no dig

More plot twists than reality TV

purple bouquet

Fruit cliff hangers

I’m glad I’m not a professional farmer, and I think my DNA still remembers the uncertainty my ancestors faced with dread. I’m particularly glad this year because the cherry crop is a bust, worse than last year which wasn’t good. They flowered, they were pollinated, they made tons of little tiny cherries. I had visions of cherry crisp at Christmas. Then it got cold and they dropped almost all of the little tiny cherries leaving me with about two cups of big cherries from eight trees. But the only real consequence is the quality of my morning oatmeal next January which will have to rely on something less exciting to pep it up. Maybe next year… On the bright side, the peach and apple trees are feeling optimistic and there are TWO little nectarines on the young tree I planted two years ago. Will I be able to get to the ripe peaches in August before the deer? Stay tuned.

The dirty no-dig secret

I am still attempting to follow along with no-dig vegetable gardening. Even though I hit a serious snag. My compost isn’t commercially hot. Which isn’t a huge problem except that all the seeds survived the process. I knew better than to put grass in there but the tomatoes and other things went in to the heap, I mean that’s what compost is for, right? Except now I have baby tomato plants everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. And they’re cute, and you can never have too many tomatoes. And so my beds and pots are overcrowded (again) because I find it hard to pull them out and put them back in the compost. I’ll feel vindicated if the freezer is full of tomatoes this winter but it’s too soon to tell.

New cast members

On the wildlife front, Short Meadow is now complete. There were two things I desperately wanted when we moved here: frogs and quail. The frogs showed up almost immediately, requiring no pond and no maintenance except to avoid chemicals and move things slowly. The quail remained a dream. I looked into rearing them but how street smart is a quail raised by humans going to be? Exactly.

Then it happened about two weeks ago. Little bobbling heads in the driveway and later their calls echoing across the orchard. Whether they’re living here or not, they’re definitely nearby and visiting, having children that will need their own homes. So as long as some of them can avoid the coyotes and the owls, quails should continue to be part of the community.

In summary…

Meanwhile the flowers are coming on strong and (mostly) not being eaten by the deer. Everything new has come from cuttings and seeds this year. There’s a certain joy in raising a plant from ‘birth’ that doesn’t happen from a nursery purchase. I am behind on weeding. I am always behind on weeding.

Share your thoughts in the comments!

A new gardening season is upon us!


The greenhouse and cold frames are already beginning to fill up with seedlings. This year - unhampered by any broken bones (yeah!!!) - I’m trying to follow along with Charles Dowding’s No Dig. We’ll see, it’s early days yet but my goal is to grow all my own fruit and veg for the year excluding any tropical stuff. Seeds are germinating and there is a pile of new covering and netting just waiting to be laid out over tender plants. I can’t resist growing flowers too, so those are sprinkled in with the veg.

I try to be efficient and sort the seed packets by the month and then by the temperature required so I can group them on the heat mats. It more or less works out.

This year’s major addition to everything is honey bees. The hive is constructed and waiting in the shop so nobody else moves in. My new bee suit is hanging on its own special hook and the bees have been ordered and registered with the state. Some time around tax day I will head over on the ferry and bring back my very own bees! I hope they like me…