The Final Fronteer January – March 2015

Behind the barn


Not much to look at now, even after 6 months or clearing. We are disking a 50′ by 125′ area for this summers tomatoes and peppers followed by the as yet unknown winter crop.


Then adding compost donated by the City of Modesto Compost Facility, 7001 Jennings Road – Modesto

BackGardenPrep06 BackGardenPrep07

Finally the irrigation for the tomatoes and peppers.


This time we put the timers on the wall inside the barn out of the weather and at eye height to make adjustments easier.

Now it’s ready for planting.

Planned permanent crops Winter 2015

This learning year we only have used 1/4 of the area available.
Some of that is due to the requirement to rotate the location of the tomatoes. They should not be planted in the same location with a 2 – 3 year separation. Accounting for that we will keep sections for rotation, winter and summer crops as well as a section for more permanent crops.

This winter we will be planting fruit trees, asparagus, grape vines and berries as permanent crops. Seasonal planting for potatoes and corn will be added to the mix this winter and summer. We’ll see how this goes. There are also 3 orange trees and 2 grapefruit trees on the property that will be harvested in the next couple of months.

February 14, 2015 Planted 12 Fruit Trees


12 fruit trees have been planted: Granny Smith apple, Pink Lady apple, Royal Rainier cherry, Bing cherry, D’Angio pear, O Henry pear,Fay Elberta pear, Double Delight pear, Blenhiem apricot, Frost peach, Fanasia nectarine, Elberta peach.


March 6, 2015 10 Berries and row of Asparagus Planted

5 each of Blackberries and Red Raspberries


Row of Asparagus 50 feet long.




This was a real learning year!WP_20140805_11_59_53_Pro

    • Irregular watering patterns. 
      1. Caused the first tomatoes to have “bottom rot”. Due to timer failure and operator error”
    • Eyes bigger than our capabilities.
      1. We didn’t have the people to harvest 450 plants.
      2. We will limit our planting to 100 plants this next summer and should get as many tomatoes as this year.
    • 100 foot rows too long.
      1. You get tired before you get the end of the row and what you need is too far away.
      2. We are reconfiguring the 100 feet to 3 – 25 foot sections.
    • Space the plants more evenly.
      1. Spread out the tomatoes (2-1/2 feet) to give access to all the tomatoes
      2. Plant peppers closer together (1 foot) to provide shading to adjacent plants. [Some bell peppers were sun burned.

Don’t go from memory

After finishing clearing the area for the winter garden we went to Home Depot to buy PVC for the added irrigation. Both Steve and I remember using 1 inch PVC piping. After strapping it to the roof of the truck and getting it back to the garden we looked and found out that we had used three-quarter inch piping.

Well anyway we’ve had practice at getting 20 foot sections of PVC strapped down to the roof of the truck. It should be easier with three-quarter inch piping.

Welcome Rain!

Haven’t been to the garden yet today, but was glad to see the rain yesterday. Hopefully it will make the trench digging easier today. Steve investigated and said that the soil was wet about 1 inch. In contrast 1 hour of drip or soaker hose goes to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.

Adding new irrigation

One of the things we want to do better is to have shorter better spaced planting. If nothing else it is physiologically easier to finish a short row than a long one. Also the tool you forgot is closer at the other end of the row.

So back to digging ditches 18 inches deep and a total of 240 feet long. Then we are ready to plant the radishes and other winter veggies.

1st row winter crop 01 - 1250

Another new beginning

It’s time to make way for the winter crop

It’s toward the end of summer the flowers have withered and the veggies are not ripening at the same rate with the cooler temperatures. So I pulled the flowers along the north edge of the garden.

Winter crop prep 02 - 1250

Winter crop prep 04 - 1250Winter crop prep 05 - 1250

They’re now in the pile.

Winter crop prep 03 - 1250

Ready to plant lettuce and radishes!

Winter crop prep 07 - 1250