Saturday, June 27, 2009

let's just pretend it's Thursday, shall we?

I've been super busy, and haven't taken the time to post. so here's a giant update, compete with scads of pictures.

we had a big gardening day this week, and all the children were helping. baby B helped me pinch and harvest some of my basil. it looks like she's gathering some dirt clods as well! (as if we don't already have enough mud and dirt inside the house!)

N is aggressively whacking down the Japanese knotweed. we are slowly winning the battle, and pushing back this noxious weed further and further from the potatoes.

here G is working at further staking the fence i have for the cucumbers, beans, summer squash and winter squash. i also planted nasturtiums and marigold to help prevent bugs from eating these plants.

although at the rate we're going, bugs should be the least of our worries. i mentioned before that either bunnies or groundhogs ate off nearly all of the cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower. i have been spraying them diligently with the irish spring mixture, sometimes twice a day. many of the plants had been making a valiant come back. however, in spite of my best efforts, the animals seem to have found the row again and are systematically chewing off the plants once more. we seem to be approaching the time to admit defeat. (either that, or time to get out the .22!)

A found a toad in the garden, and she and B spent some time looking at it. B was contented to just look at the toad; she didn't want to hold it.

the potatoes are blooming! soon we'll have fresh potatoes for dinner. can't wait!

the buckwheat that G and i planted as a cover crop/green manure is doing well. it's about 6-8" tall, and growing quickly. I'd like to plant 2 cover crops of this before the fall frost. one advantage of the garden being in the bottom land down by the creek is that we don't get the frosts like everyone else. we have a slightly longer growing season since we are protected by the warmth of the creek.

all 3 girls helped weed. M is working on the carrots.

A and B are weeding along the landscape fabric in the cabbages...ect. row.

with every one's help, i feel that we're able to keep up with all the work that needs to be done. that's a good feeling, but I'm not sure how long it will last! right now, we're mostly just tending the garden; there is no harvesting or preserving to do.

here's the LG, photo taken from the other end.

the ducks have moved to a pen outside, and are in fact Dudley's neighbors. the ducks' feathers are starting to come in, and once they are fully feathered we'll consider letting them free range. right now they are happy with the fresh greens that i give them several times a day.

a few weeks ago, i decided that i would like a sheep. both as a pet for the girls, and as a green lawnmower to help keep some of the more hilly areas of the lawn trimmed. Dave and i spent several Monday afternoons at the livestock auction hoping to get a sheep.

unfortunately, they were either rams, too big, or sold in lots of 4 or more. so no sheep for the girls.

but we did come home with a guinea pig! for 50 cents! (that was my main reason for buying it. because it was so cheap. and nothing encourages a substantial commitment of time and money over the next 5-8 years like a cheap start-up cost!) talk about an impulse buy...

anyway... the GP has been dubbed Emma, and A and B both help take care of her.

moving right along...

the high tunnel tomatoes are getting ginormous! I've staked them 4 times already, and if i hadn't run out of stake height, I'd still be staking! hopefully we'll have tomatoes soon. one of the varieties that we planted in the high tunnel was early girl, so fresh tomatoes may soon be on the horizon.

the UG tomatoes are doing well, too, even though they're not nearly as tall. here is another endless job of staking...

and remember, these tomatoes were bought at the same time and were the same size. the only difference was when and where they were planted.

the Kentucky wonder pole beans are up, and so far so good. (last year the groundhog ate nearly all our beans!) i have the beans planted around the base of a tomato cage, since I'm obviously not going to be using the cages this year. with the help of a stake and zip ties, there are 2 tomato cages on top of each other. I'm pleased with this idea, and hope that it works as well as I'm imagining.

that's it for the *sort of* weekly livestock and garden report. there's been lots of rain, so sometimes it's a challenge to get out in the garden between raindrops. but since everything is growing so well, i can't complain.


Milah said...

Everything looks great! All that hard work is paying off.

Wanda said...

Wow, Jennifer that's a lot of work going on there...I'm growing more basil this year myself...but only 7 plants...2 types parsley and rosemary...Italian dishes are my favorite...A and B are still helping I see...

Take care!

Angie said...

Wow, that is a lot of work.
Do you have trouble with the little ones "weeding" plants you want to keep? :) We do.

I hope you end up with a sheep. They are so cute.

I've got flowers on my cucumbers and tomatoes. It's exciting, isn't it?!?

Jennifer said...

thankfully, we don't seem to have too much trouble with the girls weeding the important plants. i gave them a spot where it was pretty clear what was weeds and what was the veggies. however, walking through the rows and tromping on the plants is another matter altogether...


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