Tag: beets

Transplanting is Transformational

The Micro Farm is a “buzz” with activity.

Pollinators are enjoying the black raspberry flowers
Pollinators are enjoying the black raspberry flowers

The strawberry patch is also producing lovely berries this year.  Such a nice crop mean I need to protect the ripe berries from animals nibbling.

The strawberries protected
The strawberries protected

I use a bird netting purchased at a local nursery.  It keeps most of the critters from eating the ripe fruit.

I spent a good deal of the week transplanting seedlings.  One evening while working on the Micro Farm.  I noticed small movements near my neighbor’s shed.  Sure enough two small rabbits.  I knew I needed to do something to protect my tender and young plants.  Fencing is what I needed, but I wanted to avoid the traditional woven metal fence.  A local home store had landscaping timbers on sale, decision made.

New "fencing"
New “fencing”

Hopefully this will keep the rabbits out.  We will have to wait and see.

I transplanted tomatoes, peppers, celery, cabbage, and cauliflower.

Cabbage transplants
Cabbage transplants
Cauliflower transplant
Cauliflower transplant
Tomato transplants
Tomato transplants

I also planted five pounds of seed potatoes, another 75 onion sets, beets, edamame,  popcorn, and carrots.

Growing greens has been a failure so far this season.  So I am tried putting some seed in six-packs to determine the quality of the seed.  The seed produced well.  I In another week I will put them into the ground.

Lettuce seedlings
Lettuce seedlings

As the rain falls tonight.  I am excited to see how the young plants spring to life over the next week.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

Late Fall Revival

Three hours to the northwest everyone is buried in snow.  We only received about an inch, and that quickly melted away.   I took advantage of warm temperatures and no snow to clean up around the micro farm.  Contemplating this blog post I have struggled to come up with and answer to one key question.  Why has it been six months since I last blogged?  I do not have a good answer.  All I know is I found this past summer a difficult season.  Again, I do not know why.  I had plans to accomplish much more than I did.  The micro farm was left on its own too much.

Regardless, I am moving forward.  I am already anticipating next spring and summer.  This weekend I accomplished a good amount of work at the micro farm.  I pulled the remaining vegetables and cut down dead flower stalks.

The micro farm cleaned up, mostly, for winter
The micro farm cleaned up, mostly, for winter

I decided to leave the marigolds and other border flowers until spring.  Their roots will hold the soil and it will not wash away.

I was able to fill one of my compost bins with plants and stalks so I should have plenty of new compost this spring.

My full compost bin.
My full compost bin.

I was able to get a fairly good harvest today.  Lots of baby carrots, a few beets, a turnip or two, and one rutabaga.

Carrot, beet, and turnip harvest.
Carrot, beet, and turnip harvest.
The rutabaga harvest.
The rutabaga harvest.  It’s really big.  Sorry for not adding to understand the scale.

I was also able to start raspberry cane pruning.  I prune the yellow raspberries to the ground.

Yellow raspberry canes cut down
Yellow raspberry canes cut down

I also started pruning out old “wood” of the red raspberries, but I daylight was going away quickly.  The black raspberries are going to be a big effort to get them under control.  They are very aggressive growers and I have not been able to manage them to my preferences yet.  Maybe next year.

On Friday my friend Dylan and I loaded up three garbage cans of wood chips and brought them to the micro farm.  Our local electric utility offers free chips at one of their stations.  So we were the “crazy” people loading up wood chips in the middle of November.

Recently mulched path on the right.  Old mulch on the left.
Recently mulched path on the right. Old mulch on the left.

I think they look very nice, especially for the price.

The last significant task this weekend was adding pine needles to mulch garlic and other sensitive plants.

The pine needle harvest for this year
The pine needle harvest for this year

I purchased two cranberry plants from a friend this spring and they were give some protection; along with the garlic, blueberries, and strawberries.  I planted several types of garlic this past fall.  I am not sure what varieties will make it, but it will be fun to see in the spring.

A few more jobs before the winter sets in fully.  It will interesting to find out the type of winter we will have.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.  I hope your day is filled with laughter, friendship, and delicious food.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

Springing Forward

The Micro-Farm is really starting to take shape after winter.  I have removed 90 per cent of the old plants.  I have enjoyed taking a few minutes to enjoy the hard work that has gone into the micro-farm over the past four years.  While ever farm is a place of constant change there are goals I have hoped to achieve.  This spring I feel good about where the micro-farm is and where the next steps will take it.

I attempted to sift the compost piles a month ago.  After removing the first layers on both piles I ran into two compost ice cubes.  After stabbing both piles with a shovel I quickly realized I needed a few warm days before any sifting was going to take place.  Two weeks later I took the weekend and dedicated it to compost sifting.  I do not enjoy the sifting very much but the end product is great.  I filled almost two lawn tractor trailers.

I have also been doing some planting.  It may seem crazy, but there are some really crazy plants that do not mind the cold.  I planted over twenty-five pea plants, beets, a few leafy greens, onion seedlings, and turnips.   Many have sprouted and are, slowly, growing.  The garlic planted last fall has come up and is about six inches tall.  A couple of frosts have slowed the garlic down but it is still going strong.

The garlic a couple of weeks ago.
The garlic (37 plants)  a couple of    weeks ago.

We have a very tall pine tree near the garden beds.  In the fall it sheds a lot of needles.  Without a better plan last fall, I mounded the pine needles around a planter box.  I have been spreading the needles around and using them for mulch in my garden walkways and paths.

The other side of the growing beds
The growing beds when I was beginning to put down needles and before compost
Beds with new compost and needles in paths
Beds with new compost and needles in paths

I like the way they look, feel, and smell.  They also do a good job with keeping the weeds down.  Possibly most important the price: free, all around pretty good.

Last growing season the grass and weeds took over my pea bed.  I fought them for a while, but eventually they won.  I worked hard on last year’s pea bed, this year’s cucumber bed, to clean out the weeds and grass.

Now it is cleaned out and ready for cucumbers
Now it is cleaned out and ready for cucumbers

When I was in middle school NASA gave students tomato seeds that had spent time either on the Space Shuttle or on the space station.  I totally loved it. Seeds from space!  They even came in a Mylar seed packet.  I asked to keep information on how they progressed.  I have no idea what happened to those plants.  Most likely, they dried up or were choked out by weeds.  I have felt a little guilty for those plants.

Now I have a sense of redemption.  I am growing turnip seeds for Seed Savers Exchange’s M-Gen program.  I am asked to keep details and records on how they are doing.  So far I have been keeping everything up-to-date.  I planted twenty seeds a week ago.

The bed on the left has been planted.
The bed on the left has been planted.

This weekend I have seen a few seedling popping up.  Next Saturday I hope to plant another twenty seeds in the bed on the right.  I am really looking forward to this project.  You will see further reports as the season goes along.

You can see a lot has been happening.  I also should report that I lost my second thyme seedlings.  For the third try I moved them to the kitchen where they get southern sun and have a higher, and more consistent, temperature.  I have about five times more seedlings and they are growing well.  The third time is the charm.

I hope you are enjoying your spring clean up and planting.  Please share what you are doing it motivates me.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

A Mid-Season Picture Tour

We returned to the Micro-Farm a week ago. Reflecting back over the week it is hard to believe such a short period of time could be so full.  A quick survey around the Micro-Farm I realized I needed to harvest strawberries.  Little did I realize that we would pick six quarts of berries.  I quickly thought about what to do with all the berries.

Strawberries and rhubarb made one delicious pie.

While I was away there was still gardening work to be done.  I was able to help my parents put their garden in.

The picture on the right is the traditional gardening spot. On the right is the new garden. They are growing lots of onions, potatoes, ad squash.

While I was gone I think the weeds were the most successful crop I grew.  Unfortunately, I was not able to get into the garden beds much last week .  I was only able to start weeding today.

Today’s weeding project

A quick picture tour of the Micro-Farm will show you how well things are going.

Peas – starting to plump up
Beets – a new crop for me
Cucumbers – a new variety this year
Potatoes – there are two varieties there. Norland Red, which has slightly darker foliage and Yukon Gold, which has slightly lighter foliage.
The herb garden has grown, a bit, out of control

This week I will try to catch up with the weeds.  Strawberries and peas will be harvested.  The garlic scapes will need to be cut off before the flowers open.  If you allow the garlic to flower it will not turn into garlic bulbs that I want.

I also need to start thinking about what to plant near July 4th for a fall crop.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.