seeds and reseeding

It’s that time of the year again: seed orders are due shortly.

I think I’ve already written about the inevitable cycle of vegetable gardening–excitement for spring, lots of work prepping, planting, and weeding, followed by lots of harvesting (and more weeding) and replanting late season seeds, amazing harvest bounty, followed by being overwhelmed and tired of harvesting and processing vegetables, garden clean-up, more garden clean-up, and getting a bit tired of all that work.

And then winter, which is normally quite  l o n g  around here–a period of recovery, which contributes to all that excitement for spring.

Not so much this year.

Here we are in early (mid?) January and it’s almost time to submit this year’s seed order to Fedco. I’ve gone with many of the usuals–haricots verts, heirloom tomatoes, basil, several kinds of carrots, and so forth. We always try a few new vegetables each year. Last year was soy beans and delicata squash.

This year I’ve tried more new things–white Russian kale, raab, chives, brussel sprouts, tomatillos.

Seeds, seeds, seeds!

Meanwhile, Ron and I spent several hours this afternoon reseeding the non-lawn (grassy pasture) on the western side of the house. Our excavator dudes were great, overall, but the eastern and western sides of the house didn’t end up with enough top soil. We’re not sure why.

All of the sheep–our previous loaner sheep and now our own sheep–love to graze those areas. Ron thinks that some kind of weed thrives in the non-ideal soil (classic weed behavior) and the sheep love that weed. But they end up overgrazing the already thin grass.

Consequently, on this mild winter day (yet again), we spent about ninety minutes this afternoon scattering “conservation” grass seed and then raking out a thin layer of “mature” hay (aka, poopy and pee-y straw that Ron had cleaned out from the sheep shack) over the area. This is a classic re-vegetation technique used by natural resource managers, restoration ecologists, enlightened ranchers, and us.

Hopefully, the seed will get worked into the ground through weather, gravity, and sheep hooves. The hay will protect it through the tough winter weather (not that we’ve really had any yet). The hay will gradually decompose and enrich the lame soil, helpfully amended by sheep fertilizer. And we’ll have more grasses growing there in the spring.

That’s the hope.

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