Saturday, April 20, 2019

Attacking the Garden Again

Hello, farm friends. We have been making progress in the vegetable garden. Strong wind and too much rain have slowed us down a little.
 Adam's been digging out his potato beds and now has them lined in metal like the other beds. He has white potatoes in one bed, and the sweet potatoes are coming this week in the mail.
This next area is the old compost pile (grass clippings). 
 He may plant corn there this year after he digs out worms and puts them into his worm bin.
Other happenings in the greenhouse and garden:
Tomato seedlings - Matt's Wild Cherry on the left and Amish Paste on the right:
 Basil, which I sold at the market this morning:
 Those onions I have no idea what to do with:
 Oregano seeds did not germinate well. These are all I have.
 The wind blew under the greenhouse plastic and left a mess!
 The thing growing best in the garden beds is the horseradish, sigh. We've tried to get rid of it.
 Someone gave us a nice yellow squash plant today.
I would show you the peas, lettuce, kale, collards, spinach, strawberries, and asparagus, but that means I'd have to show you how weedy those beds are, and I just can't do it. We will address the weeds after Easter. Been a bit busy around here lately, and the garden has taken second fiddle.

Hurricane Florence ripped up our chicken pen cover. Branches and leaves fell on it, and then the cords broke. Adam pulled it all off and put new netting overhead, plus a new center post to hold it all up. Old:

The netting looks like somebody's wig.
 Adam got four massive truck tires for free to use as planters for a new elderberry bush and some lavender. 
Elderberry bush:
 I've had no luck with lavender at all. These are varieties that supposedly do well here.

My broody silkie mama hatched three chicks. They are so adorable, peeping away. She is wonderfully attentive.
 They haven't yet left the end of the coop that is their brooder. Those other eggs in the photo were duds.
My other silkie hen likes to pretend she's broody. She sits in one of the laying boxes all day long, on the other hens' eggs with her eyes at half-mast like broody hens do. But if given half a chance, she's outa there, taking a dust bath, also known as chicken spa.
 There's a children's story in there somewhere.

I'm still painting the gourds I grew last year.

 The Lady Banks Rose is lovely this year.

A friend gave us a box of fresh local strawberries which we topped and put into the freezer. I'll make jam later. The fig trees are looking promising this year. Adam and I aren't quite as quick and spry regarding farm work as we were nearly 4 years ago! But we will get around to it all. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Windy March Farm

So much wind! It makes a normal day a cold day, especially in the garden, which lies on the north side of our property, abutted by a huge farm field. The winds across that field cut like a knife. But in the greenhouse:
 Those are basil seedlings. We also have oregano, but it's much smaller.
We're picking asparagus for the first time this year! First two spears:
 Onion seeds. I have onion sets doing beautifully in the garden, so I don't know what I'll do with these, or if they'll thrive.
 The four volunteer tomato plants from last fall that I've over-wintered are still going strong in the greenhouse. They're a bit peaky, but will bounce back as soon as I get them into the soil in May.
 'Tis the time of year for dandelions. The kind lady at the post office looked at me rather funny when I asked if I could pick the dandelion flowers in front of the P.O.
 I dry them and then infuse them into safflower oil.
This is used to make "Dandelion Lotion Bars" in the summer, which are insect- repellent. But this is the first step, which must be done when the dandelions are fresh and plentiful, well before the mosquitoes come in herds.

What else on the farm?
*Kale, collards, and spinach are all up in the beds.
*Strawberry plants are healthy. 4 in a large garden bed, and the original small strawberry "nursery" bed is coming back well from winter.
*Onion sets look tall and healthy.
*6 hens and 1 rooster still. Lady Grey, my broodiest silkie, is broody again and is due with chicks on April 11. Because I struggle to incorporate new birds into my flock, this is by far the easiest way to guarantee new birds will be smoothly received.
*Adam has started mowing and weed-eating. His gas can was chewed through this winter.
No photo description available.
*He's covered the crawl space openings with lattice, repaired the garden fence, dug out the front ditch, and trimmed bushes and fruit trees as the weather allowed.
* I dug up yet more daffodil bulbs that were in bad locations where Adam wanted to mow. It does no good to have them mowed down; they never bloom. I've been rescuing daffy bulbs every spring since we moved here! This time I'm giving them away to friends.

That's all for now! Spring has begun, but it's really not warm enough yet to do that serious seed-starting and yard work we long to do.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

March 1st Farm

This is a couple of days late, but I'd better record what's happening on the farm and in the garden in early spring:

Onion sets are up nicely.
Peas are up a bit.
Strawberry plants (5) that we overwintered on the front porch are now in their bed.
9 asparagus spears are up.
Onion seeds are up in the greenhouse.
Basil seeds are started in the greenhouse too.
My herb beds overwintered - just about everything but basil. Dill, cilantro, parsley that seeded in the fall all survived. Tiny basil seed leaves in the garden that I reseeded by hand in the winter are starting to pop up.
I've scattered collard and kale seeds in their beds. Spinach and lettuces will go in this week.
I'm doing new oregano starts from seed because my oregano seems to be dying off.

Adam relined my newer herb bed in metal.
 Strawberry bed:
 The old strawberry bed:

 Strawberry plants that were covered in straw all winter:
 Adam relined this whole bed in metal roofing. So much work! Peas are under the trellis and collards/kale are at the far end.

Snow and freezing temps in the low 20s are forecast for this week, but we hope all these will withstand that assault. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Turning the Garden

We've had a spate of nice warm days. Adam is challenging his winter muscles to regain some summer strength. He's turning beds.
 The onion bed/strawberry bed was first.
 But the bed that needed reworking is one of our trellised bed. It was lined with some old tiles that didn't give an adequate barrier against encroaching weeds. Since getting a new roof, we have lots of old metal roofing that Adam can use to line the beds.
 Now that's a liner! This bed had tomatoes last year, but will have peas this spring.
 I put peas in the first section between the two wooden posts. In 2 weeks I'll put the next section of peas in.
The dogs like to help Adam. They give moral support.
 He also put the greenhouse together for me!

 I started some onion seeds, and I put onion sets into the ground in that bed.
 These seed packets were only 88 cents each. I sprinkled them into the front beds near the road. I want a splash of color this spring!
 I love the color variety from my hens these days.
 But the yolk color is always just like this:

My first daffodil of the year!
What a happy sight!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

One Warm Day!

Yesterday (Jan. 23): 63 degrees outside, not much wind and a bit of sunshine!
The sun peeked over the clouds in mid-morning.
I'm eager to be outside, eager to put my fingers in some soil! I hauled two loads of dark compost in the wheelbarrow up to my newer herb bed, spreading it out to nourish that soil.

The next project I've been eager to do is clean out two little tire planters on either side of our driveway. I planted annuals in them last spring/summer, but they were full of weeds. I also noticed some random daffodils bulbs peeking up in the yard where they ought not be. After cleaning out the tire planters I rescued the bulbs and put them in there.

 The two planters, ready for spring!
Daffodils are also well up around the big fig tree.
 The fig tree looks awful because we've gradually been pruning it back hard. At last all the branches are reachable.
Daffies are up!
 The new branches of the fig tree are loaded with buds.
What was Adam doing all this time, while I labored in the yard. Aside from filling the wheelbarrow tire with air, he was diagnosing my dying washing machine.
It still ran, but agitation was very slow, and it would not spin the water out of the clothes well at all. He took it all apart and discovered a bad clutch. (Who knew? My washer was a manual shift?) He's ordered the part and soon I'll have a happier laundry situation.

I spent some time studying the vegetable garden, planning locations for the crops this spring. Here's a rough diagram, based on rotating plants away from where they were last year:
Monday is Adam's date for getting started in the garden, weeding out the beds and prepping them for spring. I need to get onion sets in the ground soon. I already have my seeds for peas and early greens. And this spring we'll be eating our asparagus for the first time! I can't wait.