Monday, May 26, 2014

Farm School Spring Series Week Ten

Welcome back to Farm School,
our year-long series on
growing pesticide-free produce in Central Florida.
Each week we start with a tour of the garden.

The Sweet Million cherry tomatoes are producing tons of fruit.
These luscious nuggets don't seem to be affected
 by the blistering heat we've been experiencing the last couple of weeks.

A few more rows were transplanted recently
and will no doubt keep us in maters all summer long.
I've been roasting them and adding them to everything!

The Swiss Chard we transplanted last week is doing fine.
The kale in the background is acting as a "trap" plant,
and keeping bug problems at bay.
The critters go for the "trap"
and leave the newbies alone.

When we checked the kale,
Lynn noticed it swarming with worms...

with more on the way.

Last week, we showed you how Lynn thins the black-eyed peas.
It has simply been a joy to watch them grow.

With no sign of bug or disease trouble,
we are hoping for a bumper crop.

They have started to flower and seem to be getting close to producing a crop.

They are truly fascinating and it is fun to see them develop.

Have you ever eaten fresh black-eyed peas?

The peas have slowed down in the heat (like the rest of us)
but we are still hoping that a final crop will be produced.
A gal can dream, can't she?

The okra is plentiful and thriving.
The first batch picked will be pickled,
and subsequent harvests will be picked for sale at the farmer's market.

The New Zealand spinach is making a slow comeback.
This is our go-to substitute for lettuce,
which is difficult to grow in our climate during the summer.

We do have some lettuce making an amazing display.
These varieties are a staple during the fall and winter months,
and we are surprised to see them doing so well.

It was time for the broccoli crop to come out.
They have been producing for quite some time,
so the final harvest of tips was completed.

We had to make room for the eggplant.

Lynn and I worked to remove the spent broccoli crops,
clean up the pots and ready them for the transplants.
Keeping the plastic covers and cages in place
saved a lot of time.
Each seedling was gingerly placed in its new home.

For added support (it gets windy on The Hill),
Lynn's method includes his custom-designed stakes
made from steel rods and heavy-duty wire.

The transplants will be able to grow straight and tall
without having to struggle against unfavorable conditions.

Now they just have to grow!
We'll all be ready for those first gorgeous globes of goodness!

Off to the burn pile!

A project Lynn has been working on 
has been to use this handy relic to split his bricks in half.
This is a hand-forged tool from who knows when
and perfectly designed for this job.

The tool is placed on the brick and tapped a couple of times to score it,
then with another forceful thrust of the mallet,

he's doubled the brick population.
He uses these to weigh down the plastic covers on the containers.

Instead of buying more bricks, he increased his inventory the easy way.

These lil' beauties are grove peppers,
and they are not for the faint of heart-or stomach.

It was a scorcher today at Farm School
and summer hasn't even officially started.
Although the temperature may cut our jobs short,
we do what we can in the allotted time.
Every task is completed with attention to detail, 
a sense of integrity in producing a quality product,
and a whole lotta love.

All of our Farm School posts
can be found under our header.

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