Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Long overdue update

We have been so busy with the garden and farmer's markets that I haven't taken the time to update our blog. So here's our long overdue entry.

Everything is growing well considering the cool, wet summer we have had. Most of our produce is delayed in ripening, though. Today, we picked our first cherry tomato (delicious!!!) and have a few others that are orange. Hopefully we will have a couple of pints to sell by this weekend. All of our larger tomatoes are still green, hanging on the vine. Eric has picked two or three that have turned red, but they were rotten on the bottom. So we patiently wait for our thousands of tomatoes to ripen. This week is helping as the nights are staying warmer, which is what tomatoes need. But all of our spacing out of plantings so our tomatoes would ripen in intervals won't be a benefit because the weather is fighting us. We have been selling some green tomatoes at market, though. I tried fried green tomatoes for the first time last week, and they were delicious! I also made a green tomato salsa to give samples of at Franklin's Taste of Market last Saturday.

As of yesterday some of our melons were still under water because of all the rain last week. Today it's just mud, but it's windy so hopefully we will be able to walk through there tonight to see if it killed any plants. I picked our first zucchini yesterday, too, and we should have some yellow squash soon. Other growers have had summer squash for a few weeks now, but ours took a long time to grow.

We have joined a growers' cooperative of farmers who grow naturally in order to market our produce. They have a CSA (subscription) and they take produce to a market in Pittsburgh on Wednesdays. We are also going to the Franklin farmer's market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, Grove City market on Thursday afternoons, and Sandy Lake market on Fridays. Gwen especially likes going to market to help, even when she has to get up at 5 a.m.

Below is a list of produce that we currently have. If you're interested in anything, please let us know and we can work out a way to get it to you if you can't come by our house.

green peppers
various hot peppers
green beans
yellow wax beans

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Growing good and bad

Our produce is growing in more ways than one. A week ago, we had received so much rain that we couldn't even walk through the garden. The ground was so saturated that it was a mud hole. Some of the plants received too much water. But we've had a week of dry, sunny weather, so now it looks like we need to water tonight. I'll tell you about our irrigation system in my next post.

The plants are growing larger and many have blossoms and small fruits on them. Also growing are pests. This is a picture of a cucumber plant with blossoms and tiny cucumbers. You can also see a white powder on the leaves. We have been inundated with cucumber beetles, which eat not only cucumber plants but also all kinds of squashes and melons. We are fighting them off with natural products and it looks like we are winning the battle as long as we are dilligent.
Here is our first head of broccoli growing. It will be a little while yet before they're big enough to pick.

Eric is pounding stakes in the cucumber rows for trellis for the cucumbers to grow on.

And Elisha is helping pound the stakes. He has to be right in the middle of everything we do. Someone commented to us today that every time they have seen him he is running. And do you remember that I said most of the garden was mud??? Well, he went out to check things out right after it had finished raining for 4 days. He walked down a path and sank knee deep in the mud. While he was trying to pick up his feet, he lost his balance and sat down in the mud. We should have taken a picture of him like that but didn't think about it until later. The caption would have been "This one is almost ready to be picked."

Isobel's favorite thing to do is pick flowers for Mom to put in a vase.
Last night and this morning Lee, Gwen and I spent a few hours picking more suckers off the tomato plants. In case you don't know, suckers are extra branches that grow above the regular branches. They suck nutrients from the plant but don't produce any fruit. If you pick them off, the plant can produce more fruit. I've also talked to people who have been gardening for a very long time who didn't know that you should plant marigolds with your tomatoes. Tomato hornworms hate marigolds, so if you plant them together the icky hornworms stay away. Whenever I haven't planted marigolds, I've always had to pick hornworms off my tomatoes.
We now have some lettuce that's ready to pick if you want any.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Here are a few photos from our farm:

Some of our honeybees

The garden and hay field behind




Our younger children love to dig in the dirt between the rows. We can't keep our youngest, Elisha, in the house. He loves to be outside and escapes every chance he gets.


Because this is our first year, we are starting out small. We have planted an acre of produce which we plan to sell. We are using this blog to update our friends and acquaintances about the happenings at our farm. We will post when the produce is coming on so you can be the first to know about what is available. If you have a particular item you know you will want, you can contact us so that when it's ready we will contact you to reserve the desired quantity for you.

Following is a list of the vegetables we have planted this year:

Tomatoes: Celebrity, Roma, Pik Red, a few Amish German, Better Boy, Royal Chico, Cherry, Beefsteak, Yellow Low Acid, Juliet, and a few Pearl King heirloom. (almost 1300 plants)

Peppers: Cayenne, New Mexico Hot, Golden Salsa Hot, Red Hot, Habanero, Jalapeno, Hungarian Hot, Portugal, Jupiter, Ladybell, Sweet Banana, La Porta (almost 1300 plants)

Onions: White, Yellow, Studtgart (storage) (about 3600)

Melons: Delicious, Goldstar, Sugar Baby (400 plants)

Broccoli: PacMan, Premium (600)

Cauliflower: Self Blanche, White Sails (600)

Lettuce: Bibb, Summertime Green Leaf, Red Mix, Romaine, Mesclun Mix, Black Seeded Simpson, Buttercrisp Head (4000 plants)



Summer Squash: Zucchini, Yellow Crookneck (240 plants)

Cucumbers: Slicing and Pickling (200 plants)

Winter Squash: Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti, Black Pumpkin (280 plants)

Beans: Tendergreen, Yellow Wax (400 plants)

We don't have our pricing totally worked out yet, but we intend to be competitive.