posts tagged with 'farming'

the garden in mid September

the garden on September 15

the sun setting on the garden

It's a little dark in that picture, because I forgot to take it until quite late in the afternoon—just like I've been forgetting about the garden generally these days. There's so much else going on! And it's definitely on a downward slide, especially the tomatoes: after the first rain of their lives, practically, they're trying to catch up on the blight-related decay they missed all the rest of their existence. But I can't complain, since we can still get a meal's worth of cherry tomatoes any time we want, and there are some fine slicers among the rot. The second sowing of peas might be too little too late but the new lettuces and kales are doing great, and the old beans are holding on strong. We'll start harvesting winter squashes soon; there's not a lot, but it's more than last year. And of course there are the apples! All in all, I think we did alright this year, and if the rest of life slows down for a second I'm looking forward to getting out there to start getting ready for next year's growing!

the garden in early September

the garden on September 4

some growth, some death

We still have a garden. Blight is starting to damage the tomato plants, and nearly all of the sweet peppers have rotted. Inconsistent watering? No idea. We'll try again next year! On the other hand, I picked off all the gross woody beans and tossed them, and with even more watering we're starting to get some good ones again. And there was even one more cucumber! And even with the blight, we still have way more tomatoes than we can eat, and the hot peppers mostly aren't rotting. The new kale is good, too: the seedlings six or eight inches high, and we've had our first baby kale salad. There will be more to come, or else they won't have room to ever get big!

lots of young kale plants

netted against bunnies

red birds-eye peppers growing

just the right height for toddlers to pick and eat!

(By the way, I also belatedly put up the updates from early August and mid August. I had taken notes so they aren't completely made up...)

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the garden in mid August

the garden on August 16

everything still mostly alive

It finally got a little bit cooler... or a lot cooler! Puts me into fall mode, though I suppose there's still some summer left. Certainly lots of tomatoes to eat! Sadly the cucumbers have pretty much all succumbed to bacterial wilt and drought, and the beans turned gross and woody. And worst of all some of the peppers are rotting as they ripen! So frustrating. But the winter squashes are ripening up, and there's always the tomatoes. Also I sowed some more kale in the bed where the garlic was, and it's coming up beautifully!

a row of tomato plants with lots of ripe tomatoes

how will we ever eat them all?!

kale seedlings mulched with salt marsh hay

the next generation

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the garden in early August

the garden on August 5

there's an empty bed there

The garden is keeping on, and we didn't miss too much when we were away. The tomatoes are loving the crazy heat, but the beans and cucumbers aren't too sure about it. We harvested garlic, and some of them are record-breakers! (for me at least; I have no concept of what is actually record-breaking garlic at, you know, the state fair or whatever). We're also picking as many boxes of fancy cherry tomato blends as ever we could want... that's what this gardening thing is about!

a pint of multicolored cherry tomatoes

like five dollars' worth

zinnias

some more colors

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the garden in mid July

July 17

As predicted, we got our first tomatoes before the middle of July. Just barely: maybe three or four cherry tomatoes. But the big ones are ripening up nicely! We're also picking lots of beans, cucumbers, and blueberries. And watering a lot... I sure wish it would rain! The peas can't stand the heat and are totally done, along with all the greens but kale. Good thing we love kale!

berry money

Before we went to the farmers market today the boys and I picked berries: two pints each of raspberries and blueberries. So we didn't need to buy any there. But I couldn't help but notice the pricing on what the farmers brought! We were delighted to note that we'd brought in $32 worth of fresh-picked delight in not more than half an hour. It made us feel plenty rich enough to be able to spend big bucks on fancy market baked goods!

the garden in early July

the garden on July 3

July 3

Things continue to move along in the garden. Since the last update we've eaten lots of snap peas, and picked the first cucumber and zucchinis. Raspberries and black raspberries are ripening faster than we can pick them (though Lijah is doing his best!) and we've even had a few blueberries already (seems ahead of schedule). Were also picking herbs (basil, cilantro, mint, oregano...), baby spinach and chard, rhubarb, and kale. Lots of kale. Next up is beans: the bush beans will be ready in two or three days it looks like. And, most exciting, we might see a tomato before the next update! Here's hoping.

closeup of just-ripe blueberries

blue

green tomatoes

encouraging growth

a lower view of the garden, looking across the row of peppers

looking through the peppers

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the garden in mid June

the garden on June 15

who left that shovel on the ground?!

I can't believe I forgot to do a garden update at the beginning of June! The garden changed more between May 15 and June 1 than all of March through mid-May put together! Oh well, now the comparison with the last update is even more stark. All the beds are filled now, and tomato and pepper plants are growing well (the beans would be too if the baby rabbits would stop nibbling them). We've let the asparagus go, after eating as much as we ever wanted. The strawberries are disappointing—and frustrating!—but it looks like raspberries and blueberries are going to be great. And it's so exciting to look at the baby peas, zucchinis, and tomatoes!

Super Sugar Snap peas stretching five feet high on their trellis

much bigger than last time, and almost ready!

closeup of a small zucchini

baby one

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Backyard Farm Club

This past Monday we started a new thing: Backyard Farm Club. Well, not just us; there are five families interested in getting together from time to time to share experiences of trying to do something different in our suburban yards. And also put our kids to work! That's what it's all about for me.

Zion, Elijah, and some friends removing grass with spade forks

whips not pictured

The idea germinated at Park Day when a couple of us were talking about our mixed feelings about the 4H clubs we're part of. There's definitely things we enjoy and appreciate about 4H, but it's not all that we expected. So one parent wondered about creating a homeschool-oriented club, which reminded another parent and I that we'd been talking before the pandemic about collaborating to share work in our gardens. Maybe those two ideas could go together?

For now, we're not worrying about the 4H part. We're going to try things out and see if we can figure out a schedule and a routine that works. Then maybe in September we can get more official. So far, our idea is to rotate between houses and at each gathering have a selection of chores and projects that the kids (and the parents!) can take part in. For our first meeting at our friends' house, we cleaned out the chicken coop, weeded the garden, fixed some broken fencing, and pulled out grass from a piece of ground that is transitioning from lawn to food forest. Or, some people did. I was on grass removal duty the whole time. There was also a nature drawing scavenger hunt. At the end we had snack: we brought cookies and rice-crispie treats and someone else had some delicious egg tart things, but the best of all was the "apple nachos" made right on the premises. Not all the kids loved being made to do things, rather than just playing with their friends, but hopefully the snacks will keep them coming back.

apple slices covered with melted chocolate and peanut butter and chocolate chips

this is what apple nachos is

And hopefully we can host the next meeting. There's a lot of work that needs to get done around here!

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the garden in mid-May

the garden on a mid-May afternoon

slowly filling

It's warm now, and we're getting things into the beds. Thanks to hard work by the kids they're all in good shape, but we're held back by the poor condition of the fences. I don't want to put those precious seedlings in, only to have them all be eaten up by the rabbits and woodchucks! That's something I should have been working on a month ago. Sequencing is hard!

But with judicious use of chickenwire around individual beds we're doing our best. Since I took the pictures in this post I planted out more tomatoes and summer squashes, and I hope to get to peppers and cucumbers tomorrow. And we've got greens!

spinach seedlings and lettuce in the garden

greens

And this time of year the future berries are all very exciting.

a strawberry flower

strawberries first

raspberry buds

then raspberries

blueberry blossoms

and finally blueberries

The only problem is I want to plant way more than I have room for! When can I get a bigger garden?

the garden as seen from the roof of the sandbox

all this space still isn't enough!

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