Saturday, July 21, 2012

First tomato

The first tomato of the year was harvested yesterday. Unfortunately, the marker identifying the variety was not stuck in the soil under the straw...

 Also, I harvested FOUR tomato hornworms.  UCK! I crushed two underfoot, then realized the fish might want the protein.  Threw the third one in the pond. It floated. (ICKY) The fish swam up to investigate.  Then they swam away.   I crushed the fourth underfoot.

Farming is somewhat violent.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Tomatoes are in

Originally written as a draft approximately Memorial Day weekend.

Last night we finished planting the last dozen tomato plants and some of the peppers.  The temperature was 91 yesterday, so we broke the rule of never watering at night and ran the sprinkler for an hour or so.  It is expected to be even hotter today.

I am using old cages this year.  Last year I did not stake the tomatoes and several times as I reached down to harvest a particularly lovely-looking fruit, I would turn it over to find that some rodent had harvested the bottom half of the fruit before me.  Last night I picked up a plastic bucket of compost that had been left overnight and E. noticed that a critter had tunnelled up through the soil, only to be stopped by the bucket bottom.  When I moved the bucket, the mole stuck his head up to say "hello".  A shovel was handy, so he said hello and goodbye at the same time.  Hopefully keeping the fruit off the ground this year will reduce the temptation for our guests.

Some of the cages need repair, as the welds have broken.  This will be a good job to put on the list for next winter.

The lettuce I planted in March is just reaching table size, with the long days of sunshine having finally arrived.

I am in the process of tuning the compost pile.  I am shovelling out the finished compost at the bottom of the pile and incorporating it into the soil round the roots of the plants.  The unrotted stuff floating at the top of the pile will end up on the bottom once I have removed the dark crumbly earth from the bottom.  I keep threatening to cruise the suburban developments around us at night, looking for yard waste to bring home to my compost pile.  I just can't get used to so much sand in Michigan!

Bright Meadow West

Today I am feeling particularly blessed.  There are black raspberries in the orchard just starting to ripen.  Some are in the shade. and are escaping the effects of the drought that are being suffered by any of the bushes that are in full sun.    I was checking them out, riding the gator through the old orchard, when I surprised a very small fawn. It was so young it did not immediately even try to get up and move.  I was as surprised as the fawn. I didn't even think to reach for the camera, just enjoyed the moment.

Later, I checked out the elderberry bushes to see how they are doing.  It looks like they are just finishing up blooming, and the berries are starting to form!

There were volunteer turnip greens growing in our string bean field that had not yet been disked. I gathered an armload of them and brought them in to clean (triple-wash!) for lunch.  

 After lunch, E disked the bean field.

The temperature outside is over 90, but I am enjoying the air-conditioning inside.

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