Monday, April 28, 2014

Farm School Spring Series Week Six

Welcome back to
Farm School.
It's springtime, but it feels more like summer.
Temps today reached 91 in the shade.

Our status check found the garden slowing down
with the rise in temperature.

In the past few weeks, the five varieties of lettuce had bolted.
Lynn has a couple of new heat-resistant varieties started in seed trays.
These are the Red Sails and Red Fire seeds germinating.

An almost perfect germination rate on the eggplant
ensures that we'll be enjoying the fruit of the delicious Epic crops soon.

Elsewhere in the garden, some crops are done for the season.
This Red Russian kale has been devoured by aphids.
The plants will be pulled out of their pots
and then replanted with okra.

The Dinosaur kale is faring a bit better,
but this cool weather lover will probably not be producing much longer.

The good news is that Tomato Town is as happy as
a bumblebee in a sunflower patch.
The plants are loaded with fruit,
and so far, not much sign of bug trouble.
Can't wait for that first grilled cheese and tomato sandwich!

The okra is also diggin' the heat.
Lynn shared that once these get going,
they sometimes must be harvested twice a day,
as they grow so prolifically.
If you've never tried pickled okra, trust me, you need to.

The black-eyed peas continue to amaze.
The germination rate was stellar
and they just look better each week.

Lynn thinned the established crops out a bit this past week,
from 8 plants to a pot down to five or six.
This is a new crop on The Hill
and Lynn isn't afraid to experiment with his methods.

The parsley plants are lush and vibrant.
This versatile herb is used in so many dishes
for added flavor and a pop of color.
At our house, it's usually washed, chopped 
and placed in a glass jar in the freezer for frequent use.

The last sowing of sugar snap peas is thus far looking good.
We aren't sure how well they will do with the summer-like weather,
but keeping them in the shade should help.

The cucumbers were reseeded recently,
as the first sowing didn't do much.
Lynn adheres to the old adage,
"try, try again".

Here's how the lettuce transplants we worked on last weekend looked.

In just a week, the Red Salad Bowl variety is making progress.
Lynn is utilizing the natural shade of overhead tree limbs to combat the heat,
as well as a protective covering to keep the tender seedlings safe from strong wind and rain.

We worked on filling some of these pots with

the dirt that was recently acquired from a seller on Craig's List.
We sifted through any roots or debris in the mound of dirt,
and then refilled the pots.

You can see the process we utilized here.

This dirt will be amended with peat moss
and possibly perlite to make it more viable.
It doesn't meet Lynn's standards for planting,
as it had difficulty absorbing moisture.

This baby walking stick was found in one of the pots where we were working.
It's such a treat discovering friendly critters!

Another task was to remove a couple of rows of spent sugar snap peas
to make room for more black-eyed peas.

The seeds were sown an inch deep about every 2 inches across the pot.
The germination rate with these babies is almost 100 percent.

The broccoli is slowing down dramatically.
We picked some tips for my order.

See the little eggs on the dill near my thumb?
Those are black swallowtail caterpillar eggs.
That means that soon we'll be bringing cats home
to give away on Craig's List.
We love teaching others about the life cycle of this amazing butterfly.

Another fantastic and productive day in paradise.
There is so much to learn and precious little time.
No matter, I'll take what I can get.
Farm School is an exercise in gratitude.

We started the Farm School series here.


Backyard Farming Connection

Back to the Basics