A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Grapes, Onions and Peas, oh my!

 Light is returning! Slowly, slowly, the days are getting longer, smells of spring are in the air and the garden tasks shift from winter's rest to a quickening into pruning and mulching our orchards, managing our willow patch and starting seeds for another season of flowers for the pollinators and bounteous veggie harvests. 

Here are links to seasonally relevant posts:
Here are two posts about starting onions from seed:
And here's the best video tutorial we've found on Pruning Table Grapes
Finally, a photo gallery of current garden projects:

We've spent the winter in preparing greenhouse raised beds for planting...

Donn and Chris mix compost, ashes and coffee grounds into our raised beds; ready for spring planting.

 and deep-cleaning and organizing our garden-sheds...

"A place for everything, and everything in its place...". Here are tomato stakes and sawhorses just waiting to be put back into service.
Our neighbors have brought us their extra leaves which we will use for mulch and to create next year's soil...

This is about 1/3 of the leaves we've had donated this year. Thank you to the Crosby's and the Dillards who send their leaf-bounty to us each year, and to Chuey (their landscape guy) for collecting all those leaves and bringing them to us!

Many neighbors bring us their leaves in plastic bags which we hang to dry and bundle in rolls of 5 or 6 bags. These are offered back to our neighbors for free, for re-use.

Now, we're shifting our focus to pruning and mulching our perennial and orchard plants:

Our willow hedge is in serious need of pruning! This picture was taken in 2021 and many of the shoots that weren't removed then have doubled in diameter!

We use the smaller willow shoots in building this living-willow-wattle fence. Every year, we have enough smaller willow to raise this fence up another foot or so.
Now's the time to mulch all our hazelnut and fruit trees. Our wood chip pile is almost all gone.
A high-school intern and Stefani loading wood chips for distribution.

The mulch helps keep moisture in the ground, blocks weeds and protects the trees from the mower getting too close. It also provides a slow-release fertilizer as it breaks down.
Seed-starting has begun: Lettuce, onions, peas, Fava beans, carrots, beets, cabbage and kale!

Chris continues to start seedlings directly in our greenhouse raised beds...

He's also begun direct-seeding beets, carrots and spinach in the greenhouses. Here he is putting a black lawn/leaf bag over the newly seeded carrot bed. The plastic keeps the bed from drying out too fast and its dark color heats the soil below when the sun shines on it, hastening germination.

Llyn has been starting perennial, native flower seeds. Many seeds of this type need a cold-spell to break dormancy, and an extended time to germinate (10-12 weeks). Here's an excellent article on Autumn and Winter Seed Sowing in Six Easy Steps from the Wild Seed Project.

 It won't be long before we are starting our heat-loving seeds and before you know it our greenhouses will be filled with delicious, nutritious food!

Our 'Ark' greenhouse, May 24, 2022. Yum!


  1. Karen Josephson/ Peter StoelFebruary 18, 2023 at 9:25 PM

    It's lovely reading about the early spring actions you are taking.


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