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the swing of things

June 25, 2012

Whew! Somehow while I was busy picking up extra hours at work, waiting for the rain to stop, and entertaining houseguests, the garden (and its surrounding weeds) sprang to life. Our to-do list fills a legal pad hanging by the front door and even with all the extra daylight we rarely make much of a dent in it.

But even on days when I don’t have the time to get dirty, I can’t resist doing a walkthrough of the property to take inventory (and taste a pea or twenty). Here’s what we have going on…

…in the garden:


Grow, broccoli, grow!

  • Our first planting of broccoli is juuust starting to head. We lost three or four of the seedlings to cabbage maggots,which was particularly disappointing as these plants have been my babies from the get-go. I’m especially excited because we’re growing the open-pollinated “Umpqua” from Uprising Organics.
  • Our snow and snap peas,on the other hand, are going nuts. The President’s Day peas took so long to germinate that the next planting caught up and now we’re eating peas with (and between) every meal!
  • Greens are another thing we have in abundance. The first plantings of spinach and arugula have already bolted, but now there’s plenty of chard, lettuce, and kale. Expect to see some future posts about how we’ve been enjoying this bounty.


    It might look like lambsquarters, but it’s quinoa for sure!

  • The quinoa is also doing surprisingly well after a slow start. The seedlings were so spindly for the first month or so that I thought they wouldn’t survive transplanting, but now the plants are getting big. Some even look like they’ll be flowering soon.
  • The curcubits, however, have been causing me some heartbreak. I had plans to grow tons of cool winter squash varieties, but had a terrible time trying to start the seeds. I finally got some delicata and “sweet meat” seeds to germinate, and am hoping it wasn’t too late. We’re also growing cukes and summer squash.
  • The pole beans we planted are doing well, but I’m really excited about the bed of orca/calypso/ying-yang beans that finally came up. I’ve never grown dry beans before, but there are already another twelve varieties in the Seed Savers Exchange catalog that I’d like to try next year…tiny tomato
  • Oh, and I can’t forget tomatoes! I’ve been dreaming of tomatoes since I saw the greenhouse on the property, so I may have gotten a little carried away with seed starting back in February. Anyway, we now have fifty plants in the greenhouse (plus a few peppers) and another fifty out in the garden. Luckily there’s a good sale on canning jars at our local supermarket,  so we’ve been stocking up!

…in the menagerie:

  • I have some good and bad news about our chickens. I was a little too sad to post about it at the time, but a few months ago we lost Cherry and Joan to a coyote attack. At first we weren’t sure what got them because we all we could find were their feathers, but our guess was confirmed when the coyote made another attempt the next day. So for now we’re being a lot more careful about when and where we let them free range and planning a coop remodel. But on a happier note, Daniel was able to introduce the new chicks to the remaining three hens and Paul with minimal difficulty. The new girls are getting really big, and we expect them to start laying in the next month or two.


    Oh, and Ginny grew a beard.

  • Part of the reason the coyote has been unsuccessful lately (knock on wood!) is that we’ve made a canine additionto our farm family. Macy, like Roo, is on loan from our landlords. But unlike Roo, she’s bigger than a breadbox. So even through the chickens are still a little afraid of her, we feel better knowing she’s around.

    Roo and chard

    Roo’s duties as a farm dog mostly involve eating vegetables.

  • The worms are thriving, too. I harvested a bunch of castings–some of which gave a serious boost to my Meyer lemon tree–and changed out the bedding at the beginning of the month. The tricky part is finding food scraps to feed them without depriving the chickens!
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