Thursday, October 25, 2012

Box of chocolates

This week I was fortunate enough to have the company of a wonderful woman by the name of Andrea.  She honestly worked harder than me, and was a joy to work with.  At one point the tiller would not start, and I was determined to get it start so I think I tried for 45 minutes!  Andrea had cleared a row and I wanted her to be able to see it through, tilled and planted.  Meanwhile being the worker bee that she is she was pulling the dried weeds in the next row.  This row and the one next to it were the most damaged rows from the pool collapse.  The thousands of gallons of water had spurred a huge weed growth, and there parts of the greenhouse and the pool strewn throughout it.  To be honest I had turned off the irrigation and was trying hard to not look at it until Mike had the time to help me build the hydroponics over it.  The truth is with the holidays coming it was not going to happen until after the first of the year.  Today as I left the new greenhouse because I was dripping more sweat than the ceiling with all its condensation I proceeded to the old greenhouse where Andrea had been working.  There I saw the cleared row, and to be honest it was the first real look I had given it in a while, and there I saw what I had been looking for.  I had just posted a question on building a better carrot bed on a listserv of market gardeners across the country I belong to.  My carrots are too hairy and the quality is not there, but I knew part of this was the summer season, which is not conducive to sweet carrots.  I already knew I had to watch my nitrogen levels, but the market gardeners also told me to watch my organic matter, which will cause the hairiness and of course in addition I needed a well drained porous soil that would allow the carrots to grow at ease, and there it was in front of me.  I started the tiller, which started easily thank the Lord, and tilled about 10 feet.  The bed had been amended at the beginning of the summer and all the mulch had been washed away or had broken down within the soil and now there was a healthy amount of sand in it creating a beautiful porous soil.  I widened the walkway to create an easier working area and thus built the bed up creating plenty of room for the carrots to grow.  So I owe Andrea a lot more than I thought.  Just like the tiller needed a good jump did I and Andrea was my "jump start" that day.  You never know why people walk into your life or for that matter why things happen to you and what gift you have provided to another, but in this case Andrea was my gift.  She has a fantastic appetite for life, and understood all my goofy analogies.  When I was showing her the new greenhouse she came up with one of her own that I loved.  I showed her how the Swiss chard had grown beautifully hidden behind some old celery plants and then a new growth of basil that had come up unexpectedly, and she said "It's like a box of chocolates, you never quite know what you will find".   Thank you Andrea.

Friday, October 19, 2012

It's still hot!!

The last few weeks are a blur with being sick, planting and finishing up more canning, and I can't believe it is still hot!!  I have the greenhouse going off five times a day trying to save my lettuce transplants, but it does not look good!!  The only saving grace is the cooler evenings, but when the world provides lemons, make this case start throwing spinach in the ground as fast as you can in order to maybe sneak in a harvest before the dead of winter and/or hope that it overwinters for an early harvest in February/March, and also start more transplants inside in case you lose what is in the ground, and plant, plant, plant seed!!  The meat chickens are at their "doubling" time...every time I go out there they seem to have doubled in size and the turkeys are really starting to take off too!!   The new laying hens are in full production...though here at home we are eating a lot of "baby size" eggs :).   The cows as you can see are enjoying the cleaning of the fields...squash plants are delicious...just ask them!  The piglets should be here in a few weeks for the beginning of the next pork batch, and thank you everyone for the comments on how delicious it is...makes my day!!  I spent quite a lot of time dealing with the tree order today and decided to ask if anyone wanted to hitch onto the order.  These trees you will not find in the store and they are being ordered on rootstock specific to this region.  Heirloom apples, peaches, pluots, plums, cherries, figs, etc.  Just email me at and I will provide a list.  I need to know by November 10th and the money is due then too.  They will be delivered in January/February 2013 as bareroot.   By the way...did you know the deep beige color on the butternut squash develops after it cures in the field...thought I would let you know...I had customers asking why mine was not like that; I was picking fresh from the vine...the rest are curing in the fields now :).  Have a great week everyone!!
Moonstruck signing off!!