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Archive for June, 2011

Overkill ?

June 30, 2011 3 comments
Sprinkler

Sprinkler

I’ve finally taken the plunge and upgraded my sprinkler. I’ve been through all manner of watering devices, and I’ve never been able to find one that fits my garden’s dimensions, until now. I found this sprinkler at the local big box store for about $35.00. I was so sure that it wouldn’t work that I carefully kept all of the packaging intact, and even left the plastic wrapping on the unit itself just in case I would need to return it.

The sprinkler head was working pretty good for the first spot in the garden, and watered from one side nearly to the other. Although it left a 5 foot dry zone on either side of the garden, I figured I could stagger it’s placement to make up for the shortcoming.  When I moved it to the second placement in the garden it stopped working completely. I tried every adjustment I could find on this tripod with no luck.

Just when I was about to break out the packaging and bring it back I had the idea to look for a kink in the hose, and I found one. I guess it only works right when given the proper pressure of water to spray. Once the hose was straightened out, artificial rain fell once again over the lettuce.

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Categories: Water Tags: ,

Corn, Celery & Onions

June 29, 2011 Leave a comment
Corn

Corn

My corn is about 8 inches tall, and I really don’t think it will reach the “knee high by July” standard that most farmers judge their crops by. I’m not worried however, as this corn is more in the range of 70-80 day corn then 90+. I had similar sized corn last year, and had way too much then. This years corn plot is about a third of the size as last year, and should still deliver plenty.

Celery

Celery

This is the first year I’ve had celery plants in the garden. Last year, I tried to plant the seeds in a row and it didn’t work too well. Celery is a slow growing plant, and should be started 11 weeks earlier then the last frost. The little plant above is approximately 20 weeks old, and less then 6 inches tall.

Yellow Onions

Yellow Onions

 My onions were also planted later then usual, but I have no fear. I’ll soon be applying a layer of well rotted manure to large swathes of the garden. I can almost bet all of these plants will “pop” soon afterwards.
Categories: Celery, Corn, Onions

Summer Cherries and Berries

June 28, 2011 2 comments
I think these are Service Berries

I think these are Service Berries

While mowing the field over the weekend, I spotted these berry plants growing wild. I did some investigating online, and I believe that they are Service Berries. The leaves of this plant match the descriptions of service berries on several websites. I’ll be sure to give one a try as soon as it ripens. If they are pleasing, I’ll transplant some of these berries to my large long term garden situated all around my home.

Goose Berries

Goose Berries

After finding the service berries, I thought I’d have a look at the rest of berries, and post pictures of them. I planted Goose Berries a year or two ago, and they are just this year starting to set berries, which resemble a striped marble.I haven’t yet tried one, as I’m unsure when they are ripe.

Sweet Cherries

Sweet Cherries

I did try the cherries which are bright red above. They are still somewhat tart, and small for cherries, so they must not be ripe yet. I’m quite amazed at the number of cherries which grow on a single bush.

Tart Cherries

Tart Cherries

There are also tart cherry bushes in my collection. These berries are a bit sour when they ripen to a dark red, but I still enjoy them just the same. I’ve heard they make great cherry pies, but I’m not much of a cook so I haven’t tried it.

Wild Mini-Strawberries

Wild Mini-Strawberries

Finally my favorite berry, and one I’ve had a lifetime of experience picking. They may be small, but the plants are usually short enough to duck under mower blades, and they spread out into patches dozens of feet wide and long if left unchecked. Before giving up my sandbox, I used to have a detailed map in my mind which would guide me to the appropriate location on the farm to find lots of ripe berries.

It’s Official

June 27, 2011 Leave a comment
Mowing Fields with the Tractor and Finsih Mower

Mowing Fields with the Tractor and Finish Mower

Over the weekend, Rob gave me a 10 minute lesson in how the tractor works. He showed me where the brakes and clutch were, and how to shift this beast. As soon as I hoped up onto the seat it was time to start this mowing machine and see what it would be like to use the mower. Since I was already in the seat, and already had the mower spinning, I decided it was as good a time as any to mow the whole field, so I did.

Mowing Fields

Mowing Fields

While mowing doesn’t seem like a very farmer thing to do, it is very important so the fields stay in shape. If they are not mowed every other year or so, little trees will soon turn a good field into a good forest. Converting the forest back into a field is no easy task, so mowing is more about prevention that production. I may wish to grow corn in this field soon, so I’ll need to keep it all grass for now.

So, It’s official, rather then a guy with a really big garden, this tractor makes me a full blown farmer…. well almost, maybe when I get a corn planter it will be official. I say close enough.

Categories: General

Healthy Tomatoes

June 24, 2011 Leave a comment
Healthy Tomato

Healthy Tomato

I’ve done battle with Late Blight for several years now, but I refuse to give in to this plague. When my tomato patch turned to mush last year as my plants all withered away, I took the opportunity to learn how to battle blight, and Win. I plan to launch a preemptive first strike on this pest before it has the chance to rear it’s ugly head and wither even one leaf on my much smaller and more manageable plot. I’d recommend to all who have more then a few plants to purchase some Epson salts soon, and prepare to battle the blight with a Epson salt mixed with water sprayed on the leaves. I’ve had luck mixing Epson salt water with a small amount of store bought anti-blight chemicals.  Either way, you take your own risks while applying this remedy.  Make sure to use Epson Salt, rather then table salt.

Brandywine

Brandywine

The Brandy-wine tomatoes are beginning to set flowers even at the short height of one and a half feet tall. A sure sign of a brandy-wine plant are the leaves which are wide and singular, unlike other tomatoes which have multiple thin leaves.

Red Alert - Early Cherry

Red Alert - Early Cherry

Here’s a favorite for the cherry tomato lovers, and a great early tomato for salads. This photo was taken at least three days ago. These amazing plants will bear more color then the average Christmas tree weeks before other varieties of tomatoes are ripe. I’ve been growing them for a few years now, and I’ve never been disappointed.

Categories: Tomatoes Tags: ,

Pak Choi

June 24, 2011 Leave a comment
Pak Choi Seedlings

Pak Choi Seedlings

I finally got some Pak Choi to grow, and I’ve very excited to try it out. This Asian crop can be planted either in early spring or in the summer for a fall crop. Since I was quite busy with all the other spring work, I missed the early growth cycle, but I’m happy to see any seedlings at all. I’ve tried to plant this crop directly into the garden as seeds two years in a row, with no luck, so I thought I would try to get it started in some cups then transplant it once they got going.

Pak Choi Close Up

Pak Choi Close Up

I was not expecting the seeds to germinate, nor grow, so I placed about ten seeds in each cup. I’ll select the strongest plants when they get older, and transplant them into the garden. I’m planning to start some more seeds as I have a whole additional packet left. When I sow these seeds, I’ll try not to place more  then three per cup, so I’m may just have a pile of Pak Choi on my hands in the fall.

All Volunteer Army

June 24, 2011 4 comments
Volunteer Army

Volunteer Army

I had started constructing a small area in which I hoped to get my Strawberry plants growing year after year. I may have made a mistake however when I choose the location for this berry patch. I broke ground where I used to have a small chicken coop and compost pile. I often supplemented my chicken food with garden goodies, and some of the seeds must have found their way into the ground, where they have been growing like mad.

Zucchini ?

Zucchini ?

I’m a bit undecided how to respond to this All Volunteer Invading Army. I’m sure the plants are squash, but I’m not sure what kind. If they are Zucchini, I would welcome a very early treat, but if they are winter squash, I’d be more concerned for my Strawberries. I’ve spent about $20 on five different types of strawberries and other supplies to get them to grow great, and I was really looking to make an all Strawberry patch. For now I guess I can let them grow a bit more, and check on my berry plants daily. If the berries seem to be struggling, I’ll just have to choose: Berries or very early Zucchini.