Friday, May 28, 2010

I Bet My Thistle Can Beat Up Your Thistle

I mentioned in a previous post that I had tilled up 2/3 of the garden, but had not yet gotten to the final third. Thistle (and dill--more on that later) has taken over that untilled 1/3 and the largest thistle plant is five feet tall!

Yes, I know, I should have pulled it up before now, but it's been rainy. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! Hubby tried to weed wack it, but to no avail--the trunk of the thistle is nearly as strong as a tree trunk! We had to switch to a hoe and shovel, and we chopped them down this evening. The roots are still in the ground, but I'll be tilling soon, which will chop the roots into worm food.

Behind the thistle was a nice area of dill. Last year, I had planted dill too close to the cucumbers, and the cucumber leaves ended up overgrowing the dill. I got a little bit of dill last year, but not much; I had to purchase most of my dill from the local farmer's market. But apparently the dill went to seed, overshadowed though it was, because I have a ton of volunteer dill! I harvested a bunch a week or so ago and let it dry out in the refrigerator (it's finishing the drying process in the dehydrator as I write this post) and tonight, harvested the lovely bunch of dill you see in the picture!

The rest of the volunteer dill will be tilled under, food for the worms. I want to plant my herbs in a more permanent place where they can seed themselves each year. I haven't figured out where that will be, exactly. But I'll let you know when I figure it out!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Where Are My Damn Peas?

I went out to check on the garden yesterday. After all the recent rain Mother Nature has dumped on us, I figured my crops would be doing pretty well.

But the first thing I checked didn't seem to be doing so peas. When I checked on them about a week ago, I had shoots coming up within the circle. I was delighted, and I could almost taste those yummy sugar snaps in anticipation!

And now, I can only see ONE chewed up shoot. Rabbits or some other pea-eating critters have gotten through a layer of fencing and a layer of trellising and eaten my pea shoots down to the dirt, except for this one, which they must be saving for dessert.

On the other hand, my lettuce, spinach, beets, and radishes seem to be doing really well. I had to thin out the beets a bit (I had already thinned the radishes a few days ago). The picture here is of Grandpa Admire's lettuce--and it is definitely a thing of admiration!

What I can't figure out is why the critters went straight for the peas, which were harder to get to, and passed by the other tender goodies?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Our First CSA Pickup!

I haven't been able to do any gardening since I planted my early season crops--Mother Nature has been raining regularly enough that the soil hasn't had much of a chance to dry out.

However, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow--our first CSA pickup!

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. People pay a fee to a local farm at the beginning of the year (which gives the farmer "seed money" to begin the season with), and in return, the farm provides the subscribers with a certain amount of produce throughout the growing season. Depending on the farm, sometimes subscribers can, in lieu of money, work off part or all of their CSA subscription fee by volunteering time at the farm.

I don't have enough time and energy to share with a farm, so we paid the annual subscription fee to our CSA farm: Henry's Farm. I selected this local farm because they plant heirloom varieties, don't plant GMOs, and avoid using herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers. The food we get from this CSA will be healthy and wholesome! Even better, it's local--which means it's fresh and it has an exceptionally low carbon footprint.

The e-mail I received says that we'll get spinach, green garlic, chives, rhubarb, and several varieties of radishes tomorrow. I can't wait to start eating healthy farm foods has been a very long winter!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Name That Weed

I still have 1/3 of the garden remaining to till, and in the untilled portion, I have a couple of monster weeds growing! The plant leaves are spiky and remind me of thistle; the flowers are yellow and look like dandelions, but not as round--more like a slightly closed up dandelion.

Is this weed a type of thistle? I couldn't find any pics that looked like this in the thistle category, particularly with yellow flowers. What do you think?

Everything's Coming up Lettuce!

Well, not everything is lettuce. The picture to the left is of radishes. But the lettuce, peas, beets, and spinach are also coming up!

It's funny how anxious I feel after I've planted seeds, checking each day until I finally see the seedlings poking their tiny heads through the soil. In many cases, it's difficult to tell whether the slight bit of green I see is the actual plant or weeds growing in the recently tilled soil. Now that the early crops are planted, it's time to turn my attention to some of the other planting that needs to be done.

For instance, it's time to plant the seedling tomatoes--the Sun Sweet and Super Sweet cherry-size tomatoes, the Big Beef, and the Best Boy tomatoes from the local community college's horticulture program.

I also have a lot of other seeds to plant and seedlings to grow; hopefully we'll get some dry weather soon so I can do that!

Meanwhile, I will just have to be content with harvesting the runaway mint that lives in our yard and the volunteer dill that is coming up in the part of the garden I have not yet tilled.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Let the Planting Begin!

We've had a couple of nice days in a row, and I decided today was the day I needed to get out and begin planting. I probably should have gotten some of my seeds in earlier, but I've had a lot going on.

I managed to re-till 2/3 of the garden, which I had tilled a couple of weeks ago during another nice day. I pounded in the fence stakes and got some fencing up around the section I planted (about 1/2 of what I've tilled).

I managed to plant a lot of the early summer crop--lettuces, spinach, beets, radishes, and peas, as well as some marigolds along the fence line. I wanted to till the last 1/3, but I think the tiller ran out of gas...and I know I did!

I really need to get my seedlings started, but I'm wiped out from today's work. Those will have to wait until sometime this weekend, I'm afraid. But I feel good that the garden is started! Now, if Mother Nature will bring us a nice, gentle rain to get those seeds germinating...