Tag: peppers

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.


Taking Care of Thyme

Friday was in the low 50’s.  So I was adventurous and looked underneath my pine needle mulch to see find out if my garlic was there.  Sure enough I saw a small green spike poking up through the soil.  So I have, at least, one garlic plant for Spring.  If we can get consecutive warms days they can stretch out of the soil.

The seedlings are growing well.  I had a few more pepper plants show themselves.

A few pepper seedlings
A few pepper seedlings

I have about ten pepper seedlings with more planted a week later.

Last fall the thyme plants in the herb garden looked like they were struggling.  I am not sure if it was my timing or the plants.  Going through my seed packets I found I had a few thyme seeds that needed to be used.  I figured the long and hard winter may have done in my thyme in the garden.  I took the old seed and filled on cell in a four pack.

My "old" seeds doing very well
My “old” seeds doing very well

I did not expect the germination rate to be so high.  In the other cells there are thyme seeds I purchased new this year.  Will I have enough time for all my thyme?

On our front porch we have a couple of hanging baskets.  A friend has graciously given us flowers each year.  Last year the flowers were impressive.  Now we are just left with two hanging baskets.  So I am experimenting with a variety of strawberries called “Gasana” from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  Gasana is an ornamental strawberry that works well in containers.  It is day-neutral so it will produce small to medium fruits.  If everything works.  So my plan is to sit on the porch, read, and snack on strawberries.

Gasana seedlings.
Gasana seedlings.

I have found it challenging keeping my seedlings watered this year.  They are drying out quickly.  Heating from below really improves germination, but it makes it difficult to not dry out young seedlings.  To challenge myself more, I have been starting seedlings at different times.  So there are different needs all under the same light.  I think everything is good now, but it has been challenging.

What are you seed starting challenges?

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


Beginning of the Tunnel

Temperatures changed dramatically over the past week.  A couple of nights the temperatures dropped low enough to kill or negatively affect warm weather plants.  The peppers that produced so well this year are finally finished. I picked all the remaining peppers this afternoon.

The last of the green bell peppers
The last of the green bell peppers
The last of the cubanelle style peppers
The last of the cubanelle style peppers

Last week my parents came to visit.  We spent some time working in the garden.  We were able to pick two pints of raspberries.

Late season raspberries and a few other harvests
Late season raspberries and a few other harvests

We also set up a couple of low tunnels and cold frames to protect plants to  allow them a chance to grow.

This tunnel has two or three rows of vegatables
This tunnel has two or three rows of vegetables

The picture above is the largest sized low tunnel.  The plastic pictured was a bit short on one side.  Today I added another layer of plastic to cover the hole.

The small low tunnel
The small low tunnel

I have a mystery plants under this tunnel.

The three cold frames
The three cold frames

The cold frames are covering cabbage and cauliflower plants. I find it fascinating how little sun can warm the low tunnels and cold frames.  WIth just a few minutes there is condensation on the inside. Hopefully, this will provide enough warmth to the plants to a place where I can harvest them.

The final crop harvested last week was the tomatillos.  I have not done much with them all year.  We picked a good crop, enough to make a batch or two of salsa.

A basket full of tomatillos
A basket full of tomatillos

After a busy afternoon working around the Micro-farm I am ready to call it a day.  What have you been working on?

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


Decision Time

Decisions now have to be made.  One decision needs to be made quickly.  What will I do?  I am not sure.

I received an email yesterday letting me know that Late Blight had been identified in two different locations within two hundred miles.  Two hundred miles may seem like a bid distance, but Late Blight travels with the wind.  The weather conditions have been good for Late Blight.  Late Blight, known for its destructive power, caused the Irish Potato Famine. Now it attacks potatoes and tomatoes almost every year.  Usually later in the growing year.

Reports of Late Blight this early could mean a difficult finish to the growing season.  I have to determine if I will spray or not spray my tomatoes and potatoes.  Copper Fungicide is the typical defense against Late Blight.  I have an organic copper fungicide so I would remain “organic” but I have been no-spray for two years.

Tomato.  Spray or no spray?
Tomato. Spray or no spray?

This week I added stray around my potatoes.  I have hill-ed the potatoes the best that I can, but it has not been enough.  So I put straw around the plants so any potatoes that grow above the soil hills will be good to eat.

Potatoes with straw around them
Potatoes with straw around them

This is a time of transition at the Micro Farm.  Last year’s fall crops are almost ready to be harvested and summer crops are now starting to dominate.  Garlic leaves are starting yellow.  I will wait to harvest them, hopefully the bulbs are nice and plump.

Garlic – you can see the yellow leaves on the bottom.

While the garlic is almost done.  The dry beans are starting to create pods.  So far I like growing dry beans.  I will watch them, but I will not harvest them until the pods are dry. Harvested beans will become a nice pot of baked beans.

Dry beans
Dry beans – a few pods and a few flowers

I noticed several very young peppers while walking through the planting beds.  I watch the peppers at this stage to help guide the pepper fruit.  In the past a few pepper fruit grew between stems, and where either difficult to harvest or had a bizarre shape.  Guiding them when they are young helps prevent this.

Very young peppers
Very young peppers

The temperatures have been really great for the cucumbers.  They seem to have exploded in the past several days.  Looking under the leaves are the beginning of cucumbers.  This variety is reported to be prolific especially if picked regularly.

Young cucumbers
Young cucumbers

The pumpkins look to be doing well.  Last year was a tough pumpkin year.  I am hoping this year will be better.

Pumpkin plants
Pumpkin plants

The weather here in the Northeast US has been hot and humid, and will be for several more days.  Watering and keeping the plants from being heat stressed is my priority.   There is not much rain in the forecast so watering will become the daily routine.

What is your daily routine to help the prevent heat stress and loss?

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


Bending but not Breaking

All of us at Cohocton River Rock Micro Farm thank you all of you who have served our country.  Memorial Day always encourages me to reflect on the sacrifices people have made for our country.

After two days of, almost, constant 20 mile per hour wind everything seems to be settling down.  I had really hoped to transplant the tomatoes, peppers, and celery.  The night temperatures have been almost frost levels, but the wind was really the problem.

Leaning Garlic
The picture is not leaning the garlic is. They are all leaning from the constant wind.

After seeing what happened to the garlic I thought it would be best to wait until the wind slows down.  Monday is the warmest day without strong winds.

The wind did not slow down work around the Micro Farm though.  Thursday I rented a “mulcher” to clean up my collection of brush.

Me mulching. All the mulch went to create new walking paths.

My friend Dylan helped me get work done around the Micro Farm.  It was really great having a second pair of hands on Saturday with the wind blowing.

New netting over the strawberry patch.

Last year the chipmunks ate all of my ripe strawberries.  Dylan and I covered the strawberries with netting to protect them from getting eaten.  I will let you know how it works.

We also purchased two bags of mulch for this walk way.
The marigolds are doing well. We also added straw to the walking paths between the growing beds.

In the walking paths I lay newspaper down first and then lay straw over the newspaper.   I held the newspaper down while Dylan would lay the straw down.  I could not have done both steps on Saturday without Dylan.  The wind would have had me running in circles.

Today was a beautiful day on the Micro Farm.  There is something about the sunlight this time of year.  I really enjoy it. I hope you do too.

The 2013 Cohocton River Rock Micro Farm.  Click to enlarge.

I hope you are able to enjoy to the weekend.

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


Micro Farm Picture Tour

The expanded Micro Farm

Typically, I do not struggle to write my weekly post, especially after a week were a great deal was accomplished.  However, today the words are struggling to come.

I planted another round of carrots this week.  I am hoping to plant carrots every two weeks from spring to August.  I hope we can have good carrot harvests well into the fall.

I started parsnips, onion sets, shallots, and a few more rows of radishes.

First radish crop coming up.

There was a great deal of weeding, raking, and rock moving.

I will you give a quick picture tour around the Micro Farm.

The herb garden raked and pruned.
The strawberry patch raked out. It needs some weeding.                    The plants are looking strong.
The garlic has been growing very well.
The chives are doing well. This is their first spring in this planter. I am pleased to see how well they are doing.
Looking ahead at temperatures I decided to put the seedlings in the cold frames. They have been doing well for just two days.

I hope you enjoyed the short tour.  I have enjoyed our beautiful weather more than I realized.  I have been thinking about spring this year.  I suggest, for your discussion, that this have been the most “spring-like” spring we have had in many years.  The weather allows the plants to slowly open up and bloom.  There has not been to much rain, sun, or cold.  There also has not been drastic temperature changes, it has been slowly warming up.  I am enjoying this “traditional” spring. I hope you are too.

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.

In the foreground the onions planted on Feb 18th.
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 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.