Wild Rose Ranch

Winter has been a wonderful time for us to re-connect with friends and family who we do not get to see much of the year. Things have slowed down around here in these months, but the cycles continue and work never comes to a complete stop. Yesterday we welcomed the return of moisture to the dry earth, and are optimistic in our hopes for more rain this winter to replenish our soils, roots, creeks, and groundwater stores. Balyn and I have been enjoying the winter fare from our pantry- winter squash, potatoes, fruit jam, pickled beans, smoked peppers, and from the garden- snow peas, collard greens, kale, chard, broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery. But we are also anticipating the summer harvests as our seed orders begin to arrive in the mail, and as we watch our young strawberry plants sending out more leaves in the garden.

In the Garden

In the garden the broccoli never stops sending out new side-shoots, giving us a seemingly endless supply of small tender broccoli crowns (one of the virtues of open-pollinated broccoli). The cover crop we sowed in late October before our first rains has developed a lush, beautiful stand of beans, vetch, peas, and oats. Cover crop sown in November has not done so well, a combination of the lack of rain & hungry Juncos. Fortunately the soils are not completely bare, covered with a mulch of last season's crop residues & sprouts from the soil's immense seed bank, so erosion is not a huge threat.
Our perennial herb bed in the middle of the garden was planted in the fall, and is establishing itself beautifully. We have also been refreshing our memories & sharpening our Felco blades for winter pruning.
One of the most visible changes that has taken place recently in the garden was the construction of new vents for our greenhouse and a rigid cover that we hope will last for many years. These designs would not be so beautiful or functional without generous help from Rick, our friend, neighbor, & CSA member.

Out of the Garden

This fall we participated in a Volunteer Patrol Training for Sonoma County's Open Space at Jacob's Ranch. Jacob's Ranch is a large property neighboring us here at Wild Rose Ranch, extending from Matanzas Creek at our lower property line up to the ridge of Sonoma Mountain. We have been enjoying being land stewards past our own property boundaries, as all are intricately connected.
This winter we have been taking steps to establish a second garden space in our back field, which is currently a Scotch Broom forest. Scotch Broom is an extremely invasive legume that has spread over much of the property, and is difficult to remove. Luckily there is a special tool that was designed specifically for extracting the deep tap-roots of Scotch Broom from the soil, so although we still have a big task ahead of us, the Weed Wrench has provided great encouragement.
Late-autumn rains brought us a huge flush of wild-harvested oyster mushrooms, but the recent dry weather has delayed the fruiting of many seasonal fungi. We have hopes for Chantrelles if the moisture continues.
We have plans to raise chickens too....

2009 Sonoma Mountain CSA sign-up

We have shares available for the upcoming season! You may view the agreement with the link at the top of this page, or contact us for more information.

Celebrate the Arrival of Spring!

Save the date!
We will be holding our Vernal Equinox Celebration & Potluck
on Sunday, March 22.
More details TBA

Contact Wild Rose Ranch

Elli and Balyn
5365 Sonoma Mountain Rd
Santa Rosa, California  95404
Phone: 707-545-6062


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