Monday, October 7, 2013

Farm School Fall Series Week Four

The days just keep gettin' better here at Farm School.

Temps were mild and we got an early start
on some much anticipated and enjoyable tasks.

As always, we started with an overview of this week's progress.

Does this tickle your fancy?
Mmmmm, I can almost feel the juice dripping down my chin.

The Romas that were transplanted a few weeks ago are looking pretty happy.

This ensemble of tomatoes are in "Lynntensive Care".
There is a mix of Celebrity, Sweet Million and Romas here
being babied until they are strong enough to grow with the big boys.

Some of the Swiss chard is popping
and seems to enjoy the weather we're having.

The arugula was covered with shade cloth as it was getting a bit too much sun.

So far, lettuce has been slow to respond.
Lynn & Faye grow several kinds,
but this variety seems to be taking off now.
Can't wait to fill up my bag with fresh lettuce.

New Zealand spinach is making a comeback.

We tasted it just to make sure it had good flavor.
Oh, yeah.
This stuff is so tender it melts in your mouth.

The key lime basil seems happy in its somewhat shaded spot.

It doesn't travel as well as standard basils.
Lynn experimented with a sprig to see if it could last if placed in water.
It did.
Now they can take it to the farmer's market to sell.

The okra's about had it.  
Some are still producing, but it's obvious that summer is when it thrives.

Some of the eggplant are not growing as vigorously as hoped.

The newer transplants seem to be faring better.

Radishes have been sown, but these will not be for sale.
Lynn deserves to keep some treats just for himself.

Oh boy, does this sight do my heart good.
Four to six weeks, and these peas will be gracing my salad.

Today's a day I've been looking forward to since I began this journey.
We're makin' dirt.
This modest, unassuming pile of dirt will be transformed
into the most luscious soil a seed could ever hope to wrap itself up in.

It takes some perlite.

It takes some peat moss.
This brand specifically is recommended by Lynn.

This stuff is so compacted into the bag.
But it works some serious magic in this mixture.

This is a screen that Lynn made out of an old crate.

The filtered peat is kept in these galvanized garbage cans.

The peat is shoveled into the screen,

and with gloved hands, it is spread back and forth on the screen,
allowing the refined peat to fall into the can.

What's left is hard bits of peat, twigs and other debris.

This is what it looks like when the mission is complete.
Light, airy and ready to join the soil extravaganza.

The pulp that is left over will efficiently be used as mulch.

Last week, we introduced you to "The Critter".
Today we get to see it in action.
The dirt, filtered peat and perlite are added to the mixer and...

out comes this magical medley of luscious loam.

Designated storage pots have had the drainage holes covered with duct tape.

Lynn adds his plastic rings (without the middle hole) to these until they are used in the garden.
That keeps debris out and too much rain from compacting it.
Ready for planting!

These were a curiosity when I spied them.
Imagine my surprise when Lynn showed me their origin.

The seeds drop down into the pots and start growing a stem.

They root themselves and start sprouting leaves while the seed is still connected.

The seedpods start out as a bright orange globe.

Four more rows of peas were added to the vast array.
You won't hear one complaint from me!
We planted 16 seeds to a pot, 
so hopefully, we'll have peas comin' out of our ears!

I left with a feeling of accomplishment,
knowing that our work has value.

There's always something new to learn.
Each day, each week, each season 
is a new opportunity to learn from past experiences
and try new endeavors.

The crops aren't the only things growing around here...

  Farm School posts start here.



  1. Hey Daisy...You are going to be feasting all winter long. How wonderful to go out back and pick your meals fresh from the vines. Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Susan. I wonder what you're growing on your new property?

  2. I had to laugh at "Lynntensive Care." Too funny! It was neat to see how you mix everything together to get the best dirt for the plants. I need to do that in my garden!

  3. How great! It makes me wish I lived farther south but my gardening attempts are never as successful. Great tips on the soil!! I am your newest follower on GFC!! Thanks for all the great ideas.

    1. After learning at Farm School, I feel more confident about gardening. It just takes the right teacher. Nice to see you here!

  4. Well I've never tried key lime basil or new Zealand spinach - intriguing! Love your photos as always. :)

    1. I'm sure you could create just the perfect recipe for them both!

  5. Are the soil mixture ratios a trade secret?

    1. Nope. He mixes about 4 heaping shovel fulls, 3 scoops of perlite (I think it's a quart-sized container), and 3 full shovels of peat together in the mixer.

    2. Why, thank you kindly, Miss Daisy! Seeing this mixture reminds me of my old Mel Bartholomew days. :-)

    3. Three simple ingredients make for some awesome gardening soil. You're more than welcome!


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