Saturday, July 14, 2012

Farm Report...2012

The whole thing as of July 14th, 2012
If you compare the date of this post to the date of the previous post, you will see almost one year has passed between the two.

Sheesh!  What in the world have I been doing?  I feel a bit guilty, if only  because I actually love writing and this blog is my only outlet for doing that. 

However, I've determined not to feel guilty about my lack of posts.  As the mother of five kids, I've got enough guilt to last a lifetime without adding a neglected blog to the mix.  (Mention the word "scrapbook" to me...I might crumble.)

Anyway, looking at photos of our garden when the snow is piled high in January makes me happy, so it is time to post some shots of how things are growing on The Farm this year.

Kale (some from those early seeds),  our first asparagus & and the lovely compost pile.
 This year has been strangely, and sometimes oppressively, warm and it started in March.  In fact, March was so warm I planted some chard and kale in small pots because it just seemed wrong to not be planting something.  The warmer than normal for Wisconsin weather means that our spinach has bolted way early, the first round of peas is already done, our lettuce has been finicky and our tomatoes are HUGE!

Standing amongst some of 50+ tomato plants.
The littlest Young' un is still my garden lover.  She is out there everyday for long periods of time just wandering and running back in to report on what she sees.

Yes, she is in her nightgown in this photo.  She'd been bathed for Sunday morning and was ready for bed.  No, I do not feel guilt for posting photos of her in the garden in pj's.

Red Chard , beets , kohlrabi & and arugula

 We planted a few new things this year: brussel sprouts, beets and asparagus.   To be honest, I'd never eaten a beet before, but they  seemed like something I should eat.  Plus, the seed packets showed such pretty photos of a red and white striped beet.  We've had a few, which we grilled and everyone loved them.

The brussel sprouts will be ready in early fall, we hope.

Asparagus takes a couple of years before it can be eaten.  Who knew?  So, for now, all we can do is stare and it longingly.

The amaranth is the red plants in the center.
 Some of the plots are looking a bit sad, truth be told.  Not only has it been much hotter than normal, we are very behind on rain.  Thankfully, our area has gotten more than others in the state, but still, it is dry.  We've been watering a good deal more than other years, but it doesn't seem to be working for everything.

This plot has lettuce, carrots, spinach, yellow chard and amaranth. We've had several meals from the lettuce and chard, but things are looking a bit bleak.

Brussel sprouts, broccoli and pole beans.

So far this year, we've been eating kale, chard, sugar snap peas, lettuce, arugula, spinach, bush beans, beets, kohlrabi, 1 cucumber and 3 yellow cherry tomatoes.  Abby, my garden helper, and I ate the tomatoes.  They were our secret reward for hard work.

The heat has meant we've gotten crops earlier than other years which is nice.  I don't remember having buckets of green beans in early July ever before.

A long view...see the empty trellises in the back?

 The saddest part of the garden at this point are the cucumbers.  We've been overrun by cucumber beetles and they've taken a toll.  A good fight has been waged, but I'm not sure we'll win it.  We're all a bit sad.

A few of the plants are growing and we've actually eaten one cucumber, but the plants are very sparse and sickly. Sigh.
The PJ Farmer trying to stake some tomatoes on her own.

We have about 50 tomato plants.  I think.  There might be a few more.  I lost track.  All different varieties are present and looking great.  Seriously.  They are doing amazing.  Some of them (in the photo to the left) are well over five feet tall.  I see lots of salsa in my future.  And bruschetta.  And tomato bread salad.  And canning.

This amaranth came up on it's own from the seeds of last year's plants.  I didn't need the space and it looks pretty, so we left it.  It is huge, but still nice to look at.  Behind it are, yes, more tomatoes.

What about the chickens?  Well, four arrived in late March.  They were old enough to be laying and we got 3 eggs each day right from the start.  However, we noticed after a while that one "chicken" had a different look to her.  Abby, of course, noticed first.  She started calling her Long Neck.

Long Neck turned out to be a rooster, which explains why we only got 3 eggs per day.

Unfortunately, before we got around to calling our Chicken Guy so we could make a trade, one of our neighbor dogs got loose from his yard and got into the chicken coop.  Long Neck died defending his gals.

I'm not sure that he died bravely.  There didn't seen to be any blood or missing feathers.  He might have just been scared to death, poor guy.

So, at the present time, we have 3 gals here on the Farm.  The trauma of last week appears to have affected their egg laying and we're in a bit of an "egg drought."  Maybe they're in mourning over the death of their valiant defender...

Long Neck is buried in the garden.  If you look closed in the photo with red chard and arugula, you'll see a cross made of sticks in the foreground.  It is tied together with blue streamers.  A service was held and he was given proper rites.

And, yes, there were some tears.