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Weekly Farm Status Update 5/11/14 (and a great mother’s day gift)

A lot has been happening around the homestead this week. The garden is exploding. I’ll get to all of that in a moment. First, baby T gave us the most amazing Mother’s Day gift in the world: she took her first step! She’s been getting close to it for a while, and she’s tried all weekend, and finally she did it. She promptly fell down of course, but wow! What a day to start walking!

Ok, now for the farm stuff.

Our First Market Day

Laughing Bird Farm’s first farmer’s market was a success. Not a huge success, but a success nonetheless. We learned a lot and made about $100 which is nothing to sneeze at, especially given our distinct lack of product. Here’s some of the lessons we learned:

  • Signage and displays are key. We need to work on these before next month.
  • We need more product. The booth needs to look full.
  • The kids need to wait to come out until after it starts to cool off. (I know, this one should have been obvious.)
  • Disposable tablecloths do not work well for the kind of products we have. We’ll pick up some vinyl ones before next month.
  • Most important of all, we learned how NOT to pack fresh herbs. Not that we had that many to begin with, but I ruined them all by packaging them in plastic baggies. I thought they’d be okay despite the heat and humidity. Not. I’ll do some research into the best way to package them before next month.

I forgot to take pictures, unfortunately. We were just too busy. I’ll try to snap a few next month.

What’s growing in the garden

A little bit of everything! It’s really popping. The corn’s not in yet, but the plot is mostly ready, and the seeds will go in on Tuesday or Thursday of this week. Here’s a list of the current crops:

  • Lots of herbs including basil, sage, lemon balm, cilantro, parsley, thyme, and peppermint.
  • Potatoes (see pictures below)
  • Radishes
  • Pole Beans
  • Lima Beans

The potatoes are really growing fast. They were first hilled just  8 days ago. Take a look at this picture of one of them I took tonight.

Potatoes

Yep -they had to be hilled again. This time I used straw instead of dirt. I’ll see how it works. And one of them is starting to flower.

It won’t be long now!

The Orchard

Our fruit trees and berry bushes are mostly doing well, with the exception of the Pineapple Pear tree, which has never leafed out. I’m reluctantly calling it a loss. I’ll contact the nursery for a replacement sometime next month.

Check this out, though. I discovered tonight that our peach tree tried to set fruit this year. I knew it bloomed, but this was the first time I found a sign of fruit.

Peach

There were several of these, and since the tree is too young to bear, I pulled them all off.

What’s waiting to be transplanted

Quite a lot, actually.

  • Lots of herbs
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers, both hot and sweet
  • Tomatillos
  • Eggplants
  • Swiss chard
  • Butternut Squash (a gift)
  • Zucchini (also a gift)

Chickens!

We’ve got 16 days until our chickens arrive. I guess I better get started on, ur that is finish, the coop. I’ll leave it to you to decide which one is the true statement. 😉

Until next time, happy gardening and homesteading. And happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

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Weekly Farm Status 5-5-14

Clearly, regular posting did not resume last week. I’m aiming to change that this week. I thought I’d start with a weekly farm status update since it’s been a while. Here’s what’s going on.

-The potatoes survived! Every single slip I planted came up. I had given up on them. Then I walked into the garden one day last week and BAM! There they all were. Here’s a pic.

Potato Plant

They’ve since been hilled, of course.

-The herbs are thriving, all but the dill and one of the cilantro plants, which got eaten by something (no, the fence still isn’t finished).

-All of the raspberries are up, and all of the trees have leafed out except the one pear tree. I’m still crossing my fingers, but I don’t have a lot of hope left.

-All the transplants will go in the ground this week, and so will the corn, sunflower, and squash seeds.

And here’s what’s coming up:

-Our first market is Thursday! Yay! We’ll be selling mostly homemade soaps and wild greens, along with some rosemary plants.

-Our chickens come in 21 days. I can’t wait!

Weekly Farm Update 4-6-14

I know this post is a couple of days late, but things have been really crazy around here. Now that spring has finally arrived I seem to be getting exponentially busier. I promise I’ll keep posting no matter now busy I get!

The weekends are the busiest time for me, because Kelly works all day on Saturday and Sunday and I’m home by myself with baby T. She’s slowly growing into a toddler and does a great job of wearing me out even when I don’t have other things to do!

Here’s what happened on the farming side of things this week:

The cover crop is in!

Not only is all of it in, but the first sprouts are up. Check it out.

Sprouts

The weather has been perfect; not too hot, not too cold, and just enough rain to coax seeds to sprout.

All the starts have been moved outside during the daytime.

All are doing well, except the dill and cilantro. We lost all of the dill and most of the cilantro to some sort of fungal illness. It happened too late to be damping off. I’m at a lot to explain it. I’ll direct seed some of each this week and see if they take right in the garden. If not, I’ll be calling the seed company.

We rehabilitated and inaugurated our firepit.

The firepit was filled with trash and weeds when we moved it. This week we cleaned it out and had some friends over for a bonfire and some s’mores. I didn’t get any pictures of the fire itself, as the smoke and record levels of pollen in the air sent me inside for my inhaler within a few minutes, but here’s a picture of the firepit the next morning.

firepit

I got a big surprise.

Last fall a friend gave me a cherry tree. It appeared dead. I’m usually pretty good at telling the difference between living and dead trees. It’s easy enough to tell if a tree is alive, but making sure it’s dead is another thing. To misquote Miracle Max, tree can be dead but not all the way dead. Anyway, I put it in a pot for the winter because why not? It only cost some potting soil. Sometimes trees surprise you. This one did. Look what I found when I checked my pots this week:

cherry tree

Hello! It looks like I may have to redo the orchard plan.

I attended the orientation meeting for our market.

We got into a farmer’s market for the summer! We’ll only be there once a month, but it’s a start. We have an assigned space and everything.

Here’s what’s on the agenda for next week:

-Start that blasted fence. I’ve got most of the materials now. I just need to get to work.

-Get all of the herbs transplanted and/or sown.

-Plant the edamame and the cool/warm weather greens like swiss chard.

Weekly Farm Update March 28

I’m going to try to do these updates once a week. This is going to be a general post about how things are going on the farming/gardening/growing side of things.

After being pleasant all weekend, the weather started to turn horrid again on Monday. The temperature dropped back into the 20s three nights in a row, and the high didn’t exceed 40 until yesterday afternoon. I know everyone in the North would love to have those temps right now, but down here we’re just not used to it. It snowed Tuesday while the sun was shining. The weather finally improved yesterday, but we both ended up spending most of the afternoon at the doctor with little T, who has (another) ear infection.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying I didn’t get as much done in the garden this week as I would have liked to. All the rows and paths are marked and the cover crop is going in slowly but surely. I finally got the seed potatoes planted, though I have serious doubts about their viability at this point. It’s notoriously difficult to grow Irish potatoes in this climate, which is why I only devoted one 4×4 bed to it this year, but if they don’t work out I’ll try it again next year.

Most of my starts are up and growing and most should be big enough to start going outdoors next week. The mushroom spawn should be in sometime in the next 7-10 days. The blueberries are trying to leaf out and one of the pears and the cherry already have. Things are really starting to move along!

Last night we had our first meal containing food grown right on our land, though Mother Nature gets all of the credit for this one. Our dinner included a salad consisting of store bought greens and carrots mixed with wild greens from the land, including chickweed, dead nettle, plantain, and dandelion greens. If you are going to forage for wild edibles, be very careful; Kelly is a biologist and still had to double check the chickweed. The other homegrown additions to dinner were chives sprinkled on the baked honey mustard chicken and deep fried dandelion blossoms. Never turn down the latter; they’re amazing!

My goals for the next week include: start building the fence around the back, finish sowing the cover crop, and get the greens planted.

I apologize for the lack of pictures -I’ll post some new ones next time, I promise!