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Thursday, May 19th, 2016

We’ve had more than our share of struggles with the garden this year — beds of greens munched to the ground multiple times despite being covered, artichoke plants eaten beyond recovery, even the lemon grass got mowed down by something (most likely deer), a whole bed of tomato starts eaten down by the vole.

We keep trying though and are finally having some success. The new greenhouse is doing great, and we could be harvesting from it within a couple weeks. I also tried a new setup for greens in our regular beds where I put down a sheet of agribon (row cover) and then covered that with two layers of insect netting (the same stuff that we cover the hoops with — which has been getting chewed through and dug under — but this time I put it right on the ground with lots of rocks on the edges). This has worked well. I suspect that the animals either haven’t figured out what’s under there or they can’t easily get in. Probably both. At least for now.

Today we had our first harvest big enough to sell some of — arugula, tat soi, and lettuce all coming in strong. It will be nice to have our produce at the market this week in addition to bread, other baked goods, and pesto.


Off and running

Friday, April 8th, 2016

So our new farmers market started last week to great fanfare. We had great attendance and sold nearly everything we took. It’s a little early in the year for much from the garden so I took a lot of microgreens, bread, and other baked goods.


There were so many people there the first week that I wondered if anyone would come the next week. But then this week was just as good. A little different traffic pattern — a few less people and nearly everyone in the first 20 minutes or so — but we sold just as much. The community has shown great support.

This week I added dried beans, focaccia, and pizza dough to what we were selling. (Others are selling asparagus, but we’re opting to eat all of ours. :) One thing I’m seeing clearly is that prepared food sells faster than anything.

It will be good to have more produce available to sell as we get more into the summer.


Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Today is one of the first really warm days this spring. It seems like it’s been a cold winter, and we are eagerly anticipating warmer temperatures and some quality time in the garden.

I’ve begun my starts in the house and am starting to think about what’s going to go into which bed.


We’ve also started clearing a space for a small new greenhouse.


I’m not deviating too much from last year’s garden, but I am planting a few new things — a new variety of tomato (Skyway, a large red tomato which is supposed to be nematode resistant and do well in heat), turnips, and shishito peppers (the last two are both things we love to eat).

Before we know it, asparagus will be popping up. We love those perennials.

First frost

Friday, November 6th, 2015

A hard first frost here last night means a harvest today of these guys.

This year’s garden

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Every year, the garden is a little different. This year seemed more different than most. We had a lot of rain (the monsoons are still going, though they seem close to the end), and it didn’t get as hot as usual. I don’t know if this accounted for the change or not, but things grew more slowly than usual.

We had more problems with pests than usual, including a newly developed talent of the rabbits to chew through our expensive insect netting. Brad got good at sewing it up. We had some other invaders, which are making us think about new ideas for next year.

This year’s top-producing crop was cucumbers. We must have harvested close to 150 of them, have given them to everyone we know, and have found some great new ways to use them, including¬† several varieties of cucumber cocktails.

We have also enjoyed lettuce, watermelons, cantaloupe, strawberries, and onions. The tomatoes have been slow but are now really coming in. We’ve made several batches of salsa and tomato sauce and will make several more before the season ends.


Some things are just now ready. This is my first ever success with eggplant (picked today) and chiles. Both were ravaged by bugs early in the season, but then came back and produced.

All in all, it’s been a good year. We’ve had lots of fresh food to eat and share and will have lots put away for the winter.



Garden plan for 2015

Monday, February 9th, 2015

It’s finally starting to warm up here, which has prompted me to get serious about planning this year’s garden. Here’s the preliminary plan:

garden map 2015

Not dramatically different from what we’ve grown in the past with a few exceptions. Peppers are new. (I’ve tried them in the past with no luck.) Same with eggplant. The leeks are new, but are already in the ground. (I got some from a neighbor.) Ground cherries are also a new addition. If you’re not familiar with them, they are are nightshades, and the fruit resembles cherry tomatoes but they grow in a husk like¬† tomatillos. The ones I got are the poba, and they taste like pineapple.

I’m mostly planning to grow lettuce and greens in our cold frames, but I may sneak some into some other beds as well. Same with radishes.

We’re looking forward to spring asparagus soon!

A new project

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

I’m attempting to grow microgreens. (This idea came after a very lovely bed of lettuce outside got munched down. I’ve replanted, but can’t do without greens for 6 weeks. The weather here is well below freezing at night, and things outside grow slowly in the cold.) Microgreens are supposed to grow as fast as two weeks.) We visited a farm that grew large amounts of this, and I’ve had it in the back of my mind ever since.

We adapted an old piece of roofing to make a tray to grow these in. I’m starting with varieties that are supposed to be easy and fast-growing like arugula, cress, and broccoli. The seeds sprouted within two days.

Stay tuned for more on how this goes.



Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

This week I finally finished shelling all the dry beans from the garden this year.


The two bags on the right are white cannelini beans, my favorites. The others are Bisbee black cow peas. As you can see, a few beds of these seem to be going back to regular light brown cow peas. (All of these beans were seed saved and are on their 2nd or 3rd year.)

These are big gallon ziploc bags. I’m not sure we can eat this much beans in one year, but one of their attributes is that they last.

Homestead math

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

25 gallons of apples + this little gadget

+ a bunch of jars and some time (thanks to you all who contributed various things to this!) =

(I wish this one were more shippable so I could share with all of you!)





And no, we are not eating this all ourselves! :)

Oh the tomatoes!

Monday, September 1st, 2014

This weekend we canned salsa, chutney, plain old tomatoes, and a few jars of sweet yellow tomato jam. These will be so good this winter! And there’s lots more coming. We’re going to need more jars.