I planted our garlic today — an assortment of varieties filling one of the raised beds.
I only added about an inch of mulch to the bed. The garlic I planted last year never formed heads — we had lots of green leaves, beautiful scapes that we harvested quickly … but no garlic bulbs! Evidently garlic cloves need exposure to cold temperatures in order to form bulbs. You can actually mulch them too well! Hopefully I’ve got enough mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture but not so much mulch that the cloves are too toasty this winter.
I got the seeds started for our fall harvested vegetables. We bought these little seed starting trays on Amazon — a tray, a 12-cell insert, and a humidity dome with an adjustable vent. The kit came with plant markers … but it seemed silly to write something permanent on the marker. So I turned them into reusable markers by adding some of the blue tape you use for painting a room (because that’s what we’ve got & pen works OK on it). First I put three of the markers in a line on the tape.
A couple of quick slices with an Exacto knife, and I can change the label as needed.
When we decided to use some old cinder blocks to build raised beds, the idea was to fill all of the blocks with dirt and use the spaces as bonus planting spaces for small plants like flowers and herbs. Functional and aesthetically pleasing. I never got far in that project — filled some blocks with dirt and lots of weeds. But no ring of herbs around the bed.
This year, I’m doing it! It’s a time consuming process to clear out the existing plant growth. I’m adding about two inches of rocks (we’ve got a lot of rock-covered beds that we want to de-rock), and filling up with soil. Anya started a bunch of herb plants, so she has been transplanting her seedlings into the blocks and adding some wood mulch (I expect these small blocks will warm up and dry out rather quickly otherwise).
Something like 20 years ago, I tried to grow a plumeria flower in my apartment. I had a broad-spectrum light, plenty of heat, and plenty of humidity. But getting the light turned on and off at the right times wasn’t easy (especially if I was at work all day!).
This seems like a really good use for home automation — our home automation system tracks the sunrise and sunset times for our zip code. It’s possible to essentially cron “stuff” off of these times — e.g. get the birds ten minutes before sunset. I could easily track sunrise and sunset in Honolulu then have my light turn on at sunrise (or first light) and off at sunset (or last light). Voila — “sunlight” that runs for the proper duration every day.
We’ve saved seeds from the garden (and seeds from both ground cherries and hot peppers that we picked up at the farmers market) that will make up much of our garden this year. I purchased a bunch of flower seeds to expand the bee garden, and a few new vegetables. And I really hope to get asparagus established this year!
The decoy garden is doing well — some of the plants have started to seed, and the radishes have little flowers. The real garden has started to sprout too — Anya’s seen rabbits munching on the decoy garden. Hopefully the deer do so too!