Garden Diaries: Early October 2018

I’m really excited for fall in the garden this year! 4 of the 6 chickens we picked up as baby chicks have started to lay, and they should all be in full egg making action in the next month. I’ve been much more consistent with planting seeds every week this time around, so I’m hoping that the garden stays full of action through winter. 

It’s so nice to have hens in the backyard again. They are great companions when I’m digging and moving things in the garden. Since they’ve started to lay, they’ve also gotten more friendly and are letting me pick them up to pet them. BUT the other side is that they can be really destructive if you don’t section off areas that you don’t want them pecking around in. I’ve had to set up chicken wire around the perimeter of each of my garden beds because they’ve been digging at the fall sprouts that have been direct sown. I tried to keep them out with row covers, but the chicks are smart and have figured out how to get inside!

In addition to the seeds I started back in September (Dragon Tongue beans, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, spinach and scarlet kale), over the last couple of weeks I also planted seeds for snap peas, carrots, bok choy, romeo carrots, radishes, and a  mesclun lettuce mix. Everything except for the kale has sprouted! I’m not sure what the issue is with the kale, so I’m trying them again in a separate container to see if I’l have better luck with a second round. 

I also put a few super hot pepper seeds into some seed starter mix. I know, it’s Fall and peppers are supposed to grow in the Spring/Summer, right? But a few Instagram gardening friends who live in my area have had a ton of success growing peppers all year round, which inspired me to try the same. The winters are temperate and mild here in Los Angeles, so why not give it a go? I’m trying it out with a pepper seed mix gifted to me by a friend from Florida. It’s a mixed bag of Carolina Reaper, Ghost Peppers, and hybrids of the two. 

And finally an update on the avocados. There aren’t nearly as many fruits as there were this time last year, which was the first year it has ever fruited. Last year there were hundreds of avocados on our 15 foot tree. But avocado trees are known to do something called biennial fruiting, where it will produce a heavy yield one year and then produce a much lighter set in the successive year. In the first year of fruiting, we were so excited to have avocados that I didn’t want to lose a single one. What I should have done was thin out some of the early fruit to prevent the hundreds of fruits from zapping the tree of energy and nutrients, which can lead to lower fruit yields the following year.  This year, the few avocados that we do have are just about a month or so from being ready to pick!

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