One thing that is way different than the garden we had when we were kids is the succession planting we do here to provide crops like lettuce, broccoli, beets, cabbage, cauliflower, and onions throughout the 23-week CSA season. So, every week, we have something that needs planting. Kathleen's mom (top) joins us each weekend to plant whatever is needed. She has helped us plant at least 25% of all crops we have on on the ground. We had another 'guest' farmer last weekend (bottom)--Mark's sister Louise. She helped plant sunflowers and zinnias in front of the well house. Working together is a great way to catch up with our family and friends and we are grateful they are willing to spend some time out of doors with us.
Let's just say Mark has a way of growing tomatoes that is a bit different than most weekend gardeners. This past week, he has spent HOURS trimming the lower branches off of the tomatoes so there is more energy going to the blooms and fruit. First, he cuts their 'hair' (branches), then he ties them to a string which stretches to the top of the hoop house, then he clips the stem (black thing on left tomato plant) to the string. Fortunately, he was long gone when the snake (middle of picture) came out from underneath the warm, red plastic. We have survived the first three weeks of CSA fullfillment. I have progressed from completely freaking out to just running around with my head cut off on delivery days. WILD! We always have help--Mom helps harvest and Dad drives the delivery truck.
This past weekend, our good friends Dirk and Dixie called and asked if they could come do farm work for a couple of hours. Wow! We have lists that are miles long so of course the answer was yes. We told them they could tie up tomatoes and then switched the job to planting beans when they arrived. Dirk accused of a bait and switch. We planted pole and bush beans with catching up on each others' lives in between. Nice! Our faithful farmhands, my mom and dad, came both Saturday and Sunday and Rachel was home from college to bake a great chocolate birthday cake, plant beets with me, and work on irrigation with Mark.
Our loaner cows returned to keep the pasture grass in control. Fred Colvin/Colvin Ranch kindly lends us four steers for the summer months. Before they arrived, we re-worked the electric fence to fit our new garden area. In fact, it was a hardware kind of weekend. I learned how to put connectors and ends on t-tape which is what we use to water most of the crops. T-tape is like a very flat soaker hose. It comes on a roll and we just cut the length we need, lay it down next to the row, and hook it up to the small water lines running throughout the garden. But the biggest news was getting our first CSA boxes out to our subscribers. A little scary for our first time, but all boxes were picked up or delivered. On to next week!
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This blog reflects the journey of Kathleen and Mark who have left suburbia to steward this historical property and transform the land back into a working farm.