More winter work

Wasn’t planning on doing anything today garden-wise, but we’ve had a break in the rain. It’ll be scattered showers the next few weeks, but today was clear and cold.

In bizarre news there was snow in the Bay Area last night and today Mt. Tam and Mt. Diablo got coated in the white stuff- and even more bizarre there were reports of light snow on twin peaks. You know- in San Francisco!

Ha ha ha holy crap.

No snow in my neck of the woods… yet.

Maybe is a good thing I refrained from putting in some early green beans.

So, the new pots are in their new home!

I have to weed around everything, but I think I’ll drag out the weed whacker for around the pots instead of moving everything for the mower.

In more organizational news I finally tackled the ugly pile of gloves and got rid of the old and torn work gloves, and put my new work gloves on top (thanks for the new gloves mom!)

In order to make sure I don’t throw out two lefts like last time…

Yeah. I’m labeling everything. Everything.

My last labeling failure was the mystery mole pepper, which was labeled without a proper weather-proof marker so it faded.

But my research has panned out!

The mystery mole pepper is in fact a “Chilhuacle Negro”.

I still have to do more digging on the proper care of this guy, but the good news is that the green peppers turning brown is normal for this variety.

The size probably isn’t, so since I already pruned him down a bit, I’m thinking I’m gonna have to cut the last sucker stems and pick the undersize peppers so that in a few months he can put out flowers again.

I’m proud of my resilient pepper, but I have to do more research on how to care for him.

I had some bench moving to do as well.

The bench which has so far survived wood chipper-ing is now living here-

Because it’s former spot will soon become another bed. Lugging the mower up there should be fun for sure, but that’s a problem for tomorrow’s Neanderthal.

Finally, I planted the oregano.

The hardest bit of this was ripping out the old one which had gotten really shabby and shrubby and woody and took gloves and tools for me to finally rip from the soil. But the new guy looks at home with new mulch and a zesty smell.

Tomorrow the new beds come in, we’ll see if I have the energy to set them up tomorrow or if tomorrow is just mowing day.

Nobody can say I’m not getting my exercise!

Carrot mystery solved!

So I have three areas with carrots.

The main green bean bed had two dozen carrot sets strewn in front- (because of the way carrots grow in a 6 pack of carrots from the gardening center there is a ton more than just 6 plants.)

Until the romaine and chard sprouts the carrots are all that’s in this bed.

While those were growing I thought- hey I should get some more! And threw more sets into a crappy plastic rectangle planter that was kinda deep- and some more sets into a round ceramic planter because… why not?

( I swear that last bit makes sense- see I don’t want fully grown huge carrots, I want half grown babies that are big enough to be sweet but still have a nice texture, so a slightly more constrained growing environment is ok for my purposes.)

Now while the two carrot pots have definitely had some aphid issues- as I care not at all about the greens and all about the roots, this causes me much less consternation than aphids on beans does. (Doesn’t mean I’m not killing all the aphids I can, because they can be spread to other, more delicate plants by ants)

Here’s the mystery- I planted the bean bed carrots before the potted carrots, and yet the bean bed carrots are tiny and not good tasting, while the potted carrots are bigger and delicious. What gives?

Because it’s the bean bed!

See you don’t want to over-fertilize carrots- or even fertilize them at all, because the nitrogen promotes leaf growth not root growth. Any root crop you don’t want to fertilize except with organic matter like light compost. Knowing that- I didn’t fertilize my carrots.

But they were in the same bed as beans!

Legumes fix nitrogen to the soil! That was the whole point behind indigenous Americans planting them with corn and squash- the three sisters would support each other, with the corn stalk providing support for the beans, the spiky squash leaves deterring pests, and the beans fixing nitrogen to the soil feeding the other plants!

So the carrots in the bean bed got too much nitrogen, and despite being a month older than the other two carrot pots- they’re just borked!

I’m not sure I can fix this- but lesson learned! What makes beans so great to plant with squash and other veggies, makes it death to carrots.

I’m thinking of making a dedicated carrot bed tucked away in a corner of the garden so I can have carrots year round. In our climate we can get away with carrots year round supposedly and I’d love to try that.

The carrots I picked and cooked were amazing- just buttery and smelling like a carrot times a thousand. There’s just no comparison to a supermarket carrot.

Mystery solved!