Tag: Onions

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.

Herb Garden On the Move

Thank you to you if your loved one did not return from service to our country.  Memorial Day is a time to remember and to hold those lost close in our hearts.

The roller coaster of temperatures has been an interesting challenge this week.  Monday was hot and humid.  Friday we had frost through out the area.  Monday is supposed to be 85 degrees.  We have had some rain, but sunny and windy weather means the soil is drying out and more watering.

I did re-locate the herb garden.

Left - cilantro; Top middle - thyme; Middle - winter savory; Bottom middle - oregano; Right - basil
Left – cilantro; Top middle – thyme; Middle – winter savory; Bottom middle – oregano; Right – basil

It took a good portion of the day, but the herb garden was moved.  Many of the plants were large.  So I only took a small section of them.  If the re-located plants do not make it then I will try another part of the plant.  I really like how this new garden bed looks.   I also added a toad house.

The toad house a cool place to hide
The toad house a cool place to hide

Toad’s eat a lot of insects.  The also tend to eat the insects I do not want eating my plants.  So I like to find ways to encourage them to hang out in my garden. One way is encourage them is to create a shelter where they can go if the sun is intense or they need cover.

Earlier this week on a Micro Farm inspection walk.  I noticed my grapes had been chewed down.

Chewed down grapes
Chewed down grapes

I suspect rabbits ate my grape vines, but I have no proof.   I have added protection so the grapes can recover.

I planed about 150 onion sets.  It took some planting plan changes but I got them all in.

The home of almost 200 onions
The home of almost 200 onions

I have written for several weeks about my rain barrels.  Last week I painted them to help improve their appearance.  One disadvantage of using rain barrels is the low flow pressure.  Raising the height of the barrel uses gravity to increase the pressure.  I have my barrels raised up on cement blocks.  Hopefully, a few flowers and plants can help mask the blocks.

Flowers to mask the cement blocks.
Flowers to mask the cement blocks.
The coleus is no doing so well
The coleus is no doing so well

I was hoping to use coleus to cover these blocks.  It is not doing so well.  I am afraid there might be something in the soil they do not like.

This week I have a bunch of seedlings to transplant.  I also need to start some new seedlings for second crops.

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

Seeding the Solstice

“I read somewhere…” is a phrase that gets me in trouble regularly.  Typically, I connect two or more thoughts together that are not related.  However, that is how today started.  The weather here has been unseasonably warm and will be getting warmer the next couple of days.  Today is the winter solstice, oh so few hours of daylight today.  I remember reading, somewhere, it is optimal to plant onions on the shortest day of the year to harvest them on the longest day of the year.

Well, I thought I would give it a try.  The frost around the micro farm is barely an inch or two deep.

The meager frost trying to hold on.
The meager frost trying to hold on.

Under this layer the soil was loose and much warmer.  I mixed the two soils together.  I planted two types of onion, Cortland – a storage, yellow onion; and Redwing – a storage, red onion.  I also planted a short row of Lexton leeks.   I have not had good luck with leeks in the past so I wanted to experiment with a few this year.

Cortland seeds ready to be planted.
Cortland seeds ready to be planted.

Over the next few days the temperatures will be better for planting.  I am traveling for Christmas and won’t get time to plant on the warmer days.  The most challenging part of the past two weeks has been the lack of sun.  Our televison weatherman predicted we may not see a sunny sky for another day or more.

To help my seeds adjust to the soil with rain and varying temperatures I added at least two inches of pine needle mulch.  Hopefully the pine needles will act as a buffer as the rain, snow, and crazy temperatures come.

Seeds under their pine needle blanket
Seeds under their pine needle blanket

We are enjoying a slower time around the micro farm.  We here at Cohocton River Rock Micro Farm wish you a merry Christmas.  We hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday.

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

Suprises After the Weeds

I had not been in the garden in a few days.  Today I spent several hours working.  After pulling weeds, which I had not done in a long time, I was very encouraged.

One of three weed piles I pulled this week.
One of three weed piles I pulled this week.

Today I heard a speaker say that life is not about how I feel but what I “will” to do.  Gardening for me is a challenge.  Many times I do not “will” to go out and weed or do other work in around the Micro-Farm. This summer has been a particular challenge for me to keep up with what I should be doing.  One of my goals is to improve my succession gardening skills.  Every year I seem to struggle to plant my second crops at the correct time or to take care of them properly.  This year I planted several crops and most, if not all, had failed.  Reflecting back this was really discouraging.

Willing myself out today.  I pulled many weeds, which felt good. Pulling the weeds also revealed many young plants.

A few young onions
A few young onions
Young kohlbrobi, I think
Young kohlrobi, I think
Cauliflower, I think
Cauliflower, I think

I wish I had done a better job at record keeping.  I guess I will have to wait and see what comes of them.

So far the most successful second crop has been the rutabagas.  They are an heirloom variety that was typically planted on or around July 4th.  So far it has been good advice.

My largest rutabaga.
My largest rutabaga.

The peppers continue to be really successful this year.

A red sweet pepper
A red sweet pepper

After several hours of “willing” work my feelings cheered up.  What challenges or discourages you in the garden?  What encourages you in the garden?

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

 

Cucumbers to Pickles and Beans to Beans

Dramatic temperature swings were the story last week.  While the temperatures dominated conversations regionally, more locally our neighbors have been talking about a lightning strike.  Two of our neighbors lost electronics in their homes on Wednesday.  Fortunately, we had no damage at our house.  After piecing a timeline together I realize I had been outside the back door when the lightning had struck.  A bit scary to think about.

At long last the cucumber processing is winding down.  This is the third of three batches of dill pickles.  This week we will can a batch or two of sweet pickles and be done.

Finished dill pickles
Finished dill pickles

I finished cleaning up the onions this afternoon.  I cleaned off any mud and outer layers of onion skin.  I also clipped off any remaining onion leaves.

My small onion harvest
My small onion harvest

I had hoped for a larger harvest this year.  I did a poor job with my onion seedlings.  Along with not starting them well, putting them in the ground to early along with some hot and dry weather the seedlings withered.  Lessons learned for next year.

The bean harvest today
The bean harvest today

Today I pulled all the dry beans.  I think last week would have been better.  Some of them were dry and last week when it rained they absorbed some of the water.

The process was easy enough, but time-consuming.

I pulle the pods off the plants
I pulle the pods off the plants
Then I shelled the beans.  These are called Lewiston Two-Dot
Then I shelled the beans. These are named         Lewiston Two-Dot
These are the second bean I planted.  A slightly smaller white bean
These are the second bean I planted. A slightly smaller white bean
These beans are a bit green.  Hopefully they will dry a bit
These beans are a bit green. Hopefully they will dry a bit

The Micro-farm growing beds need some attention.  The weeds have really taken over.  Hopefully, this week I will be able to get out into them and pull the weeds.  With more moderate temperatures and sunny weather it should be fun to get outside and work.

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

 

Young History

Year to year my memory fails me.  I was trying to remember what March 2012 was like.  Am I behind or ahead of last year?  I took a look back at my post from last year, and everything is different this year.  A year ago we had significant warm stretch and then a cold snap that really effected the growth, especially fruit trees.  So far I think we are following a more traditional pattern of weather.

While plants outside are growing slowly, the seedlings inside are growing strong.

Onions
In the foreground the onions planted on Feb 18th.
Peppers
Pepper seedlings planted on Feb. 18th.

Pepper have a longer germination period.  There are several sprouts in on “cell” so I will need to split them, but I will wait until the get a little bigger and stronger.

Celery
Celery seedlings planted on Feb 18th.

The celery is tilting to the fluorescent light.  I turn them around so they are not permanently tilted.

Heirloom Tomatoes
Tomato seedlings planted on Feb 18th.

The tomatoes are doing well, and a couple of plants have their first “true” leaves.  [True leaves come after the first two leaves have a different appearance and look more “true” to the leaves ]

I was very excited to receive my second seed delivery of the year.  For the first time I order seeds from the Medomak Valley High School Heirloom Seed Project.  I am a MVHS graduate and am very proud of their seed program.

Heirloom Seeds
The seed packets.

Every plant variety has a history.  They not only perpetuate the plant variety but its heritage.  The rutabaga seeds pictured above  came from the “Cambridge”  shipwrecked on Old Man Ledge Feb 10, 1886 and has been a Maine heirloom for many generations.  I look forward to participating in this varieties long history.

I hope you will join me in participating in the old tradition of growing food this year.  If you have not grown food before start with a small patch of lettuce, another green or herbs inside.  Once you start with your own I think you find it difficult to not try growing a few more plants.

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