Scenes of the Summer
A few images from that which is growing...
Basil in front, fennel bulb behind, unable-to-be-seen parsley behind the fennel and tomatoes trellised up along the stakes. Drip tape beneath basil and fennel for irrigation .
Radish seedlings to the far right, green beans plants with drip tape beneath in the center and the onion, shallot and leek patch to the far left.
All the leeks, onions and shallots were planted two rows close next to each other. We use a tractor implement to "hill" the soil up over the base of the leeks. With sunlight unable to reach the base, they become blanched, which is what allows leeks to have more white along their base. The onions and shallots (not-photoed) have a line of drip tape between each row.
The celery and celeriac patch. With so many plants spaced so closely, we're using overhead sprinklers to water in dry times.
Our precious water source for irrigating the fields, and our precious little Forrest who loves to look for fish and snapper turtles within. 60,000 ft of drip tape lining the fields total.
Did I mention he was precious? Here's a bouquet of wildflowers Forrest surprised me with last week.
Spaghetti squash plants also benefiting from the water source. Beneath these masses of leaves at the base of each plant drip tape is laid (above). The discoloration of yellow seen is some of the above plants is caused by squash bugs nymphs, but thanks to the nematodes, hardly a cucumber beetle to be found in the lot. Below Forrest is holding two mating adult squash bugs next to an immature spaghetti squash plant(below).
All this rain has finally given us time to work on building the pavilion, which is where the "new" cooler will be and where we will wash and pack vegetables for distribution. The structure is geographically close to the pond, so water used for washing will be directed to flow into the pond.
The Nightshade Field...
Included in the nightshade family are tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, tomatillos and potatoes. All the nightshades are planted in the same field to make crop rotation manageable. Because species in the same families are often inflicted with the same pathogens, it helps not to plant anything from the same family in the same field within a four-year period. Next year nightshades will be planted where the alliums and curcubits are planted this year.
Tomatoes in the very front, two rows of eggplant in front of that, peppers beyond there and potatoes plants until the woodline.
Do you see the eggplant nestled in waiting to be harvested? We are so grateful that we had drip tape laid beneath these plants as it helped to water just the eggplant during dry times and the not the spaces between. With the eggplant being such as large leaved plant and the close spacing we used, the leaves served as great shading to prevent lots of weed seed germination. We only had to do an initial hoeing when the plants were small and hand weed a few later on and the field is weed free.
Forrest between a row of peppers and eggplant. He's about 2/3rd up the field with the nightshades which extends to the woodline.
Forrest was given his own 10 x 10 space to grow as he pleased. One day as Jacob and I were both working up fields before a rain in early spring, Forrest was snagging heat-loving plants from the germination high tunnel and planting them in his space. As part of our philosophy on child-rearing we did not advise to remove the plants even though it seemed too early in the season and the plants risked succumbing to frost. We feel it's his experiment and opportunity for discovery to see what lives and dies and why. However, we did not receive any frosts thereafter and he ended up with this little garden of very early tomatoes, green beans and basil (sporadic though the plants were :) Above are a few plants Forrest transplanted into containers he rounded up from somewhere (I have no idea) which had been close to death. In the yellow lug is soil he transferred from a different garden bed for his experiment of transportable carrots. He planted the seeds before a rain and they actually germinated quite well. Lamb's ear is the plant to the far right, which he chose to keep to use as bandages.
What a successful grower he is! This photo is proof to my father that we harvested a two-pound tomato. This is from the variety "Italian Tree" which can supposedly grow up 15'. Sorry you won't get these in shares as Forrest and I just planted 2 seeds in an experimental garden. This tomato ripened so early because of the crevice that's seen to on the right side of the tomato. Tomatoes with damage will ripen early, so the first tomatoes to come from field are not always the best.
Tomatoes from the early tomato plants Forrest planted. We're so grateful he took that risk : ) Also pictured is a version of eggplant parmesan dish - recipe included in this week's newsletter.