Over the Summer {Garden 2015}

The last time I posted about the garden seeds were just sprouting! We’ve had a full summer and a few frosts since. Only the hardy greens are left; the end of the season always revives my appreciation of having fresh veggies right outside the door. With the coolers temps here stews and braises are a welcome way to use those veggies too!

 

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Sheep

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I’m a bit behind on posting. After our most recent camping trip (photos coming soon(ish)) I misplaced my camera while unpacking so I didn’t have access to any of the photos I took. Happily, I found my camera and I’m happy to finally introduce you to our sheep!

We found a local breeder of Coopworth sheep and decided to get 2 adult ewes and their lambs, a ewe and two ram lambs. Since I don’t need two, related, rams I’ve banded them so we’ll have two friendly wethers with fine coats of wool.

This is Wub-wub, mother to white ewe lamb, Ought.

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And Ippi, mother to the two ram lambs, (white) Faba, and (black) Donka.

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Sprout

DSCN9417I meant to post this over a week ago, before we went camping. Now that we’re back, and past the last frost date, it’s time for a second round of planting (after it stops raining!). A quick peek in the garden revealed that the seedlings are growing so fast you can almost watch them unfurling their leaves.DSCN9414The same lettuce (Black Seeded Simpson), just days later. You should see them now!

DSCN9533Carrots (scarlet Nantes ), and (edible pod) peas along the fence line for support….

DSCN9531DSCN9535                            A couple of mysteries sprouted up too, like this bunch of ?. At first, I wondered what they could be, I certainly wouldn’t plant so many seeds so close together. Then I recognized them….radishes, ah ha the kids planted those!DSCN9425Yay, the rhubarb crown made it through the winter! I’m looking forward to getting a few perennials growing around here. No sign of the asparagus yet, but I’ve read that their germination is quite slow and can be spotty.

DSCN9530Now to upload those camping photos….

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And so it begins….

DSCN9408 DSCN9385 DSCN9411 DSCN9409 DSCN9405 DSCN9364Finally, the sun is shining and we’re out working in the garden!

The garlic bulbs we planted last fall are sending up their green shoots, and the leeks and spring onions I left mulched are quickly reviving themselves after an icy slumber. Interestingly, three kale plants down at the end also made it through. These are a nice head start to having fresh greens but I don’t think I should plan on having it happen every year.

Mostly I’m digging out dandelions and pulling small weeds the wind blew in as seed last fall. A few sections are planted: peas, lettuce, carrots, turnips, cabbage, broccoli, leek (seeds for next year and about 50 transplanted for this year), celery, swiss chard, arugula, radishes,parsley and (finally I just did it) planted a bed of asparagus from seed. It’s the three-year plan.

Soon I’ll plant a few more things, do second plantings and (after the last frost) warm weather things like beans, cucumbers, sweet corn etc.

 

We also expanded the lower garden area and Struggling_along fenced it all in (very nicely I might add).

As for the cold frame, this year I’m going to try growing watermelon in there. Hopefully, this will keep them warm enough and will give them a head start. I’ve also noticed a few tiny celery plants have sprouted in there!

And so it begins…we tuck a few tiny seeds in the ground and wait.

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Last Round

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Syrup season is over; truthfully, it never really got going. Just not the right kind of winter for it. Nevertheless, we didn’t do too bad considering the small-scale snowshoe out and haul it back by hand method we’re using here. It’ll be at least a few months before we’ll have to consider buying some store brought syrup to grace the kid’s pancakes.

These photos are from the last two rounds of hauling back sap. The snow has finally melted, well, except for those stubborn patches by the tree line. The soil is warming up; we planted a few cool weather crops: lettuce, sugar snap peas, kale, arugula, broccoli, a few turnips. Not too much, just a little of each to get some fresh veggies started. 

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Using the Past to Plan the Future

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A bit too much snow still…..

I have finally added up last year’s garden totals. Spring is officially here- not that it looks or feels like Spring- and it’s time to start planning next year’s garden in earnest. Last year was the first time I kept track of the weight of (almost) everything that came out of the garden. As you may recall, we had to replant the garden last year because we lost some things (like the majority of the potatoes) to, mainly, the chickens. This year, all the fences are in place (and we have no goats) so hopefully losses will be kept to a minimum! Nonetheless, we didn’t do too bad and a few things did phenomenally. Still, I hope to plant more of most of the following things this year.

*to keep it simple I’ll just add a * to signify that at least a pound of this item was not weighed before we ate or gave away it – not counting snacking in the garden.

Radish- 1.5lb

Kale- 13lb*

Lettuce- 7.5lb

Spinach/Swiss Chard – 3.5lb*

Beet- thinnings only -1.25lb

Peas (sugar snap)- 2.25lb

Peas (shell peas in pod)- 6.87lb

Parsley- 1.68lb*

Basil- .5lb+

Onion- thinnings only- 1.25lb

Red Onions- 6

Pac Choy- 10oz*

Carrots-30lbs

Beets- 7 bunches

Broccoli- 1lb 10oz*

Arugula- 9oz*

Thyme- lots

Turnip- 5lb

Green Beans- 3lb

Patty Pan Squash-2lb

Cucumber- 5-6

Tomatoes- 2- 5 gal. pails

Potatoes- milk crate sized box full

Pumpkins- 50+

Celeriac- 4 large & 2- gal ziplock bags of small ones

Cauliflower- 7 heads

Cabbage- 3 or 4 medium heads

It would be interesting to figure out how much it would actually cost to buy all that!

Changes for next year:

Cucumbers just didn’t have enough time so starting some indoors this year, along with cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, if I can find the room for them.

Do an earlier 2nd planting of broccoli, green beans, peas, and pac choy.

Carrots got us through half the year so double on those. More potatoes, onions and winter squash. Fall turnips, pac choy.

Try growing sweet potatoes. Finally get asparagus crowns, maybe raspberry canes?

Had trouble with flea beetles last year so planning on planting some mustard as a decoy crop.

 

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Sheep

Sheep!

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I’m counting down the days ’till we bring home our flock. We have found a  breeder of Coopworth sheep, conveniently near us. Shearing day is soon, followed by lambing, and then, after the lambs are old enough to wean (around 60 days) we’ll be bringing our small flock home.

The farm was kind enough to have us all over to meet their sheep and answer our (many) questions.  Struggling_along managed to snap some photos and carry Molly around while I got a bit more hands on with the ewes, and Ezra made fast friends with their dog.

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