Thursday, June 18, 2020

Guess Who Came for Dinner?! The Farm Report 06-19-2020

Guess Who Came for Dinner!?
The Farm Report

'member them sproutless store bought spuds I was tellin' ya 'bout? Them ones from the store that had chemicals all over 'em and wouldn't grow? Those ones that had me really really disgusted and mad? Them'ns I was ready to till under and eliminate?

Well as they say, 'Surprise, surprise, surprise!'  They are growing!

When I took Big Red the Tiller out to do in the patch, much to my surprise and joy, they had sprouted after all and were growing! So, I cleaned them up as best I could, and crossed my fingers. 

Annie is happy too. We're both a little upset that I ran the tractor cultivator over the patch and wiped out some innocent little sprouts before I knew they had changed their minds and turned around their attitudes though.

Got Sweetcorn! You might recall I started some sweetcorn seeds in plug flats in the greenhouse way too early. Then we planted out the plugs a little early. Well, so far, success! Kinda. The plants are tassled out, and the ears are silking. But the plants are only about 30-inches tall! Will we get anything to eat by the Fourth of July? That is the goal.

Annie spends a lot of time in the garden with me looking like this. She can smell the coyotes over in the hedge fence row, and she doesn't like it one bit!

I set out some late tomatoes. I just take my tiller and cut a nice furrow row. Then I lay out the plants as I want them.

With the soil nice and soft, it is easy to pull the dirt over the root balls.

Then I go back the other way and pull the dirt from the other side to stand the plants up. It was going to rain that night, so I didn't even water them in. You can't do it much easier than this.

After we're done gardening, it's time for a run. Annie absolutely LOVES to run. This little clip will give you some idea of what I mean. She doesn't like to just trot along. She GALLOPS! That's her coming back down the lane from the timber. This is her 6th trip, so she's slowing down a bit. Every morning and usually every evening she goes for this run. She goes up and back between 2 and 4 time each way! These Aussie Heeler dogs MUST have high release exercise if they are going to be happy. AND, if they ain't happy believe me when I say YOU aren't going to be happy either. Annie is a happy fun dog, but she is a typical herder/heeler. She is 'pushy' and smart. Meaning: She will push and coerce, and con and push and push until she gets what she wants and what she wants you to do. Example: When she is standing outside the door barking at me, she isn't wanting to come in; she is wanting me to come out!

Well, after a run like that, you need a cooling off shower.

Above all, Annie likes her water, and she loves a shower of cold water.

She will stand and let me run water over her just about any time the hose is out.

Her hair coat is heavy, and she has the 'double layer' like a lab or Chesapeake does.

Drink some, swim some, love it all!

You can even lay down, roll over and wash your tummy if you're Annie Oakley.

"Atta Boy, Tim! You know how I like it. Keep it commin'."

Second step for growing Leeks my way. After they're pot bound, I plunk 'em out into a nursery bed in the garden. 

From plastic cup to plop in the garden. Not too tough so far?

I've got two kinds of leeks this year. King Seig is the most cold hardy.

American Flag is my old reliable standby. Leeks take a long time to grow. Notice that these were started back in February, and they're just now going out into the garden in June.

Rake a little dirt over 'em and go away until sometime in July. Stay Tuned.

Time to pick peas, too. See those two lines between the carrots? That's where the peas were.
 If you look over at the upper right hand corner, you can see some onions that have laid down and given it up.

Here is my special 'Pea Pickin' Tool.' If it looks a lot like a hand scythe, you'd be right.

I can't and don't have the time for standing upside down on my head in the garden picking off pea pods from spent vines. Heck with that! I just cut 'em off at the ground, pack 'em into the Ranger and haul 'em into a shady place with a comfortable seat.

A place like this. The pods nearly all come on at the same time, so why make this hard? If you want more peas, plant another row for goodness sake. I got about a dozen bags of frozen peas put into my  freezer for winter. I had fun doing it, and they will be delicious. And yes, I know you can buy a huge bag of frozen peas for a couple of bucks. But I didn't grow those, nor did I have the fun of the process putting them up. It can't always be about the money.

The onions are deciding they're done and ready to harvest.

See that wrinkle in the stem? That's where the tops bent over when they were done. I'll pull them and let them lay in the row a few days, then I'll bring them in and put them up. Some I freeze, some I dry, and some I try to keep - until they rot.

Kink, topple over, pick. If you haven't enjoyed it, there ain't nothin' like a fresh steamed onion with butter and salt! You should try it sometime. It tastes like fried onion rings without the batter.

My sweet potato slips are about ready to go out into the garden. I like to put them out around Father's Day. They don't like it cool, and they grow like crazy when it is hot. All these are from one potato.

Even a little tiny piece of the vine will grow roots and then grow potatoes.

The billboard tarp garden is doing great. I staked and braced the cages today in prep for the big winds and storms predicted for tonight. Salsa in the makin'!

But CRAP! They're back already. That's a blurry pic of a Japanese Beetle right there. Sorry I didn't get a better pic, but I was ... , well, let's just say I was upset.... Have sprayer and nasty farm chemicals on the ready, and this year, WILL USE 'EM! They are NOT going to get my sweetcorn this year, by damn!

I'm OK, hope you are too. Keep smiling AND WEAR YOUR MASK WHEN YOU GO OUT! You're not John Wayne and you don't need to get sick if you can help it - and you can help it! Biting on a stick doesn't count.

I'll go back to my cave now. Sorry....

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Next One: The Farm Report

The Next One
The Farm Report

I couldn't think of any tricky titles this time, so this blog post is just 'The Next One.'

Annie has been helping me make the shop planter boxes pretty again. She likes gardening - or maybe she just likes supervising me whatever I'm doing. Probably that.

Anyway, we have 10 planter boxes in front of the column posts that hold up the veranda on the shop building. This year, I'm on a total 'no weed!' program. So I spent some time last winter cutting plastic sheets to fit into the concrete boxes. Then I 'burned' 5 holes into each one for the flowers. Super duper hybrid marigolds this year.

If you look carefully, you can see the wire cages surrounding the flowers. They have spikes on the ends of the wires that hold them into the ground - and hold the plastic pinned to the ground too. If you've been following along reading this blog, then you know that if you just turn around and look to your left, there isn't much between the Gulf of Mexico and the shop to stop the winds! For that matter, there isn't much between Barrow, Alaska and the shop to stop the winds from the north, either! It is windy here.

Remember my 'maters in Wall-O-Water heaters on Herrick Kimball's tarp garden? I've never had tomatoes do this well this early, ever.



On May 29, I pulled the WOW heaters and put the 'maters into their support cages for the summer. May the 29th! Some of these are almost 3-feet high and have flowers on 'em. One, Carola's Paul Robeson, from Germany, even has little marble sized tomatoes already!

The peppers set out directly into the frames seem to be in heaven.

The strawberry rebuilding project is coming along great, but I had spaces open. What to do? Well, I also had some head lettuce plugs needing a home. So...why not? I just 'plugged' them into the hydroponic spots and wished 'em luck. Annie thinks it is too hot to work inside the greenhouse now, but she feels obligated to supervise me where ever I am. "Tim! Pick up the pace buddy. Let's get finished with these plants and get the heck out of  here before I die from heat stroke!"

Well, in fairness, it is hot in there now. My goal is to put shade cloth over the greenhouse by the first of June every year. I just about made it. 'How do you get it over the plastic tunnel,' you ask?

Use a spud! Ok, so those darned non-sprouting spuds have me on edge, and I have a low opinion of them. But anything can be good for something, right? I just tied a good heavy 'tater onto the end of a string tied to the shade cloth and hurled it over the top.

You thought I was kiddin' didn't you. I even notched the old Murphy so the twine could get a good grip.

A nice generous 1, 2, 3, and over the hill she goes! Walk around to the other side and see what you've got. Bingo!

A little judicious tugging, and over the top comes the shade tarps. I use 3 smaller ones instead of one large one. Why? Well, let me count the reasons: One, 3 little ones are a lot cheaper than one big one.  (We could stop right there!) Two, three little ones are a lot easier to pull than one big one; especially if you're an old guy working home alone in quarantine and not wanting to call the neighbors. And other excuses.

A little straightening, a little twine to bind, and Bob's Your Uncle as they say. That old Farmall H sitting there still runs. It was my Dad's. I need to use it more, but.... All is well, and getting hot out here! Be kind to each other, be patient, be tolerant too. Unless of course you run into some ignorant rascal that desperately needs the stuffing choked out of him so he'll understand what you're thinking and why he or she should be thinking the way you do if he or she knew what was good for 'em!  OOOPS. Replay: Be kind to each other. I mean it. We're all in this together.