Farm School-The Beginning



Week One

This weekend I started school.
Farm school.
Faye and Lynn, who provide our amazing produce,
have amiably agreed to show me a thing or two.
Can I tell  you how stoked I am about that?

~IT. IS. SUCH. A. RUSH.~



I've mentioned these fine folks on a few occasions,
as I'm so impressed not only with the quality 
of the produce they grow,
but the integrity with which they do business.
In my book, that stands for a lot.
The original post can be found here.

As I soon learned,
one of the most critical tasks in Lynn's system,
is the maintenance of diligent records.
Seeding, reseeding, and harvest dates are noted,
as well as any pertinent information for future sowing.  
 



 Today's lesson got started with the planting of okra.
A southern staple, it is one of the most popular crops they sell.
These pots are filled with rich, loose soil 
and topped with a ring of landscape fabric
to keep down weeds and protect the leaves of plants
from becoming dirty.
We're starting 8 pots in this location,
as there are established plants on another part of the property.
Lynn likes to plant successively, 
so that he is able to fulfill his customers requests most of the year.




 This was the first time I'd seen okra seeds.
Not being a fan of the texture
I'd never had occasion to plant it.



With each variety, we read the package directions
for spacing and planting depth.
It's a good idea to follow these instructions
if you're trying to germinate something for the first time.
With experience, alterations may be made.



Lynn uses this tool for smaller seeds .
When it was my turn, I put my finger
on the tweezers at the correct depth for planting,
then just plunged them down until my fingers hit soil.
A quick patting down, and we're good to go.
Couldn't be easier!




 This was the root of an okra plant 
that was recently pulled out of the pots.
It must have taken up the whole depth of the container.



 I was amazed to see how thick and bulky the stems were.
It's truly astounding to see what comes of a tiny seed.



 After planting, they were well watered in.
Lynn has invested in quality equipment to make the job easier,
and much of his gear has a lifetime warranty.
That's hard to come by these days.

We also reseeded some beans that had not germinated.
Each task is completed with such tender care.
It's no wonder the food tastes so good. 



I'm on the waiting list for these gorgeous leeks!
For some reason, not many folks here use these,
so they are not prevalent in most grocery stores.
Can't wait to make the first pot of soup with these babies!



Another job we tackled was removing the spent pea vines.
(The ones in this picture still look pretty good,
as the photo is from a couple of months ago.)
We cut them down and cleaned up the pots a bit.
Our reward was finding a few tasty tidbits to munch
before bringing them down.




He's got new plants already started here in the back.
These will be ready for harvest in the next couple of weeks.
I have found that my noontime salad is not the same without them.
I guess if you have to have an addiction, 
peas are not such a bad vice.

The lettuces keep them company.
Lynn & Faye grow several kinds and I had
a love affair going with Romaine for the longest time.
But since sampling their red oak leaf variety,
my heart belongs to it.
I still get a good mix of greens,
as they are more than willing to accommodate their customers.


It was a cool and windy afternoon,
but I was unaffected by the temperatures.
I was in the zone.
And in good company.

May the blessings that have found me,
make their way to you. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Week Two
 
Farm school was back in session on Saturday.
It was about 20 degrees warmer this week.





Seedlings waiting their turn to be transplanted.





Brussels sprouts planted a little over a month ago
will find a new home soon.
I've never seen these grown,
so I look forward to witnessing them come into their own.



Would you look at these beauties?
Lynn has babied these through the recent cold snap
and he is being handsomely rewarded.




Clusters and clusters of gorgeous green globes
with plenty more to come!
Anyone gettin' hungry?



Faye raises a large variety of amaryllis plants.
What a lovely sight in the garden.



The peas should be ready for harvesting by next week.
Fork poised, here.
My lunchtime salad just ain't the same without 'em.



Wish you could taste how sweet and juicy these lil' buggers are.



A welcome guest.



We worked on the leeks today.
Another favorite of mine, 
although I haven't yet tasted Lynn's offerings.



He has his own magical mix for growing.
It's gotta be the perfect combination of ingredients,
because his crops are so healthy and abundant.



We cleared the pots of any loose debris (leaves and such),
then added a bit more soil mix.







 

A few more weeks and we should be able
to make some delicious homemade soup.
Grow, babies, grow!


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Week Three


This week in Farm School we did some cleaning up,
but most of the lessons consisted of observation.
Lynn's been busy creating more space for growing.
The first stop was the kale/okra/Swiss chard area.



Here's how it looked a couple of weeks ago.
The cinder blocks were moved to make a more expansive formation.
(Can I tell you how thrilled I am 
that I figured out how to add arrows to my pix?)


Here's how it looks now.
It's so easy to get in and between the rows
without all of the stooping required from a traditional garden plot.




Everything's coming along...



including the okra that we planted last week.
Oh, yeah.




The reseeded snap peas are doing well.



Look at 'em go!




Loaded with blooms,
these are ripe for the pickin'.
You know I came home with a bagful!



Alas, the eggplant are just about spent.
I've been allowed to pick my own from the remaining crop.
We tore out the plants with withering fruit.
Not to worry, there are new plants coming along
that will be ready for harvest within weeks.



The leeks are growing strong.
Can't wait for the first bite of these tasty treats.




With herbs like this, who needs ornamentals?




We don't use a lot of dill,
but this plant is worthy of space in the garden.



One of the areas that Faye and Lynn schooled me on
is their irrigation system.



It's quite a set up.
Overhead sprayers do a proper job of watering the garden
as well as protecting plants from a freeze.



They have invested in quality materials
which make the job of controlling the water 
much easier and more efficient.



See the cork?
It's used to keep spiders and yukkity-yuks from clogging up the line.
Genius, I tell ya!




This filter works to keep the top of the sprinklers clear.
All of these measures keep the system running smoothly.



These sprayers cover a whole lotta territory.



A newfound love of mine.




Got dirty beets?



 Here's the high-tech way to take care of that.




 

Ta-da!

Let me tell ya, life is good. 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Week Four


This week a lot was covered at Farm School.
Not sure I'll remember every detail,
but it's a wonderful place to be.
I'm finding that mindfulness is a constant discipline here.
That's something that I can use a lot more practice doing.


Presence is more than just being there.
-Malcolm Stevenson Forbes



First thing we did was check on the kales, beans and maters.


 Lynn has two different kinds of netting on the crops,
aiming to keep out unwanted critters.



 The kales, especially, are susceptible to worms.




 The tomatoes are growing strong
and producing clusters of fruit.


It won't be long...



and there are more of these beauties coming...


 We checked on the delectable peas.
Lynn and Faye had recently worked on tucking the vines
inside the baling twine, to keep the aisles clear
and give more support to the crops.
We also reseeded a few rows.






I'm happiest when my hands are in the dirt.



Here, Lynn explained to me how he had cut back 
the New Zealand spinach.
The stuff grows like gangbusters!
It's a great addition to a salad and bolsters one's iron sources.


 The broccoli is still putting off shoots of the most tender sprouts,
even though some of it is flowering.


The upcoming eggplant looks healthy and vibrant.
I was able to harvest a few lovely specimens 
from the remaining plants.


 Two varieties of leeks are being grown.
It'd be interesting to sample each and compare their taste.


 The dill seed is almost ready for harvesting.
Isn't it a wonder how Mother Nature provides sustenance
in such an amazing package?



I learned about the importance of investing in quality equipment.


Now the REAL fun begins...


We were going to sow seeds and Lynn showed me his method.
One of the crops we're starting today is Roma tomatoes.
He's never tried growing them before,
but a certain someone (wink) suggested it for her homemade gravy
and he was gracious enough to oblige.
Cluster packs are reused as needed,
so he's got quite a stash.
We're all about the recycling here!


 Tools of the trade...
 (Tweezie and The Levelator)


 His secret mix is loaded into the trays and leveled.


 Ready for sowing.


Only non-GMO seeds are used here.
 Some seeds are so tiny,



 they are put in using tweezers for precise placement.
One seed per cell is all that's required.



Trays are marked with the variety and date
then placed in this double rack system.
(He also records his efforts on his ongoing log.)
A good sprinkling of water will foster germination.
A plastic lid is placed on top to preserve moisture.



How blessed to be learning from someone so skilled.
The methods I am being taught
could be so well adapted to the application I have in mind.
I'm picturing Maple Hill and all of its beneficiaries.




Seems like it's all coming together...
Be blessed!

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Week Five


Saturday was beautiful here in Central Florida.
Time to learn about farming
and enjoy being so close to paradise.
Read about my mentors here.


Who wouldn't be inspired 
to spend as much time as possible outside in nature.


I had noticed a smattering of orange on my way up the drive.
This is a loquat tree.
I'd read about them, but never seen one in person.
Lynn allowed me to sample a few of these 
orange olive-shaped treasures.
He described it as peach meets plum.
All I know is that it was delicious.
Juicy, not too sweet and a marvel to behold.





Maters as far as the eye can see!
These bad boys will soon be ready for harvest.



Each plant houses clusters of luscious green globes,
ripening on the vine.


Is your mouth watering yet?


We took a look at the beans.



Some had noticeable wind damage.
Plans are in the works to remedy that situation
so that in subsequent growing seasons 
plants will be sheltered.



Transplanting seedlings is on today's agenda.




These black plastic rings cover most of the pots used
to prevent weeds from growing and robbing plants of nutrients.
The transplants are placed in the center hole.


Not sure if it shows up here, but a small nail is placed
right in the center of the plastic ring's hole.
Digging around the nail provides the perfect-sized hollow to accommodate the new seedlings.





Waiting young pepper plants are ready 
to nestle into their new home.




Sprouts are gently placed into the hole,
being careful to keep the rim of the seedling 
flush with the surrounding soil.



The black ring is placed back on top.
Ready for take off!



Bricks and a few more nails 
help to keep the plastic in place during windy conditions.



We also had time to get some eggplant transplanted.
Everything was well watered.


I asked Lynn about the fading bottoms of these peas.
He assured me that they will continue to produce a crop
even though the bottoms look spent.




Here are peas planted a little over a month ago.



And others planted a few weeks later.
I gotta say this is one of my favorite samplings each week.
Succession planting keeps customers happy.


Is this a sight?
The organizer in me loves 
not only the order of like items placed together,
but the functionality of stationing tools 
where they are most used.

Another fun learning day.
Hope you are enjoying the lessons you are gifted with today.


~~~~~~~~~~
Week Six


Here we go!
We're hoping spring is making its appearance
in your neck of the woods.
We've been blessed with cool mornings
and sunny days.


This place is Zen.



Some pretty amazing things happen here.

 

In just a few weeks, these babies
will be gracing our supper table.
These beans are a bush variety and need no staking.


 

Week six has us learning about 
growing tomatoes.
These beauties just keep comin' right along.



It's all the love I tell ya...

 

Could anything this glorious grow
without tender loving care?


 

These are pretty far along.
Let's learn how they got there...




Today we're planting sweet millions.
It's a cherry tomato variety.
They will grow during our hot summers
when other tomatoes are long since compost.

Notice how long the stem is.
Wait 'til you see what we do with this gorgeous specimen.




Everything is started from seed.
Those are some mighty healthy looking roots there.




All the lower leaves are stripped off of the stem.
Lynn says that you really can't hurt the plant at this stage.
Seems brutal, but this man knows his stuff.






Now, check this out.
The hole is dug in the center of the pot...



the plant is placed waaaaaaay down in the hole.



Replace the soil back around the stem...




until it's almost where the topmost leaves begin.


Buried and snug as a bug.


Seedlings are efficiently watered near the center,
so as to saturate the roots.
If the roots are healthy, the plant should be too.




We checked on the eggplant that were recently transplanted.
Comin' right along...



I adore the bloom on this eggplant.
A feast for the eyes as well as the soul.



This one ended up in my take home bag.



Lynn advised me that this plant is nearly a year old
and still producing.
That's nothing short of amazing.



A new crop being tried is the zucchini blossom.
Notice the sandy soil?



Pea tendrils dance as they make their way up the trellis.



This is the day I've been waiting for.



I get to sample this magnificent creature.



Lynn even allowed me to harvest my own!
Whoo-hoo!
Just grab at the base and pull, baby, pull!



I mean, are you kidding me?
I'm 5' 4", and these were nearly my height.






Faye is tenderly harvesting some of the red oak leaf
that will go into my order for a lettuce mix.
Everything is suited to the customer's preferences.
Excuse me, I can't look at this picture too long 
because I start to drool uncontrollably.
It's that good.



There are a myriad of elegant and fascinating ornamental plants 
on the property.



Eye candy everywhere you look...



God sure does good work.




Hope you enjoyed Farm School today.
The time I spend here is so centering for me, so calming.   
It nurtures my very being.
Enjoy this day and and all of its gifts.




~~~~~~~~~~~~
Week Seven


The days here are getting warmer in a hurry.
Farm School on Saturday started with 
our usual check on what's growing.




The beans should soon be ready for harvest.
They are looking healthy and strong.



Multiple buds on each plant signal
that things are on track.



Some of the favored Celebrity tomatoes
are suffering from some type of worm or other critter.



In hopes of eliminating the problem,
Faye & Lynn used diatomaceous earth on the crops.



Several of these beauties are starting to turn color.



There is ample sunshine and circulation in this part of the garden.
These containers house peppers, beets, chard, broccoli, 
and an assortment of herbs.



A sea of pea vines.

I'm gettin' hungry...



The squash blossoms are lookin' good.

We worked on transplanting some eggplant this week.
Lynn also reiterated how important it is to keep accurate records.
Well, that's rubbing off on me,
'cause I'm doing that at home
even though my garden isn't a quarter of his.




Gorgeous blooms are provided at every turn.



The neighbors' draft horses sometimes come over for a visit.





Gorgeous creatures!





One of my requests this week was parsley.
After it's brought home, it gets gently washed
and whizzed in the food processor.
I freeze it in jars so that I always have some on hand.



Lynn let me cut my own bunch.
I wish you could smell this stuff!

I also got to harvest my own eggplant and beets.
What's better than pickin' your own food fresh from the garden?



Lynn has all these tricks up his sleeve.


These buckets have handles with a plastic piece that cracks over time.
That makes it difficult to carry anything substantial,
as the metal handle digs into your skin without the extra support.

Duct tape to the rescue!


Lynn winds the duct tape around the metal handle
so that it serves as a cushion.
He prefers the one on the left.
You use whatcha got.


 

The things I'm learning here are being applied at home,
although the set up is a bit modified.
Just knowing that Faye & Lynn are successful farmers
helps me to feel that I can be too.
One thing that I try to convey to them
is that they are accomplishing an extraordinary feat.
Providing food for others is a remarkable achievement.
Being willing to teach your craft to others is phenomenal.

I plan to pass it on...
 




 

~~~~~~~~~~~~
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.





Lychee
 
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

peaches



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, 
and 
(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!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Week Nine


Farm School is back in session.
It was another busy day with lots to do and see.





Ah, yes, another day in paradise.


Last week, Lynn had discovered that a bird
had gotten into the tomato netting from the side
and sampled one of his delicious morsels. 
 Here's the new and improved version of protection 
from flying tomato eaters.



They can easily walk inside to retrieve fruit,
but the critters cannot penetrate the barrier.
Is there anything that's not improved 
with clothespins?



The metal stakes on the tomatoes keep the leaves off of the soil,
which protects the plant from pests.



Plenty of blooms on these sweet things.



It was time to cage these babies.



This is a cutworm.  Nasty critters.
They can be found at the base of plants
when they surface from just beneath the soil.
Read about them here.



We pulled out all this lettuce that had bolted from the heat.
The pots were tidied and prepared for another crop.




 Lynn explained how he gets his fertilizer from a local company.
He uses this on most of his crops.
It's got the right mix of minerals that his plants adore.
 It's more cost effective to buy a bag this size 
than what you might find at a big box store.
It lasts a good long while.



Some of the more exotic plants were in bloom.
This is called a king's mantle.



The contrast of the purple and yellow is striking.



This is the queen's mantle.
The purple shade is similar, 
but what a difference in texture and form.
Just gorgeous!


This is a sausage tree which is native to Africa.
We will visit this one again when we can show you what it produces.



This plant is a mystery even to Lynn.
When he first showed me, 
it seemed like the blooms were plastic or vinyl.
What a wild sense of humor God has.



This experience is something I couldn't have dreamed and yet,
I know that I created it in my life 
because I was meant to travel this path.
Feeling grateful for everything learned
and all that God provides.




~~~~~~~~~~~~
Week Ten


Farm School is back in session.
Last weekend at the same time the daytime temps 
were in the 60's.
This weekend it's felt more like summer.

Sad as I was to learn that most of the lettuce is finished until fall,
and the beets are tiring of the heat 
and will soon be harvested for storage,
it's all a part of farming.
Our growing season is so different than most others',
but we have to accept that as an inevitable part 
of being a Florida gardener.

The good news is that we will be harvesting fresh veggies
when others are gearing up for winter.
It's all a trade off.  


 We're back and ready to enjoy all of God's beauty that abides here.






 This week, we started after lunch,
as Faye and Lynn had a successful morning at the farmer's market.
Temperature?
A breezy 91 degrees in the shade.




 Our mission today was to get these pepper plants staked and caged.
Several have grown so quickly that they are now leaning.




 Lynn has many uses for these particular cages.
He keeps them handy near the garden where they will be utilzed.




 The stakes are repurposed from Lynn's citrus plants.
His trees are mature and no longer need staking,
so he reuses them for other crops.



 Any plant that may be askew due to growth or wind
gets two or three of these rods placed around the stem.
It's a delicate process, as peppers can be extremely sensitive.
They allow enough support when properly placed
that no ties are needed.




 After staking, the cages are ready to be placed.



A small puncture is made in the black plastic where the cage legs sit.
This material is self-sealing, so the process must be done quickly.
 The beauty of this product is that it eliminates the need for weeding.


 A couple of rows down, a few more to go...



The farm grows bell and banana peppers
as well as a few hot varieties.




 Mission accomplished!




 Okra is one of the few plants that do well here in summer
and being a Southern crop, the demand is high.




 So many unusual sights on this land...



 as well as scenes created by Mother Nature's helping hand.




 It's all beautiful, wonderful and fosters tranquility.



Another family has been busy.
These are mockingbird eggs.
 They were noticed a couple of weeks ago.



Winken, Blinken and Nod 
made their debut sometime last week.
Momma was not far away.


It felt good to accomplish a unified goal.
Another task completed means that attention can be focused
on the next objective.

See ya next week for another lesson!


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Week Eleven


Farm School is really heatin' up.
It's still spring, but feels more like summer.
Fortunately, up on the hill, there is always a breeze.





No time to use this, we have work to do!




Almost ready for the pickin'.




A tray of leek starts is doing well under the shade.
Hard to imagine, but these long, slender seedlings,


grow into this healthy and copious harvest.



My favorite type of lettuce had recently bolted.
The Red Salad Bowl variety had done well 
up until temps starting scaling the 90's.




New seeds were planted in hopes that 
changing the growing location could allow for another crop.




Pots are filled with Lynn's soil mix.
A couple of taps on the bottom settles the soil just right.




We work assembly-line style,
filling all the pots before beginning the next step.
It's an efficient way to ensure tasks are uniformly completed.




A pre-cut plastic form is placed on top of the soil.
See the nail in the middle?
That helps to make certain of proper centering of transplants.
The form is removed and the dirt is extracted from around the nail with a trowel.
The plant is placed in the hole and checked again for center.




The plastic ring is placed back on top and two nails keep it secure.
We water each plant as it is placed in its new spot.




The current location will be under these covers.




Twenty percent shadecloth is folded over twice, 
giving 60% protection.
A plastic overlay is placed on top of the shadecloth.





This should keep the crops safe from sweltering sun, 
blustery wind and pounding rain.




About 30 pots fit under one of these structures.
I sure hope it does the trick.
I have been Jonesin' for some of this delicious lettuce bigtime.

Let's see what else is goin' on here at the farm.


The peppers looked like this just a week ago.




Now they're turning beautiful shades of crimson,




and getting sweeter every day.
Peppers are one of the few crops we can grow 
in our humid summer climate.


Faye & Lynn also grow banana peppers,
which have a mild flavor
(they get their name from their shape).



Kohlrabi is another crop that is tolerating the heat so far.



Merely weeks ago, the dill seed started sprouting.




Now it's filling the same pot to overflowing.
This plant reaches upwards of 6 feet.





Here's our haul for this week.  
It feels great to be able to feed my family
veggies that are not from GMO seed,
haven't been sprayed with pesticides,
and have flavor far superior 
to anything we could find at the grocery store.

So far, it's been hit and miss with my own gardening attempts,
but I'll keep working at it.
With everything I'm learning at Farm School,
I know it's just a matter of time 
until we are consistently harvesting goodies like these 
from our own backyard.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Week Twelve


Farm School is swingin' into summer here.
The growing is slowing down a bit this time of year,
while folks further north are just getting started.


No matter, 
there is always something to valuable to gain.




This is an indigenous specimen called a pitcher plant.
It's carnivorous.




These vessels which dangle underneath,
are really bug traps.
They fill with water, 
bugs get lured into them by a substance which is secreted
and they can't make their way out.




The plant actually absorbs the insects.
Is it just me, or is that nothing short of amazing?
God's creativity is boundless.






Today we were planting edamame.




This is Lynn's seed saved from last season.





Eight seeds per pot are planted 2 inches apart in moist soil.




The recommended depth is about 2 inches.





After I sowed the seeds, Lynn covered them with more soil.
It went pretty quickly with both of us working.



Some crops are done for the summer.



The Swiss chard is not able to bear the heat.





I'll have to use other means to keep my iron stores up 
until these are restarted closer to fall.



We've been enjoying the green beans for a few weeks now,
but it seems they've given all they can.
Lynn told me that they were affected by some sort of rust
that he had never seen before Hurricane Sandy came through.



The peas have been spent for a couple of weeks.
We garnered whatever pods we could find off of these vines
and ripped out all of the remaining crops.
These are my favorite food from the farm.
It'll be a couple of months before they are resown.
I anticipate savoring those first, few tender pods
and know full well that they are worth waiting for.



The tomatoes have suffered their own plight.
We are grateful we were able to enjoy some of these tasty morsels
before they succumbed to disease.



Faye and Lynn still take bunches of green tomatoes 
to the farmer's market.
Some folks prefer fried green tomatoes.



The cherry tomatoes will fare better.
These scarlet tidbits are firm, juicy with no trace of acidity.
We popped each and every ripe beauty we could find 
into our mouths as we made our rounds.
Love the perks of this job!




The okra is comin' on strong.
This Southern staple doesn't mind the heat and humidity one bit.






And look at the beautiful blooms they produce.
Last week I was offered a sample.
Having never tried it before, I wasn't sure what to expect,
especially eating it raw.
It's got crunch, I'll give it that,
but I don't think it will win my heart.
Maybe it's the Yankee in me.






This pepper was looking a bit peaked.
Lynn decided to provide a little shade
and see if it perks up.






The leeks are hangin' in there.
Lynn showed me that a healthy plant should fan out this way.
If they start splitting, they are responding to their environment,
and will soon be ready to retire for the season.




Faye found this brown widow spider.
Not deadly, but nothing you want to get too near.
Notice the hourglass shape on its back.
These find their way into nooks and crannies.
Lynn says one of their favorite hiding spots is under the rims of pots.
He makes sure to wear gloves 
whenever he needs to move them around the garden.



 

Nature provides so much for each of our senses.
Although the heat is closing in on our gardening efforts,
we can still relish the time spent learning and growing.