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What’s Happening??

June 11, 2015

Lots is happening!  My shoulder is mostly functional.  Our CSA season has begun.  We have rearranged almost the entire farm.  We have added another mini hoop house.  Here is a short photo tour of the current state of the farm.

We planted 40 grapes along the street side of the farm to create a living fence.

grapes

grapes

 

 

We planted our tomatoes in landscape material to better control the weeds.

trellised tomatoes

trellised tomatoes

We did the same thing with our potatoes.  We won’t have to hill them or  weed them.  This was a new idea, so we’ll see how it all works out.  Last year was a potato failure, so we can only get better, right?  The plants look pretty healthy, so that’s encouraging.

potatoes

potatoes

We’ve spent hours creating new raised beds in our growing spaces, establishing ten different plots so we can rotate our crops, allowing several years to go by before plants of the same family are grown in the same area.  We were able to purchase machinery for this purpose last fall making (relatively) short work of bed making (and rock removal).

cover crop

cover crop in our new raised beds

 

Some beds needed to be made by hand, so the children got pretty efficient at clearing out weeds, measuring straight lines, shoveling dirt from the aisles, and adding in peat.  The hoop houses got the raised bed treatment as occupied rows were harvested and the area was emptied out.  Once the beds (or section of bed) were made, the next crop could be planted.

bed prep

bed prep

The raised beds and the landscape fabric under the tomatoes and squash make it easier to keep up with the weeds.  Last year, we lost our onions to the weeds.  Not so this year!  Mark is busy with the hoe keeping opportunist plants at bay.

Onion patch

Onion patch

keeping up with the weeds

keeping up with the weeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We added a second mini hoop house to contain our cucumbers and eggplant.  We lined the ends with fine insect netting in an attempt to keep out the cucumber beetles and the flea beetles, the culprits that wreaked so much havoc among my cukes and eggplants last year.

cucumber/eggplant hoop house

cucumber/eggplant hoop house

All the white fabric is protecting my susceptible plants from those pesky flea beetles.

The first mini hoop house was used over the winter to cover carrots and greens, then moved in April to cover early tomatoes, then moved in late May to cover the peppers for the summer.

pepper hoop house

pepper hoop house

In the midst of all the big stuff, I just keep on planting and Murrey keeps his vigil.

planting fennel

planting fennel

 

Keturah, the flower lady and the photographer, decided to get a job off the farm this year.  You can say, “Hi!” to her at Five Points Bakery.  The sad news is that our big flower garden will be missing and there will be no beautiful bouquets.  The good news is that there are still some flowers growing around the place.

The farm is looking good right now.  It’s rained.  It’s shined.  It’s warmed.  It’s been weeded.  It’s been planted.  Come check it out!  This week is our Second Saturday Volunteer Day from 9:00 until 12:00.  There is definitely something to do!  Please come and join us.

See you then!

Janice

 

Spring Surprises and a Call for Volunteers

May 4, 2015

So, living in the city makes it easy to use my bicycle as my primary mode of transportation.  Generally, the rides are pretty non-eventful.  However, not every ride is predictable and life likes to shake things up a bit, just to keep us on our toes.  What started out as a lovely, timely commute to my daughter’s dance class last Wednesday was one of those surprise rides.

Unbeknownst to us, there was a house on Colvin Ave getting remodeled in which lived a beautiful golden retriever who was not very impressed with the construction going on in his house.  As the dry-waller was carting his tools and equipment to his van at the end of the day, he left open the front door long enough for the aforementioned retriever to dash out, escaping the noise and confusion of his home and racing straight out across the road where there happened to be a break in the traffic.  At that precise moment, my daughter and I were blithely wheeling our way to dance, never suspecting that the danger was to come from the side in the form of grace and beauty and not from behind in the form of an idiot, impatient driver.  So, I collided with grace and beauty, and all the impatient idiots were totally absent at that moment (thankfully!).  I landed in a heap in the road, and, to make a long story short (which, as you have noticed, I am not) instead of going to dance class, Mark came and picked us up in the truck, and we all went to Urgent Care to learn that my right collar-bone was fractured.

I am learning to do a remarkable number of things with my left arm.

As farmers, spring is about the busiest time of the year, with definite time constraints.  It is a most inconvenient time to be without the use of my right arm, but, you know, things could have been a lot worse.  There happened to be a break in the traffic at that moment, so neither the dog, nor I was hit by a car; the only injury I sustained was my shoulder – no abraisions, no head injury; the dog appeared to sustain no injuries; I do not live alone, so I have been blessed with help and support.  I have much to be thankful for.

Another thing to be thankful for is that this Saturday is Second Saturday Volunteer Day at the farm!  Yay!!  So please, come on out and give us a hand with spring chores.  The weather has been getting warmer and the sun has been shining – who wants to be stuck inside?!  Come to the farm on Saturday, May 9, from 9:00 until 12:00.    

See you soon!

Janice

Spring has Arrived! (I’m sure of it)

April 3, 2015

Wow!  Yesterday’s temperatures were amazing.  And the sun shone!  We transported more plants into the hoop house and seeded our second bed of carrots.  The mustard, arugula, and radishes are up in the hoop house.  Wednesday, we harvested some parsnips and had a fresh salad with kale, spinach, lettuce, and onions.  This is life!

arugula seedlings

arugula seedlings

little lettuces

little lettuces

baby spinach

baby spinach

 

This spring’s early season inspection taught me an important lesson.  Rabbits like fruit tree bark.  There is no surprise here, but I have never, in all my years growing fruit, experienced the damage.  I guess the winter was hard enough and the rabbit population dense enough to incite the cute bunnies to victimize my saplings.  Their favorite was the quince tree.  I have rabbit teeth marks on my quince saplings from the ground level up about 2 1/2 to 3 feet high where they were able to stand on their cute fuzzy hind legs and nibble the ends of the tiny branches off.

rabbit damage on quince trunk

rabbit damage on quince trunk

I should have listened last fall to that nagging voice in the back of my head that suggested I might want to protect the trees from rodents over the winter …. but I just never got around to it.  Thankfully, I don’t think the trees were actually killed, so I might still have a chance to protect them from next winter’s hungry, marauding rodents.  It’s not hard, nor is it expensive.  It just needs to be done.

So…..

Now it is spring and there is quite a bit of work to be done on the farm preparing beds for planting and just general clean-up from a long, snow-covered winter.  Come help us on our first volunteer day of the season – Saturday, April 11 – from 9:00 until 12:00.  Let’s enjoy spring outside on the farm! Remember – the farm is located on Wilson Street, one block west of Fillmore Ave, between Sycamore and Broadway.  Wilson St. is a one-way street, so you must approach the farm from Broadway.  For those of you who want to GPS it, enter 360 Wilson Street.

See you Saturday!

Janice

 

A Double Dose of Winter

March 31, 2015

Let me just say, winter gave us it’s best this time ’round.

November was….a surprise.

By December we were pretty settled into the whole winter thing and it didn’t seem too bad. The earth needed it’s rest and we knew the cold would do a good number on tiny pests in the season to come. But it was only December.
Then January.

February…

March…

Somewhere around the tenth day that the temperatures never left the single digits, we realized Spring sounded downright heavenly.

But it is happening: Spring is beating winter back.

If you don’t believe me, ask the Canadian Geese.
They flew over a few weeks back. They usually know what they’re talking about.

With the temperatures more reasonable now, we have some greens doing their thing in the hoop house.

They are yummy. Very yummy.

Our upstairs is getting invaded by trays of plant starts, a sneak preview of what is to come in the summer months.

Onions, herbs, eggplant, peppers..

Yeah, my mouth is watering too.

-Keturah S.

Summer to Autumn

October 27, 2014
DSC_1971

Busy is an understatement.

August filled our plates with salads and our vases with flowers. It brought armloads of turnips and arugula and gave all the tomatoes it could. Somehow it managed to squeeze in bags and bags of cucumbers. It kept us canning every possible moment we had, aside from filling the CSA shares each week.

 

Somehow September found it’s way here and dumped rather similar gifts into our laps. I don’t believe I was the only one who was excited at the prospect of a deep frost. Don’t get me wrong, I love the abundance of summer’s harvest, but one must take a breath and stand up and stretch one’s back.

 

Thanks be to October. Its silent frosts that sneak in and curl the once-green leaves of the perennial and cut short the life of the happiest annual, leaving a lovely white blanket to remind us of the winter that is to come. Its wind that blows the brilliant colors off the trees and chilling nights that keep us curled up on the couch with tea and a book. Its barrels of dried beans to thresh and trucks of apples to press.  Its surprise crop of late peas.

Beautiful October with it’s rare, gorgeous days: clear blue skies and cool breezes to keep our jackets on. Friends to drink cider, eat fresh made donuts, and jump into the leaves with. Fires to roast our chicken over and talk around, comparing harvests, discussing successes and failures. Leftover cider to heat up with spices and things, gingerly sipping a mug of it alongside a sizeable slice of pumpkin bread. Our garden to-do list slowly dwindling in size.

 

And here we are, hurrying to put in the winter crops and gather the last of the harvest.  Just around the corner lies November, waiting to tuck the farm into bed and keep it sleeping until next year.

 

-Keturah

September’s Back-To-School Volunteer Day

September 12, 2014

School’s back!  What better way to spend a Saturday than to bring yourself and your school child, who are both reeling from the first full week of school, outside into the waning summer sunshine and work in the dirt for a few hours?

Come out tomorrow morning, September 13, between 9:00 and 12:00 and join us for one of our volunteer days.  Come see our beautiful sunflowers!  Guarenteed to make you smile!

sunflowers

sunflowers

See you tomorrow,

Janice

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers – oh, and a Second Saturday Volunteer Day

August 8, 2014

Howdy All!

This month I ‘d thought I’d showcase a lovely, evolving aspect of our farm.  My daughter, Keturah, grows flowers, arranges them into beautiful bouquets, and offers them for sale on Thursdays when our CSA members come to pick up their shares.  I call it “evolving” because this is the first year she has attempted to have bouquets ready for sale regularly, although she has grown flowers in previous years.  All the flowers you see in the pictures have been tenderly nurtured and creatively arranged by Keturah.  Imagine tidbits of sunshine and color such as these sitting in your home to bring a smile to your face each day.

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Just a reminder that this Saturday is the second saturday of the month and therefore, our volunteer day.  The weather should be fine, so come on down to the farm and join us from 9:00 until 12:00 for a day filled with productive work and friends.  Our stand will be open from 10 – 12:30 as well.

See you tomorrow!

Janice

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