For us, it is the kale. It has been doing the hard work of trying to grow one's own food justice, and it excites us every day.
Over Memorial Day weekend, we went camping, leaving our "children" (hardly) alone and well-watered, seeing as the Bay Area was going to have some semi-sunny skies and lower temps. And we came back to slight growth and progress.
We are even seeing great differences in texture with the small, quarter-sized leaves that are taking off. Some of the Dino kale leaves are getting that infamous bumpy, dinosaur-skin feeling to them, and the purple curly kale leaves are spreading their little finger-like leaves outward, which is so satisfying.
I should also report on some slight failures (I say slight because it's always hard to plant something, wait for progress, especially with a starter sprout, and have it die a seemingly unjust death amidst thriving brother and sister plants). We planted a few herbs and two Serrano chili plants (I always use them in my guacamole, seeds and all for an extra kick) in medium-sized pots with soil from the garden.
We ran out of potting soil, used for some of the bee-attracting flowers, and clearing a bed in the backyard meant extra loose soil for us to play with. The only problem is that the backyard soil is redwood soil. We cleared out as many roots as we could, but redwood soil is apparently really acidic (making for good blueberry soil), but I don't know if the Serranos are very happy.
The next step in the garden (drum roll, please) ... the chicken coop. I told my husband this morning that we do actually have to hold ourselves accountable to having it up by July 4th so that we can have friends over for a BBQ and get our girls in there so that our "public" won't be disappointed with our progress. After all, we have neighbors to give eggs to!
We have picked a site (photo of the spot included) and will be measuring out and drafting a plan on graph paper tonight. The only other obstacle? We have to relocate some sprinklers. Good thing some of the azaleas are getting the ax to make way for the chicken run. Pink was never really my color anyway.
We have also planted a few chard and kale seeds alongside the house, with less redwood roots, but very rich and almost always shaded soil. It will be fun to see how they do in comparison to our planter box seeds, and a good idea when planning for a staggered yield. I already plan to be up to my earlobes in kale in about three weeks' time, so don't be alarmed if you see me around town with bushels of thick green leaves, accosting small children to "Eat more kale."
Questions for the audience:
Does anyone know of a local food swap going down in Piedmont? I would love to get involved!
Does anyone have any more advice or experiences they could share below on best practices in the garden? I would love input from my neighbors!
Do you have any funny or useful advice or chicken stories to share? Don't think I don't hear those soft, charming little clucks around town every once in a while. I love it.