Monday, September 30, 2013

Farm School Fall Series Week Three

Autumn in all its glory
has found its way to us at last.
This weekend was met with mild temperatures
and a pleasant, refreshing breeze.

Farm School started with our usual tour of the past week's progress.

Big news!
The first of the tomatoes was spied,
with more sure to follow.
Ahhhhh, life is good.

The crops are looking strong and healthy,
although worms can still be a problem.
They are checked every few days for unwanted visitors.

Dirt was added to the leeks this week as stalks continued to reach for the sky .

The Swiss chard that was sown recently is coming up strong..

This is kale, which was sown 3 seeds to a pot.
It will be thinned out at a later date.

Care is taken to keep track of where soil comes from
throughout various growing seasons.
This soil that had been used for beans last December,
is now repurposed for planting a new crop this fall.

The Red Carribean papaya sold out at the farmer's market on Saturday.
Don't worry, they got back up!
These tropical beauties are relishing the sunshine.

Arugula, also known as "rocket", 
is faring well and shot up within a matter of a couple of days.

Okra is still producing,
however it is probably going to be calling it quits soon.
I may have to learn to pickle beans,
as the pickled okra won't be gracing my fridge for much longer.
So sad.

The blooms are just lovely.

The peas are coming along nicely
and it won't be long until we are lil' ole pea pickers again.

In fact, they are doing so well that several areas
are now designated for more sowing of these sweet gems.
Staying on top of the worms is vital to keeping them flourishing-
all the way to my supper table.

A load of dirt arrived last Monday.
Here it is in its virgin form.

What's affectionately known as "the critter"
will turn that bland, black soil into a
magical mix of luminous loam.

Lynn promised to show me the method soon.
Oh, I can hardly wait!

Last week, we had noticed some buds on the carambola tree.
This week it was loaded with buds and blossoms and...

the beginnings of something incredibly sweet.

Dozens of these clusters could be seen from our vantage point.
It's all good...

Remember the Red Carribean papayas we talked about earlier?
Some of the larger seedlings needed to be transplanted.

Here are the tools of choice for this little endeavor.

In many of the cells, more than one seed germinated,
but not at the same time.
Lynn had to cut around the intended transplant
without disturbing the ones remaining behind to get bigger.
He used the largest knife you see on the previous picture to make a clean cut.

Then he used two butter knives to gingerly lift it out of its humble beginnings...

and into a more spacious home.

Some of the seedlings did not come up with any rootball to speak of,
so they were bare root planted.
These particular specimens were placed in a separate area,
the "Lynntensive Care Unit".
They will be kept in the shade and monitored often, looking for signs of shock.
Pampering is employed as necessary.

Here are the Red Carribeans all grown up.
These lovelies are where Lynn acquired his seed.

We also planted a few Medusa peppers that had popped up around the main plant in this pot.
The Medusa is an ornamental pepper, but is edible.

We explained the coring method of planting a few weeks ago.
Today, we used it for the Roma tomato transplants we installed.

A few simple steps gets you from here...

to here...

to here...

and where you want to end up.
Notice the tomatoes are planted all the way up to
the very top leaves.
A small reservoir is left to keep water nearest the roots.
For a review of Lynn's tomato planting technique, read this.

Hopefully, these babies will grow, prosper
and help me make some fantastic gravy!

Lynn and Faye tell me how much they appreciate my help each weekend.
I can assure you, it is a blessing to be in the company of two
very unique and generous spirits.
I'm not sure what I did to deserve this gift,
but I can never repay them for their benevolence.

So much is going on right now in the garden.
It's a time for action, a time for continual tweaking
and a time for enjoying the fruits of our labor.

May you be blessed with abundance in your garden today.

"We must give more in order to get more.
It is the generous giving of ourselves that produce the generous harvest."
-Orison Swett Marden

Farm School series posts start here.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Double the Fun

Fall ushers in more outdoor activities.

The Food Truck Wars were here recently.
Vendors offered a variety of meals
from seafood to gourmet burgers to soft serve ice cream.

Even those with special diets were able to find something to eat.
Our town is small and fast food is king.
But from the turnout, I'd say things could be shifting.

Maybe folks are starting to wake up to the importance
of eating local, REAL food.
A gal can hope anyway.

Legoland had a display table there
with areas for the young to explore and build.

Forget the food,
the boy was  

Every other weekend, a nearby town, Lake Wales,
has their farmer's market.
It's a quaint little square 
with lots of Mom-and-Pop stores.
My friends Faye & Lynn sell their goodies there.

I paid them a visit.
On this particular day, they were selling herbs, okra and seeds.
In a few weeks time, 
they will have an abundance of fantastic produce to share.

Of course, I didn't know they were giving away 
free samples of pickled okra.
That just made the experience even better.
That's the way to reel 'em in!

Hope you have something fun planned this weekend!

We do not stop playing because we grow old; 
we grow old because we stop playing.
-Source Unknown

Thursday, September 26, 2013

One Simple Thing-Natural Bird Feeder

Our sunflowers were lovely this year.

There weren't many, 
but they always add a cheery touch to the garden.
Summer just wouldn't be the same without 'em.

Alas, as summer fades into autumn,
they seem to know their time is through
and hang their heads in surrender.

Along with saving seed for next year,
these sturdy seed heads can be used to feed this year's winter flock.
Seeds can be stripped from the head, left to dry and then added to feeders
or used to cover peanut butter smothered pinecones 
or paper towel rolls and hung in trees.
When grown organically, the birds can safely dine.

We decided to try a short cut this year. 

Simply fastening them to the branches where birds linger
seemed like an easy solution.
Just a bit of baling twine was used.
We hope our feathered friends enjoy these treats
all season long.

One Simple Thing


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