Tag Archives: garden

Garden 2013: In The Ground

In 2012, we barely got the compost on the garden by mid-may, so everything went into the ground after the last freeze date.  But this year, we worked hard to lay out beds earlier, so that we could get the frost-proof seeds in the soil earlier.  And when I say ‘we’, I mostly mean Talina, Thaddeuss, and Glenna, because Megan is 8 months pregnant and it turns out that hauling compost and shoveling it into rows is not compatible with that condition!

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Other things not compatible with being 8 months pregnant: bending over and putting hundreds of tiny seeds in the ground.  So this weekend we expanded our monthly brunch and called on our friends to come help us do the bending and squatting on Megan’s behalf.

 

We have the best friends in the world.

 

Many people came, boots and gloves in hand, and although there was a bit of distraction while Badger gave birth in the middle of brunch, we were able to rally and incredibly, to get all of the early seeds in the ground.

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It doesn’t look all that different right now, but hiding under those pretty rows is kale, lettuce, chard, beets, radish, parsnips, peas, garbanzo beans, broccoli, rapini, carrots, cabbage, and brussels sprouts.

Grow little seeds, grow!

New Frontier

Last winter, we lost our chance for a winter garden to the hungry, hungry deer, who jumped THROUGH our garden fencing and demolished it, and all the winter crops we’d attempted to plant.  Deer make bad neighbors.

So this year, it was time for some more serious protection.  Some planning, an auger for the tractor, and the help of friends, and voile: from ugly old horse fencing to a brand new huge fenced garden area!

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The new garden fence will be 9′ high, and actually encloses the front part of the house, all the way down the hill by where the trees we recently cut down were.  It’s HUGE!  We won’t be using all of it this year, but it’s allowed us to double the garden space we had last year, which seems pretty big right now.

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While digging the postholes we discovered an interesting phenomenon — just 10′ apart, the auger brought up vastly different soil types:  a nice red topsoil to the east, and to the west, sand.  So curious about what’s going on under the surface…

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Another view of the new fence – we worried it would seem bulky out the front windows of the house, but mostly when I see it I just think about all that food we’re going to be eating in December next year.  Take that, deer!

 

Garden 2012: Week Nineteen

The garden has been changing still, even as most of our crops have either aged, or reached a stand still.  The second planting of broccoli is finally ready to produce heads (and thankfully the deer left it alone when she visited!)

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The tomatoes are finally getting in the swing of things… mostly cherries and some pear tomatoes, but the big sauce tomatoes are catching up.  Few more weeks, guys, keep it up!

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The winter squash is almost ready for  harvest.. maybe this coming weekend.  The banana squash is insane, I can’t wait to show you a picture of them all stacked up, because I don’t think these glimpses are really doing a good job of expressing how crazy they are this year.

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We got a few acorn squash, too, which is nice.. not as many as I had hoped, so next year, fewer banana squash plants, and more acorns!  The butternuts are really late, too, coming in just now, which is probably too late to really get much of a harvest.

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The quinoa is looking gorgeous.. most of the plants still need a little longer on the stalk and in the sunshine, though, so we’ll be giving them a few more weeks, til the rains really settle in.

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Here’s a nice look at the collared deer and her fawn… they came back to visit in broad daylight this morning!  So gutsy!  I quickly chased her off… we don’t mind the company, but the garden is OFF LIMITS.

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Speaking of off limits… this is the third time I’ve had to empty this wasp trap up near the shop.  Luckily, the human damage has been low.. although poor Talina has had to take the brunt of it. Next year: more wasp traps.

Garden 2012: Week Seventeeen

It’s September, and the nights are starting to cool off, the breezes are a bit chillier.  We haven’t had a frost up on the hill quite yet, but it’s clear that fall is on it’s way.

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The garden is in it’s final phases… the original broccoli plantings are still putting out small florets, but are mostly done.  This weekend we pulled out the first green bean planting – between the quinoa falling all over it, and the age of the beans, the plants were done.  The goats really enjoyed the treat!

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The corn is ALMOST ready, but the tomatoes are still more green than red by far.  The deer fence continues to do it’s job, but we got another great chance to see our collared deer and her foal this morning, nibbling on the cover crop seedlings in next year’s garden plot.  Nice to see them still doing well!

Easing into Fall

The last few weeks of summer are always hectic, but this August felt even more busy than usual.  We had plans every weekend, and then there were the 5 days we spent in the hospital…  it’s been good to be back, calmer, able to finally start catching up on chores, and just being home.

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The kale we started in the new hugel (for a second time, after the greedy squirrels ate the tops off of the first round) are finally coming up again, this time protected by some netting.  This spring’s kale, which we chopped off at the roots, is coming BACK, with a vengeance.  This is a turn of events we did not foresee, but we certainly can’t complain about an unexpected crop of kale!  The squash and tomatoes that we rescued from the half-off bin at a local nursery are also finally kicking in.. not sure we’ll get anything from them before October cools everything off, but it’s nice to see them recovered.

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The pears in the orchard are pear-sized!  Watching the pears and apples develop this year has been amazing.  We had prepared ourselves for a small harvest, because we had to cut so many branches off to repair weather damage and general lack of pruning… but they seem to have responded well!  The deer are enjoying the windfall pears, but we’ve picked a few nice ones up to ripen in the house, so far.

 

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The corn is massive!  Okay, maybe not really as tall as the barn, but, certainly an easy 8 or 9 feet tall.  I couldn’t resist, and picked and ate an ear yesterday.. it wasn’t really ready, but it was pretty good anyway!  I comfort myself with the knowledge that there are several more ears out there, and several more nice hot days forecast in our future.

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It’s been a while since I shared a garden view like the one we used to take when we were building the garden in spring.  It feels so good to see so much life out there, where the old pasture ring used to be!  The garden has entered the traditional fall phase: “oh my god the plants have taken over”.  This is the season of gardening where I generally throw my hands in the air and let the weeds and the plants do as they wish.  Especially since we plan to fold everything under, in situ, this year, for another green layer of compost under sheet mulch, I’m letting things go as they wish.

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Final shot: I don’t think we’ve documented on the blog yet our collared deer and her foal – these two are regular visitors (the doe more than her foal); the doe is part of a study by the Department of Fish & Wildlife, which is why she’s tagged and collared.  Her foal was born late, and he’s still quite small for this late in the season, we worry about him every time we don’t see him, and rejoice when they show up together.  He IS in this photo… right in the middle, standing very still just like his momma (or instinct) taught him.

 

Garden 2012: Week Fifteen

We unexpectedly spent last weekend in the hospital, but thankfully we have amazing family and neighbors, who pitched in to make sure the garden and menagerie survived our unplanned absence.  We are so grateful for the support system… we know so much of our accomplishments this year have been thanks to everyone else who has been there rooting for us, whether from afar or literally here with gloves and a shovel!

 

A few shots of the Garden in it’s 15th week:

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Looking west

The corn IS as high as an elephant’s eye!  The stalks all have ears on them… now to just be patient while they fill out enough to pick.

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Banana Squash

The banana squash is really not appropriately named.  They should really call it “Small Child Squash”.  We have one that is 3′ long!  This plant really took over this year; hope we like eating it all winter long!

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Brussels sprouts are starting to show themselves!

 

In other garden news, we’ve been harvesting pickling cucumbers by the tens of pounds.  With Glenna’s help, I’ve put up almost 20 quarts of dill pickles, and just finished my first batch of half-sour fermented dill pickles.  The peas are finally tired and almost done – time to start feeding them to the goats.  Tomatoes are just starting… we’re getting a few cherries a day, but nothing big yet.  We should have warm weather the next few weeks though, so hopefully all those green tomatoes will mature before the rain starts!

 

First Tomato

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Brought in the first real tomato today! It’s an heirloom, from one of the plants we bought on the sad-plant stack at a local nursery. The rest of our tomatos will be far behind this one, so we will have to enjoy it for the next week or so!

What the %#$! Is a Sesame

“I think they could take Sesame seeds off the market and I wouldn’t even care. I can’t imagine five years from now saying, “Damn, remember Sesame seeds? What happened? All the buns are blank!” They’re gonna have to change that McDonald’s song: “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a… bun.” How’s a Sesame seed stick to a bun? That’s fuckin’ magical! There’s got to be some Sesame seed glue out there! Either that, or they’re adhesive on one side. “Take the Sesame seed out, remove the backing, place it on the bun. Now your bun will look spectacular.” What does a Sesame seed grow into? I don’t know; we never gave them a chance! What the fuck is a Sesame? It’s a street! It’s a way…to open shit!” – Mitch Hedberg

When we were planning our garden this spring, and leafing through the mountain of seed catalogues I ordered, our fancy was tickled by the idea that we could plant foods we eat all the time, like quinoa. Well, you know our quinoa experiment is going really well so far: the plants are huge, and the leaves have been eaten raw, and steamed like spinach and they are DELICIOUS. But, the sesame experiment was not going so well. The plants germinated, but they were very small, and slow to start.

BUT! With the hot days this past weekend, I think the sesame has decided to move to the next level.. we have blossoms!
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Bonus photo.. while I was checking on things this morning, I stood in just the right spot to glimpse this enormous pickling cucumber hiding amongst the leaves!
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It’s nearly 1 pound!

Garden 2012: Week Twelve

It’s week twelve, two and a half months since we put seeds in the ground.  The garden is completely it’s own planet now – the quinoa and corn are 7′ tall!

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View looking west.  Quinoa is massive and starting to fall over: next year, we’ll need to add braces to keep this from happening.  The broccoli has been producing for a week or two at this point, and the beans just came on strong this week. Still no color to the tomatoes, but the sesame plants loved the heat we had this week, and we finally saw some buds!  We might get a seed or two afterall.

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View looking east.  YOu can see that the quinoa and corn as the same height, but the chard (center of the photo) and the winter squash are all playing for keeps right now.  SO. MUCH. SQUASH.  Now we’re starting to worry about where we’re going to keep it all this winter…

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This beet weighed 1lbs 10oz.

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We finally have our own resident garden spider!  I think she looks like Marge with her hands on her hips.. okay maybe scary zombie Marge, but still.  Right now she’s hanging out by the broccoli and green beans, which is great!

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Almost 3lbs of green beans picked this morning!  They went right into canning jars as pickles.  This variety is “Maxibel”, and they are delicious but unfortunately not particularly straight.  This makes pickling a bit of a challenge.. I may have to switch varieties next year.

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I cant’ figure out how to rotate this photo, but, almost 2lbs of sugar snap peas.  We’ve been blanching and freezing these, to eat this winter.  The plants are producing easily a pound a day right now.

 

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Lemon cucumbers are finally ready!  I’ve been waiting impatiently for these guys to get big enough to eat for weeks.  Delicious!

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Oh, the pickling cucumbers.  This is the second batch picked, seven pounds!  They become pickles, too – the cupboards are filling up fast.

Thank goodness, Thaddeus arrived for a quick visit this evening, so he can help us eat all this green stuff for the next few days!