June – Time Warp on the Farm

A time warp has settled in over the farm – has it really been six months since my last blog update?

We survived a winter with several snow storms. The first one was pretty, the ones after that became progressively less beautiful and more of a nuisance. This storm was pretty.

As the snow melted I started my garden seeds under grow lights in the basement. I moved them to the greenhouse in March. It happened again this year; I accidentally planted 192 tomato plants. The seeds are so tiny, and I had eight varieties I wanted to try. I planted 12 of each, but it just didn’t look like very much in the potting tray, so I decided I better do 12 more of each variety… just in case.

In addition to planting too many plants, I ALWAYS say I will be more patient and not start my seeds so early. They tend to outgrow the greenhouse before our official planting date. Two weeks after the last frost generally falls around Mother’s Day for us, and invariably, there are still a couple of chilly days, but I just couldn’t wait any longer. Those 192 tomato plants, along with peppers, squash, cucumbers and herbs had the greenhouse bursting at the seams. I only planted 45 tomato plants in the garden and I gave the rest away (such self-restraint – or maybe it was lack of space). They looked so nice all freshly planted and trained to their string trellis system.

By the end of May, the strawberries started to ripen. I was determined to finally get a good crop of strawberries. I worked hard on the strawberry bed; yes – the one that I have relocated 4 of the last five years that we’ve been here. But this time, I think it is finally in the right place. We picked over 40 pounds of strawberries this year – sometimes 4 pounds a day! Strawberry season is finally over – but now the blueberries and raspberries are ripening faster than I can keep up.

We added two barn cats to our menagerie. “Meow” our previous mouser – who ironically had no voice and never meowed went on to greener pastures. We missed her presence on the farm, especially when the mouse population increased. We now have Toby and Teddy – two year old males from the local SPCA. They are currently residing in their cat condominium while they become acquainted with the sights and sounds (and smells) of the barn where they will live. Hopefully after several weeks acclimating themselves, they will choose to stick around when we open the doors for more than feeding and cleaning the litter boxes. They look like twins – I’m not sure how we will tell them apart.

Here we are at the end of June and I’m already busy with the harvest. Today I pulled garlic, red onions and shallots so they can dry on the porch for a while before I hang them in the basement. There are peas, zucchini and patty pan squash to pick daily.

But what I’m really waiting for is that “race to the red.” Yes, the first red tomato of the season. Those 45 tomato plants are loaded with green tomatoes – a few are starting to blush a light pink. I’m hoping for a plump, juicy, red tomato to accompany the burgers on the grill for our July 4th picnic.

And the best news of all on the farm???? I officially retired from that “real” job three months ago. You’d think that being retired I’d have more time to keep up with this blog, but we’re busier than ever!

May – A Terraced Garden

I’ve always wanted a terraced garden, and the sloping hillsides on No Rhyme or Reason Farm definitely need terracing.  A match made in heaven, I suppose, except for the sweating and sore muscles that came along with it.  My new fenced in space is now terraced for all the things that will permanently reside in the garden —  fruit trees, raspberry bushes, blueberry bushes, strawberries and asparagus.  And I have space left over in the lower part of the garden for potatoes and squash and whatever else I can shoe-horn in as the growing season gets going.

Now I just have to be patient and wait — and wait — and wait for the fruits of our labors.

Fruit trees, raspberry bushes, blueberry bushes and strawberries.

All sloping down hill in plain sight of the bee hives — I sure hope they know to come pollinate my garden.


June – Rabbits, rabbits everywhere

Last summer when we were in the midst of construction, we didn’t see rabbits very often on the farm.  Maybe the construction scared them off or we disrupted their nest areas or something.  There was one rabbit that we saw frequently that seemed to have a goiter on his neck; I haven’t seen him around this year.

This year we seem to be overrun with rabbits.  They’re cute but they’re everywhere.  I don’t mind that they are everywhere, until they are in my garden.

You would think it would be impossible that they are in my garden.  My garden fence is built like Fort Knox.  It’s six feet tall with an extra bib of fencing at the bottom that is imbedded in the dirt to keep out the likes of ground hogs or anything else that might want to burrow in.  My garden is locked down tight, secure and impenetrable.

But then my Swiss Chard went missing – the whole row – gone.  And then all the bottom leaves on my Brussel Sprouts vanished.  Followed by the disappearing act of two rows of Beets that came up one day and were gone the next.  I was accusing the birds, or bugs or a rare fungus or mold issue that must be attacking my plants in my impenetrable garden.

Until I saw a baby bunny hop right through the 2” x 3” square of the fence.  Yep, hopped right in and headed for the spinach.  I headed in after it and shooed it out the other side of the garden – right through the fence on the other side of the garden.

The next day Chris wrapped the entire garden in sturdy bird netting.  Now it is impenetrable.

I replanted the beets, gave up on the Swiss Chard and I’m waiting to see if the Brussel Sprouts recover.

Pesky rabbits.

What happened to my broccoli? It used to have leaves.

You’d think nothing could get into this garden

The 2″ x 3″ grids on the fence wire are just too big — baby rabbits jump right in.

Now they can’t — with bird netting all around it.

Buffet is closed.