Friday, May 25, 2012

Antique Cultivator

My new, antique cultivator.
My neighbor, Alvin, told me the other day that he was ready to bring over the antique plow he found for me. He bought it in Paris. (Illinois, just east of Charleston.) I didn't know he had been looking for a plow for me, or that he'd gone ahead and purchased one and restored it. It came with a plow attachment, but he was glad to find a cultivator attachment, and put it on for me. He brought it over Wednesday afternoon and showed me how to use it. I was smitten by it from the moment I saw it: wood and iron and such a sleek design. Completely utilitarian, but useful with elegance. The way they don't do things any longer. Alvin showed me how to apply varying degrees of pressure to let the machine pull out the weeds, and then till the soil. It's going to work fantastically. We were going to buy a rear-tine tiller this summer because it'll be useful for weeding and for cultivating the soil before I plant. But we just hadn't gotten around to it, and right now, there is no reason to buy one. This is going to work great. And it only cost me $35. That's a steal, I think!
The cultivator in action...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The harvest begins...

Even as planting in the garden continues, some things are ready to harvest. This morning I pulled out two gorgeous radishes... One a new variety for me, Cincinnati Market (the long red one) & the other an Easter Egg radish, from seed in saved from last year... I must say that the quality of the garden's soil is much-improved over last year, which is showing up in the higher quality of produce coming out of the garden. Bon appetit!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A long overdue update.

A little, dazed, & confused opossum.
The garden this afternoon.
So it's been a long while since I've written. I apologize. I hope you haven't lost the will to keep on reading! Things have been changing here quite a bit. Just over a month ago, I started (another!) new job. This one is a day job in Human Resources, something I've done in the past, and I'm very happy in my new situation. But working a full-time day job does mean that there had to be some adjustments to my approach to the garden. I most likely won't be able to sell at the farmers' market this year. Rich has said that he may sell there some weeks. But we won't be committing to being a weekly presence at the market. That does make me sad, as I had a lot of fun selling my produce last year. Mostly I had fun talking to folks about the produce I had for sale, even if I didn't sell nearly as much as I'd hoped to. So what does this mean for Three Persimmons Farm? Well, it's still going strong. In fact, I think I'm a bit further along than I was last year. Although by this date last year, I had many more plants in the ground, I was already beginning to lose the battle to the weeds. I started tomatoes and peppers and eggplants earlier this year, and the seed room in the garage has been most productive. There has been a minor disaster in that room, though: I first noticed that the Brussels sprouts and broccoli I was growing were being eaten, presumably by a little insect. Then it spread to the nearby tomatoes and peppers plants. I've had to bring whole flats outside to start hardening off earlier than I'd planned, mostly to expose whatever it is that's eating my plants to the world at large, hoping that outside they'll get predated. In the seed room, it seemed the insect pests were the top of the food chain. Taking the plants outside seems to have slowed down the insects. Today is Sunday, May 20, and we've just had the first thunderstorm in over a week. I measured just over a quarter of an inch of rain. It hailed briefly, but not enough to do any damage I could see. Earlier today I hoed up three rows in the garden that I plan on planting this week. So far, I've got lettuces, radishes, mustard greens, some squash and beans and potatoes, all of the Black Krim tomatoes, some of the White Queen tomatoes, some basil and cucumbers in the ground. I started planting marigold seed yesterday as well. I started them early indoors last year, but realized that they grew just as quick planted directly by seed. The peas were a total loss this year. I don't know why they never came up, but none of the over 500 peas I planted came up. Sad. Yesterday I pulled up the weeds around the trellis (in the foreground in the picture above) I had installed for the peas and replaced them with tomatoes. The grass is coming on strong, but the plants I intend to be there are doing better. I noticed that all the red romaine lettuce had been cropped... rabbits. I fertilized with fish fertilizer in the hopes that rabbits don't like the smell of the sea... I still have many more cucumbers, squashes, melons, potatoes, peppers, okra, and more to go into the ground... I am hoping to work an hour or two every evening I get home to get as much as I can by June 1. For some reason, I feel that's a magic date that most of the garden should be in by...

Although I won't be at the Farmers' Market regularly, I still plan on selling via subscription, and then canning and freezing as much as possible. Life here on the farm has been going great... Our landlord bush-hogged a path to the pond, and afterward, I saw the opossum above... he was dazed and confused. (As I took the picture, a snake slithered over my sandals.) I've also seen the mink that lives in the barn, a skunk hanging out in the garden (Rich says he could smell the skunk last night, but I slept through that...), as well as a few wild turkeys in the corn field across the road. As I type, a lazy mist is rising from the garden and the corn fields around the house and another thunderstorm is slowly lumbering its way toward us. It's the end of another great weekend here in Hutton!