Saturday, October 22, 2011

The rains will start soon

Summers are a slow time in my garden. It's the rain, or more precisely, the lack of rain. There are a few plants like tomatoes or maybe cowpeas that will survive and even bear without supplemental water if they are already established but even these thrifty plants appreciate a good long drink every once in a while. 

What i got on Craig's List...milking sheep!
I want more from my summer garden so i've been adding a variety of drip lines and emitters to my collection over the past few weeks. They are slowly starting to appear in the garden and should give me a jump start on the fall season. Not a big one, it's an La Nina year and the rains will start soon, pushing the real pay-off back to next summer. Which is fine because i plan to be busy with other things next summer. 

Say hello to Big, Bossy Belle
As you can see, i was busy with other things this summer, too. I learned about fencing and feeding and fecal testing, yuck! I learned how to get sheep over the Alenuiha'ha Channel and into my back yard.  I learned about dreching and hoof trimming and wool clipping. Yes, clipping because i really can't call what i did shearing and neither should you.  I built a shed and a stanchion and bought a milk bucket. And i learned that sheep are clever and brave and naughty and overly fond of browsing rose bushes. No wonder i didn't have time to water my garden!

And cute but bratty Blossom!
Last week i started the fall garden. The Purple Podded Pole beans are back, planted alongside Emerite and Tarahumara Purple Pole beans. I direct sowed some arugula and a dozen Japanese salad turnips. The turnips should have gone in a few weeks ago in order to roast for the Thanksgiving feast but we'll enjoy them when they are ready. Seeds were started  in tray, as well. Spigarello, fennel, bok choy, and three kinds of cauliflower. I haven't tried to grow cauliflower before so this will be a new experiment. It will be a small trial, just two plants each of Graffiti, Snow Crown, and Charming Snow which is just 60 days to maturity. I also started a few Variegated Collards, some Golden Chard and some kohlrabi. I tried kohlrabi for the first time last spring and really enjoyed it. I hope to have some successive kohlrabi harvests this winter. It looks like the Cripsy Blue gailaan  and the Anuenue lettuce failed but the Syphos butter lettuce is up along with the Soloist chinese cabbage and the Burpee golden beets. I am still waiting for the Oriental Giant and Matador spinaches to sprout. The Gator perpetual spinach i grew this summer was the most spinach-like chard yet so I don't know why i keep banging my head against the spinach wall. I'll be starting a new tray this weekend with Romanesco cauliflower, Blankoma white beets, Touchstone Gold beets, leeks, scallions, and cilantro. I'll be laying down some horse manure this weekend or next and then the transplanting will begin! Hope i have time to post some garden tours this winter, it's really a great record keeping tool. 


Jane said...

The sheep are so adorable!! What a wonderful experience to raise milking sheep! I didn't realize your garden depended on the rain - rain which is MIA in Maui these days. Are you using the milk for cheese making? Sheep and goat milk make ono kefir.

I think cauliflower should flower in your climate. It did grow beautifully here in the late fall/early winter but of course no flower in Kihei. I will look forward to seeing your garden updates!

Julie said...

No milk yet Jane, they are still teenagers ; ) I think by late spring/early summer we will have lambs and then the milking will begin! Yogurt for sure and probably cheese (and maybe kefir). I'm working on finding extra freezer space.
I do a little hand watering in the garden but mostly rely on the rain. It's been my feeble little experiment for TEOTWAWKI ; )
I'm looking forward to seeing how the cauliflower grows, especially the romanesco and the graffiti. The trouble with the fall/winter garden is the shortening days, don't you think? Maybe i should try planting a few in February, space pending.

Mr. H. said...

How exciting, ever since I watched a video on people living in outer mongolia that pretty much lived off of sheep and horse milk I have wanted to try it. Good for you, really neat. Give one of them a pat on the head for me.:)

Julie said...

I can't wait to tell the girls that they have a fan Mr. H, they will be so excited! Ewe rock! (Sorry, couldn't resist ; ))

Rowena said...

Sheep! You are a jump and several steps ahead in the gardening game and I am curious to see how Blossom will blossom into full grown ewe.

It was nice being back home but I confess that those high temps sucked the life out of me. Wish we could've stayed longer...loved having tasty fresh island fruit for breakfast every morning!

Christina said...

What lovely sheep! What an adventure.

Like you, I've smacked myself into the spinach wall as well, and I have finally given up. I'm much happier with my other winter greens.

And interesting point: I have Tarahumara Purple growing right now, too!

Julie said...

Glad to hear you made it home safely Rowena. Vacations are never long enough, are they? Especially when you are visiting home ; )

Christina i have to admire your excellent taste in pole beans ; )) Thanks for stopping by.

Priscilla said...

Cute sheep! I'm new to your blog and look forward to reading your posts. I've always wanted to live in Hawaii ever since I visited Maui in 2005. It's expensive but it's my dream to live in the tropics. For now we live in Idaho and gardening is alright here. Can you garden all year round? Have a great weekend!

Julie said...

Hi Priscilla, just stopped by your blog and it sure looks like fall has arrived in Idaho! One of the things I love about gardening in Hawaii is that it helps connect me to the seasons. All that gardening leaves a lot less time for housework but i'm OK with that ; ) Hope you had a Happy Halloween!!

flowerweaver said...

Your new sheep are adorable! Can't wait until I can get a couple more for spinning. Finley needs a flock of friends.

Julie said...

I loved your story about Finley and his mom!

Titania said...

Hi Julie, that's what I call living, jumping the fence and the puddles. Belle is really a BELLE!...and cutie pie Blossom you would forgive anything. ♥T.