Monthly Archives: June 2012

Garden 2012: Week Seven

I get to stay home next week, for the July 4th holiday, and I’m looking forward to seeing the garden every day for a week, and not just in two day increments every weekend!  The best part is that the garden really went through a spurt last week, and it’s looking pretty incredible right now:

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… the corn might even manage to get ‘knee-high by the fourth of july’!

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Broccoli and carrots, companion planted in a bed.  This broccoli variety is doing great, much better than the other that we tried AND better by far than the seedlings I started in the house.  Grow broccoli, grow!

 

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Harvest for tonight:  kale blossoms from the hugel, salad greens (lettuce and chinese cabbage thinnings), and spinach.  Who needs grains, dairy, and meat when you’ve got vegetables!?

Chicken Check-in

We haven’t looked in on the girls in a while… they’re doing great, though. We had brunch last weekend and burned through three dozen eggs in one day, and thank goodness, too, because we were up to 5 dozen and I was beginning to worry that with me traveling, Talina might one day be buried under the cartons and never be found.

This weekend we gave the girls a treat and let them hang out inside the barn for a day, to do a little spring cleaning in the goat stalls.
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The whole flock, hiding from a brief rainshower under the old horse shelter. They LOVE to dust bathe under here!
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In fact, here’s a video of them, dust bathing in the sun:

It’s so amazing how much bigger our chicks are.. they’re as big as the Ameraucana hens by now, and still not yet mature enough to be laying eggs (although SOMEBODY has started sneaking white eggs into the mix, and we don’t think it’s one of the existing layers…??).  Nature: still impressive even when you know how it works.

Garden 2012: Week Six

Six weeks… the garden is really starting to be visibly a garden even from a distance now!  Hooray!

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Above, the spinach and chard in the lower right, one bed of quinoa and the herb bed (Basil, assorted herbs), and the third row has chard, sesame, and beets.  Yay, beets!

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We are going to have to eat a mountain of salads to keep up with this lettuce.

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First garden salad!  I thinned the beets and quickly parboiled the babies, then added them to the salad greens and some edible flowers from the herb bed.  The beet greens I washed, sauteed with garlic and olive oil, and ate on the side.  Delicious!

En Garde!

High on our list of priorities has always been fixing the fences..  previously, we redid the fencing around the barn pasture, but, the big summer goal was to rewire the fencing in the Neutral Zone pasture, and to enclose the North pasture (our hill).  When Thaddeus came up with his goats to visit this month, the need became, shall we say, slightly more urgent.  4 goats can go a long way in a 1 acre pasture, but 14 goats!?  We needed a bigger space.

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I had a traumatic travel experience that led me to get home late afternoon on Friday, instead of as planned on Thursday afternoon.  In my sleepy travel haze, here’s my photo of the work crew (Lela, Thaddeus, John, and Talina) discussing the next steps to rewire the fence in the Neutral Zone.

Saturday we got up early and attacked the fence.  The biggest challenge was rewiring the entire back length of the Neutral Zone; this is where we share a border with a neighbor, so we wanted to be especially sure there were no gaps!  In the end, we left the existing field fencing up, and ammended it with a double length of 5″ stand-off insulaters holding the electric fence.  Hopefully that does the trick!

I was so busy helping with the fencing, I actually took zero photos the entire day.  Whoops! To make up for it, here’s a lovely photo of the Neutral Zone pasture, on it’s best behavior.

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Day two, we wrapped up the new length of fence to enclose the North hill pasture.  When I say hill, I mean, HILL:

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Here’s the same crew, all hands on deck to tie down the supports for the new gate brace.

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One weekend, four sets of hands, two new pastures!  We’re on a roll…

 

Garden 2012: Week Five

I’m home for the weekend, it’s time for our weekly check-in with the garden plot.

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Full view of the garden – you can see on the left that the sunchokes are loving their grow bags, and are doing great.  Lots of green things starting to come up.. the row straight up the center is our quinoa test row… 6 varieties of quinoa undergoing a little grow challenge this year.   They have been attacked hard by the flea beetles so far, but we’re hoping they rebound…

You can also see in the photo above that we’ve switched the watering method; now the hose runs from the well, and we got a rainbird on a stand, which does a better job of watering everything in one go, instead of requiring multiple trips with the oscillating sprinkler.

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The peas finally reached the support!

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And just checking in with the hugel.. remember when the kale looked like this!??  We’re up to our eyes in kale these days… every time one of us asks what we’re eating for dinner, the other one is now obligated to point out that we have kale, and eggs.  Always and forever.  Life is good.

Well Water!

When we bought our farm, we knew of two wells (and found a third after getting the keys). We asked for details, but were told no tests had been done, and the wells weren’t used. It turns out that wasn’t perhaps strictly true… after a little wriggling, we were able to turn on the pump in the pump house, the well nearest the house (and the garden!)… and hurrah: beautiful, ‘free’, well water appeared.

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The garden is going to LOVE this.

Garden 2012: Week Four

I started traveling full time in June, so my updates are limited to weekends when I’m home!  That makes a convenient timetable, though, because I’m able to take a weekly snapshot of the garden every week all summer long.

 

Let’s start with a little timelapse… the garden’s progress from pasture (in December, 20110), to fully laid out garden beds and fencing, in May 2012.  That was the hard part; now for the fun part!20120630-212650.jpg

Kabocha squash (and cosmos), after their fourth week:

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The peas, just barely reaching the first row of supports:

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So exciting!

Garden 2012: Week Three

The seeds went into the garden on Monday, May 14th, so today is the last day of their 3rd week in the soil. Let’s check in, shall we?

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Today, we put up the climbing string for the peas, who are about 2″ tall today. With a bit of sunlight next week, they’ll be ready to reach for the supports.

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Pickling cucumbers, corn, peas, and in the background, quinoa and green beans. Most of the quinoa sprouted, and the package was right, it DOES look just like lambsquarter. We’re so excited to see how this experiment turns out…

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West side of the garden, with the sunchokes in the background. Spinach, chard, kale, sesame, beets, and some transplanted herbs from my gardening pots. I had a ton of shiso seedlings spring up in those pots in the last week, so I transplanted a dozen or so of the strongest ones… so excited to have a lot of happy shiso this fall for pickling!

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And finally, the hugelkultur, looking awesome and FULL of kale. This is after we harvested two huge baskets full in the last two days, AND after the goats had their way with it for a few minutes this morning (sneaky bastards)! We’re rich with kale, it’s wonderful.

Insta-Garden (Digging Not Included)

(Alternate title: If I Never See A Shovel Again It Will Be Too Soon)

I spent the week gardening, moving plants around and removing old plants from my containers from deck gardening. The week culminated in a Friday night spent at a dear friend’s house, helping her “downsize” her garden… Which meant digging up the extra plants and sending them home barefoot in boxes and bags.

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Because my haul was so tender, that meant Saturday had to be spent putting my new plants in the ground! So. Much. Digging. Here’s the finished product:

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Looking pretty good!  Fingers crossed they all survive their traumatic relocation…

Pampas Grass Away

When we moved in, everyone driving down our driveway, including all the lost winery seekers, were greeted by this hideous mass of pampas grass.  I HATE pampas grass.  It’s ugly.  It’s ugly even when you take care of it, and this pampas grass hadn’t been taken care of in a long time.

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We always intended to get rid of this plant, but, when the goats started getting their heads stuck in the field fence trying to get at the pampas grass on the other side, that was the end.  I put an ad on Craigslist for free pampas grass, and miraculously, someone wanted it!

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Two women came and helped us dig it out, but at the end the root was so large, we didn’t have enough chain to wrap around the root ball AND attach to a vehicle to pull it out of the ground.  But!  Awesome neighbors to the rescue!  I called our fantastic neighbor, who had just that morning reminded me that he was around during the days, and asked if he had a chain.  He brought over a chain… IN HIS TRACTOR.  The tractor made short work of that pampas grass!

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And now… a blessedly unblighted driveway.  I’m tempted to plant something else in that spot, but, the goats will just try to eat that, too, so, for now it’ll just get pasture seed spread on it to cover the dirt (and keep MORE pampas grass from coming back).