Catching up…

April was wet, and our 80 foot greenhouse fell down in a storm. These two things meant we started the month of May behind schedule.

Two greenhouses were standing in a field. One was taken, the other was left.

The 40-foot greenhouse has been overflowing with transplants ever since that time.  When the ground is wet, the plants stay in the trays.

The weather dried up enough to start field planting around May 15th or so.  I got a few things in before that, but cold, rainy weather didn’t really encourage them to thrive.  Our replacement greenhouse arrived on May 17th.   Nothing like having it all happen at once!

On Saturday, May 21st, some friends and work share members visited.  The friends helped with the greenhouse & the work share members helped with the field planting.  The weather was perfect- sunny during the day, followed by about an inch of rain to soak in the transplants after everyone went home.

Cold, rain, and storms have been the rule, rather than the exception, for the last few weeks, but I think we’re turning the corner.  The new greenhouse is fully planted as of today, the west end is framed up with a fan installed, and we might actually put the plastic cover on this week.

West end of greenhouse, with fan!

It’s 90 degrees out today, and the strawberries are getting ripe.  Why didn’t I renovate the paths last summer again?

We’re still behind schedule, but the dry, warm weather in the forecast for this week is a very good thing.  June is off to a more encouraging start than May.

Oh, and have you ever eaten garlic scapes?   Because that’s the other thing we’re harvesting this week, brought on by the heat.  This means another early year for garlic!

The sweet smell of receding flood waters

If you’ve ever been around a place that’s recently been flooded, I think you know what I mean.  Yuck.  It smells like “The Swamp Thing” is just around the corner.

Fortunately, many things seem to have survived the flooding.  Including, of course, the crabgrass and thistles. The onions seem particularly perky after getting all of that rain in a week.  I guess I can be a bit more generous with their irrigation once the field dries out again.  The sweet potatoes were planted in a long mound (think giant molehill) and they barely got wet feet.  They are loving the heat & I expect great things from them.  The regular potatoes look good also.  The started-from-true-seed potatoes were probably killed by the flooding, as they were still quite small, but I haven’t been able to see for sure.

Today might be the day where it actually gets dry enough for me to walk out in the field again.  I tried yesterday, but had to turn around before I started losing shoes in the mud.

We’ll have most of the same things at the market this weekend that we had last weekend.

Our cherries are getting ripe.  I’ve never had a cherry tree before and it’s very pretty.  Another bonus item on the property is black rasperries.  With the amount of rain we’ve had, there should be a great crop.  The same fencerows that are full of raspberries are also full of poison ivy, so we’ll just have to be careful at harvest time.  The black raspberries are just starting to form- I think they still have another 3-4 weeks before ripening.

I’m really glad our garlic was planted in a different county.  We are going to have to find the highest spot on the property to plant in it the fall!

The SWIMMING Engineers

Our area has been deluged with rain lately.  The neighbors recorded 5 inches on Saturday alone.  The field is attempting to recover from lake status.  More rain is predicted tonight; I only hope it’s not another 5 inches.  I didn’t enjoy seeing my drip tape floating on top of water.  There is a flash flood watch for at least half the state tonight.

The farmer’s market on Saturday was a bit of a washout, since that was the day we were getting the five inches of rain.  They tell me it doesn’t happen too often, and we will have plenty of garlic scapes for weeks to come.  I pulled 539 of them on Friday.

This week’s fun

It rained a lot this week.

Most of the sweet potatoes made it into the ground yesterday, despite the best efforts of Baby B. to pull them all out as fast as they went in.  We were actually out there in the rain and were both very muddy.

I have some exceptional peonies for the market this week.  They have a bit of a stripe in them, and unless I’m imagining things, a bit of a minty aroma.

Today I harvested & bunched the first of the radishes.  They are a little on the small side, but still look good.  I’ve only grown really large radishes in the fall- sort of like carrots, I suppose.  They do better with the cool weather.  We HAD cool weather until recently!  Today it’s supposed to hit 90 for the first time.

Garlic fans note:  Big piles of garlic scapes are waiting for you.

Good news

On Sunday, I visited the garlic.  First time I’d been there to see it in person, and it looks great.  It all came through the winter.

One can not say the same of the shallots.. there may be enough of them to save for planting, but there’s not enough to sell.  The seed was stinking up the house in the fall, so I can’t say I’m shocked.

And more good news.. right now, at this VERY moment, Farmer Y is driving his little red tractor through our property with tillage equipment of some kind behind it.  My ignorance level with regards to conventional farming is pretty high, so I can’t even tell you WHAT he is using on the field.  The anhydrous spray truck visited last week (don’t worry, it only visited the big field, not my 2 little organic fields!).  Anyway, he is towing two things behind the tractor and they look kind of like rakes. I know enough to be able to tell that they are not disks, and if they are plows, they look a bit different than other plows that I’ve seen lately.

It’s been interesting to watch all the local farmers at work over the last week.  Some of them put the anhydrous on when they plant, some of them do it before plowing.  One farm had big trucks out spreading lime a few weeks ago, but I haven’t seen anyone else spreading lime.  Some of them have mega-tractors and a semi trailer full of anhydrous sitting by the side of the road for refills and a big crew waiting to help them at all times.  Farmer Y appears to have two buddies in pickup trucks along with him today.  I don’t know what they are for, perhaps to help set up the tractor attachments, but I have yet to see anyone operating a tractor without at least two friends in pickup trucks waiting nearby.

Hopefully I’ll be too busy in the coming weeks to blog as often, but also hopefully we will take some good pictures so that you can see how things are progressing on the farm.  Only 1 month until the market starts!

The garlic is planted

Thursday, we tilled the garden to mix in the mushroom compost that we spread last weekend.

Today, with the help of my parents, we got the garlic in the ground. We planted 5 lb french red shallots, 10 lb music, 5 lb CA late, and 2 lb German. As you can see, we didn’t quite use up all of the garden, so the buyers should have plenty of space.

Fall garlic

Fall

We’re eating lots of lettuce and enormous radishes from the fall garden.  The greens have been pretty much obliterated by cabbage worms, and the carrots and beets are just now sizing up.  I picked one last half-bushel of tomatoes this week.  There are still a myriad of peppers to harvest.  Low temps are in the 40s now and so there’s not much garden time left.

I’ve been clearing out space for this fall’s load of mushroom compost, and then we can plant the garlic & shallots.  The seed garlic looks really good this year, the shallots not so much.  I want to get them in the ground soon before they rot any more.

Market time

The scale came… while I was outside picking green beans. So we had to go to the UPS depot at 7 PM to get it. But at least we got it.

Market day was very successful. I sold all the garlic by 10:30 AM. The red shallots sold out around the same time. There was not much interest at all in the grey shallots. I might not grow them again if I can’t manage to get them to size up better. However, right now I have plenty to replant in the fall and eat all winter, so maybe we’ll try them for one more year.

We sold a good number of onions as well. Next time I might cut the tops off, but I didn’t want to do that this time because they weren’t done curing. We have plenty left for canning.

No one seemed overly excited about the onion braids. They did, however, add a nice decorative touch to the booth.

Speaking of the booth… take a look at it.

Market day set

We got word on Friday that we’ll be at the Carmel Farmer’s Market next Saturday.  I could have gone this weekend, but we were busy & I didn’t have all the garlic cleaned up yet.

As soon as I heard the news, I went out and harvested all the onions.  They look pretty good.  They really weighed down the wagon.

I’ll be busy cleaning garlic, shallots, onions, and trying to figure out if we have enough display containers for our booth this week.

These are the crops.

So far, our only commercial crops have been garlic & shallots. Last year we harvested about 400 garlic bulbs & about 8 lbs of shallots (if I remember right.) Most of it sold in 2 Saturday mornings at the farmer’s market.

Last year's garlic

This year, we had 2 large problems with the garlic. First, I ordered the seed too late and we obviously got the dregs from the grower. Second, we had a weather issue. The winter was excessively warm and all the garlic came up optimistically in January. Then we had a hard freeze. This happened twice I think. So we lost a lot of our garlic that way. It didn’t seem to faze the shallots too much, though.

So this year, we have only 180 heads of garlic, despite planting twice as much as before. We grew 2 types of shallots, and one type yielded 7.5 lbs. I haven’t weighed the other kind yet.

We haven’t solidified our plans for selling it yet. I’ll post again when we know where we’ll be selling this year. I believe we’ll also be bringing onions to the farmer’s market- there are more than enough in the field for our home needs, even with all the canning we do.