Tuesday, May 5, 2020

May Is Cool

In spite of the coronavirus, life on the farm is actually lovely right now. Spring is cool this year (for the South), and it seems to me the flowers and vegetables are better than usual. Here's my lovely elderberry tree!

Each little blossom will be an elderberry.
I want to make jam so badly.
Last April, this tree looked like this:

Isn't that amazing?
This spring, I cut off five more exactly like that from my tree, and now I have five more starts. I want elderberry to be one of our prime products on this farm in future -- lots of jam, lots of syrup perhaps.

Sugar sweet peas are bearing.
We'll pick some flat ones for salads and stir fries. The others I'll allow to mature, and I'll freeze peas again for the winter.

Speaking of freezing ... I've put two gallons of our strawberries in the freezer so far, and they are still bearing!

Perhaps we've mastered strawberries?

Last year I told Adam I wanted a small bed dedicated to just plantain. I use it to make an ointment. It's a weed that grows in the yard, but it gets mowed down. He was tired of me saying, "Wait! Don't mow there! It's plantain!" I wasn't sure how a weed would perform in a bed to itself ...

... but it's doing rather well! 

I'm kind of a nut about growing herbs. It's ridiculous; I grow way more herbs than we could ever eat, and I don't even like eating some of them. But I love growing herbs. I have no idea why. And I can't help but make a video now and then about my herb beds. It's a little like showing off your children to others and saying, "See how he's grown?!" Anyway, here is the current video. Welcome to my herb beds:
I have a few basil in little pots that I'm taking around to friends. I have two more lemongrass plants to put in the ground somewhere. And only five Matt's Wild Cherry seedlings germinated, in my packet from Jonny's Seeds -- quite a disappointment! Soon I'll be moaning about the heat, but for how, I'm loving working outside in the cool May weather this year. Blessings to all of you, friends!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Coronavirus Farm

I'm not entirely sure, but I think we're in the third week of "stay-at-home" life. Adam has been sick, not with Covid-19 it turns out, but with Mono. In addition, both mowers and our weed-eater were experiencing springtime refusal to operate, and new parts were ordered. Today, at last, we mowed. 
The beds in the house lot: herbs and some flowers
In the herb garden by the house, I put some itty-bitty basil plants out today.
This is the only annual I plant in my herb beds. The old herb bed looks a mess, but it's chock full of lemon balm, tarragon, cilantro, oregano, thyme, and a bit of mint that I rip up regularly.

The two teepee affairs are for sweet peas.
This horrible mass of weeds is actually many daffodils, whose greenery I must give a chance to yellow so they will bloom next year. My eucalyptus tree died there. Soon a huge tub of cherry tomatoes will sit there.

Weedy pasture:
The buttercups are blooming in the pasture.

In the veggie garden, the peas are lovely!
 We have a resident black snake living behind/inside the metal liner around this bed. He introduced himself to me yesterday.

The strawberries are hiding under a cover.

I picked four yesterday.
We're eating as much asparagus as we can. I'll freeze the leftover.
asparagus bed

I'm digging out the bed for okra, which I should sow soon.
The soil temp needs to be warm for okra. It grew so well here last year I'm doing more this year.

My year-old elderberry gave me five little elderberry starts this spring that I've put each in her own tire bed.
We'll see if they decide to live.
Tiny little thing.
What else? I'm awful with flower beds, but a little clump of Sweet William and something-else-I-should-remember, are blooming. See the encroaching grass, vetch, and onions? I'm more interested in my herbs.
And I put 3 lemongrass plants in the ground. There's a Sedum a friend gave me a cutting of.
I put it in the bed and it lived! You never know.

You'd think, being stuck at home, that we'd be vigorously addressing our 4 acres and being productive. Adam is too sick and tired to do much. And honestly, I'm giving myself a pass on the usual guilt-trip of productivity and accomplishment. The world seems fractured, living is scary, the immediate future is woefully uncertain, and I find it hard to focus on much. This is not despair I speak of, just stress. In God's hands, our lives are safe and we will be well. But if the grass grows high and the asparagus goes to seed, I will not worry over it. Don't you either. Much love from the farm!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Beginning Again

We're paring down our garden this year, but I'm happy to report that things are starting well. We've had abundant rain and continue with cool temperatures in March. That means the peas are looking good!
 I have a long bed of peas on this trellis, with plants on both sides of it.

The asparagus was up before we had a frost, so it got zapped and is now coming out again.
I planted spinach and lettuce because Adam said he wanted both. They went into the end of the bed with the peas.
We also have strawberries in a bed from last year that are spreading and blooming now.
 The tools are ready.
 At present I have 7 hens, no rooster. Yesterday they laid 7 eggs!
I try to identify which hen lays which egg. I'm not certain, but here goes:
top row, L-R: Clementine, Henny Penny, the next two are Sheena and Brownie, not sure which is which;
bottom row, L-R: Sylvie, Pepper, Ruby

Pepper and Ruby are pullets and have only been laying a couple of months. Sylvie is a silkie and her eggs are smaller.

My lemongrass starts are in pots and doing well. 

I have 3 more in water.
I'm propagating elderberry trees too! Can't wait to put them into dirt!
Last but not least, I've put my tomato seed (Matt's Wild Cherry) into cells, and some basil seeds from last year's plants into cells too.
They're on the front porch which is rather like a greenhouse. Do you see how many gourds I have sitting there, waiting to have something done with them? Sigh.

I'll put a bed of okra in later, but that will probably be it, for our garden this year. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Back from the Dead - the January Farm

Hello, friends. I've been pretty quiet here because the past year, farm-wise, has been such a disappointment. Late spring/summer in 2019 gave us such a severe drought, coupled with our absence in June/July, that the farm suffered. Compound that with two hurricanes in two years (Florence and Dorian), and our little place looks rather woeful. It was too easy to shake our heads and walk away from the garden.
But we intend to garden this year, albeit on a smaller scale. Adam removed one of the long raised beds in the veggie garden. He made these beds when he was push-mowing the spaces between them. But now we have a riding mower, and he needed to remove a bed so he could get the wider mower in there.

the metal that lined the bed
Hurricane Dorian flattened a lot of our garden fencing. He's begun that repair.

My elderberry tree, which was a tiny plant last April, looks pretty good! I hope to cut slips off of it this spring and start some of my own. I'd like four more trees this time next year. I want to make elderberry jam.

I still stand and contemplate this big ol' field and wonder what we should do with it. We've pondered a Christmas tree farm, and an RV park, and a few other things. For now, it's just a beautiful field for dogs to run around in.
The fire ants are thriving in parts of the garden. Ugh. I hate them.
Miraculously, it seems that a tiny bit of my lavender has survived! That's a first. I still have no faith that it will keep going if we have a wet spring or summer, which we often do.
It looks pretty DEAD.

But there's a little bit of new growth at the bottom!

And some bits of branches still green too.
Our strawberry bed seems to have a fighting chance of doing well this spring too. We shall hope!
There's not much else to report right now. I'm past due ordering seeds, but this year I'm only ordering my Matt's Wild Cherry tomato seeds (one packet) and probably some sugar snap peas (one packet). We're cutting, way, way back on what we plant in the garden:
*maybe lettuce, maybe collards
*strawberries and asparagus we already have

I imagine that will be IT for the garden. So many things just haven't done well over the years, and we personally are inclined to limit ourselves to the plants that thrive here, rather than the ones that present us with failure year after year. The tomatoes will be grown in a huge container near the house. This will give our garden beds a year to kill off any tomato diseases residing in the soil there.