Monday, June 2, 2014

Farm School Spring Series Week Eleven

The Spring season of Farm School is just about over,
and with it, the garden is winding down for summer.

It probably seems strange to folks further north,
as their gardens are just gearing up,
but in the high heat and humidity,
there's not much that grows readily in Central Florida.

 Case in point, Tomato Town has left Dodge.
The Celebrity variety that were being grown here
were not up to snuff for the farmer's market
so they were pulled out.

Unfortunately, the Sweet Millions are also having their share of problems.

 Although we've enjoyed a few harvests from these crops,
there are only a couple of handfuls left for noshing
that haven't been affected by this splitting.

 There are more on the way though!
So far, these transplants look healthy and strong.

Okra is one of the easiest crops to grow,
even in the heat of the summer.
We also checked on the Swiss Chard 
that had been transplanted a couple of weeks ago.
So far, so good.

Worms have been a problem in the collards.
Thankfully, this crop is on its way out anyway.

 Even the newly sown lettuce is being infested.
As Lynn & Faye grow everything pesticide-free,
these buggers are removed by hand-picking.

The okra is basking in the summer-like conditions.
There is an abundance of this growing.
Some is for pickling and some is to sell fresh.

Beautiful flowers and it tastes good too.
What more could you ask?

 Another crop that is looking strong is the black-eyed peas.

 I couldn't believe it when I saw not only how many more pods were on each plant,

 but the size of the pods themselves must have tripled since last week.

 I can't wait to sample fresh black-eyed peas for the first time.
I've only had them dried.
It'll be fun to shell them and see what kind of flavor they have.

The sugar snap peas are surprising us with lots of blooms and pods.
We had almost given up on getting another crop out of this batch.
They prefer cooler temperatures than what we've been experiencing in the last month.

What a treat if we get even one harvest in June!

 These seed pods are from the Cat's Claw plant,
which Lynn tells me is an invasive species.
Aren't they just amazing?!

Today we worked on sowing more of the 
heat-tolerant lettuce varieties.
Cell packs are filled with Lynn's loose soil mix.

 The soil is leveled out using a flat-edged knife,
then the cell pack is lifted and carefully dropped to settle the soil.

We use tweezers to meticulously place one seed per cell.
 We sowed the Red Sails variety,

 as well as the New Red Fire type.
Cell packs are then placed on trays,
then misted immediately to promote germination.
Covers remain on in the evening until the seedlings pop up.
We also cover them during rainstorms, so as not to disturb the delicate seeds.

 A couple of joyous discoveries were made earlier in the week.
These are Mockingbird eggs.
Faye had found two in the nest,
but when we checked, there were four!
Aren't they darling?

In another tree, these baby cardinals were resting
after an exhausting morning of eating.
Some life, huh?
They sure look cramped in there, don't they?

 Here's some of the good stuff I brought home.
These banana peppers get roasted and added to just about everything.

The cherry tomatoes are so good all by themselves,
but I roast some of these too and add them to tacos,
pasta, rice and beans and whatever else happens to be on the menu.
They really live up to the name Sweet Millions.

Hope you found something useful today at Farm School.

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check out the tabs under our header!
It starts here.