see the farmers around here plant acres of winter squash, pumpkins or cabbage and not irrigate. Clean cultivation and good ground make a huge difference. As for seriously good soil, I have thank my cows for that, vegetables take up a lot and leave the garden, replenishing is the key.

  7. Bee permalink
    June 14, 2014 9:14 am

    It must be nice not to have to irrigate, she said wistfully. I probably won’t see rain until October, at least. There’s no way I could do dryland gardening on my place unless I went to desert gardening techniques, and I’m just not willing to give up that much ground. Still, it’s those differences that make if such a creative challenge!

  8. June 14, 2014 4:52 pm

    Hello from Texas! I have to tell you some things, Matron. I have been lurking on your blog since February, and I’ve read the entire thing all the way back to what, 2008? I promise I’m not creepin’, lol. I’m kind of on a crash course for growing food and learning to deal with and cook said food, and I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on. I have terrorized my library, reading over a hundred books this past year about gardening (mostly specific to my state), farming, animals, cooking “real food” sustainability, etc., and I have to tell you that your blog has been by far the most educational thing I have read, more so than any book. Thank you for writing, it is so appreciated by us young folk who have no one around to learn from who knows any of this stuff. It has been a big help, even though it seems that our climates couldn’t be any more different.

    I have been gardening for a whole 2 years. I was much more successful this year than last, but I know I’ve just scratched the surface (or topsoil…heh.) We are reaching the end of our spring season here, because 100+ degree temps arrive in July and are here to stay until the end of September. There will be no rain during that period, but that’s the only rain pattern we can count on. Fall rains are almost reliable, but spring is not, and winter is anyone’s guess. We have two growing seasons, and they are both extremely short, because our late spring and early fall frosts are so erratic. OH yeah and the fry-fest that is summer. So here’s the question(s)…

    Do you think Solomon-style dry gardening would have a chance here? My garden is on rich, heavy Blackland clay. When you use dust mulch, how do you keep from losing topsoil when it gets dry? (We have high winds spring and fall.) Does it have to do with the manure/organic matter that you add?

    I have a billion more questions, but I’ll try not to be annoying 🙂

    Thank you for your time,

    • June 15, 2014 7:11 am

      Emily thanks for the reading and the kind words 🙂 I don’t have wind in my location, nor frequent heavy rains when the soil is bare, so the dry land works here, I would be afraid that in a windy situation yes, you would lose topsoil, think Dust Bowl type erosion possibly. I do think the compost, manure and cover cropping I do does help with the water holding capacity, and it’s a slow build to easy to work, less weed pressure soil. Hope that helps!

      • June 15, 2014 6:26 pm

        Thanks, that confirms my suspicions… I used straw mulch this year, which was great for soil moisture, but brought me a plague of pillbugs (we call them roly-polies here.) They are feasting on the mulch, which is fine, but they have a taste for my squashes and are generally chewing on everything. Do y’all get that problem with mulch? This is the main reason I was thinking about dust mulch. I am going to try cover cropping too, but I am afraid it will just harbor more pillbugs.

        Would you happen to know of anyone in Texas that generally does gardening/farming the way you do? If such a person exists, and I’m sure there are some somewhere, I would love to learn from them as well. Finding people who make sense like you is hard.

        • June 15, 2014 9:10 pm

          Emily, we have slugs here with mulch, the pill bugs don’t seem to bother anything that we can see, so I never worry about them.

          Hopefully, someone from Texas will chime in for some ideas for you 🙂

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