Saturday, June 25, 2011

Update Coming

My new job has kept me busy, busy, busy these past seven days, but now I am basking in the glow of my relaxing weekend.  I will be updating the blog tomorrow with beautiful pictures of everything that has been going on here.  Quick preview:

Lettuce Started To Bolt, Uprooted And Fed To Chickens

Pumpkin Patch Growing Rapidly, Have To Create A Perimeter Fence On Sunday

Compost Craziness.  Have More "Green" Than "Brown" Material.  Must Collect Yard waste On Sunday.

Checking In With Honey Bees And Adding 3rd Super.

Corn Started To Tassel and Silk!

Potatoes Are Very Happy.....I Mean Happy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Egg Count Updated 7/5

Total Eggs Collected = 599

Count Stopped Until Wazine Out Of Systems, approximately 2 Weeks.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From Garbage to Garden

I will be working at a summer camp this summer and am so excited that I will be running the Culinary Studio.  I also will be starting a compost program for the camp, and since my county doesn't have a compost program yet, I get to take home all that green material for my home composting program.  I'm going to be taking pictures of the process and showing them at camp, and then at the end of camp giving some of the final produce to the campers to take home and plant something in it.  I want to turn composting into a game or competition, does anybody have any suggestions?  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Restructuring the Garden

I decided it was time to restructure the garden a little bit.  I pulled up one of the two rows of the bell peppers that are taking up prime real estate and taking forever to grow and planted half of the row soy beans and the other half a red eye bean named Saint-Esprit à Oeil Rouge Bush Bean.  I then pulled up the row of pickling cucumbers that have been struggling through this cool Spring and planted a row of beets.  I am thinking I am going to move them into a new row tomorrow.  I will also be planting the two types of squash I have, Straightneck and Pom de Or.  I also have some Straight Eight Cucs that are going in, and I have to find some space for my purple fava beans.  Looks like I'll be getting my hands dirty tomorrow.  Can't wait!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What a Beautiful Thursday

I have been studying, studying, studying for my CTEL (California Teachers of English Learners) test which I will be taking this Saturday.  My head is starting to hurt from all the information I am stuffing inside of it.  Luckily, Taylor knew exactly what kind of study break I needed, belated birthday present shopping.  So, we hopped into town and he bought me a new digital camera...yay for me.  So what did I do when I got home?  I gave into shutter-bug fever and captured everything that is going on here on our property.
I was so excited when I casually looked into the tomato plant and saw the first fruit of the season.

Tomato, Tomato, Tomato, really, can you too many?

Container Tomato Forest

Isabeau and Big Spoon

Juniper walking around in the early stages of the pumpkin patch.  The two varieties we started are the Squash Connecticut Field and the Rouge Vif  D'Etampes 

The chickens love having the chard and beets right next to their run.  They peck at the tender greens through the chicken wire.  I'll probably always leave some type of green for them there, but I will be planting another row for myself as well.

There is something to be said for a cooler Spring, and my lettuce heads are the proof.  This season has produced the most delicious and beautiful lettuce crop I have ever grown.

Happy Carrots

Uh, what's up with my crazy, funky carrots?

Pole beans climbing their poles diligently.  The two heirloom varieties we planted were the Rattlesnake and Purple Pole Beans. 

Taylor is convinced he will make a crop of corn work in our garden.  I think the local gopher may have other plans.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is That The Sun I See?

As I am writing this from northern California, it has felt more like Oregon these past weeks with all of the gray and rain.  I am not complaining though as my decade in the Pacific Northwest hardened me to the lack of sunshine lifestyle, however, I am very happy to see the blue sky and sunshine today.  The garden greens have been enjoying the cooler weather and I have been harvesting delicious and tender lettuce and chard for weeks now.  Unfortunately, I planted the cucumbers and bell peppers way too early and they have stalled due to lack of warmer temperatures.  I am a fairly new gardener, so it's a good lesson learned.  The tomato plants are positioned on the back decks where it gets the most sunshine, or ambient sunshine lately and they are going crazy.  Pictures to come.  Tomorrow I will be checking in with the bees for the first time since I put on the second hive box, called a super.  I will be painting the third and fourth supers a shade of light yellow, appropriately named "Touch of Honey".  I will do this so in future seasons I know which supers are for the queen to lay her eggs in, the first two hive boxes, and then the third and fourth supers, which will be light yellow, will be for honey only.  Pictures to come.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Compost Competition, Here We Come!

Taylor and I decided to enter our "black gold chickity doo-doo" compost into the  County Fair this year.  I was perusing the Fair's website and saw they had a new category, backyard compost.  There are two classes, Worm Bin Composting and Compost Heaps, and since I released all my red wigglers into the garden and compost piles, the compost heaps will be our category.  Taylor made a sifter so we can now sift the compost, removing the larger sticks and debris out of the goods, leaving nothing but fluffy, earthy goodness.  I have actually been going around to various grocery stores, coffee joints (for the coffee grounds)  and other places of business asking them to throw away their kitchen scraps into a bin I give them and then I make the rounds and pick them up.  It's a good way to keep our build pile growing and the variety of scraps makes for even better compost.  Plus, I am excited to read the notes from the judges regarding our compost, finding out what a more professional opinion of our product is.  I mean, I know it's the bomb compost, but I'm curious to find out if the judges will think so as well. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jasper and His Favorite Catnip Plant


I read this post on Mo Farm's blog and really was engaged and inspired by the information.  I was so into that I copied and put it on my blog as a way to get the message out to more people.

"The sad and scary fact is that, despite having plentiful resources on our planet, far too many people are hungry.  Oxfam has launched a new international campaign called GROW which aims to build a better, fairer food system.  Awesome!"

According to Oxfam:

We’ve reached a turning point. Here’s what we need to do, starting now, to grow food and justice without wrecking the planet:
• Increase the productivity, self-reliance, and economic opportunity of small-scale farmers, especially women, who depend on agriculture for income and food.
• Increase farmers’ access to resources like water and land,
and make sure they don’t have to unfairly compete with big companies for ownership of these resources.
• Increase farmers’ preparedness in the face of more-frequent and more-extreme droughts, floods, and storms.
• Modernize our food aid programs so they are more effective,
efficient, and fiscally responsible, improving the global
response to natural disasters and food crises.
• Hold governments and businesses accountable for the impacts of their policies and practices on global food security.

For the full fact sheet of information,  click here

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Beautiful Beets

We harvested our beets that we planted early back in April.  I didn't even know we were going to harvest them, but Taylor pulled them up along with some corn that wasn't doing too well.  The corn went to the compost build pile and the beets came up to the kitchen.  This was the first time I have ever steamed and peeled my own beets, and it was just that easy.  To my delight, there was one golden beet mixed with the red ones.  After I steamed and peeled them, I sliced the beets and added them to a salad along with some goat cheese.  One word, delicious!  I will be braising the beet greens tonight, along with some chard I just picked fresh.