While the growing season is in full swing for cold weather crops the weather is still a little iffy for warm season veggies. Those of you that are fellow growers and backyard gardeners know the spring itch that you get when the weather starts to tease with those warm days (and or warm nights). Here at 47 Daisies we cant resist the temptation to throw in some of the frost tender warm weather crops and see if we can push that envelope ever further and get some early warm season crops. We test planted two rows of bush blue lake green beans, a row of cucumbers, a row of yellow squash and one tomato plant.........will they make it? It is anyones guess right now as we still are in February.....but my gut feeling says...yes!!
We'll keep you posted!!
The daily (sometimes at least 6 times daily) garden tour gets more and more exciting every day!! With the arrival of this warm weather the garden beds are rockin and rollin and the crops in the hoophouse have decided it is time to go to seed (bummer!). The transition from growing inside to growing outside is always a little nerve-racking. Plants are so nicely protected under plastic and then you transition out to the garden beds and the little spring plants seem so vulnerable. Spring also tends to be a time of tumultuous weather. We escaped the downpour last night with no damage and actually we needed the rain so it was a bonus. The first of many cold weather planting are in and now it is just a waiting game to see who is going to be the first to harvest. Is it going to be super-fast maturing radishes (30 days to maturity) or is it going to be the baby greens for the first spring salad? I do believe the race is on between them. We don't count the green onions which are already harvestable from last years fall planting. This year we are livening it up a little bit with 5 different types of radishes (easter egg mix, Zlata, white icicle, cherry belle and plum purple). We skipped the french breakfast radishes this year as last year we got one harvest and then they decided to split on us. Maybe we will give them a whirl again next year. There are no shortage of greens either......a few of the varieties we have in are arugula, lettuce cutting mix, spinach, greens mix (asian greens), mild mesclun mix, elegance greens mix and ovation greens mix.
We hope to have crops to share by late March!! We will keep you posted!
There is so much going on here at 47 Daisies that there is no way that we could write a blog for each thing...so here are just a few things happening that we've noticed today!!!
-The grass is turning green
-The daffodils are blooming
-The pluots are leafing out (if you missed our blog about the apples and pluots, a pluot is a combination between a plumb and an apricot..pretty exciting!)
-The spring peepers are peeping like crazy
-The blackberries are leafing out
-Betty (our nubian doe) is in heat....
-Buckaneer (our nubian buck) is freaking out because of it...
-The arugula is up
-The Old Time Peas are all up (Thank you, Anita!!)
-The turnips are up
-The red ace beets are up
-The transplants are thriving
-Another bed in the garden is tilled for planting
-The grape buds are swelling
-The robins are gallivanting
-We've had to start using the phrase "Watch for friendlies" to the kids again (which means snakes, spiders, etc...)
-The soil is drying (oh no...it's only February!!)
-We've started discussing canning recipes and plans
-The seed room is full (but soon to be empty...due to transplanting)
-The cover crop just keeps coming back
-The weeds are sprouting
-The privet is turning green and getting ready for the annual fight (argh!)
-And the CSA meeting is Saturday (Yay 2011 growing season!!!)
And this is just a few things we could think of from TODAY!! It's spring..for sure.
See you soon.
---Harmony and Dylan
I helped start seeds today in the seed room and was amazed at how many different peppers and tomatoes we started (along with everything else). It was interesting to read the seed packets and daydream about what all could be done with them once they're ready to harvest. A few that linger in my mind are; chocolate sweet pepper, hot pepper mix, fish peppers, sungold cherry tomato and the orange banana tomato. I started picturing the market stand in my mind....and thought how cool it will be once everything is ready. I also started thinking about Dylan's seed addiction, and his ability to choose the most random varieties of plants...but I decided to leave that alone, since it really seems to work for us here at 47 Daisies.
Once I got back to the house and started entering the numbers into our spreadsheets, I found some amazing statistics;
-We have started 3164 plants to be transplanted already this season
-We have 20 varieties of peppers
-We have 12 varieties of tomatoes
-We have 77 different varieties of plants started...these include flowers and herbs
And those numbers are just for the seedlings from the seed room! This does not include seeds directly planted into the ground, seed potatoes and our existing plants (like asparagus and garlic).
Kind of crazy, and very cool...all at the same time. We definitely have variety.
So when farming is your lifestyle and you leave town it is a little frightening!!! So many things are needing attention (especially at this time of year) that leaving even for a day can mean disaster which can haunt you for a whole season. That is if you don't have an amazing farming partner! How one person can turn the plant lights on, let the goats out, make sure everything is kosher in the barn, get lunches made, change diapers, make sure plants are watered, animals are fed and still get kade to school on time by 7:15 in the morning is beyond my imagination. Farming works better when people work together. I am fortunate to have one of the very best partners in the entire universe.......I was out of town on valentines day so Harmony......I love you...you are amazing!
Today was a great day for planting. The soil has dried out just enough for Dylan to get into the beds to till yesterday and this morning. Because of those conditions, we spent the afternoon planting.
I have to say that I am really out of shape, for starters. I never realized how much work it takes to plant.....especially after a couple years of not doing this kind of work due to pregnancies and babies! My whole body felt like jello after about 2 minutes in the potato field.
With that being said, we planted 9 rows of potatoes....very long rows..., 2 beds of carrots, beets, arugula, turnips and a huge row of peas. The peas are from my cousin, Anita, in Kentucky and are called "Old Time Peas". They have been in the family for as long as she can remember, and I'm proud to have them in our garden here in Louisiana.
Dylan asked today what I thought would come through the ground first. My bet is on the potatoes (because I feel like after all the work we did to get them there, they better be straight A students....) and Dylan's betting on the arugula. We'll see what happens. .....
I sat down at the table tonight after the kids went to bed to join Dylan in cutting seed potatoes to plant tomorrow. I really didn't have high hopes of this being an exciting Saturday night, but I have to say, it turned out to be pretty fun.
It all started with the predictable conversation..something like this:
Harmony: Wow...that's a lot of potatoes.
Dylan: Yea. We have blue, red and white.
Harmony: That's really cool. So how many potatoes are we going to get from this?
Dylan: Not many, after the CSA and market, anyway.
Harmony: Like how many?
Dylan: Well.....they say that 1 pound of seed potatoes will usually yield 8-10 lbs of potatoes.
Harmony: Oh....wow. That's a lot. So how many pounds are here?
After getting over the shock of just how many potatoes we're going to have this year....and thinking of all the recipes I know of with potatoes in them...I started looking at the seed potatoes a little differently. The majority of them look like little aliens from some crazy planet (especially if you cut a face in it.....). The funny thing is, the more you do, the more difficult it gets. The "rules" are that if the seed potatoes are smaller than a chicken egg, they don't need to be cut. And if they are bigger, each cut piece needs to have 2-3 eyes on it. The more you cut, you start asking yourself, "Is this the size of a chicken egg?"...or "Well...this could be a large chicken egg....". Then you start questioning your cuts..."Was that 2 eyes on that piece, or 1?". It's enough to drive you crazy before you get through 150 lbs of potatoes. Luckily for us, we didn't have to cut the fingerlings at all.
And lucky for our customers, we'll have TONS of red, blue and white potatoes this season!!!!!!! :)
February in Louisiana has been interesting, to say the least. As I'm writing this, Kade is sleeping in his bed dreaming of his "snow day" tomorrow, even though all we got was rain. That's kind of the way things work around here, I've learned. You never know what the weather's going to do.
As for our crops, up until the first ice storm in January, we had all kinds of vegetables still coming out of the gardens. Carrots, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beets and radishes, to name a few. We had plenty of these crops to feed our family well until around mid January. The ice storm pretty much put an end to the gardens, but our hoop house is still producing enough greens to give our family a salad with our dinner several nights a week! This has been wonderful, and I think I'm now spoiled. I won't know what to do when we can't go out and pick greens for a fresh salad.
The seed room in the barn is going strong! We have cold weather crops coming up like crazy, and a few warm weather crops started as well. Another round of seeds go in this Sunday. We'll be moving the cold weather crops to the green house in the front to get them ready to be planted in the ground!!
The great thing about Louisiana weather is that the growing season can really go all year, with a few adjustments. We hope to be adding a high tunnel to the field behind the barn for next season to extend our growing season to the max!! Can't wait to share it with you.
So we risked the weather and planted the first round of snow peas on January 29th. It was a warm day (and since we all know that spring has already arrived....see post below) we chose to throw in some seed. Then we had a random "spring" ice storm, some "spring" days that failed to get above freezing, and now are scheduled for another random "spring" snowstorm tomorrow. Through all of this "spring" turmoil the pea seed remains viable. I walked out to the gardens yesterday to do the daily check and dug up one of the planted seeds to see what was going on below the soil........and sure enough a radicle (the makings of a root) were probing their new home. Hopefully the greenery will be right on their heels after we thaw out from this random "spring" snow storm we will be getting as of tomorrow morning.......surely it will be the last!!
Dylan went down to do chores by himself today due to Kade's Social Studies project and had a crazy story to tell when he returned. It's an everyday thing, but just funnier when you deal with it alone.
On Sunday we added two goats to our herd. Buckaneer is a big, funny looking male goat that will befriend our female goats this fall. Bopper is a tiny little nigerian wether that will be keeping him company. No details needed here.
That brings our animal count up to 5 goats, 2 barn cats and a barn dog. The cats and dogs decided they would make our barn home without any help from us.
But back to my story of tonight...Dylan goes down to the barn and starts to get grain in the buckets for the goats (all but the buck, who's in a stall by himself...). Praline (a nigerian wether that's been with our herd from the beginning) starts pacing because he's "starving" and Betty climbs up on the gate. Doughy stands back hesitantly, as she's not sure she likes humans yet. Bopper, the new nigeriean wether, doesn't know what to think so he runs around the barn like crazy. Dylan gets the feed into the stall and separates the goats because they all try to eat each other's grain...and the cat comes in. He goes out and feeds the cat, and Norma the barn dog while he's at it....and just stands and listens............He laughs to himself because all he hears is animals eating like they haven't been fed in days. Everyone is eating except for Buckaneer, who is jumping on the gate looking for attention.
Dylan goes over to feed Buckaneer and Norma follows, looking for her daily attention. She's not sure what to think about Buckaneer, so she hangs back. Buckaneer, the "mean buck", is looking for attention as well and sticks his head out of the gate for some love. Dylan pets him then proceeds to go to the seed room to check the plants, and Buckaneer is standing at the gate looking for him. When he goes back to him, Buckaneer attempts to eat his jacket. That's how he shows affection, I guess. :)
This has become the nightly routine in the barn. As crazy and hectic as it is, we love it. It will get even crazier as we're soon to add a donkey to the mix.
I don't get to go down there as often as I like due to the babies, but I love hearing Dylan and Kade's stories when they return. It's a circus for sure.
Dylan and Harmony, whichever of us have the time to sit down and write for a few minutes. : )