Friday, April 1, 2011

Rainy Day here at the homestead

This morning I was reminded of a little tune:
"The rain rain rain came down down down
In rushing, rising riv'lets,
'Til the river crept out of it's bed
And crept right into Piglet's!"

Now being raised in the Pacific NW; rain isn't something that normally bother me, but with this being April 1, and me being way way behind on tilling under my winter cover crop on the garden beds, I needed to suck it up and get out there.  But the bed being warm and cozy...well, thank goodness the dog needed to be let out, or I would've stayed snuggled up 'til noon.

As I walked to the back door, I passed my seedlings, sitting under their lights, just waiting for the "sun" to come up.

Tomato, Red Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Pepperocini, Jalepeno, under two 20W shop lights.

With the seedlings beckoning, and the knowledge that I still didn't have Peas, Lettuce, and Spinach in the ground.  So, I bundled up, put on a rain coat, my hat and gloves and broke out the roto-tiller, set up the blocker boards (that's what I call them, they are basically an extension of the garden beds, so the dirt doesn't get thrown out onto the ground) and did battle in the mud.  

Here in the Pacific NW, we have many types of rain.  I have heard that the Eskimos have 100 words to describe the snow in all it's forms, well we are close to that with rain.

This morning it was  a light sprinkle, that wasn't bad to work in.  As the work went on, we went through, heavy sprinkle, big fat 'ol drops, mist, downpour (that's when I raised my hand quit.)  All in all, I got through the two 4x8 beds, and will be able to plant early next week.

I had taken all the normal precautions, but still got soaked to the bone.  And when all I wanted to do was go inside and take a hot shower, I still had to clean the tiller.

This is when the work ethic kicks in.  Having a homestead, means doing the little things, the big things and all the things in-between, even when it isn't comfortable.  Getting through today, gives me strength knowing that when it's cold and nasty next winter, I will still get out to care for the chickens.  When I am enjoying Spanikopita made from my own Spinach in a few months, the soaking I took today will be a laughable memory.  But a necessary one for the Spinach to be grown.

Experiment #1, these are Red Bell Pepper Plants.  We got the seed from a Red Pepper we bought at the grocery last year.  Cleaned and saved the seed, and we'll see what grows.

Experiment #2, Melons (center tray)  Planted 9 "Tigger" Cantaloupe melons (8 have sprouted) and 9 (all 9 sprouted) Crimson Sweet Watermelons.

Yes, in the photo above, you can see I use paper (newspaper) pots for my seedlings.  I use an 8th of the page and wrap it around the medicine bottle you see in the first photo on this post.  It holds just the right amount of seedling mix to get them started, and then the whole thing is planted into larger pots (the newsprint decomposes quickly) and I have used this system for the past 5 years with no ill effects.  The other two trays hold Basil starts on the right and Ground Cherries on the left.

As for experimentation, try it, It's healthy.  Play around with your gardening, grow new things.  Try try and keep trying.  I've heard it said that you can't grow melons here.  Well, I'm gonna try.  And when I try, I go for something that sings to me.  As you you can tell from the opening lines of this post, I'm a Disney Kid.  I loved Winnie the Pooh, so the T- I - Double Guh - Er melons were a natural for this experiment.

Remember, this is work, but it's also fun.  It's fun to play in the mud, see things grow from a seed you saved from a grocery store Red Bell Pepper, figuring out names for rain.  Yep it's all fun.  Well, time to end this post, and go snuggle up in bed with some hot cocoa.


  1. Too true about gardening in the maritime northwest climate. Sometimes you just have to garden in the rain or you would never get anything done! I am hoping the weather cuts me a little break this weekend as I have some celery and swiss chard plants that really MUST go into the ground this weekend.


  2. Too funny bro, I too was out in the various rains yesterday to plant spinach, carrots, radishes and the corn for the kids. I should have been fine in my rain coat, but realized later that I was soaked to the skin anyway. Go figure.

    Today was supposed to be showers, but it reminded me more of the bathroom shower than a short stint of rain. I have tons of hardened off salad green and brassica starts to get into the ground. Insane! Maybe tomorrow!

    Oh, I hope you don't mind me sending folks your way. I figured they should have the opportunity to read the better writer in the family's blog. I see you got a few followers out of it. And don't neglect to check out KitsapFG's blog. She's my penninsula gardening buddy whose garden I drool over all the time, with the 6 black sex link egg machines!

  3. I'll trade you some of this Eastern WA wind for a bit of your Western WA rain!