Yesterday I heard that a “bit of rain was coming” and I hurried to get some edible greens seeds planted. It’s mid-November in our coastal garden and if we get some rain, I’ll have some nice greens to add to our winter salads come late January.
As most of you have heard, we’ve had a drought in California and I’ve had to cut back on planting edibles. We have been allowed limited water, so laundry, household water, and water for the animals took priority. I used to raise all our fruits and vegetables but now am using just a few of my raised beds for edibles plants. Yesterday, I planted arugula, spinach, and Komatsuna (tendergreen mustard spinach). These are fast-growing, tasty bitter greens.
I prepared the bed for winter greens by just “raking in” some home-made compost. Nothing fancy. I also sprinkled the soil (before planting) with water to be sure it was moist. I used seeds I’d saved from last spring. They are tiny seeds so they need to be planted near the surface of the soil. The “rule of thumb” is the amount of dirt to cover the seeds should be equal to the size of the seed. When planting tiny seeds gardeners must either put dirt though a sieve or do it the lazy way, like I do, and sprinkle a bit of potting soil over them.
Now comes the “ugly” part. Because there is an issue in Cambria with water usage and keeping the soil moist, I tore up a few cardboard boxes, mostly recycled “Amazon boxes”, wet the pieces with the hose, and placed them on top of the freshly planted seeds. Now, those of you who know me know that I’m a bit of a “neatnik”. I think that even vegetable beds should be kept tidy and with a few flowers mixed in to make them pretty. But I’m willing for the freshly planted bed to look ugly for a week, covered with cardboard, rather than struggling to keep the seeds moist. I tell myself “It’s just for a couple of weeks”. When the seeds have sprouted, I’ll remove the cardboard on an overcast day, so they don’t get sunburned, and hope the upcoming rain will spur them on.
The seeds of greens are, this morning, being moistened with light rain. They are protected under cardboard. In a few days, I’ll check on them by lifting up a corner of the flattened “recycled Amazon boxes”. Magic!