Monday, May 22, 2017

Everything's Growing But My Bank Balance

Adam just walked in from the garden and said, "You know that wild grapevine on the back garden fence? It's loaded with grapes!"
The back fence is out of control. I don't know what large shrub is under the grapevine, but it's growing on top of it in the sun, as vines love to do. Little clusters of grapes are All Over It. Adam's back there now, whacking off some to produce better grapes. I imagine the birds will find them too.
We've had no success with our grapevines in the "orchard" because they don't get enough sun.
We put some of our Wando peas on a trellis of 4" welded wire, and they are standing upright and beautiful.
They're easy to harvest. But we ran out of that welded wire and thought we'd make some wattle fencing, remember? This is what inadequate wattle fencing will do to your peas:
Next year it's welded wire all the way. We've still harvested bags of peas so far and have a long way to go. A good year for peas. You pick them when they look fat and plump like a sausage but haven't started drying out yet.
Some of my tomato plants have early blight. See it? We pulled about ten beautiful, full plants right out of the bed and threw them on the burn pile :(
The trellising system thus far is excellent for tomatoes.

Can you see how the cord curls around the main tomato stem? It's easy then to gently wrap it around a little more every day or two as the plant grows.
I had a few random volunteer tomato plants in pots. They nearly died when we went on vacation. I put them into the beds where I'd ripped out the sickly tomato plants. They're so short the cords don't reach them yet!
My two rows of bush bean plants are coming up nicely, much better than last year. I probably have them way too close together, but I overplanted because last year I had such bad luck with their germination.
 I'll plant more beans in stages so they don't all come in at the same time.
Here are two volunteer cucumber plants that sprouted in Adam's compost
 Several of these early volunteers already have baby cukes starting on them. They will go in beds later.
 A volunteer tomato and cuke are in one compost pile,
and a volunteer cuke and watermelon are in another.

 These are perhaps my healthiest volunteer tomatoes -- three plants that sprouted up from the chicken poop compost pile intended to enrich the asparagus. I wrapped a piece of leftover fence around them for support.
 I guess that chicken poop's not going anywhere for a while!
And speaking of watermelons, Adam filled two more tire planters in the garden and I planted watermelon seeds in there. What do you bet the volunteer watermelon does better? Yep.
 And Adam's willow tree sprig is doing fine in a bigger pot. He will put it in the ground soon.
 In the greenhouse (which is a true hot house these days), I'm starting herbs. I want to start herbs from seed and sell the plants at the farmers' market. Nobody does this, and I think there's a need for it. And unlike cut herbs, the plants only improve week to week. I don't like selling "perishable" items at the market. Any herbs that don't sell I'll simply put in my own herb garden if it gets too big. Below are basil, thyme, tarragon, parsley, and sage, waiting to be born in their little earthen nurseries.
 Many friends responded to my plea for pots!! I really needed the small pots -- the next stage up from the starter cells. I prefer plastic pots; the paper ones leach water away from the little plants' roots.
 There's an issue with little plastic pots. I challenge you to try to find them for sale at WalMart, Lowe's, or your local farm or hardware store. I'm referring to what I wanted: a pack of about ten 2" pots -- plastic ones. I looked and looked. Adam said (as Adam often says), "Let's check online." And we could've bought them online for 30 cents per pot! That's just too much to pay for a very small plastic pot! And if I'm selling my herb plants, that adds quite a bit to the cost per plant.
One day I was roaming in a favorite store, Dollar Tree. Everything in there really is just $1.00. And look what I found!
A pack of twelve little plastic pots -- perfect! -- for $1.00! So I bought 12 packs, of course. Items appear and disappear forever at those dollar stores. Those 144 pots, plus all the donations from friends, will give me pots for years :)
So far I have basil and some early dill to sell.
I think I have a bit of a green thumb when it comes to starting plants, plus I do enjoy it so much. If I could make any money doing that, I would be a happy woman.
Because ... I decided a few months ago to stop working at my part-time afternoon job at an afterschool program for children. It's a lovely place, and I will miss it, but physically it is so taxing. I'm on concrete/asphalt, very active, for 3 hours straight, and it's hard on my bad veins. It wears me out every day and makes me non-productive in the evenings. Even though I don't go to work until about 2:30, it dominates my day from lunch onward. I will still substitute there some, but not every single day. I only have 13 days left! Then I will be a free woman to focus my attentions on my soap/lotion/yard business, and on increasing the productivity of the farm in small ways like selling herbs. So ... here's to new enterprises!


  1. Yay for you and your farm life!!!

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

  2. Praying your new enterprises are fruitful and successful! Enjoy being home on the farm! :)
    Years ago I stumbled upon a wild grapevine growing in our horse pasture. It was growing on top of some of our wild plums. I sure enjoyed making jelly from those. They just kind of disappeared after a couple of years. Fun to reap what you haven't planted! lol!

  3. Those volunteer plants are always the best! Your herbs look good and I hope you have good success selling them at market.

  4. Does a 'Volunteer' plant mean one that just comes up by itself? I'd LOVE to see a watermelon grow!!! Your herbs are a brilliant idea!! Using your natural gifts for starting plants that God has given you! X

  5. P.s. I was going to recommend you try a Poundshop for plant pots.
    When my Grandad died, we had simply hundreds of pots to dispose of. The local primary school took a load of garden stuff as did we all but there were still loads!


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