August 31, 2015 Farm News


A view of the garden from the customary spot. Quite a bare spot in the middlewhere the beans are and if we are quick we can get some things planted there. New lettuce to the left running up to the Korean mint growing large with the pretty purple, lavender like flowers.

A view of the garden from the customary spot.
Quite a bare spot in the middlewhere the beans are and if we are quick we can get some things planted there. New lettuce to the left running up to the Korean mint growing large with the pretty purple, lavender like flowers.

We have not had any real good rainfall in quite some time.  I didn’t note the date of the last good rainfall nor the dates and amounts of the rains since, however, the last good rain was in the order of two inches over two or three days but subsequent rains have been in the order of 2 or 3 tenths of an inch and that is not enough.  When plants are mature and growing they need about an inch or so  of rain each and every week, for optimum growth.  Two or three weeks with inadequate amounts of rain and plant growth is somewhat stunted, the plant does not grow or produce to it’s potential and of course going too long without rain sort of kills the plant eventually.

Tomatoes far left, then Chard, Peppers in the centre, Okra, just not growing, and onions beside sprawling tomatillos. Our very productive weed.

Tomatoes far left, then Chard, Peppers in the centre, Okra, just not growing, and onions beside sprawling tomatillos. Our very productive weed.

Four rows of Kale with the tomatoes to the right and then the Chard

Four rows of Kale with the tomatoes to the right and then the Chard

Rows of Broccolli with Eggplants to the left and lots of arugula and radish growing between the rows.

Rows of Broccolli with Eggplants to the left and lots of arugula and radish growing between the rows.

So we have been irrigating regularly, pretty much all the time we can.  We use a single sprinkler, as that is as much as our water pressure and volume will keep going.  This waters a circle of about 20 feet in diameter when set at about half a meter above the surface of the ground.  This gets moved every 3/4 of an hour or maybe every hour.  There is a bit of an overlap so it takes several hours to water the 300 foot length of our garden, and two or three days at least to get the whole garden done.  We do not run the sprinkler at night as it has to be moved by hand and no one is willing to do a night shift.  Not when we have to also do the day shift.

Leucan, Nell and Marta heading for the shade. The morning is starting to get real hot and humid.

Leucan, Nell and Marta heading for the shade. The morning is starting to get real hot and humid.

Our best hope would be for a bit of a Hurricane drifting up from the States.  Of course that would not bode well for all those in it’s path on the way to us so I cannot wish for that.  We’ll just have to rely on one of those systems that drift in from the American north west or the south west.  Those same systems that have been regularly coming our way and sort of dissipating and losing strength as they get here or as they cross Lakes Huron and Erie.

The garden however has been doing really well, even if not as well were all the conditions optimal.  But then conditions are very seldom optimal. All of our crops are also way behind were they should be at this time in the growing season and for most of the crops they are going to eventually produce well.

Chickens and ducks eating some weeds.  They untiringly will dive after anything thrown into their yard.

Chickens and ducks eating some weeds. They untiringly will dive after anything thrown into their yard.

The tomatoes have a large number of fruits but most are still green.  The ripening fruits are greater in number this week and the hot weather this week should really help. The pepper plants have been struggling all season and though like the tomatoes there are a lot of fruits, the heat has not been there for them and likely they are suffering from cold damage because of those several nights when temperatures went to around 10C.  We should have broccoli this week and lots more next week.  Cucumbers are near ready, maybe a few this week and likely with the heat a large number next week.  Cauliflowers plants look really good but not showing flowers yet.  Cabbages, Chinese (Nappas), Regular old green cabbages and curled leaf, savoyed cabbages are near ready too but at least another week away.  There’s more!!

The pastures are pretty much dried up now though the horses have just been moved to a so far this year unused pasture that will take them perhaps two weeks if we are lucky, to munch through.  Cows and sheep not so lucky.  The hay supply is beginning to dwindle now and we’re hoping that we will be able to get some from a second cut at the neighbours but we’ll need more than that to get through the winter.

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August 24, 2015 Farm News


The view of the garden from the usual spot. Early this morning.

The view of the garden from the usual spot. Early this morning.

Much was done this past week and mostly in the garden.  We have had a little bit of rain, not nearly enough but with irrigation the garden is getting enough moisture to keep things growing quite nicely and, except for a couple of cool, around 12C or so, nights, temperatures have been real warm, even hot most of the time with lots of sun.  Great weather to keep things growing.

An early morning look down a tomato row.

An early morning look down a tomato row.

With a lot of help we have cleared of weeds the cabbage rows,  the cauliflower, the broccoli (except for a strip down the walking part and where arugula and radishes are growing), and also cleared the cucumbers and about half of the corn.  Thank you especially over the past week to these much appreciated people who worked away in the garden: Ken for pulling onions and then cleaning them up, a long and tedious job, and with other help during Thursday’s harvest; Rick and Jennifer for getting the broccoli and more free of the worst of the weeds and Khanh, for helping to free most of the leeks from grass and weeds.

Much of our garden is late this year for a variety of reasons, mostly the weather.  Broccoli are now forming heads and perhaps later this week we can start harvesting them.  Cucumber plants are doing real well and have lots of little cukes hiding under leaves to be ready maybe next week. Chinese cabbage is looking nice too and is perhaps a week or two from harvest. Brussel’s Sprouts,  cabbages, cauliflower, leeks and celery are still a few weeks off. The progress of tomato, pepper, eggplant, okra, the heat loving veggies, is still slow. Fruits are there and more are forming and ripening slowly.  Except for tomatoes, plants are not as large as we expected and perhaps fewer fruit too as a result.  We will likely still have a good harvest from these vegetables eventually.

Our pastures are still recovering from the drought , they really need a lot more rain than we have been getting. If we were to get here or four days of moderate rain and warmth then they would put on a significant growth spurt. The slow recovery makes it difficult to find enough grass for the sheep, cows and horse.  Doubling the number of horses has meant doubling the pasture requirements. We’ll get by.

Still a lot of growing season left for this year.  If there are not any or many photos here, then go to our Facebook page as there should be lots there.

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August 17, 2015 Farm News


I thought that I would try each day to write down what happened so here it is: No pictures, not even a one, hopefully they will load to Facebook so look there.

Monday August 10; some significant time as usual was taken in writing the blog, doing the Facebook page and loading photos to the computer and attempting to load to the website and to the Facebook page. The photos actually loaded quite well to Facebook this week. Checking and replying to e-mails takes a bit of time every day. I moved the sprinkler down four beds of veggies at more or less regular intervals and caught up on egg cleaning while Aerron weeded a lot in the corn rows and through the Broad beans, the latter in preparation for reseeding. Then it rained.  It rained quite heavily for a while, not enough to cause any washouts, but enough and long enough to give us a reprieve from any watering for a day or two at least. The other thing taking a lot of our time each day is caring for the animals: chickens, ducks, sheep, goat, donkey, cattle, horses, cats and dogs and one Indian Ringed-Neck Parakeet.

Tuesday August 11; Pick up day today, first had to wash a lot of eggs then after the regular chores straightened up the pick up area, and began getting onions gathered. Aerron went after the potatoes. Lots of white grub damage to the potato tubers, especially the reds,  and probably a lot to the potato roots in general and maybe that is why there has been the early die off of the potato plants.  Pick ups started at 4.  I actually remembered every one’s name, maybe not all the kids though, and not right away but always before that person left. It was after 8 when the last person left and by 8:30 I had straightened everything up enough for the night that I could look after the chickens and at dark, locked them all up for the night.

Wednesday August 12; Margurite was out around 7:30 to help out weeding and Amy came out for a while too. I worked with them and we weeded the two cabbage rows as well as about a quarter of each of four other rows. Worked ’til 10 then came in to do e-mail replies etc,  chickens having been done much earlier and Aerron was up from the barn around noon. Weeded the rest of those 4 rows to the half way mark and Aerron went with the stirrup wheel hoe as well as on hands and knees and cleaned up a row of corn.  Washed 7 dozen eggs for Kevin, then went to Mrs, Sisilski’s to pick up 6 bags of apples for the animals as well as another bag of better apples, still fallen ones, for the sharers.

And that’s it. I kept it up for three days.  The next four days are the usual fog but it seems to me that we did another CSA pick up on Thursday.  Somewhere in their with help from Jennifer and Rick we have we have now cleared the cabbages, cauliflowers, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, melons and 6 rows of sweet corn of weeds and all those plantings are doing very well.  That area has also had a very good soaking, not with rain, we have had none, but irrigated from our two wells using three sprinklers that are moved approximately each hour. Sprinklers are now back on the kale, new seeds, tomatoes peppers and will move next to the chard, tomatillos, tomatoes, okra, onion, lettuce and more.  Went another time to get more apples from the ground, windfalls, though actually it is not the wind, pest damage and ripening causes most to fall.

Add to the garden work our usual work each day with chickens, and all the hoofed animals and we are very busy.

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August 10, 2015 Farm News


The garden just a few days ago. Lots of changes. Broad beans done and garlic out.

The garden just a few days ago. Lots of changes. Broad beans done and garlic out.

Thought that I had lost the previous post.  Found it, could not edit it and had to just publish, so this is an explanation and one photo. Can’t load any more photos. don’t know why!

I’ll get some more to Facebook later today.  Must run. Too much to do not enough time.

Longer post next week, I hope.

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August 10, 2015 Farm News


The garden still looks good and everything is growing well.  We are beginning to get dry again and we have been watering every day, moving a single sprinkler along at regular intervals all day.  This is about the best we can do, a single sprinkler watering a circle of about 20 foot diameter.

Temperatures during the day are still ok but night time it usually is quite a bit cooler than what we would consider anything like optimal.  So long as it continues this way and we don’t get temperatures at night much below 12 at the most, until at least the beginning of October, then we will be late on a lot of things but we will still have them eventually.  A real nice rainfall of about 4 or more centimetres would be very nice just about now and the next opportunity for the rain Gods to dump on us appears, from the meteorological predictions, the ‘forecast’, appears to be later today.  So if you are one of those who have done rain dances and burned sage or other rain provoking things, please do it right away again please.  Just don’t get all carried away such that it rains steady for a week.

Not likely to get photos uploaded this week again, will at least try for a header but am pretty sure that to do so will have to publish the blog then go back and try to upload under an edit.  if not many photos then go to Face book where there should be more, at least for the next few days, don’t know if they will be available on Facebook say six months from now.

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August 3, 2015 Farm News


The very dry weather was finally relieved last night when we had about 2 mm or 3/4 of an inch of rain.  Because of the drought we had been watering quite a bit and though everything really needed a very thorough soaking we haven’t the capacity or access to a large enough reservoir of water to do that.  Instead it is some soaker hoses, a sprinkler or two and a lot of hand watering.  This rainfall has been very nice. It did not come down hard enough at any time to cause any washouts, which was just as well as we have some newly seeded beets which would have been at risk of being widely dispersed had that happened. It is not nearly enough rain, unless we get more within the next few days, within the week for sure, but is very welcome none the less.

In spite of the drought and inadequate watering from us, the garden still looks good.  It would look better and everything would be larger had  it rained earlier. If we could now get some more warm sunshine and more rain then everything will respond and put on a huge growth spurt.  Just what we need.

The animals are all alright but they are running out of pasture due to the drought.  It will take some two or three weeks for the fields to recover adequately but already they are growing back. The somewhat lower temperatures are probably better for pasture plants especially the grasses.

Hope that the photos will load to this blog.  Not quite sure but it seems that they will load better if the blog is published first. so if you look at it early, check back again after an hour or so.  Go to our Facebook page too as we can usually load pictures there more easily, so there should be several of this morning’s photos there.

Happy Monday. Happy whatever holiday this is.  And Happy growing whether it is kids or gardens or both.

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July 27, 2015 Farm News


The usual garden view on this early Monday morning

The usual garden view on this early Monday morning

Another very busy week made all the busier because of the very dry weather making a lot of watering in the garden a very necessary job.  There is a lot to be watered and some things, such as newly seeded or transplanted things and leafies such as chard and lettuce and spinach, require more water and need it more often. We only have garden hoses and water from two wells to use so we have a very limited capacity and not a great deal of pressure. The result is that it takes a lot of time to get watering done. No rain is in the forecast so watering in the garden is going to be an ongoing all important job.

Kale plants looking pretty good.

Kale plants looking pretty good.

The vegetables are growing well though.  So long as we can keep giving the plants their needed water the heat and sunshine this week will really make them grow. The Kale is looking very god and we should be harvesting it this week. More beans too.

Chickens, ducks, sheep, donkey, cows and horses are al doing fine.  The pastures are not however.  The pastures really do need a lot of rain and soon or we will have to start feeding out hay and then we will be into our winter food supply and that is not good.  We did bring up some more loose hay from our neighbours but only a small amount and it had been rained on and lain out for a long time. Not the best but it will help.

Still having trouble loading photos to the website so they will appear on Facebook instead.

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