JULY 13 and 20, FARM NEWS

The usual Monday morning view taken on Wednesday of last week..

Just a little further down to the left of the previous photo. From the left; sunflowers several rows of potatoes differing varieties and planting dates, beans and then more sunflower.

We have been so busy the past while that it has been impossible to get a blog thought up, written and posted. So much to do in the garden and we are so far behind where we would really like to be. We are seriously considering getting the tractor back in running order to help speed things up. The trouble with that is the tractor needs a bit of work to get running and, in it’s present position in the wood shed, much would have to be moved to get it out. But all that wood needs to be moved anyway. To do this will require time and likely quite a bit of it. We also need a loader tractor and were considering one that was on Kijiji but thought better of that idea when looking at how much money we could afford. The tractor that we have is a Cockshutt 30 built in Brantford in 1947 and is a good size, being small enough, mostly, for the garden, and large enough to pull light farm equipment including a small baler and even a 6 foot combine harvester, and, we could put a loader on it. We need a loader to make faster work of moving manure and compost and for moving large round bales of hay and straw. Let me know if, stowed in some far corner of your basement, you have a spare loader that will  fit a “30”.

On the far left, not quite visible are Tomatillo, three rows of Tomato, peppers egg plant, sunflower and then the potatoes.
The posts are the start of the structure to get the tomatoes up off the ground and growing high and will double as a green house structure too.

Swiss chard, onion, peas, carrots, beets. Tomatoes in the foreground.

The vegetable garden is looking very good. We have had a lot of help from volunteers and especially from those having a working share in the CSA program. Without that help we would be even further behind and things would swallowed up be weed.

A soldier beetle with a larva of the potato beetle skewered on it’s proboscis. At about this time we can leave off our near daily walk through the potatoes looking for potato beetle’s and their larva.

The sunflowers are now in bloom.

We have gotten adequate rainfall except for a short while  when it was getting quite dry. We had to water newly seeded beds but most everything else was still alright and then it rained again. And again and more is coming. All this is good as we’d rather have a little more than enough rain than not quite enough.  The next four days are forecast to be sunny, just under 30C, and therefore no rain.

Red Admiral butterfly on a red clover flower. There are a large number of these this year. They like stinging nettle for their larva to munch on.

The rye is nearly ready for harvest. We have only a small amount scattered through the garden that came up from the rye straw mulch. We can now make a loaf or two of rye bread, a bit of rye whisky or have a bowl of Cheerie Rs.

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July 1 and 8, 2019 FARM NEWS

The usual garden view early in the morning of July first.

The potatoes with sunflowers to the left.

We missed posting a blog last Monday. We are so very busy now that finding time to write is difficult. This will be a short one.

A sunflower row growing very fast.

Tomato rows with pepper and eggplant to the right against the sunflowers

We are still planting in the garden and are slowly catching up though quite a bit further behind than we would like. There is still much to go in and there is also the on going maintenance of already growing vegetables. This is mainly mulching and weeding. Very little irrigation has been needed. this week past has been our driest so far. we got a bit of rain, not nearly as much as we need but enough to not have to water everything, just a few rows that really did need water.

The lettuce with the snow peas and the pea fence behind.

From the right; perennial onions, 2 rows of Swiss chard, 2 rows of peas, 6 rows of well mulched carrots and rows for beets and more carrots.

The garlic to the far left, broad beans (favas) to the left, onions centre and right and to the far right widely spaced cereal rye.

A volunteer lettuce in the pepper row and the eggplant row above.

The lettuce is now growing really well as it does always in hot weather with a lot of moisture. The heat has had no adverse effect as yet on the vegetables. It has only made for rapid growth.

The animals are doing well since the pastures are also staying quite green. The chickens and ducks continue to lay a good number of colourful eggs.

The sheep. Border Cheviots.

Nell and Leucan.

The ducks at the duck pond

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The Monday noon time view of the garden. A cloudy morning and a weedy section of the garden.

We are making up these planter boxes near the CSA pick up area. One is decorative plant filled but the others, and there will eventually be at least six, will be filled with herbs and other edibles. In front is a rugosa rose which will grow quite large and provide nice flowers and big rose hips.

A quick note this week. We have accomplished quite a bit in the garden with much help again from those with a working CSA share.

Onions, Swiss chard and peas, newly weeded.

The wildflower garden to the right, rows of lettuce and peas with the pea fence. Some needs to be weeded and a little more straw mulch applied.

Garlic, favas and onions. Partially mulched with straw.

Over the past week and the previous we have gotten straw mulch spread, more potatoes planted, tomato and pepper transplants in the ground and weeding of the favas, onions and Swiss chard. The area for the potatoes was cleared of large weeds before being wheel hoed marked and planted.

Rooster and Acer negundo

The animals are all fine, the horses, sheep and cows have now been on pasture for some two weeks now. Chickens and ducks doing well and laying lots of eggs.

Still much work to be done.

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June 17, 2019 FARM NEWS

The usual garden view late in the afternoon of June 17. the portion of the garden seen here is seemingly filled with weeds. Other things are growing there too though.

I started writing this weeks post a few days late, on Friday evening to be exact, the summer solstice, which happened today exactly at 11:15 a.m. EDST in our location, Brantford, Ontario.

The garlic patch. Much of it is looking just fine but a significant amount is really slow growing. That part was planted later in the fall.

One of several patches of self sown lettuce. We’d sown lettuce in neat rows here last year. Several plants sent up a flower stalk which went to seed. These eventually fell over to the ground scattering the seed. This has worked out real well.

Garden work continues with a lot having been done and much more to be done. As usual. The onion sets are all in and growing. The rains fall with weekly regularity and it is beginning to be regularly warm and sunny between rainstorms. Perfect timing. Perfect weather really.

The bits of white fluff falling are not snow, They are fluff, from our cotton wood tree, drifting slowly down with the wind carrying a seed. The large lump on the hillside is a pile of thistles that the boys dug from a large area around the pile.

We have set up a single large planter box for herbs and will put in at least 2 more this season and three more as soon as we can. The fruit trees are doing well and we may even get a small number of apples and maybe cherries.

Portrait of a Welsumer hen

And the hen portrait below the Welsumer is of a  buff Brahma. They have a very different head.  A short blog, it is really difficult to get the time to write, but I’ll try hard to get another off on Sunday evening or Monday morning.


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The usual garden view early this morning with a light rain

A bit of a dull Monday morning, overcast with rain predicted, but reasonably warm at almost 18 degrees C. The woodstove has now gone a full week, and more, without being fired up. Hopefully we’ll not have to use it again until October. Maybe summer weather is here now? Another 11 days until the solstice.

newly seeded

We have done a considerable amount of work in the garden the past week. We have seeded and have transplanted and all that is still ongoing on  and will be for a long while. We are behind where we would like to be and where we expected to be but it will all work out in the end.

Early this morning potato rows the area in the middle mowed right down

We have broken our rule on not using fossil fuels in the garden as we used the gasoline lawn mower last night to mow weeds in the garden and grass  around. We may use it one or two more times before late fall but will avoid it as much long as we can. We do have an extension corded lawn mower and a battery lawn mower. These are small machines but we would like to have a riding electric mower for the heavier weeds in the garden and around the edges so as not to need the gas version.

Cows on pasture

Bundles of asparagus. We need to get more asparagus growing.

Short blog this week as there is far too much work to be done. We have started the CSA vegetable pickups every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons after 4 but may skip a week as we don’t have that much this week. this is the earliest that we have been able to get going in our 26 years of doing the CSA gardening.

For the CSA garlic greens, red clover, chives

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The Monday morning view of the garden. Tree leaves are well filled out now and all the weeds, as well as veggies, are growing good in the garden.

We spent nearly the whole day on Monday last cleaning around the pickup area and trying to get a roof on at least a portion of the pickup shed. In the end we got the cleanup partially completed, enough so that no one was going to trip over anything. Still much to be done. Aerron did plant more of the fruit trees. The single grape and the three rugosa roses are all that is left to be planted. The weather was quite nice, warm enough, t shirt weather.

The crabapple Whitney has a few blooms as do many other of the fruit trees.

Tuesday was the first CSA pickup day of the season. We had a nice, but small amount of vegetables available. Diane, who has a working share, was out, to help pick and then put straw mulch down on the entire 100 foot bed of lettuce. Two rows. A time consuming job and Diane did a great job. Nice amount and the lettuce was still to be seen. We picked all the veggies for about 10 shares only, so it was relatively fast, and we had help. Granddaughter Briar helped out with the rhubarb, trimming the leaf off each stalk and weighing out 2 pound bundles. It rained in the early part of the morning, a bit of a misty rain from time to time until around 3 when it was just cloudy. The whole day was quite chilly but luckily the wind was very light or not at all. Lost the camera for the whole day but luckily found it in the evening. Lost the peahen too for a while when she went out with the chickens then decided to fly up and around and behind the house setting off the chicken flock back there to furious alarm cackling. It took an hour to locate her but Aerron picked her up and carried her back in. She’d have made quick coyote or raccoon dinner.

The peahen on her roost safely in the coop.

A veggie share this week. From the left; stinging nettle, Korean mint, green onion, asparagus, dandelion leaves, chives, wild lettuce, green garlic, and, in front is clover leaves.

Wednesday through until today we got a fair bit done. More help from more of those who had working shares; Joan and Jim, Marc, Carolina and 4 year old Lily Anne on Thursday, transplanting and mulching lettuce and helping to pick vegetables for the Thursday CSA pickup. Jen was out on Saturday helping to transplant onion. On Friday Mihaela brought 45 tomato plants that she had seeded and grown for us and helped plant them too. Aerron has finished planting all the various trees, fruit trees, berries, roses and the grape. No more until the fall.

The newly planted and mulched lettuce rows.

Saturday brought more rain a considerable amount. Two Saturdays in a row now that we’ve gotten heavy rains. It got down to just +5.1C Monday morning. The tomato plants had been covered overnight in anticipation of the cooler temperatures.

This hen has frizzled feathers but has just recently developed them. No idea what is going on.

This is what the frizzeled should, and once did, look like. these are buff Orpington chicken.

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MAY 27, 2019 FARM NEWS

The usual garden view this morning and it looks as though it will be a fine, warm, sunny day

The redbud by our house, one of 5 good sized ones that we have.

It is now getting more necessary, than it was earlier, for us to get work done. Weather has made us a little later with things than we’d hoped and we have also just got caught up with a lot of unforeseen work which has and still is taking up precious garden time. It will all work out but in the meantime is somewhat stressful.

The fall planted garlic. We won’t harvest this until it is mature in mid to late July.

Aerron and William setting sod in a hole. This sod came from the hole dug for the two sugar maples.

Setting the sugar maple tree in the hole and filling it in.

A couple of our guys digging one of those holes.

We went again to Wiffletree Farm and Nursery on Saturday for their annual end of spring sale. We came back with 12 more trees, a grape, 4 blackberry, 3 Rugosa rose and  a peashrub. For fruit trees we got just 4 dwarf and 2 large dwarf apples and a crabapple. We also got 3 Aronia and 2 sugar maple. The roses are for their large rose hips, the grape is a seedless variety, the black berries include one of each of Tayberries, Loganberry, Boysenberry and Balsor the most hardy of all. The crabapples are for their pollinating benefits and they are edible crabs as well. No more trees until late fall. We will however still transplant trees that we find growing in the garden and there are plenty. Mostly Manitoba maple, sugar and silver maple.

A nice little speckled Romaine lettuce seedling

Two rows, about 110 foot long of newly transplanted lettuce.

We have had help from our several days now from those with CSA working shares and this is really great for us. We do get a lot done but it is such a small dent in the long list of things needing to be done. The weekend saw little work done as Saturday was taken up with getting the trees and planting and Sunday was the kids piano concert recital and more tree planting.

Trays of seedlings which can soon be transplanted out.

Wild lettuce, goats beard, dandelion and shepherd’s purse. Growing but where else? In the garden.

We should get much more done today and then Tuesday and Thursday are the first CSA pick up days of this season. We are starting very early this season but will not have very much for the first few weeks. This week is green onion, green garlic, rhubarb, a small amount of asparagus, chives, wild lettuce, dandelion and other edible weeds, mints and stinging nettle. we may not have a pickup for another two weeks, making the first while every other week.

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