Monday, June 9, 2014

Farm School Spring Series Week Twelve

Welcome back to 
Farm School.
Our session begins as always, 
with a status check on the garden.

The heat-resistant New Red Fire and Red Sails varieties of lettuce
are surprising us by doing well and remaining tasty, even with temperatures in the 90's.

There are almost 400 okra plants being tended.
This summer staple thrives on the heat and humidity.

Faye and Lynn harvest it when it is this big.
They are the perfect size for pickling.

 The banana peppers are looking mighty fine.
They have a mild, sweet flavor
and are great added to soups, sandwiches or any savory dish.

The Swiss Chard is coming up,
which is somewhat of a surprise,
as it is usually grown during the cooler season.

 Leeks, New Zealand spinach, cucumbers and okra
get a little relief from the scorching heat.

We caged the Sweet Million tomato plants
before they get too big.

We hope to see fruit soon.
These are sweet, juicy and mouth-watering.

 We've been learning a lot about the black-eyed pea crop.
The plants are loaded with pods.

By sampling the peas,
we noticed that the ones in the darker green pods are more tender and sweet.
The lighter green pods contain peas that are already starting to dry on the vine.

 This is the way they come out of the pod
at this stage, with a flush of green color.

We picked any that showed signs of turning yellow.
I'm planning on sprouting some of these.

 Aphids have so far been the only problem with this crop.

 They are shelled much like snap peas,
although the pod is not edible.

Can't wait to add these to my salad!

 Have you heard of lychee?
It's a tropical fruit that originated in Asia.

 The ruby-hued skin is peeled away to reveal the edible treat inside.
Faye likens it to a grape,
but I found the texture a bit less appealing.

The pit is quite large in the center.
You can learn more about this crop here.

A couple of weeks ago, a few limbs on this large oak 
had become stressed and simply broke off.

The result was devastating.
Faye and Lynn have seen too much of this,
as they survived the 3 hurricanes in 2004.
They lost over 200 trees on the property.

Many of the daturas that Lynn started a few months ago are now blooming.
These will be brought to the farmer's market for sale.

Also called "devil's trumpet",
this stunner is sure to sell out.

As temperatures climb,
our work slows.
Even a few completed tasks add up to a morning of success.

All of the Farm School series can be found under our header.
The fun starts here.