volunteers.

One of the most pleasant aspects of the transition to no till is the amount of volunteers I am noticing in my garden. There are lettuce plants dotting the garden, cosmos came back up, borage is everywhere, squash, and an unidentified vine I hope I don’t regret giving a chance to.

The no till transition is going okay. I definitely have more work to do. The straw I got is wheat straw and I think caused a whole different weed problem. I am hoping to get a few loads of horse manure from my cousin that will let me make new beds and hopefully healthier soil.

My compost bins are definitely off in composition. I need to go back and read my compost book a little more in depth to see what I need to add in order to get it cooking a little faster. I also haven’t been completely diligent it keeping it moist.

There is so much happening in the garden, but I’m mostly waiting for harvest. Lots and lots of tomatoes growing. Tons of cucumbers. The squash still haven’t blossomed out, but it’s getting close. The garlic leaves are starting to go brown, which isn’t ideal because it’s still a few weeks early for harvest. The strawberries are still producing, but they’re definitely winding down. A few of the watermelon plants seem to be taking off, but the rest seem to be growing very slowly. The beans are starting to flower, so hopefully we will have green beans shortly.

I did harvest a couple of potato plants today and I pulled a small garlic plant for lunch today. I’m going to do roast garlic and thyme potatoes with braised roasted pork chops. I made a small salad with probably too many radishes, but I don’t want the radishes to go to waste.

It has been such a dry year. I am worried about the orchard.

sweet potatoes & other nonsense

Another snake in the coop today. I couldn’t reach it to get it out, so hopefully the baby chicks survive the night. My bravery has limitations, and that is about the length of your standard hoe or shovel.

I tilled up a portion of the garden today to get the sweet potatoes in. I wish I had planned for them better, but I have been so wrapped up with other (bigger, life changing) things over the last couple of weeks. I had sweet potatoes several years ago and it is probably the most successful crop I’ve had other than maybe cherry tomatoes. I sincerely doubt these will be nearly as good, but we can hope. I usually count on the will of the plant to survive.

The garden somehow feels further along than it usually is by this time. I’m not sure if it’s my mind playing tricks on me since it has been so hot or if it’s because I planted the grapes, strawberries, and blackberries that are making the garden seem so full. The tomatoes are definitely further along at this time than they usually are. The peppers do seem to be on the struggle bus, aside from the plant I put in a pot. There are tons of tiny cucumbers trying to find their way into this world.

I am absolutely, 100% failing on my pledge to be better about marking varieties. I had too many pepper plants this year and I’ve just been tucking the extras in wherever there is space after I harvest something else. It’s a strategy, but not a great one.

back to the heat.

Most of the ducks have abandoned their nests, so I cleared those eggs out of the coop today and I can finally start gathering eggs without concern again. There is one duck who is still sitting on her nest. So far she has hatched about four chicks that I can see. Hopefully ducklings will follow in a few days. The chicks are very attached to their mother and it’s extremely adorable. No pictures or videos because she is in the darkest corner of the coop and my presence upsets her.

There are little tiny cucumbers growing now. They are the 7082 cucumber and I’m very excited to taste it in the hopefully near future. I think by July I will be loaded down with tomatoes. My mom’s family loves tomatoes, so I wonder if I could have a tomato taste test at one of the summer holidays. For science, of course.

My favorite corner of the garden is the flower section. It’s tiny, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. I have had the bee feed mix from Seed Savers for a couple of years, but I never prioritized planting it when it was recommended. I had a little patch of bare soil in early spring, so I sowed it heavily. I was worried the chickens had destroyed it the same day they destroyed my tomato starts, but it has grown up and been an absolute pleasure.

Next spring, I would like to have two full rows of bee feed and butterfly feed mix. Ideally at the front of the garden.

I need to build my mobile chicken tractor this weekend.

today was perfect.

After weeks of above average temperatures, a brief reprieve to the average was very welcome and needed.

I have largely neglected the garden over the last week and a half. We have put a plan into action to buy land, so I have been very busy with associated activities. I still have no idea if we will be buying the farm or buying another piece of land, but at least I know that in the next little bit I will have a piece of land that is mine, and I can do whatever I want with it.

The first of the cherry tomatoes are ripening. The majority of the tomato plants have flowers and small tomatoes on them. I am interested in doing a taste test in the near future to determine what the best tomato was this year. Tomatoes seem to take forever to ripen, though.

The cucumbers and squash look like they will flower out sometime this week. The bee feed mix from Seed Savers that I planted is absolutely gorgeous. I will definitely dedicate a larger space in the garden for it next year.

 

rain!

I jumped out of bed at 5:00 this morning when I heard vague rumblings of thunder. I don’t have a rain gauge, but I think it rained about an inch. I will need to put that on the list of potential Christmas presents.

Summer came so suddenly and so hot that mentally I am in June. The garden is growing quickly and will hopefully take off now that we have had a good long rain. There is some potential for rain tomorrow and I am hopefully we will get a bit more.

The comfrey roots I purchased a month ago have finally rooted out enough that I think I can start planing them out in the orchard. I need to start some bee balm and get the hyssop planted in the grape beds.

I have harvested so many strawberries that I am a little tired of them, which I didn’t think was possible. I made strawberry ice cream today and it was a faint enough flavor that it was really good. I wish I had strained out the strawberry chunks. A note for next time, I suppose.

Have I mentioned that I ordered a few sweet potato plants? If not, I have. I grew some several years ago and I had a prolific harvest despite ignoring them for most of the summer. There is an empty space in the garden I would like to be using more wisely and that is where I have decided to place them. Here’s hoping I can manage to harvest another good crop.

 

more thoughts on chickens.

I am so hoping that some of these new chicks are brown egg layers. My egg basket is so dominated by green and blue and even white eggs, but my heart has always preferred a nice brown egg.

This experience – my hens hatching their own chicks, raised 100% on this farm – has been so invigorating. This entire season really – it finally feels like I am building something. The thyme I planted last year has come back this year and has been lovingly surrounded with hay to preserve its location. Some of the lettuce I grew last year seeded itself and now I can find little lettuce plants scattered about the garden.

There are bumblebees bumbling about the garden. The grapes are growing fast. The trees are leafing out and looking gorgeous. The strawberries are producing so many that I actually got tired of eating them today. I let the little hen who has figured out if she stands next to me I will hand a strawberry top directly to her have the last small strawberries.

This life I have built is nothing like what I would have imagined at 15. But I am so, so happy and fulfilled.