The garden was later than usual this year but quite productive. We had days in the 80s into mid-October, so the harvest kept coming. I picked an ear of corn a day for dinner for about two months. Heather made lots of pasta/pizza sauce and salsa with the tomatoes and peppers, and salsa verde with the green tomatoes when the frost came. Heather planned a second crop of potatoes after harvesting the first, and she got a great second harvest.
Grant’s garden in the pasture was a huge success. He just covered the issue head with lots of wood chips during the winter, then planted in late spring. He had lots of corn and zinnias, and he was harvesting melons into early November.
The deer finally discovered our garden a few weeks ago. They’ve decimated some of the greens that we would like to harvest through the winter. I guess we’ll have to come up with some defenses.
Heather has planned a bunch of garlic, boy in the garden and next to the pasture. We’re going is not concerned by gophers again next year.
It looks like the commercial hazelnut harvest was good this year. They harvested the orchard behind us at the end of September and made a second round in mid-October just as the rain was coming .
We started using our woodstove I’m more-October when weather abruptly turned from hot to rainy. (Then the rain went away again, but the cold stayed.) We have less than we would like for this winter, but it is enough to make a difference. Plus, when we get installed upstairs in mid-December, we hope that will help a lot. We bought a catalyst for the woodstove, and we’re gradually learning how to use the stove efficiently. We should have plenty of wood for next year, though. A lot of it is pine, and I wish we had more hardwoods, but it’s all free, so we’ll take it. We have probably split and stacked about two cords so far, and we still have those big chunks of pine to cut and split.
Speaking of splitting: I’ll probably have to split the tractor again. The clutch is slipping, and I’m guessing one of the springs on the clutch may have broken.
This week a tree service dumped off some huge chunks of pine. We’ll use the wood for heating next winter (2023-24). We probably have about one cord of seasoned wood ready for this winter. We don’t know how much we’ll use, since it will be our first winter with a woodstove.
The neighbor’s hay was cut yesterday, a few weeks later than last year. I’ve heard this is a bumper year for hay. If my allergies are any evidence, I’d say it’s true. The neighbor’s fence took a bit of a thrashing yesterday, too.
Sometime in the fall, Heather obtained a boatload of manure for the garden. Actually, not a boatload; more like a yachtload. Today I used the tractor to scrape off a few cubic yards of it and spread out the remainder across the garden.
Heather is super excited about having seeded her first indoor starts for the season: little gem lettuce, red Russian kale, mizuna, romanesco broccoli, Chinese broccoli, and green cauliflower. She made some garden markers, too.
Today was pruning day. This is the first year that I haven’t done major renovations on the plum tree. The pear tree also got a light pruning as well as the young fruit trees. The grapes got the usual treatment.
After a record-breaking hot and dry summer, this winter has been really wet. We had a week or so below freezing between Christmas and New Year, so hopefully that was sufficient for the plants that need it. Otherwise, temperatures have been pretty normal. January has been pretty mild.
Heather moved the herbs from row 1 of the garden to the south side of the house.
Good news from the beehive: so far, the bees have survived the winter! On warm sunny days such as today, they venture out of the hive.
I finally got around to addressing the coolant leak in the tractor last week. I decided to try the easy option first and pour a bottle of Bar’s head gasket sealant into the radiator. I’ve cycled the tractor through warm-up/cool down a few times, and the amount of steam coming out of the exhaust seems to be diminishing. I also changed out the milky engine oil. If this fix doesn’t work, I’ll have to take the engine apart and install a new head gasket.
The first row of corn is up, and I planted the second row today. The potatoes are up, too. Instead of thinning the tatsoi, I tried transplanting every other plant to give them enough space. We’ll see how they handle it.
With the tractor running again, I was finally able to do some grooming on the driveway (I had to wait for rain, too, to loosen things up and keep the dust down). While I was using the tractor, it suddenly died. It turned out to be a buildup of deposit on the rotor in the distributor. A little sandpaper took care of it.
I forgot to mention, the bees died over the winter (probably from mites). Alden got a new nuc a couple weeks ago. Yesterday, he added a second brood box and two supers back onto the stack. We hope we can figure out how to help the bees survive the winter. We sprayed for mites last year, but apparently it wasn’t effective.
Lots of work in the garden today. We seeded peas and carrots. We transplanted six plugs of leeks, two Juliette tomatoes, a habanero pepper, and a Thai pepper plant, as well as six snapdragon plants. Heather transplanted a anise hyssop plant in the herb row. We laid down two more soaker hoses and watered. Things have been really dry lately for springtime. Today involved lots of weeding, cultivating soil, and raking.
I love getting early spring harvests! The overwintered kale is about done– and getting aphids, so it’s time to pull it out–but the chard is super sweet and should keep going a bit longer… hopefully long enough to tide us over until this year’s planting starts to produce. I’m optimistic about the tatsoi.
Front the incubator, we ended up getting six ducklings. Turkeys are more fragile: some never made it out of their egg, and a couple died after hatching, but two have survived.
The tatsoi has sprouted nicely, the orach pretty well, and the mizuna, lettuce, and cutting greens sparsely. Keeping the soil surface moist has been a challenge this week due to extremely high winds (strong east winds blew the farm stand over yesterday) and very low humidity.
I finished installing the garden irrigation system today. We can run two soaker hoses on each of the six garden rows.
This evening we planted tatsoi, muzuna, and orach in row 5, and little gem lettuce and cutting mix in row 6 (3×3 patches about 6 feet in from the east end). The seeds are so tiny, they remind me of having “faith as a grain of mustard seed.” It’s hard to believe that these ones will grow into food for the dinner table.