Thursday, May 26, 2011

Holy Crap Bat Man

I just caught the local weather and found that we are in danger of FROST for the next couple f days!

We aren't that far north .... Frost this late in May is unheard of ... its not unusual to have cooler than normal temperatures but not FROST ...

And with the rain that is expected this weekend as well -- we run the risk of actually having SNOW over the long weekend! It won't stick to the ground but it could happen ... It is more likely to be hail or sleet though.

Not good for the green house but even worse for the plants if they catch a chill .... I'm gonna be so bummed if anything happens to them ...

They are growing so well!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


We came back from the in-laws today (full story of the adventure here ... What a rainy weekend!

I don't know how much we got at their place, but when we came back we had 2inches in the rain gauge and we got another 1/4 inch in a single cloud-burst after we got home ... we've had at least one more storm go over head since the sun went down (thunder boomers and all, but it's been raining on &off too) so there may be more than that even.

Of course the local Weather Bug location says it only got 1/5th an inch ... I'm thinking they need to double check their equipment ... Hee hee.

But the moist weather has done some wonderful stuff in the green house ...

We've had to remove the lid from the plants and the salad table because the plants have grown so tall!
Salad table ready for harvesting Ginger's Farm Photos

Carrots - tray "A" Ginger's Farm Photos
hubby wants me to wait until after the carrots start to shoulder before picking them so we can have "baby carrots" ... But I'm afraid if I don't thin them out now, they will all die from over-crowding.

Carrot tray "B" Ginger's Farm Photos
Also ready for thinning out, and I'm thinking I would plant the Nantes carrots down the cener, but looking at them now, I think it might be too much for the pot to handle.

Swiss Chard & Collards Ginger's Farm Photos
Another one ready for picking ... I'm thinking it will help to thicken up the stalks as well. The leaves should be so tender that I will probable be able to put them right into a salad without the need for cooking. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Tomatoes &Peppers Ginger's Farm Photos
Now if only I could remember which is which ... Hubby can't remember if he turned this tray or not when we first did the others.

Squash Tray "A", right side out againGinger's Farm Photos
Had to turn these back around so that I could get a shot of the newest "arrivals" who popped thru this weekend.

Squash Tray "B" Ginger's Farm Photos
Turned these around so the bigger, surviving plants could get more light ... But their stems are thick and healthy ... Remember that these are the ones that I switched clear lids on and half of them died?

Squash Tray "C", first side forward Ginger's Farm Photos
Isn't that just the cutesy little plant you ever did see? I had really given up hope of it sprouting after all this time, but there it is.

Squash Tray "D" Pumpkins, front forward again Ginger's Farm Photos
A little disappointed - you see with the way the other trays had popped their last few seeds I thought for sure that the little budlings that sprouted a couple weeks ago would come up, but they just didn't go like the others ... I'm thinking that they are probably gone. No hope for them ... Poor little guys.

I'm so excited!

Hubby says I can plant the squash down on the long field after the next plowing, but he wants to plant a couple of rows of corn there too. I've even gotten "permission" to use my plastic mulch down there to help with the weed control ... Now my only 2issues will be watering and keeping the plastic in place.

M thinking of planting the pumpkin on the side if the hill where the burdock seems to grow so well .. But then the problem is ... The burdock blooms so well there. I'm afraid that trying to kill the burdock will also harm the pumpkin. If you know burdock - it is very stubborn.

Maybe I should plant them down in the long garden as well ... But then the upside of putting them on the hill is that the dog can help keep the chipmunks and deer scared away from them ... The deer know she can't get to then down there ... As evidence by the peas and beans which were eaten practically gone last year.

They walked down the rows and chewed off the tops just as they were setting their flowers like it was their own personal smorgasbord! And the last time I grew pumpkin over by the green house, they took big bites out of the fruit that grew before I could get to it ... But then the dog was on a tie-out otherwise he would have been all over them.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Alright - this week the green house has really been getting warm ... okay, its been like spring in Arizona.

It has been getting up to at least 100*F on sunny days ... and the temps are warming up at night so it hasn't gotten down below 50F for about a week now as well. 

So what did this mean to the plants?

Well last week I didn't take photos because it didn't make a big difference - it was still getting close to freezing most nights (like 35F) ... but with this warmer weather I decided to take a look ... also because its been a pretty cloudy week I needed to see if anyone needed some water.

WOW what a difference in just one week ...

Pumpkins (LtoR:Howden, Dill Atlantic)

Squash flat C (LtoR:Sugar Hubbard, Butternut)

Squash flat B (Front to Back:Patty Pans, Black Beauty Zucchini, Yellow Marrow) Yello Marrow died after overnight cold temps

Squash Flat A (LtoR: 2rows emply, Queen Anne Acorn, Sitck-o-Butter summer squash)

Swiss Chard showing color, Collards widening leaves

zoom of Swiss Chard colors - wow they look cool!

Carrots B (LtoR: Parano, Purple Haze)

Carrots A (LtoR: Red Samuri, White Satin)

Salad Table (FtoBack: 2rows Garden Heirloom Blend, Pot & Patio Blend)
Okay - so what will these things look like when they "grow up"?

Pot & Patio salad blend: includes PomPom, Merlot, Little Gem, Victoria

Parano Carrots (I thought they were purple outside, orange inside ... huh)
White Satin
Purple Haze (this is the one I was thinking of before)

Collards (cut them up, cook them down - yummy!)

Dill Atlantic - supposed to get up to 800 lb for some pumpkins ... don't think mine will be THAT big
Howden - 10-15# per pumpkin on average ... but too watery for pies unless you slow cook it to prevent scortching
Black Beauty zucchini, love zuccs but they like to hide from me - last ones we grew were huge!
Cube of Butter squash - you are supposed to be able to batter and deep fry the flowers too
Sugar Hubbard - 15-20# a squash, and about 4-5squash per plant
Early Butternut - great for "pumpkin" pies
Patty Pan squash - the kids should love the UFO shape, about the size of a 45record ... um, bigger than a CD for those too young to remember 45s
Swiss Chard - OMG have you priced this in the store lately? I am soooooo hoping this does well for me

Queen Anne acorn - these will only get to about 1-2# each

I still have quite a bit of seed that I did not start yet, or may not get to it at all, because of two reasons
A) the weather has made the garden impossible to get into with the tiller, it just gets stuck
B)hubby wants to spray it with Round Up first to cut down on the weeds - really he shouldn't have to - I have all the plastic mulch we can fight over. I like it, he can't stand it.

But I have a feeling that MOST of what I have will not be grown until next year :(
Like my cabbages ... don't think they will have time to take off before their optimal time passes ... the onion seed, although I might be able to grow it during the winter in the green house ... my broccoli - can I cry now? I love broccoli, and was planning on freezing this to beat the rising food prices ... my peas & beans - staples to my dinner table, although they can be sown later and I should still get a decent crop from them.

and the corn ...

if the fields don't start to dry out, we will never get the corn in on-time! We have until the end of the month to get that seed in though ... especially if the kids are going to sell any of it before school starts in the fall.  Normally, when we get a crop, we have the first crops coming in just before the state fair ... but its been quite a while.

still time to get out the soil test kits for the kids to take some sample though so hubby can suppliment the soil.

Organic growing will take a while for him to embrace - it took me this long to get him around to "crop rotation" ... old ideas are hard to break.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Worm Wrangler

So what do you call a person who rounds-up worms?

An Invertebrate-Vaquero? Clitellum-Caballero?

I don't know ...

whatever it is ... my son is becoming one.

preparing to gather worms
its an over-night process
 He has done some research (with some help) and learned the kindest way to harvest wild worms without stressing them or harming them.

He is talking about starting his own blog on his worm farm ... but will have to see what happens ...

the original plan was to raise a small set for himself for fishing this summer, but from what he has been learning he may end up with way more worms than he expected ... he may end up going into the fish bait business!

then there is the side lines ... worm juice makes great liquid fertilizer they say ... and the 'castings' (worm scat) is supposed to be really good compost matter.  

but if he is going to do that then he needs to do a bit of research as to the legalities and what sorts of things he would have to do to package and distribute.

after just a couple of days in the new bin - a converted chicken carrier (the kind they use to put those store-bought rotisseri chickens in) because they have airvents built in to allow the steam to escape to the chicken doesn't get soggy - and he got almost a whole pie pan of "drippings" from them.

to me it was YUK, but to him it was totally cool and he wanted to add it to my salad table ... I said no, but allowed him to add it to the garden area ... where I will also be encouraging him to put his extra worms when they start to breed.

I did not know this - I thought that when worms got too big they simply split like blood cells - but they don't, they actually mate!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In the Light of Dawn

From Ginger's Farm Photos
After getting the kids off to school this morning I decided to go for a little walk in the morning dew and ran a crossed a FLOCK of robins along the hill above the first corn field.

I've never seen a robin in any sort of social situation before Nd always assumed that they were solitary creatures ... Okay maybe with their mate & babes ... But not in a flock like starlings & crows.

It totally blew my mind ... So I had to take a photo of one of them who would go near the field and then back up so it's feet wouldn't get wet ... Like child at the beach ...

Of course wouldn't you know it, it doesn't show up in this photo ... They were there, honest.

It was such a beautiful day that the green house got up to nearly 100•F

But the warm weather allowed my peppers & tomato tray to pop out!
From Ginger's Farm Photos
But apparently birds aren't the only thong alluding my camera today ...honest - there are plants growing in these pots

Monday, May 2, 2011

Green Green White

Well before we went up to put in the docks (yeah like Mother Nature was going to let that one happen) we found that there was a bit of greenery happening in the green house ... But only in the salad table so we gave everything with a seed in it a deep drink and headed out ...

And came back to find this: (now this was only 2 1/2days mind you)
The biggest difference was in the salad table
From Ginger's Farm Photos
We have two different salad mixes but they looked just what we like to eat

My kids have come to love greens ... Well cooked greens, jus so long as I don't mention that there might be cooked spinach in there, they will eat it all gone! The oldest says it's a desecration of bacon to crumble it in greens - so used just steam & butter and they love 'em.
From Ginger's Farm Photos
Last year I bought some Swiss chard seed but never got around to planting it, but the seed packet said the seeds were good for 3 years and it looks like they are growing well even in this cold weather ... But the bigger plants are Collards ... Oh how my kids love collards! I was going to do up some beets too ... One variety for the tops & bottoms, and another just for the tops (they really like beet greens, but turnips are their favorites)
The collards will make huge plants and I'm not sure how big the swiss chard will be, but they will be multi-colored, neon colored ... I had some chard at a dinner party, I think the kids will like it.

And carrots ... If I get a decent crop (and it looks like I might) I can freeze what we don't eat ... I've been thinking of putting a line of nantes carrots down the center, between the Two different varieties I have planted in each carrot pot.
From Ginger's Farm Photos
These will be my reds and my whites ... Can't wait to see if they taste differently

These are my purples and I don't remember what color the other becomes, I think its a red with orange center
From Ginger's Farm Photos
It's been so cold that as you can see I've only gotten one sprout so far

Now here is the one that was amazing ... Not sure if I should leave the lids on to keep the plants warm or take them off so they can have some growing space... SQUASH

Here are my Stick-O-Butter summer squash and my Queen Anne acorn squash ... Oh they are growing like a charm!
From Ginger's Farm Photos
They are coming very nicely the stems are nice and thick too

How wonderful these have come in ... Hubby planted before I could instruct in how to do it to make my charting easier ... He's been on a farm most of his life and somehow manages to just plop in the seeds and he remembers ... It didn't really get into gardening until I married him so I need quite a bit of organization ... Ok a lot ... To remember which is which
From Ginger's Farm Photos
All summer squash .. It has some yellow summer straights, and quite a bit of zucchini (my SIL likes to make bread, I love it in noodle salads), and a Patty Pan - I've never had one but the UFO look of it made it quite interesting!

My winter squash isn't fairings so well though ... I hope I get a bunch, I love me some pureed squash with butter, salt &pepper.
From Ginger's Farm Photos
That one popping up is one of my Early Hybrid Butternuts ... Thought there'd be more of them by now though ... The next tray is even worse ...

I really expected more from the pumpkins, but it's just TOO cold for the seeds to sprout ...
From Ginger's Farm Photos
Here you see the single Howden that has popped thru ...
I had hoped to be able to plant them on the bared hill next to the green house to keep down the weeds and still be close enough to the house for the dog to scare away the deer who always eat it in the fields, but enough out of her range so she doesn't trample them.

This is how much rain fell while we were putting in the dock ... But that is just what fell into the gauge ... Winds were supposed to be around 15MPH during the storm with gusts over 25MPH
From Ginger's Farm Photos

Did I mention that for May Day we had Rain mixed with SNOW? We even had some snow this morning too ... I hope we don't get any for Mothers Day!