Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Today's Garden Harvest

Here is today's harvest from my garden at the farm.  lots of banana peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomtoes and bell peppers.  Today's harvest weighed in at 12 lbs.  The banana peppers and cucumbers became pickles, the tomatoes were shared with neighbors and the green peppers are in the freezer awaiting more tomatoes, onions and other yummies for salsa.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ahhhh, Summer :)

Went outside to feed the dog this morning and look what I found. :)  I'm so excited that our figs are beginning to ripen.  The boys and I love fresh figs (hubby prefers them preserved).  Since they are available to us in-season only, the next few weeks will be such a treat.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Caterpillars in the Tomatoes

I found these very large caterpillars on my heirloom tomato plants.  My plants have just begun to flower again after a nice sized crop ripened, so I really hope this was all of the caterpillars.  I would be so disappointed if there are more and they manage to damage my plants before I find them.   How do you handle these kinds of pests?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Today's Harvest

Some tomatoes, some cucumbers and one blueberry.  Not pictured - a handful of strawberries. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Get to Know Your Farmers

This year, I am growing some tomatoes, but definitely not enough to meet all of the tomato needs for our family.  We have 4 Roma, 2 Black Krim, 1 Cherokee Purple, 1 Stripy and one Cherry Tomato.  So far with the Roma, we are washing and coring them and putting them in the freezer for later canning.  The rest, we are just eating - yum!! 

Knowing that we won't have enough tomatoes for all our canning, I've been putting out feelers to all the farmers at our market, looking for canning tomatoes.  Canning tomatoes, or canners, are seconds, or less than perfect tomatoes (strange shaped, bruised, blemished, etc).  In addition to coring these, I just cut off the  less than perfect parts and have tomatoes perfect for canning.  One farmer in particular has been receptive to an arrangement, and so I've been getting tomatoes and peppers for salsa at a fraction of their regular price.  In exchange, I've been selling some of my items to her at an extremely reduced rate, and giving her the bread
we have left at the end of the day for free.  We are helping each other out, and both benefitting from our arrangement.  If you have a relationship with a farmer, ask them about their seconds to see if they need a way to make some money off of them.  You might be able to make sauces and salsas for less.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Oh, So Disappointing :(

Right now there is a great big hole in the back yard, right were, 6 hours ago, I had a great big compost bed, just about ready to start using,.  In the country, I expected to have my things deestroyed by wildlife or the neighbors dogs, but I was speechless when I returned home from my parents' farm today to find a hole,(put there by a 2 legged demolition team) where I expected compost.  It is about 12 feet long, 5 feet wide and about 4 feet deep.  There is a cable running out of it and into my yard.  I hope that doesn't mean the rest of the yard is about to be excavated.  Oh, so disappointing.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why Chickens are Amazing - Today's harvest

When I planted my 8X8 ft garden on my Dad's farm, I put in 3 cucumber plants.  When I checked on the garden a few days later, two of my cucumber plants were gone - eaten by something, I assume.  The one remaining plant grew to an insane size and has been flooding us with cucumbes over the last three weeks.  So far, since Sunday (two days ago), we have picked 26 fully grown cucumbers and there are many, many more that are small that we will harvest later this week or early next.  We ended up giving away about 11, feeding three huge ones to the chickens and the rest are pictured above with one of the personal sized watermelons from my garden.  Not pictured, approximately 14 cucumbers, 3 watermelons (we gave some away) and some peppers (we gave them away, too).  The three tomato plants are dripping with green tomatoes, the peppers plants have many, many peppers (we harvested about 5 lbs last week) and next time I am there, I plan to harvest large amounts of basil and parsley - yum!!

The only thing I can attibute the large harvest to is the fact that the chickens spent some time preparing the garden plot for us a few months back.  I think their fertilizer must be some awesome stuff because this garden is more productive than we can use (that's for the five of us and my parents)  Just imagine if the other two cucumber plants had survived.  Since I hope to expand the garden next year to have more to offer at the farmer's market, I'm really grateful for our hens and their eggs and fertilizer. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I'm the Farmer?

For the last few months, I've been setting up a  booth at a farmer's market in a nearby town and selling our farm eggs, homemade bread, fermented refrigerator pickles and the occasional veggie or two from the garden.  I am sharing this booth with my Aunt who has a restaurant in the town that sponsors the market.  It has been a lot of fun and I am really hoping to be able to plan ahead for this next year so that I can have more farm produce available for the market.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


We have been growing strawberries again this year, and I am pleased with our results.  We have only 7 plants in containers and they are all of the everbearing variety, so we have been getting a steady, though small, supply of berries for the last 2 months.  Our plants are still producing berries.  In fact, they are still flowering, so we may continue getting berries for some time to come.  I am super excited that in the last weeks they have begun sending out runners.  You can see some of them in the above picture, taken Saturday. I am hoping to be able to make an entire raised bed (4 X 8) just for strawberries.

Monday, May 28, 2012

It is Pickle Season

We are practically swimming in cucumbers and banana peppers.  That is a sure sign we've entered pickle season.  We had one cucumber from my garden at Dad's last week and 16 since Saturday morning.  This afternoon, I'm making pickles. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Garden Transformation

We have a German Shepherd who is very enthusiastic and does lots of damage to our things, especially our garden endeavors.  In our suburban home, he has the back yard and we have the rest of the place - until recently that is.  A few weeks ago, we put up a storm fence that separates the back yard into two sections; one for him and one for the rest of us.  I'm so pleased because now the baby has an outdoor place to play we have an outdoor place to entertain and now I have a place to garden.  For now, I have  moved most of my containers to the back and we are beginning to build raised beds and plant perenials.   We have a lot planned and I am excited to be able to get started on it all and watch it unfold.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Harvest May 26, 2012

I have an 8X8 foot garden at my parent's farm.  This is today's harvest from that garden plus chives from my container garden at home.  Cucumbers, sweet bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, hot peppers, one cherry tomato, one roma tomato, and chives. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making Tea

I've been reading some about making tea from herbs, fruit and flower, so a few weeks ago, I started experimenting.  My favorite, so far, is a blend of store bought green tea and home grown and dried rose petals. 

We are also growing rosemary, lemon verbena, lavender and mint (the first three of which are pictured above.  I am hoping to create some blends from these and other herbs.

If you grow or mix your own tea, please share your tips in the comments.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Garden Update May 20, 2012

I was really hoping to do a better job of documenting my garden, but unfortunately, life has gotten in the way a bit.  This was my harvest from yesterday.  It includes a Black Krim tomato, 3 Roma tomatoes, 3 strawberries and my first zuchini 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Yummy Pickles!!

 My Pretty Pickles in my "Pickle Crock"

A friend pinned a link to a Claussen Pickle Knock Off recipe on Pinterst and I had to try it out.  I love pickles, but not always the ones you can find recipes for in all the canning and pickling books.  All I can say is these are so yummy!!  They are definitely my new favorite pickle!  Head over to Foodie With Family to fetch the recipe and check out the blog. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

One Big Goose Egg!

Someone was selling goose eggs at the farmer's market and my middle boy really wanted one.  I just love how excited my kids get over things like farm eggs and veggies.  Anyway, our middle son "A" could not wait to cook and eat this egg.  You can see how big it is compared to his 8 year old hand.  The yolk was as big as his palm.  When scrambled, it was the equivalent of approximately 3 chicken eggs.  He loved it and now he is trying to get my dad to get geese. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

First Tomato

It is small, but we were so excited!!  The first tomato of the year was picked this morning.  There are about 5 more that are starting to turn red and many, many more that are still green.  Yay for tomatoes!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Small Garden Harvest

This is today's harvest.  It will make a nice little lunch salad.  I love being able to pick our lunch right before we eat.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Garden Update





 Salad Mix


We live in town now with a very small yard, mostly  being occupied by a very large dog.  This leaves little room to garden.  Consequently. the garden is currently all in containers on the front patio.  Our yield thus far has been quite small, only a handful of strawberries and some lettuce, but everything is growing nicely and I have high hopes.

Our chickens moved to my Dad's farm and are doing well.  They are currently digging and fertilizing a 4X8 garden bed for my summer garden and laying eggs. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Roses from my garden

Well, we did it again.  We moved in December.  We are living in our hometown again, and though we are now living in town and would prefer a rural home, we know it was the right decision.  My Dad needed us to be closer in order to be able to help him with my Mom as her disease progresses.

The above it a pic of some antique heirloom roses from a 6 foot tall bush in our yard.  Aren't they beautiful :)