Friday, December 5, 2014

Save the Spinach!

The late planting of spinach is still alive despite several nights in the single digits, so I have decided to give it some help with a simple mini hoop. There is plenty of moisture in the ground and with some sunny days I hope to be able to harvest small handfuls every week or two for awhile. We'll see. 

It's a 10' x 3' frame with 3/8" poly hoops. 

Last of the summer kale. The kale gets no such babying and is just about gone. There are a couple handfuls left in the field but I expect that the kale scramblers I've enjoyed every morning for the past six months are basically over. Sigh. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Early cold snap

Starting around November 10 we began experiencing below freezing weather and by the 14th there was at least two inches of hard frost in the ground. I rescued about 15 lbs of carrots although it was tough digging through the frost. 

Here is what things looked like on the 14th

By the 22nd the weather had been almost exclusively below freezing and as low as 5 degrees in the farm. The 22nd & 23rd warmed up temporarily. There was not much life left in the garden by then. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Radishes in East strip

I pulled a couple of cover crop radishes to throw into a soup today. I'm pretty impressed with how deep these roots are, probably 16" deep. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Kitchen Garden prep

I dug up another 10 feet of sod and dumped two loads of compost into it. Seeded to rye. Curious to see how well this works. The section seeded to daikon radishes is in the background. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Garlic planted

I planted two rows of garlic yesterday. The East row was all good large bulbs and I used 16 of them with the cloves spaced about 8" apart.  The West row includes some second-year bulbil cloves which I am experimenting with.

This ground was plowed, disced, and dragged with the spring tooth the day before. Just prior to planting I dragged again with the cultimulcher setup with three closely spaced teeth and a deep setting to mark the rows. This worked well but the rows were not as straight as I hoped. This strip was production ground consisting of bok choi and cucurbits this season.  After planting I spread compost by hand directly on top of the two rows.

Pretty good frost this month probably six mornings so far that looked like this. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cover Crop Survey

Overall the daikon radishes are doing a better job of crowding out weeds. The oats are weaker and also suffer animal damage more. The peas are very spotty. I am pulling weeds in the oats and peas to help out. 

Pure radishes in the east field

Radishes with oats and peas in the west field

Friday, October 3, 2014

Wheat is up

Wheat is poking through after 6 days. The first real rain was last night, but there has been dew and moisture in the soil all along.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

East field cover crop planted

Drilled in rye yesterday after composting and dragging. Rain comes this afternoon.

This is how we looked doing the final dragging of the field.  This field started in May or June with lots of buckthorn and grapevines.  After roughing things out I went in with the tractor spring tooth and planted to buckwheat.  This came up weakly and sometime in August I plowed it up with the tractor.  The plow found a lot more roots and really helped get them out, although I suspect there are many more still in.  But hopefully there are enough gone that it can be plowed with the team next year.  I worked the ground every time a weed crop came up.  The Western part of this new ground was already planted to daikon radishes, having first started with buckwheat.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cucurbits winding down

I have announced their demise several times now, but the zucchini and yellow squash are still producing. Fruits are smaller now and I can wait a day or two between picking now. Furthermore, there is a lot of die back in the vines. But there is still squash! Weather has been as low as high 30's and into the low 80's. Overall a fairly cool late summer and early fall though.

Cantaloupe have been slooooow to mature and some loss to rot and insects. Surprisingly they are still ripening even though the vine is dying back big time. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wheat planted

I went out with the threesome and tried to break up a few more clods before planting. Rain is forecast in a few days. Not real pretty with some of the big chunks but the seed was well covered. Interestingly, the soil was finer and more prepared in the middle, high part of the field. This is also where things seem to grow best.

Turkey Red Winter Wheat was drilled in using my Earthway Garden Seeder set to 1" and the swiss chard beet okra plate.  This plate tends to dump in more than one seed at a time, but the next smaller plate tends to skip and drills more of the small seeds than bigger ones.

Finished planting is 12' x 120'. I measured and counted carefully and came up with a rate of 81.6 lbs/ acre, or 1,122,541 seeds per acre. This is perfect and I'm very pleased to get this close to the recommendations. The rows are maybe 6" apart but the seeder bounces all over. 

To come to my estimate I counted out 200 seeds on the kitchen counter and weighed them with a high-school type gram scale.  200 seeds = 6.6 grams, hence 859 seeds per ounce

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Seedbed prep

The corn stubble was plowed with the team yesterday. Can't believe how well it worked!

I went back the next day with Rosie in place of Cassie, planning to finish off with the cultimulcher. Rosie tired quickly and I changed to the disc. She still struggled and we did not get all the clods out. I plan to go back in a few days with the three abreast and really go over it with the cultimulcher. Next rain is forecast in about 5-7 days, and one way or another I will get the turkey red winter wheat planted before then. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Corn coming out

The wild animal damage to the sweet corn never let up. The cold weather did not help. Still not sure if this is raccoon or deer damage. I plan on raising the electric fence and installing chicken wire on the perimeter next year. The trap caught one raccoon but continues to hve the bait stolen. 

I have given most of the stalks, including damaged ones, to the goats and donkeys. I will finish pulling it out today to make room for winter wheat. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cantaloupe and new ground

Still waiting on the cantaloupe. They are not ripe yet but production looks good
Summer squash plants have been dying back but still getting 2-6 zucchini and squash per day

New ground to the east is full of buckthorn roots, which surf after every tillage operation. This ground was cleared, worked with the spring tooth tractor, planted to buckwheat, and then plowed with the tractor. It will soon be planted to rye

Monday, September 15, 2014

Kitchen garden

Setting up a new garden site close to the house. This was spaded (poorly) and 3 loads of compost dumped on. I seeded it to daikon radish. Despite being 30 feet from the chicken coop it looks like some of them will survive. This is 3 or maybe 4 days after seeding 

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Oats peas radish cover on west end
Oats and peas on previous wheat area, planted late July or early august
Same strip from the north, showing butternuts creeping on strongly.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Winter squash September 4. I have not picked any butternut yet but they are getting close. The color of some squash has turned but the vines are still green and strong.

Corn stubble after cultimulching on September 9. Stalks were cut and thrown to the donkeys and goats first. This will be seeded to winter wheat soon, along with a little more of the field to the east.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Butternut squash

About 3 seedlings put into ground that had rye cover over winter and moderate application of compost. Planted late but looking good