The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Spring planting

Masai bean seedsFriday was my reward for a long week spent weeding and preparing the garden.  I finally put out the first of our tender vegetables, plants that can't bear the frost and that will be coming up around the time of our frost free date.  Reading straight off my spreadsheet, I ended up planting in alphabetical order --- basil, beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, garbanzos, okra, peppers, quinoa, summer squash, urd beans, and watermelon.  Even tenderer plants will be hitting the dirt in a couple of weeks.

Wheeling dirt while wearing a sombreroEven though the 80 plus degree heat wore us out fast, my Mexican sombrero let me keep moving long enough to slip some summer flowers into gaps in the forest garden.  Last year, I finally threw flower seeds in the ground in June, and was stunned by how they brightened my day in October.  Mark points out that with bees in our lives, it only makes sense to take a few minutes and plant flowers, so I raked back the mulch in a few sunny gaps and dropped in seeds of Mexican sunflower, pink and white cosmos, zinnias, marigolds, fennel, sunflowers of two varieties, a bumblebee habitat mix (thanks, Jennifer!), and asters (thanks, Mom!)  Except for the last two, these are tried and true flowers that bear my neglect admirably and bloom with no care from me.

This is the first year we're growing garbanzos, and the seed packet confused me.  It told me that garbanzos are a cool season crop like peas, and then combined that with an admonition to plant them after the frost free date.  Um?  Has anyone grown them?  When did you plant them?

With hot weather on the horizon, now's the time to give your chickens an automatic chicken waterer and make sure they never run out of water.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Great question. Garbanzos are a big diet staple of mine but I haven't tried growing them yet. I'm still sticking with beginner stuff. Though I'd love to grow them and will be curious to hear of your successes. (I live in Charlotte -- zone 7b)
Comment by Emily on the Southern Prairie Sun May 2 15:44:27 2010
Garbanzos and lentils are our beans of choice --- maybe next year we'll try lentils. I'll definitely let you know what comes of our garbanzo experiment.
Comment by anna Sun May 2 15:45:56 2010
I live in zone 8a in Southern California, at high altitude, so we have a surprisingly short growing season. That said, my garbanzos were sown on June 1st and I began harvesting in mid-August. I was very surprised at how lovely the plants are and how well they did (I don't have much luck growing things that aren't in containers, given that we're on a steep slope with decaying granite topsoil). I'll be planting more this year, I consider them a rousing success.
Comment by Anonymous Sun May 2 21:44:37 2010
Anonymous --- where is June 1 in relation to your frost free date? I'd guess considerably after it, given that you're in zone 8a, but the high elevation might make things funky, so I thought I'd ask. I'm thrilled to hear that garbanzos got your seal of approval!
Comment by anna Sun May 2 21:52:58 2010

Hi Anna,

I have grown garbanzos in the Pacific Northwest. I see no reason to wait until the last frost date because they are like peas. More like as soon as ground can be worked. Here, they are done by July, so their water needs match our climate exactly, as our rains stop for the season just when the garbanzos need to dry out.


Comment by Barbara Fri May 28 15:09:45 2010
Barbara --- thanks so much for commenting! In that case, I hope I haven't waited until it's too hot. I might try another batch as a fall planting, and definitely will plant them earlier next year.
Comment by anna Fri May 28 18:16:26 2010

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