Saturday, May 29, 2010

Livestock and Garden Report 2: weeks 8 and 9

look: words and pictures! and all on the same day!

we're so busy with the gardens, that it's really hard to find the time to sit at the computer. usually, if i have "free time" I'll spend it quilting, getting ready for classes at the local Ben Franklin.

however, we decided today that i should really try to blog more, as this is a good place to write down notes and things we've learned so we can be better at this next year.
this is the portion of the garden that we call the chicken triangle. for the last 2 summers, we've run the chicken tractors on this space. just this year Dave "reclaimed" it for gardening. on the far right you can see the row of onions. moving along to the left, is the row of broccoli and cauliflower, then cauliflower, red and green cabbages. lastly, there are 3 types of sweet corn.

here you can see some of the raised beds, the high tunnel and the upper garden. these raised beds have beets, 3 plantings of carrots (danvers half long and Nantes core less), as well as sugar snap peas and shelling peas. also on the very bottom are the cold frames with garlic, basil and cilantro.

just today we were working all day in the upper garden, getting that planted. we were a little later than we would have liked, due to tiller problems, and running the chicken tractors over the winter rye.

in the upper garden:

*15 hills butternut squash
*15 hills acorn squash
*15 hills cantaloupe
*15 hills watermelon
*30 hills combined of cucumber, yellow and zucchini squash, all in staggered plantings
*red and white onions
* Kentucky wonder pole beans
*yellow beans
*sunflowers, in staggered plantings
*green beans (to be planted in the next few days)
*bush cucumber (tomorrow)

these are more of the raised beds, with head lettuce, beets and sugar snap peas. the peas have not blossomed yet, so it will still be a bit before we're eating those... the lettuce will be pulled and sold in the next couple days, and then that box will be planted with more bush cukes.

here is our first, (and largest) harvest of broccoli! we were both really happy, and almost immediately wishing that we had planted more than one flat of the broccoli and cauliflower. we'll have enough to sell, and some to freeze.

Dave has been fanatically stalking the ground hogs this week, and has been rewarded with a tally of 7 groundhogs and 1 rabbit! the girls are so excited when they hear the shotgun blast, and run outside to see if daddy has gotten another groundhog.

thankfully, inquiries as to whether we will be eating it for dinner have been kept to a minimum!

with every one's work schedule, it is mostly G who helps me in the garden. however, despite the fact that A is not yet quite 4, there are still some jobs that she can do, and is expected to help. this week she trimmed off all the flower buds from the onions. (actually, she rather enjoyed this job, since it involved scissors...)

the high tunnel is going fine, and though we're still getting the hang of managing it well, it's churning out its share of early crops.

there to my left (your right) is the lettuce. we were totally inundated with lettuce, but now that the weather has turned hotter, i pulled it all and fed it to the chickens before it could get bitter.

we have a few tomatoes planted in the center row, but right now the bulk of my tomatoes are in improvised topsy turvy planters. i used 3 gallon buckets, and drilled 7/8" holes in the bottom. others i planted the tomatoes on top, and have just let them cascade over the sides. both types seem to be doing equally as well. additionally, we are using root beer bottles for vacuum waterers. (a friend's idea) again, that seems to be working fine, with the water seeping out slowly but steadily, keeping the plants from wilting. (previously, i was watering them 3 times daily!)

also, just today, the girls picked and ate 4 cherry tomatoes! woohoo! I'm sure looking forward to fresh tomatoes again.

the wide row of peas that i planted in the HT produced well, giving us several quarts of peas. the girls enjoyed sitting on the lawn and shelling their own peas to eat fresh. ( i liked it too, as it gave me quite a bit of peace and quiet since it kept them busy for awhile!)

last week we worked mainly in the lower garden, getting all the rows planted. all hands on deck that day!

we have 2 rows of roma tomatoes (150 plants), as well as 1 ½ rows other varieties:
*early girl
*big boy
*new girl
*super steak

the potatoes are very happy, and we've already hilled them twice.

we also planted several varieties of peppers:
*green (red) peppers- one flat
*green (yellow) peppers -one flat
*lilac peppers (just 6)
*cherry bomb
*Hungarian wax
*Anaheim chili

since we've not had much rain lately, it's been a backbreaking family chore at times to keep everything watered. A loves to help - anything involving water and or dirt is fine by her!

we also got the sweet potatoes planted- all 100. although we were very disappointed at how droopy some of the slips were when they arrived, we planted them anyway. (gurney's is replacing over half of our order- we expect the plants tomorrow.)

the sweet potatoes will spend their summer under the mini hoop row. this will serve 2 purposes: keeping them a little warmer, as they are a southern crop, and protecting them from marauding varmints.

finally, here is our watering system for the lower garden. it's undergone a few tweaks since i took this picture, but basically, we gather the run off water from the hillside, and then use the pump to water, both with hoses and the sprinkler.

more on the water next week, as it's even better now!

thanks for stopping by- my posts have become so few and far between that it's a wonder anyone even reads anymore...


cndymkr / jean said...

What can I say! You amaze me with all the planting and the results. I love it. And not just because I'm glad it's not me, but because you are proof that it can be done. Keep it up if only because you are such an inspiration and source of information. THANK YOU.

simplyserina said...

whew! i'm tired just reading that! i know how much work that is. i finally got my squashes, cukes, and melons planted today, too. not as many as i'd like, as we are running out of space...

Galen said...

I was on a mission trip last week with Miriam, or M as your refer to her. She talked about your phenominal garden and directed me to your blog. Quite the undertaking. More importantly I totally agree with your own assessment that M has a very compassionate and tender heart. She is what every mother and father would dream their daughter would become regarding her faith, character and love for others. It was a real honor to have been able to meet M and spend time with her!!!


Galen Mills


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