Buckwheat and other stuff

The buckwheat cover crop experiment is going well, so far. I put the seeds in about a week and a half ago, right after I dug in the horse manure. They germinated in three days. Three days! The soil must be quite warm, for them to germinate so quickly. 10 days later, the crop looks like this:

I really have no idea how tall this stuff will get, or when it will flower. All I hope is that I can get a flowering before I have to till it all in, in time to plant winter crops. I've seeded four of my raised beds with the buckwheat.

In the two remaining beds, I still have plum tomatoes, watermelons, cucumbers, tomatillos, acorn squash, butternut squash, and some nasturtiums. Everything is looking good, and the deer have stayed away lately, thank goodness. Though we HAVE heard coyotes in our garden at night. Maybe that's why the deer haven't been visiting!

Kate and I sowed more herb seeds in the spiral - cilantro, basil, chives, parsley, dill, and oregano, hoping for one more crop before colder weather. They have not germinated - I'm finding that herb seeds take FOREVER to germinate, no matter how warm the soil is. I'm beginning to think that all my herbs from now on will be grown from starts.

In the flower garden, I sowed some seeds of breadfruit poppy, chamomile, and something else I can't remember. I still have a lot of late-season flowers blooming - cosmos, coreopsis, zinnias, salvias, and a ton of California Fuchsia, which the bees adore. I see them crawling in the flowers as well as feeding from the outside of the flowers - there is a small slit in the top of the flower, which allows the bees to stick in their tongues and collect the nectar without going inside. But like I said, they do both.

I've had a small continuing crop of strawberries, even though the deer decimated the leaves. It hasn't been even enough for a small bowl, but I'm enjoying picking them and eating them as soon as they ripen, one or two every few days.

Today, I received a shipment from Renee's of garlic, shallots, and wildflower seeds. I will store all of these in the fridge for the time being, and plant the garlic and shallots in the middle of October, and the wildflower seeds in December, along with all the others I collected from my own garden this year. The garlic and shallots will grow all winter, and be ready for harvest in early summer 2015.

In the neighborhood, I'm noticing the cotoneaster and pyracantha have started to produce berries. This is a sure sign that, even though it doesn't feel like it, winter is on the way.

In other news, my son Adam is gearing up to perform in the San Francisco Opera's production of "La Boheme." We had a costume fitting last week, and that was a fun visit to the Opera's costume shop. It's in an old building between Howard and Mission, and as we climbed the stairs, we passed poster after poster of famous operas performed in SF. Up on the higher floors, there were rooms with racks upon racks of shoes, and cavernous halls filled with racks of costumes.

Adam had his measurements taken in a large, elegant room with huge floor-to-ceiling mirrors on either side. We mused about the famous singers who had stood in that very place. The costume ladies confirmed that they've all been there.

They were extremely specific in their measurements, I've never seen anything like it. They are also making him a pair of boots. Here are the sheets they used.

It was a fun visit. Our first rehearsal at the War Memorial Opera house is in mid-October.

My daughter Kate auditioned for and was accepted in to the next stage of her theater program. So we have two very dedicated performers in this house, which makes us proud.