Sunday, June 28, 2009

Week 5 Update- Garlic

Week 5-- oh my goodness and thank goodness.

2-4 more weeks of lettuce and then no more lettuce till September-- I'm a little tired of lettuce... on to Swiss Chard and Zucchini.

This was the sign from last week. I thought I'd photograph it so we'd have a visual record of what we had each week for next year.

So this week--- little bit more lettuce and snap peas-- but bring on the garlic and zucchini!!!
Shallots are almost ready as well. Tomatoes are green--- growing but green.

This is 1/2 of the garlic in the barn ready for me to tie it up to dry.

Beautiful garlic. I planted hard and softneck garlic. Garlic in a grocery store is just about always softneck garlic because they can automate some of the picking and it also stores well. Softneck garlic can store for a year or more. Hardneck garlic stores 2-6 months. I had 12 varieties of in total planted.

This week we'll start by giving you random varieties in your box and then let you pick a few a few extra bulbs of garlic from a blue bin. We had some that the tops came off and so we had to dig the garlic out of the ground with a shovel. So we are going to be eating those first as those will not last as long. There is a reason why it's better to cure the garlic with the tops on them I'll find out later and tell us all why-- these lost their tops so we'll eat these first.

Below is a bin of a softneck variety.

One more tilled up area. This area is popcorn, winter squash, more summer squash and more pumpkins and gourds. I've never grown popcorn before so I thought I'd give it a whirl and see what I got. I wasn't sure on the pumpkins growing in the lower level garden and I had lost some that didn't germinate properly so I figured you can never have enough pumpkins.....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Week 4 Update

Week 4!

This week the greens are out!! Lots of head lettuce, loose leaf lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, radishes, more snap peas, snow peas and some baby pak choi.-- oh yes and fresh cilantro..... make salsa!!!! The cilantro makes the difference. And more basil.

For those not familiar with what to do with swiss chard or baby pak choi, I like it best sauteed in olive oil with garlic or shallots. I also like to cook it with chicken stock as the leaves soak up all the good chicken stock flavor. (If you need any great chickens to make the best chicken stock ever-- you know that Mike can hook you up....)

Amazing how much can happen in 1 week! We had help this weekend from a father and son who wanted to work on the farm for the weekend. They left sore but full of eggs and lettuce and chicken. If you want to work off 5lbs in a weekend... have I got a plan for you. Free of charge workout on hamstrings, biceps, triceps, lower back, abs.... you name it.

We finally got the agricultural well dug today!!! Now we just need to hook up all these pipes to the well and get the plumber and electrician in. I'm hoping 2 more weeks? Maybe 3? It is such a pain to move the hoses all over the place and I will be so happy when we can just turn on 4 nozzles and give it 1-2 hrs and be done with watering.

We've also become the owners of I think about 29 or 30 more sheep in the past 7 days from 2 different flocks that were being downsized or sold off. Some are Katahdin and some are Dorper. We also became the owners of an animal trailer. So we can now take our animals to market when it is time. It was quite an accident for the sheep and the trailer and it happened so quickly that I turned around and today we have a decent size flock in the pasture now.
That's about 50 sheep in the picture below.

Our color rangers that will be meat birds are having fun in their new outside home. They are getting settled to go to sleep in this picture. These birds will be available for purchase the 3rd week of July.

While the broilers above are getting ready for bed (they are only 6 weeks old), the older hens at 28 weeks old are below and still walking around. Can you find Nicky the Naked Neck Chicken? These 200 or so hens are starting to lay eggs. We're finding about 5-6 little eggs per day.....yippee!!

The garden is starting to look pretty. The weeds are getting picked and things are coming together. Below are the peppers after being mulched.

Mulched tomato plants. Also beans growing nicely.

We will have zucchini next week in the CSA box!!!! See the yellow squash below.....
The garlic also looks like it might be 2-3 more weeks and it'll be ready to pick.
Tomatoes are still growing but no red ones yet.....

Happy belated Summer Solstice. My 2nd favorite day of the year!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Week 3 Update

Wow.... uploading pictures can be slow.  

But during the uploading there is much time to hunt for new seeds!
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.... yes, that's what I hunted for and will be growing a lot of it to grow in order to dry it for the winter.  I (of course) will need Mike to build me a big dehydrator...  but he's been warned.  I don't think I'll be able to stop my farming obsession until I can make all my own food... the hardest part will likely be grinding grains for flour..... but give me 3 years and that'll be on the list as well.

So we'll likely be offering a 'dried herb' winter package in the future..... stay tuned.  
We still have 3 more spots available for Summer/winter shares.  $300 for at least 8 weeks starting 3rd or 4th week of July thru at least end of Sept and likely into October.  This offer is not on the general website as we really only want to offer it to folks who read the blog and who might have missed out on the entire season share but still want the tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, melons, pumpkins, etc.

This is the eggplant, bean, tomato area.... lots of green.... wait for 1 more week and this picture will be so different!  I love it!  

The zucchini/squash row.... almost flowering.

Garlic..... getting brown tips so I wonder how much longer?   Maybe 3-4 weeks and it will be ready to pick.

Lots of great lettuce in the CSA share this week.  GREAT lettuce.  Spicy lettuce, cool lettuce, light lettuce, purslane, etc.-- Then there is the swiss chard.... yum!  cooked with garlic scapes... yum, yum!!

See the Bantam Rooster in back?  He is so handsome!  After Shirley Joe was eaten, Road Runner (as the kids call him) has become quite the rooster..... he is by our 4 guinea hens.

These are the Bared Rock ladies coming to say hi to me.  They know me as the food source.  Usually I bring them good treats--- watermelon rinds, lettuce, tomatoes.... they love veggies.

The 6 day old Cornish Cross chicks.  We'll see how this batch does.  In 5 weeks these chicks will be 3-4 lbs and ready to process.

2 eggmobiles.  The large one has the 200 hens that are almost ready to lay eggs.  I'm not sure how we'll handle cleaning 200 eggs a day but we'll figure it out.  There are also 4 week old meat birds in the smaller hoop house.  Yum, Yum--- 5 more weeks.   
The garden area now has 3 plantings of corn, watermelon, pumpkins and lots more tomatoes (as if I needed more tomatoes....but I couldn't let them die).
Potatoes.....don't they look fabulous!  The Irish in mike is shining through!

Sweet potato plant in the weeds.  I hope they grow this year.... 





Raspberries--- will be a small crop this year-- but next year should be great!

Farm Visit and the highlight of our weekend!!!!

We are not getting a horse someday....lessons are so much easier

I have this fear that she'll turn 16 and she'll just go buy her own horse and bring it home....

That's it for this week in the garden.  Our small border collie has found her purpose in life.  She LOVES sheep and I also knew she'd be a cattle dog.  She took on several cows and she even stood her ground with Dudley the bull.  It was absolutely adorable.  She barked and barked at the cows and kept looking back at me for approval.  I said good girl Dotty and smiled at her.  (you are supposed to encourage and reinforce that she's doing a good job or else she'll lose her confidence)  
She just needs training.... but she will be a great dog and she's also great with Frank.  Together, both border collies can herd a group of sheep in no time at all.  We also added to our sheep flock with 8 or 9 more sheep.  We might be up to 32 sheep?  I'm losing count!!!

We are applying for Guard dogs.. to protect against the foxes and whatever else.   It's a long application from the rescue but guard dogs are also not pets-- they are guard dogs.  There are 2 named Muck and Luck that could be available-- great names, huh....  who knows.... we'll see if they accept our application.  

For those with the blog for a long time.... please give a moment of pause....  Spike is gone.
We believe he was taken by the foxes.  We need to find a way to keep the ducks safe without them being fenced in the electric netting.  RIP Spike.  :(

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Week 2 Update Part 2

I forgot to post this last week due to traveling.... so although it's a little late... here is the part 2 update from last week. I need to start pictures for week 8 days the garden looks so different!

Animal pictures first....

Pigs are really hard to take pictures of. Or at least mine are...they move around a lot!
But they are still fun and I really do like them. Not as much as I like whole-hog sausage though...

These chicks are 3 weeks old and a pretty good size so far. Pretty soon they'll be ready to go outside and we'll be ready for the next batch of chicks.

These are pumpkins and watermelons that are germinating. This year I got some seedless watermelons as well for the CSA. In order to grow a seedless watermelon you need to plant seedless watermelon seeds in the middle of seeded watermelons.
I also have again 20 or so varieties of pumpkins. Some are jack-o-lantern pumpkins and some are different types of cooking pumpkins.

The kids were so excited for Week 1 of the CSA that they helped Mike with the CSA sign and Mike said they waited near the refridgerator area almost the whole day.

Here is the broader view with the walk in fridge in view. Yes, we have a walk-in fridge for the CSA pickup. You need to have a big fridge for all the veggies. It's a long story of how we got the fridge but it was a great deal (let's just hope it lasts a few years).

The tilled area down in the pasture now has 5 rows of corn planted to the left hand side. One type is a 68 day variety and the other is a 79 day variety. The watermelon and pumpkins will be planted in this area in another week.

More lettuce growing quickly with all the wonderful rain.

More lettuce--- Mike says this is the best batch of lettuce because he planted this batch.

View lookingi down at the middle section of the garden. The tomato, pepper, eggplant, bean area.


Flowering tomatoes!!!

Week 2 Update

It is now week 2 in the garden.  I've found that there are organic sprays to stop the fleas but I still don't think I like the idea of spraying on my greens.

The garden is really starting to take off--- this is part 1 as I have just so many pictures.
This is the time when most of the work is weeding and mulching as the plants get bigger.   

Below are asian greens that have some holes in them, but they still do taste good.  I'll try the greens again in the fall as that is when the fleas go away.

Zucchini and squash are coming along nicely!!  I'm waiting patiently for flowers.

Some beautiful red lettuce is taking off!!!

The raspberries coming up among the clover/grass.
needs to be lawnmowed.

The tall snap peas are starting to grow.

Onions are coming along nicely!!!  I need to weed one more time by hand.  Ugh.


Snap peas!!!

The peppers.  Interestingly some of them worked and some of them did not.  I think the batch that I did not harden off first did not make it.  Lesson learned.

Eggplant--- lots of it.

Zucchini and squash....  about 30 varieties.... would you expect anything less?

These are the green beans and the soup beans and edamame coming up!  

Potatoes-- covered once.

Rhubarb.  I can't believe it grew!

Asparagus--- all of it is growing and growing taller.  This year it needs to grow tall and then next year we can pick for the first time.

Cucumbers....finally!   The birds ate my first plantings so I had to go another round.  It was very odd and that has never happened before.  

Closeup of the peppers---- some varieties died so I think we'll only have 26 or so varieties...which still should be enough.  It's likely 600 pepper plants.

This is a strawberry from last years plantings.  Not so many plants made it last year- but the ones planted this year should be great next year and they are doing really well.  The tough part is the weeding.  Need to hand weed between them all.

Where the strawberry came from.