April and May have been unbelievably rainy here in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon. I don't know if we've set any records but the consistent and sometimes heavy rainfall has made it difficult to get into our new garden site in Monroe and do any tilling. When the soil is too wet it clumps together and then hardens into big chunks that are not conducive to growing vegetables. We've had a few stretches of dry, sunny weather but not enough to dry things out as deep as is ideal. Volunteer Steve Rose has been down to the site three times already this spring, mowing the long grass, "scalping" off the first few inches of grass-roots and soil and finally going another 4" down with the big tractor and roto-tiller attachment but he's had to hold off on going deeper while the ground has been too saturated.
Yesterday we had a little break in the weather (with more rain predicted in the forecast) so Chris decided we'd go down to the Monroe site and just see if maybe we could get a few things in the ground. Our timing couldn't have been better! We used our little red 1947 Farmall Cub, a fully restored tractor that was developed and used for "truck farming" - small-scale vegetable farms in the 40's and 50's before agri-business and the mega farms became the norm, to plow up a few beds.
Chris mounded up eight, forty-foot beds and three, twenty-foot beds. We planted 320' of potatoes (probably close to 400 chitted seed potatoes in all!), and the other three rows we filled with broccoli, kale and two kinds of lettuce that were beginning to get a little root-bound. Best of all, though the rain held off the whole time we were planting, we felt the first drops fall as we loaded up into the truck to head home for lunch and a siesta. Better yet, we were lulled to sleep and blessed with the sound of a steady rain falling on the roof of our home all through the night guaranteeing that the spuds and transplants are settled snuggly in their new beds. It won't be too long before we'll be harvesting the greens.
More "thank-you's" are in order: Adele "Gia" Kubein donated a load of brand-new pressure-treated lumber and plywood. Kat Conn gave us four big, food-grade plastic buckets and a few dozen chitted potatoes. Thanks to Ray Kreth, we got a lawnmower! Phil Ezell has taken over the mowing at Bert and Theresa's place by the Alpine garden and been bringing us grass clippings for mulch. Renee Duncan has contributed a stack of weathered, cedar fence-boards that we can use to build birdhouses and feeders with the kids. Thanks to the folks at Ten Rivers Food Web who have been re-posting our blogs on their wonderful site. Check 'em out! Thanks too to all those people near and far who have been sending us notes of thanks and support, especially my mom, Judy Peabody (our biggest fan!) It really lifts our spirits! We apologize if we've overlooked anyone. Please know that you are all appreciated. After all, this is your garden too!
Wish list: Does anyone have a wheelbarrow or a garden-cart they'd like to donate?
It won't be long now!