Mid August Garden

The garden is starting to really produce now.  I have already harvested one tomato! An Early Girl from my grafted plant.  That tomato is the only one that has ripened yet, but a lot of others are on their way. We are getting beans and squash and kale and chard – lots of it. I’ve started freezing beans and zucchini already. I have gotten some nice cucumbers already and have started some refrigerator pickles.  Here are some pictures of the garden lately:

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Here is the garden
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View from the other way. On the left the dark leafy and green leafy things in the foreground are beets.
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A foxglove plant.
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The corn in my son’s section of the garden is coming along nicely. It’s almost my height.
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My artichoke plants are really doing well.
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Some of these artichokes are getting ready to pick, I think.
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Here is a zinnia in the garden.
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A tiny watermelon. This plant is actually planted several feet away, and wound its way through the tomatoes to the fence. I knew it would wander but I didn’t know it would go that far. I’m not very experienced with watermelons.
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This sunflower is towering over my head – it’s probably a good 7 feet tall or so. It does not yet look ready to bloom. This is a giant sunflower, so it will get one very large flower head. And then it will droop way down.
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A nasturtium in the garden. My son insisted we plant these in his part of the garden because the flowers are edible. He likes to eat them.
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Here you can see beans and squash chopped and ready for freezing. In the basket on the upper left is kohlrabi and cucumbers, and a test carrot (I pulled one up to test how they are doing). I’m trying to freeze and process things as they are harvested so I don’t feel overrun with too many vegetables.

 

 

 

Mid-summer on our farm

Here are some pictures of the goings-on around our tiny farm:

zucchini
My zucchini and yellow squash are going nuts. These plants are huge!
zucchini with cat
Here you can see them with Wizard in front, so you get a little more idea of scale. There are 5 plants in that mess, plus some sunflowers sticking up in back.
ducks
Somehow our duck door got left open – they were starting to spill out.
ducks 2
More duck spillage.
chickens
Here is a picture of the chickens. I love the variety of colors we have.
dogs
My husband got this cool picture of our dogs. Atat’s tail is curled around Downey. Nova thinks the camera is some type of food.

Hollyhocks

My parents planted hollyhocks several years ago, and they keep coming back every year. And each year before they bloom, I forget that they aren’t all the same color, until they bloom.  They are beautiful. Here are some pictures:

hollyhocks 1
Here are the hollyhocks – different shades of pinks and purples
hollyhocks 3
They are all in the corner outside our shed and bathrom windows
hollyhocks 2
I love these.

Mid July on the farm

We have been very busy.  Last week I went camping.  While I was away, it seems that my garden has exploded. (It tends to do that when you don’t see it every day).   I hatched hatch# 3 of chicks a couple days ago, and we found our first duck egg today!  Here are some pictures of the latest happenings:

garden 7.16
Here is my garden. I get to do some weeding today.
greens
Here it is, growing away. The red bits on the right are some beets.
tiny artichoke
A tiny artichoke. It’s about an inch tall.
sunflower
A sunflower. This is only about 2 feet tall right now.
roma
Roma tomato.
pumpkin
My pumpkin plants!
kohlrabi
Kohlrabi. First time growing this – we are not sure if we like it yet. We will be trying it when it’s ready.
daniels garden
My son’s garden. His corn is doing well. There is a zinnia blooming.
early girl
Our Early Girl tomato. This was a grafted plant I bought. I somehow forgot to plant seeds of my Early Girl tomatoes.
hatch 3_2
Here are the newest chicks! We have 14, they all hatched on Thursday, and they are from my own chickens’ eggs. We now have 57 chickens all together. That total will go down once we cull the extra roosters.
hatch 3
A chick’s eye view of them.
hatch 3_3
Another chick’s eye view.
barnyard
Here is the bird yard. You can see we have Pekin ducks here.
blue duck egg
We got our first egg from the ducks today. It’s about the size of a chicken egg. Not sure why it is bluish. Pekins are supposed to lay white/cream eggs.
duck egg
Here is the egg again. Like a large chicken egg – I figure its a starter eggs for the ducks, so they should get bigger soon, and probably change to the cream/white color. Not sure if we’ll eat this one since it’s a weird color. I know it was laid this morning / last night, so it’s fresh, but it’s still not the color they are supposed to be from the ducks.

Exciting times!

A peek in the garden – Early September

We’ve been having some hot days lately, and last night we had a crazy thunderstorm.  This morning my yard is very wet – I had plans for some yardwork jobs, but it’s just too wet.  My garden is still going strong.  I’ve been getting some nice corn cobs, despite the early visit from some raccoons.

The garden, early September.
The garden, early September.

I had a few tomatoes fall off the vines while I was picking suckers, and my son also decided to pick a few that were starting to ripen.  I didn’t realize I grew an orange tomato, but I did grow a couple new varieties so I guess this one was orange.

We have these tomatoes in the window to ripen.
We have these tomatoes in the window to ripen.

I’m growing indeterminate varieties – I had been cutting off suckers and new flowers, but I got impatient.  We don’t have the longest growing season, and I don’t want a repeat of last year – because of frost warnings we had to pull all the tomatoes in so they could ripen inside (none started to ripen on the vine last year).  Luckily we’ve had a lot more heat this year.  I went at my tomato plants last week and cut off the tops of the plants, extra leaves that were shading the fruit, and any extra branches that didn’t have fruit on them. That has seemed to help speed things along.

My tomatoes waiting to ripen.
My tomatoes waiting to ripen. This is after I went to town trimming them.
Here is one that my son didn't pick!
Here is one that my son didn’t pick! This one looks like it will be red (the picture makes it look orange).

I also have a bunch of tomatillos – they are still small, but they are getting there. Last year I grew some but I added them really late, and they didn’t start forming fruit till mid September. These ones have been growing for about a month now.

Tomatillos.  I have lots of hummingbirds that like these flowers as well, so they are helping to pollinate them.
Tomatillos. I have lots of hummingbirds that like these flowers as well, so they are helping to pollinate them.

I am attempting artichokes this year – I read that they can be grown as an annual.  I haven’t seen any sign of any fruit, and really didn’t know what to expect. This morning I found this:

A tiny artichoke!
A tiny artichoke!

I looked on another plant and have at least one other one forming as well.  Very exciting, even if they are very tiny.

Another tiny artichoke.
Another tiny artichoke.

I’m growing Evening Primrose this year, I didn’t realize they’d take so long to bloom.  They started this week:

My evening Primrose.
My evening Primrose.

Here are some marigolds that I planted, they are doing extremely well, but they are really easy to grow:

Marigolds.
Marigolds.

My sunflowers are going strong. The bees and hummingbirds are enjoying them now.  They should start going to seed soon, and then we’ll have the chickadees and other birds, and chipmunks and squirrels, eating them.

My sunflowers - some are about 8-9 feet tall now.
My sunflowers – some are about 8-9 feet tall now.

Harvesting and Freezing

I’ve gotten a lot of vegetables so far this year.  I’m still waiting on my tomatoes to ripen, but they are coming along. I’ve been picking suckers and new flowers left and right, and I can see the tomatoes are starting to get a pinkish tint to them.  We’ve had 80-90 degree temps this week, and it’s expected to continue – I think that will help with the ripening.

In the winter we were buying a lot of kale, so I grew a bunch of it, and we haven’t used a whole lot yet.  So this weekend I decided to pick as much as I could, and freeze it.  I left the plants, with new baby leaves in the centers, so I will still have fresh kale until we have snow (it supposedly can survive frost, and gets better after a frost, so we’ll see how that goes).   I ended up with a giant basket of kale:

My big basket of kale.  This basket is about 2 feet long, 1 foot wide, and just under a foot tall. That's a whole lot of kale.
My big basket of kale. This basket is about 2 feet long, 1 foot wide, and just under a foot tall. That’s a whole lot of kale.

I took the leaves off the stems, blanched them for 2 minutes, and then froze them up.  I ended up with about 10 cups of frozen kale.

This year I decided to grow lemon balm.  I picked some to dry for tea.  It smells so good!

Lemon balm.
Lemon balm.

I have had tons of zucchini and yellow squash, and I have frozen a lot of it.  I read online that you can get away with not blanching it first, so I am trying that this year.  Last year I blanched it, and it worked fine but it was more labor intensive;  Also, since it was wet when I put it in freezer bags, I ended up with blocks of frozen zucchini.  I don’t know if the slice/freeze method will still produce this result; I’ll have to wait and see.

I also grew acorn squash for the first time this year.  I had four plants; most produced only one fruit – I did have two forming on one plant, but when I went out this weekend I realized that one of the fruits was rotting on the vine.  The other four seemed ready to pick.  The plants still have flowers so it may produce more, I will have to wait and find out.

Acorn squash.  Yum! We love eating them roasted with cinnamon sugar and butter.
Acorn squash. Yum! We love eating them roasted with cinnamon sugar and butter.

My corn is getting close to being ready.  The silks are turning brown on the cobs. Last year I read that you wait 10 days after the silks turn brown – I checked a few cobs and I think by this next weekend they may be ready.  I noticed today though that I must have raccoons or something attacking the corn.   It must be raccoons – they are notorious for getting into corn in this area – I found a half eaten cob in my garden on the ground. I hope they give me time to get at least a few ears before they get them all. I’m not sure how to deter them – they climbed my fence.   I’ll have to figure out some kind of raccoon deterrent – maybe putting a lip on the top of the fence so they can’t come over the top of the fence.

Farm updates Early August

I haven’t posted in over a week, because I went to California to meet my new niece.  Before I left, this was my garden (taken on 7/23/15):

Here was my garden just before I left for vacation.
Here was my garden just before I left for vacation.

I came back less than 7 days later and my garden had exploded:

My jungle of a garden.
My jungle of a garden.
There is a pathway here, somewhere.  The calendula has fallen over into it, because the squash plants are pushing it over, I believe.
There is a pathway here, somewhere. The calendula has fallen over into it, because the squash plants are pushing it over, I believe.
My tomato plants were separated by the aisle, and they have decided to join hands. I had to re-separate them (it didn't work very well - I'll have to tie them up more).
My tomato plants were separated by the aisle, and they have decided to join hands. I had to re-separate them (it didn’t work very well – I’ll have to tie them up more).
I have tomatoes! They are getting pretty big, I didn't even see any fruit starting before I left.
I have tomatoes! They are getting pretty big, I didn’t even see any fruit starting before I left.
My tinier tomatillo plants are getting large now, and one has flowers. That gives me hope that I will have fruit this year. The largest plant has had flowers for awhile, and just keeps growing.
My tinier tomatillo plants are getting large now, and one has flowers. That gives me hope that I will have fruit this year. The largest plant has had flowers for awhile, and just keeps growing.
My Black Eyed Susan Thunbergia through the corn/sunflower jungle. I have some regular Black Eyed Susans and calendula planted between the corn, and those are getting very tall also.
My Black Eyed Susan Thunbergia through the corn/sunflower jungle. I have some regular Black Eyed Susans and calendula planted between the corn, and those are getting very tall also.
One of my tall sunflowers. Just taller than me right now, and starting to form a flower.
One of my tall sunflowers. Just taller than me right now, and starting to form a flower.
I have peas! These need a couple more days and then I will pick them, there are several on the plant so I'm excited for a decent pea crop this year. I only got a few pods last year - the plants really faltered.
I have peas! These need a couple more days and then I will pick them, there are several on the plants so I’m excited for a decent pea crop this year. I only got a few pods last year – the plants really faltered.
My cucumbers are getting flowers, and growing well. I hoped for more, but not all my plants took - I ended up with three plants. I love making pickles.
My cucumbers are getting flowers, and growing well. I hoped for more, but not all my plants took – I ended up with three plants. I love making pickles.
My beans are going crazy, climbing to the top of my tree-poles.  I wonder how tall they would get if they had all the room they wanted.  I have tiny beans forming all over my plants.
My beans are going crazy, climbing to the top of my tree-poles. I wonder how tall they would get if they had all the room they wanted. I have tiny beans forming all over my plants.

The chickens are doing well.  We had planned on starting to cull some roosters when I got home. A couple on the shortlist have redeemed themselves for now.  We culled two on Sunday – one was getting very aggressive and had pecked my son, and the other was picking on the rest of the big roosters.  We will need to take out a couple more before winter, but the ones we still have are behaving better.  One of our youngest roosters, Wonky Top:

Here is Wonky Top.  My husband named him, because of his goofy comb.
Here is Wonky Top. My husband named him, because of his goofy comb.

Wonky’s comb has been straightening out.  He has straightened out too – he was going to be one of the first we took out, because he didn’t get along with anyone – he was really skittish, and he fought with everyone. We had separated the roosters from the hens for awhile, and he would get picked on by the bigger guys, and then escape. Each time we caught him and put him back with the roosters, he would escape again, and then evade capture for most of the day.  I finally put him in with the hens.  He stayed there while I was on vacation. When I got back I thought my roosters were bored being over in their side (we had them in the grassless side because it was easier to get them in at night), so I put them with everyone again.  Wonky then asserted himself, pretty much saying “you’re on MY side now!” and he wouldn’t take any flack from the big guys.  Now he doesn’t seem so skittish, and he’s getting along with everyone better. So we have decided he can stay, for now.  I suspect he’s a Cuckoo Maran – I really wanted some Marans (the hens can lay darker brown eggs ) so if possible we may keep him for breeding. We will see.

I was planning on keeping certain roosters based on looks, for breeding purposes, but we are starting to cull based mostly on their behavior, especially toward us.  Our big Black Langshan rooster was one that we took out this weekend, since he flew up on my son and pecked him in the chest.  That was the deciding factor for him.  We were planning on keeping at least two – I read that if you have 3 or 4 they can get along better than having just two.  We’ll just have to play it by ear with them.

The chickens are enjoying their outdoor shelter – we allow them in the coop anyway, but this shelter was already in the part of the run that I have them in right now, so we left it (it’s a little large so we’d have to disassemble it to remove it) – they have learned they can go on top of it. That puts their heads only about 6 inches from the top of the fence.  They have not seemed to figure that part out yet though – I was worried they would jump out but nobody has so far.

My chickens having fun sitting on their outdoor shelter.
My chickens having fun sitting on (and in) their outdoor shelter.

July Flowers

A lot of things in our yard are in bloom right now – we have many different wildflowers, and I planted some flowers in the garden that are currently in bloom.   Here is a tour of the flowers in our yard this month:

Here are some Snapdragons and Pansies I have growing in a barrel on our porch.  I've never grown snapdragons before. They are very colorful.
Here are some Snapdragons and Pansies I have growing in a barrel on our porch. I’ve never grown snapdragons before. I like them, they are very colorful.
Here is some yarrow that is growing next to my not-yet-bloomed lilies in a barrel.  We have some wild (like this one) and some that I believe my mom said she planted that comes in different colors.
Here is some yarrow that is growing next to my not-yet-bloomed lilies in a barrel. We have some wild (like this one) and some that I believe my mom said she planted that comes in different colors.
I am not sure what these are, but they grow on the side of our house and they are pretty.
I am not sure what these are, but they grow on the side of our house and they are pretty.
I'm not sure what this is, it's a wild daisy-type flower that grows in my yard.  The plant is about 3-4 ft. tall, and these flowers are about the size of a quarter.
I’m not sure what this is, it’s a wild daisy-type flower that grows in my yard. The plant is about 3-4 ft. tall, and these flowers are about the size of a quarter.
Here is one of my marigolds.  I have a few of these scattered in the garden, and in some flower barrels on the porch.
Here is one of my marigolds. I have a few of these scattered in the garden, and in some flower barrels on the porch.
One of my Calendulas, now in bloom.  This is the first year I've grown this, I really like the flowers.  They are very bright.
One of my Calendulas, now in bloom. This is the first year I’ve grown this, I really like the flowers. They are very bright.
One of our many hollyhocks.  We have a tiny hollyhock "forest" near our side door - my mom planted some years ago and they keep coming back each year.  There are probably 10-12 plants, and this is one of the first to bloom this year.
One of our many hollyhocks. We have a tiny hollyhock “forest” near our side door – my mom planted some years ago and they keep coming back each year. There are probably 10-12 plants, and this is one of the first to bloom this year.
A large Mullein growing in our asparagus patch.  This is a medicinal plant, and it's probably about time to harvest it - I need to do some research on the proper method of doing that.
A large Mullein growing in our asparagus patch. This is a medicinal plant, and it’s probably about time to harvest it – I need to do some research on the proper method of doing that.
These clematis grow near our rose bush. Our first spring here, I stole their support fence for a different spot, because I didn't know they were growing there.  They are in an area where the grass gets really tall, so that is what is supporting it at the moment. I plan on giving it better support here soon.
These clematis grow near our rose bush. Last year was our first spring here, and I stole their support fence for a different spot, because I didn’t know they were growing there. They are in an area where the grass gets really tall, so that is what is supporting it at the moment. I plan on giving it better support here soon.
Here is my Black Eyed Susan Thunbergia, growing up my fene.
Here is my Black Eyed Susan Thunbergia, growing up my fence.

Thanks for checking out some of my flowers.

The garden is growing…

What a difference two weeks makes! I love watching my plants grow – it’s nice to look back at pictures of what it looked like a few weeks ago.

The left shows my garden on June 24th, and the right is my garden today, 7/12/15.
The left shows my garden on June 24th, and the right is my garden today, 7/12/15.

My plants are doing really well in the garden.

Here is my corn. The older batch, shown here, is just over a foot tall now.  I have some on the other side of the garden that I planted 2 weeks later, when I noticed that the original seeds I tried to plant didn't take.  Those are about 6 inches or so now.
Here is my corn. The older batch, shown here, is just over a foot tall now. I have some on the other side of the garden that I planted 2 weeks later, when I noticed that the original seeds I tried to plant didn’t take. Those are about 6 inches or so now.
Here are my brandywine and beefsteak tomatoes.
Here are my brandywine and beefsteak tomatoes.
Here are my black krim tomatoes.  I have not tried these, they are supposed to be an almost black / purple tomato that tastes really good.
Here are my black krim tomatoes. I have not tried these, they are supposed to be an almost black / purple tomato that tastes really good.
A sunflower that somehow ended up in the corn rows.  I don't care, I love sunflowers. I must have dropped a seed while walking in the garden.
A sunflower that somehow ended up in the corn rows. I don’t care, I love sunflowers. I must have dropped a seed while walking in the garden.
A mystery squash.  Could be a zucchini, yellow squash, or acorn. I'm not sure yet. I lost track of where they were planted with my efforts of re-seeding in empty spots when seedlings died.
A mystery squash. Could be a zucchini, yellow squash, or acorn. I’m not sure yet. I lost track of where they were planted with my efforts of re-seeding in empty spots when seedlings died.
A calendula plant - it's forming a flower. I'm excited, I haven't grown these before.
A calendula plant – it’s forming a flower. I’m excited, I haven’t grown these before.
More sunflowers. These ones were planted on purpose.
More sunflowers. These ones were planted on purpose. The taller plants on the lower left of this picture are Amaranth.
My beans are doing really well, and are starting to climb the strings I put in to support them.
My beans are doing really well, and are starting to climb the strings I put in to support them.
The artichokes are doing well also.
The artichokes are doing well also.
Here is one of the pansies I put in amongst the vegetables.  This one has really pretty coloring.
Here is one of the pansies I put in amongst the vegetables. This one has really pretty coloring.

I really enjoy seeing my plants get bigger.  Thanks for taking a look.

My Main Garden bed – A June Photo tour

My new, main garden bed is doing better now, since the temperatures have been getting a little warmer.  We’ve been in the 60s and 70s and most of my plants, and seeds, seem to be actually growing and sprouting now. Here are some pictures of my garden:

This picture doesn't look a whole lot different from the one I posted earlier in the month, but individual plants are doing better. I know it will look a lot fuller by this time next month.
This picture doesn’t look a whole lot different from the one I posted earlier in the month, but individual plants are doing better. I know it will look a lot fuller by this time next month.
Here is one of my Amaranth plants. I grew them as seedlings, hoping to do a larger area of them, but I ran out of room. This is the first year I've grown it so I want to try it out and see if we even like it before dedicating more garden space to it.
Here is one of my Amaranth plants. I grew them as seedlings, hoping to do a larger area of them, but I ran out of room. This is the first year I’ve grown it so I want to try it out and see if we even like it before dedicating more garden space to it.
My tomatoes are doing better than they were when I first transplanted them. I'm going to give them a bit more time before attaching them to their trellis.
My tomatoes are doing better than they were when I first transplanted them. I’m going to give them a bit more time before attaching them to their trellis.
Here are some sunflowers. I put some seedlings in, and they didn't seem to be doing so well, so I planted seeds directly in. They are all growing fine, so I will have quite a few. I think I have 10, and they are a mix, some giant, some yellows and oranges.
Here are some sunflowers. I put some seedlings in, and they didn’t seem to be doing so well, so I planted seeds directly in. They are all growing fine, so I will have quite a few. I think I have 10, and they are a mix, some giant;  some yellows and oranges that get tall with smaller flowers.
This was supposed to be all corn - white corn on the left, and yellow on the right. I have one or two white corn that sprouted. The yellow corn is doing pretty well. I just planted some more yellow corn seeds in where the white corn was supposed to grow.
This was supposed to be all corn – white corn on the left, and yellow on the right. I have one or two white corn that sprouted. The yellow corn is doing pretty well. I just planted some more yellow corn seeds in where the white corn was supposed to grow. I have flowers growing along the pathway. Some black eyed susans, evening primrose, and others. As you can see, I have a big job of weeding ahead of me – I am waiting till the weeds are bigger and easier to pick.
Here are my little yellow corn plants.
Here are my little yellow corn plants.
A squash plant. I'm not sure what I have where anymore with the squash. I replanted seeds, and leftover seedlings, where original seedlings had died.  I think this is a yellow squash.
A squash plant. I’m not sure what I have where anymore with the squash. I replanted seeds, and leftover seedlings, where original seedlings had died. I think this is a yellow squash. I should end up with a few zucchini, yellow squash, and acorn and butternut squash plants, I think. I will find out when they grow.
A calendula flower plant. I'm excited, this is the first time I've grown them. They are supposed to be pretty, and also medicinal/edible.
A calendula flower plant. I’m excited, this is the first time I’ve grown them. They are supposed to be pretty, and also medicinal/edible.
Some of my peas. They are just now starting to climb their strings.
Some of my peas. They are just now starting to climb their strings.
A tiny tomatillo plant.
A tiny tomatillo plant.
A big tomatillo.  This is one of the original started seedlings. It is the only one that survived that planting. I planted the smaller one, in the picture above this,  later.  Unfortunately this one is getting flowers, and they need to cross pollinate to get any fruit. We'll see if I get any this year. My other plant is very small compared to this one.
A big tomatillo. This is one of the original-started seedlings. It is the only one that survived that planting. I planted the smaller one, in the picture above this, later. Unfortunately this one is getting flowers, and they need to cross pollinate to get any fruit. We’ll see if I get any this year. My other plant is very small compared to this one.
One of my artichokes. I love artichokes and heard they will grow as an annual here. So far my 9 seedlings that I put into the garden are all doing great.
One of my artichokes. I love artichokes and heard they will grow as an annual here. So far my 9 seedlings that I put into the garden are all doing great.