Today my heart is overflowing–mostly with gratitude, but also with a little aching. I’m just feeling all the feels, and it’s a net positive. Our son just left for a two-year mission to El Salvador as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He gets to teach los gentes SalvadoreƱos how to find peace in this life through Jesus Christ and his atonement. What a beautiful gift!!

And while Isaac is gone, life on the farm goes on. Nixon (our boy rabbit) will miss Isaac’s daily visits. Karen (our sheep) will miss him, too. Maggie (our mommy duck) will NOT miss Isaac, because he and Grant were the ones who caught her every day and put her back in the pasture.

Regardless of the tender hearts in our family today, we’re getting things done out in the garden. That picture of the overgrown radishes is actually our rutabagas. I harvested them today, and prepped them to be roasted (along with some other garden veggies) for dinner. I fed their tops to the rabbits. Our fridge is kind of overrun right now with beet greens. (A girl can only eat so many!) I wasn’t about to add more root veg tops to the collection.

And here’s our full garden. It looks so bushy and busy. I feel great about this year’s garden, but part of me wants to start planning next year’s garden. And maybe I will! I can observe now and incorporate what I’ve learned into next year’s garden. (My recent observation: Move the squash out to the pasture or the outer edge of the garden. It’s too big for inside a garden row.)

I did a brave and maybe stupid thing today. I lopped off some tomato branches so they would “no me molestan”. I kind of did the same thing with the squash. I’m going to be more intentional about pruning the tomatoes and squash next year. And maybe widen the spacing by 12″. Tomatoes and squash are space hawgs. Or maybe I’ll move the tomatoes to the area where the basil is this year. There’s definitely room to tuck in 3 or 5 tomato plants. I did another dumb thing (maybe?). I decided not to prune off the suckers on the tomatoes back in June. Oh wait, one more dumb thing–I bought all one variety of tomato this year (plus only two cherry tomato plants). Yeah, I made some colossal gardening mistakes, but maybe the Master Gardener and Creator of the Universe will answer my prayers and give me enough tomatoes to can homemade salsa. I neeeeeed it.

Garden Plan 2022

Garden 2022

GARLIC: Plant 200 cloves of hardneck garlic along south side of grape vines at the end of September 2021. The grapes don’t start fully leafing out in the spring until the garlic is almost done. Plant garlic on west ends of garden rows. Stop watering when it starts to get dried leaves. We’re using garlic as a pest deterrent. It seems to have worked this year (2021) We’ll harvest at the end of June when the bottom three leaves have turned brown and the bulb is nice and formed.

SQUASH: Plant squash in the area around the beehive, where it can sprawl and take over.

Start all plants in 2×2 soil blocks. Put together a more nutrient dense soil block mix. Ingredients are in the shed.

KALE + CHARD: Plant kale and chard as early in the spring as the weather will allow, before the overwintered ones languish and go to seed. Try saving seed from kale this year.

CARROTS: Keep trying with the carrots. You’ll find your system. The board worked, but I’ve also seen people have success with burlap, watering twice a day. I want to try this idea.

TOMATOES: 3-4 Juliet Tomato plants in the garden, and 4 Sungold Cherry Tomatoes on the east side of the house. I love that smaller tomatoes come on sooner. I want to use the Juliets to make a year’s supply of sun dried tomatoes, as well as pizza sauce and salsa. More varieties for paste. Maybe some slicing? Definitely more than 11 plants. We need more tomatoes.

CUCUMBERS: The Boston Pickling seemed to do well in 2021. Don’t over crowd them in 2022. Let them have more room. Also, say nice things to them. They got bitter as the season progressed, so rethink this plan, mebs.

MELONS: Don’t grow large melons. Grow some that are specific to Oregon and our climate. Maybe some small melons. Watermelons take too long.

ANNUAL HERBS: Plant ALL annual herbs on the south side of the house. This will include dill, basil, chervil, cilantro (spring/fall), Keep annual herbs out of the perennial herb garden.

FLOWERS: Move all flowers to farm stand and front yard. Have a mix of annual and perennial flowers. 2022 mix will include Merrie’s California poppy seeds, the poppy seeds from the Fossil schoolhouse, the Calendula seeds from Champoeg Kitchen Garden, some sunflower from bird seed, some Rose Campion from the Newberg Library, some saved zinnia seed, and whatever else I can forage over they next few months. I want the front of our front yard to be so full of flowers that it’s ethereal.

PEPPERS: We might not need to grow hot peppers in 2022. But it might be fun to grow the Jimmy Nardello peppers along with maybe another variety. We could split them up and put the other variety with the tomatoes on the east side of the house. It might be super fun to grow a mild version of jalapenos, like the Pablano/Ancho peppers we’re growing this year on the south side of the house. Grow long skinny sweet peppers. At least 30 plants. Plant them closer together. Start 8 weeks before planting outdoors.

Use floating row covers for spring plantings.

FERTILIZER: Keep doing the liquid plant-based fertilizer. It’s working!!!

Save seeds: as many as possible from the plants that aren’t cross polinated.

Grow overwintered crops

Control thistles by mowing. Also, thistles can be harvested and turned into liquid fertilizer because of their deep taproots. They are very nutrient dense.

Re-woodchip the garden perimeter and pathways.

Prepare for perennials in our landscape: artichokes, asparagus, maybe another fruit tree?

Keep the garden going year round.

Add chervil to herb garden

Make strawberries go vertical to avoid slugs. Or give them all away.

Pay attention to the currant bush. Maybe prune it in July 2022. Give it a little love. Also, make a plan for the ground cherries and the raspberries. They’re not thriving out by the pasture. Maybe that ground isn’t fertile enough yet.

Plant more tomatoes
Early cherry tomatoes
Plant- San marzanos, Juliet, sungold
Chinese long beans again? For pickling?
No drying beans, just no.
Plant sweet potatoes, grow own slips
Plant cabbage in September?

Yellow beets and red beets and white maybe purple?

Tons of wildflowers in front yes!! Upick
Annuals herbs in south yard: dill cilantro basil fennel, coriander, cumin
Sunflowers next to John’s fence???

Use a greenhouse made of our wire shelving!

Grow CUMIN on south side!!

move the perennial flowers to the ditch!
Area next to the house ALL Annual herbs!
Move squash to outside ofpasture

Soil block recipe
3 (five gallon) buckets of peat moss or coconut coir

2 (five gallon) buckets of perlite

2 (five gallon) buckets of compost

1 (five gallon) bucket of garden soil

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.

Heather planted red Pontiac potatoes in the east end of row #2 a few days ago.

I planted the first of four rows of corn today. The seeds soaked for almost a week before I got a chance to plant them.

Heather planted Jerusalem artichokes along the southeast fence line of the pasture in March. They’re about a foot tall now.

Ten out of our eleven pastured bunnies escaped and ate all the plants Josh bought for me for Mother’s Day. So yesterday I repurchased all my Mother’s Day gifts and replanted them. Two Juliet tomatoes, habanero, and thai chili–but I didn’t replace the snapdragons because I don’t want snapdragons in my garden. I also didn’t replace the leeks because they will grow back. The peppers might grow back too. I also need to replant some greens that the bunnies ate.

Grant, Isaac and I put 2 inch poultry netting on the bottom of the rabbit tractor so they won’t escape, but they’ll still have access to fresh grass.

I also planted 8 Italian Paste tomato plants, another habanero + thai chili for Josh, along with a spicy basil and 6 nasturtiums.

Today I am soaking beans for 12-24 hours before I plant them. I also dug up the horseradish and comfrey and moved them out to the exterior of the pasture.

Today I’ll dig up the ditch in front of our house and plant some wildflower seeds. Mostly sunflowers and millet. Maybe a few other seeds, too.

In the stories of Peter Rabbit, as of today I ally myself with Mr. McGregor.

The bunnies are escaping on a daily basis. They mowed down all of the leeks, tatsoi, peppers, tomatoes, snapdragons, a few garlics, and all of my lettuce. I’m not a happy gardener.

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 (3Ɨ3 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.

We applied about three yards of aged manure to the garden today. It’s still soggy out there, so we got the trailer stuck a couple times.

We’re still harvesting kale, but it looks like it’s going to start going to seed soon.

Today I’m planting the first seeds of 2021.

I want to be a radish-lover. They are beautiful, crunchy and a give you fresh garden produce in early March. But the truth is, I haven’t quite developed a taste for them.

I learned this week that you can roast radishes with butter and salt. I never thought to roast them. So, today I’m planting radishes so that in 28 days I can see if I like roasted radishes. Also, it’s February and I’m tired of waiting for winter to be over. (Sorry, February!)

Winter isn’t bad. In fact, I’m learning about winter gardening. I planted garlic in September last year and it’s growing! It’s pretty incredible that we can plant things in the fall and they’ll survive and grow slowly during winter. Our kale and chard has been producing all winter. It’s slow, but we’re still able to harvest at least weekly!

The snow and ice we got over the weekend is gone. Now we’re expecting temps in the 40s over the next week. It’s feeling springy!

I spread more sulphur on the garden a couple weeks ago to lower the pH further. A couple days ago, I lightly pruned the young fruit trees. This weekend, an ice storm encased everything in up to an inch of ice. Our kale still looks like it will survive, though.

Welcome to our 2020 garden! Let’s take a tour, shall we? I’ll share some of my favorite garden spots.

Nature’s watercolor. Look at the gorgeous colors that are created when green turns to orange.
Our three kale varieties. Like a mom, I love all three equally, but for different reasons.
I love this trellis of pole beans! By the end of summer it’ll be a beautiful arch of lunch greenery–I mean, lush greenery.
This diminutive plant wins the prize for fruit to leaf ratio.
One beet…
Many beets…
These sunflowers were little volunteers that I thought were squash plants. Now they hold up our volunteer tomato plants. Btw, say hello to one of our honeybees!
Three bees!
Spent pea plants create a tangle of parchment-like tendrils and leaves.
Corn. 100% American, but the tassels give off an exotic Middle Eastern vibe.
From a distance you would never guess that beneath the large, drapey zucchini leaves are some of the largest, most beautiful flowers in the garden. #modestishottest
This tomatillo is delicate and spindly.
These teeny, fuzzy beans will someday be on Josh’s dinner plate (or get eaten on his walk home from the office)
It’s not dill… It’s parsley that bolted. Teeny little parsley flowers!
Another beautiful contemporary watercolor from Mme. Nature. Title “Baby Broccoli in Wood Chip Mulch”

I transplanted six broccoli plants to take over as my pea plants die back. Heather transplanted a Vietnamese coriander plant.

I picked the first two gypsy peppers of the season.

I picked the first plum of the season. It will be a smaller crop this year, but that’s ok — we had way more than we needed last year!