Monday, April 22, 2013

Farm School-Week Eight

Happy Earth Day!

 Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens.
-Thomas Jefferson

  This weekend I was inundated with information,
some of which I will not be able to remember,
but much of it has already taken seed.

I have one big problem 
with Farm School.

The more I learn,
the more I want to know.
I told Lynn that's the sign of a true teacher.
That, he is.

It was an overcast and breezy day,
quite a bit cooler than I had expected.
We hit the ground running.

Sometimes Lynn has more energy than he knows what to do with.
I had no sooner exited my vehicle when the first lesson began.
This critter was found by Faye 
as she was procuring an order for lettuce.
Because each and every leaf is examined carefully,
she was able to spot these two troublemakers.

They are called cabbage loopers.
You can read about them here.
They will help themselves to bean, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, kale, lettuce, parsley, pea, potato, radish, spinach, 
and tomato plants, by chewing the leaves.
Lynn shared with me that Bt can be used to control them.

Some of the lettuce has bolted.
They don't like the heat.
I know just how they feel...

They remind me of Christmas trees.
But of course, they're much tastier.

Some of the cilantro has bolted as well.
Lynn told me that it was 97 degrees in the sun last week.

To keep the harvest coming,
he's trying a new variety.
This one is supposed to be slow to bolt.
I just love how he experiments with new varieties and methods.
I actually got to sow these.
Sendin' a little love down with each seed.

Some trays of brand spankin' new seedlings are coming right along.
They have a bit of shade under an umbrella when needed.

There is always something new brewing here.

The tomatoes have made tremendous growth 
in the past few weeks.

Netting was placed on three sides
 to prevent the birds from accessing the fruit.
Unfortunately, one lil' rascal got into the other side and took a taste.
The ends had to be covered as well to prevent any more losses.

After recently being fertilized, 
they are growing strong and vigorously.

Flags are placed near ripening fruit to make spotting them easier.

Hopefully, we'll be bringing some of these home next week.
Grilled tomato and cheese here I come!

It's unreal how much fruit is on each plant.
It's like a major 'mater wing-ding goin' on in there!

They can hardly contain themselves!

The star of the show this week is the beans.
What were flowers last week have exploded into
an array of tender, sweet goodness.
They've got beans comin' out of their ears!

Even if you couldn't eat it,
it sure is pretty to look at, no?

These newly transplanted tomatoes 
were feeling the effects of the heat.
Lynn set up the sprinkler at the end of the row
to gently mist the plants until they looked a bit livelier.
Genius, huh?

Today was pretty magical.
I learned what makes up the rich and potent mix
that nurtures the tomato crops in this garden.

Lynn uses containers for his growing,
and because he surrounds the area around each seedling 
with a plastic cover,
weeds have no chance of interfering with the crop's growth.

Today we were filling pots for new tomatoes going in.
The container to the right holds virgin soil.

He fills it about a third of the way up the pot.
Amendments are added, then more topsoil.
Here, he's showing where we should end up 
with our last layer of amendments.
The final top portion 
(up to the collar of the container)
is then filled in with additional topsoil.

The first additive is lime.
This can be found at any big box store or hardware store.

This is 10-10-10 fertilizer.
It helps the 'maters get a great start.

A heaping cup of fertilizer gets sprinkled upon the topsoil
in the bottom third of the pot.

The lime goes on top, about 3/4 of a cup.

You want to get good coverage,

then use a cultivator to work it in well.

Do this twice more, adding soil, amendments
then working it in,

and then fill the pot up to the brim with topsoil.
Ready for planting!

A good day's work and a happy gardener.

Someone else has been busy on the property.
Lookee here...

As if that's not amazing enough,
check this out...

I almost cried when I saw how sweet these lil' eggs looked
so snug and nestled in their home.

Here's Momma takin' care of business.

There really is so much to see here.
I hope to one day come back
just to snap shots of all the unusual plant life.

Cilantro flowers

Aren't they the most delicate things?

Broccoli going to flower


This is called the Confederate Rose.
It's not a rose.
Faye said that it's in the hibiscus family.
Here's what it looked like on Saturday, 
(wait for it...)

here's what it looked like the next day.

Mother Nature is a wonder.

A lot was accomplished today.
There is so much more to learn.
I hope you get to spend some time today
doing what rings your chimes!

Do something kind for Mother Earth today!

Farm School Week One
Farm School Week Two
Farm School Week Three
Farm School Week Four
Farm School Week Five
Farm School Week Six
Farm School Week Seven