Friday, September 9, 2011

Autumn is fast approaching!

Three cheers to the best time of year in the 505! Nothing beats driving down 4th and seeing at least ten people roasting chili. The leaves will be changing soon and before I know it, I'm going to be rolling out the row cover and protecting delicious veggies from the first freezes.

But for now, however, the field is still packed with food. Which makes me a very happy camper because it's a general consensus that this year was a very difficult growing season. The rains were so delayed that most of the summer crops had a super hard time getting established. 100 degrees and no rain makes hard times for little plants trying to set roots and make fruit. But despite it all, the CSA has fed so many families for 16 weeks now... a fact I'm pretty proud of.

Take a gander at some of the food coming out of the field right now:

Almost ready kale. Get ready for it! 
Ruby Red chard... always a winner. 
Hurray for outsmarting the squash bugs! How'd
 I do it? For sure without chemicals but any
more info is my trade secret! 
Look at that wall of basil. It's pesto thirty!
Long overdue for a fresh salad. 
I don't know if this corn will make it on time, but
I cheer it on every day!
Jack-b-Little teeny pumpkin.
Fajita ingredient #1.
Red radishes that were so tasty.
That's what I call a cucumber field.
...or a bean field?
Pinto beans before...
... pinto beans after! 

Things have been great now that everything is generally calmed down. The chickens are still happy in their new farm home, our new rental house is still wonderful, and the temperature has finally gone down. Hard times weeding when it was triple digit temperatures. But as you should know by now, there's always gotta be a farm project going on. So here it is:

Music notes in, Beethoven out? 
No seriously, what is that thing? It's a 6.5HP chipper-shredder-compost-maker-o-matic! It's about time to give back to the soil what I've taken from it all season. This pretty hilarious looking machine will really speed up the composting process by chopping and mixing up everything into a nice pile. Manure + leaves + field scraps + shredder + time = amazing soil amendment. Plus, my soil is mainly clay so adding tons of manure and compost will help to break up the clay particles and increase water retention. And yet another awesome craigslist find! I'll keep ya posted on how it works out. For now, it's still in the driveway.

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Well folks, I'm pretty excited to have fed so many of you this year. Your support has been momentous! A few more weeks of delicious harvest boxes and more updates to come. Be sure to take a minute and appreciate everything green this time of year... before we know it, it's going to snow :)

Happy chili roasting,      

Christina                        

Thursday, August 4, 2011

You know what they say...

...no news is good news!




Now, back to farming... :)

-Christina

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's AUGUST? You gotta be kidding me.

Last time, I was flipping out that it was July. Now, as I sit here in front of the fan blowing air on me from the swamp cooler which is probably not doing much because it is 200 degrees outside.. now it's nearly August? Insane, really. I don't even know where my days go! But I do know they are going somewhere good, because the CSA has been awesome! Last week, my lucky members got freshly harvested totally organic red potatoes! (as well as bunching onions, swiss chard, soybeans, squash, and cucumbers.) A first for me, and it was received well. 

Tasty taters. 
The cukes have started rolling in, and I've planted succession crops, so we'll be eating cukes until mother natures says no mas! The squash, well, it's squash bug time. Can't say much about this crop, those little creatures really wreak havoc once they get started. I got a few good harvests and also have multiple plantings, so hang on for more. Here's some pictures of other goodies to come.

I spy something green! 
 I suspect this guy is two weeks away.
Bell peppers--almost ready for fajitas.

This tassel is how corn pollinates in the wind. 
One vibration and it's a pollen dust storm.
Look at those silks! What fine silks they are. They
 catch pollen from the tassel and fertilize the plant, 

which then makes seeds within the corncob. 
Attention: Clean up in aisle 5. Thinned it out and
 fed it to some lucky chickens! 
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So, not to toot my own horn here, but my farmtastic walk-in-cooler-trailer-on-wheels is 100% up and running! And it's fabulous! A constant 43 degrees is enough to make this farmer happy, especially when it's 99 degrees outside! Might I say that it's super cool!? It's pretty great to harvest and get the produce refrigerated almost immediately. I can't promise you won't find me taking a siesta in there. 

Vapor barrier-- gotta keep that moisture away! 

I could probably build an igloo in this thing. 
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The chickens are happy mamas, as usual. Their egg production has been very steady throughout the summer. The demand is high right now, but supply seems down elsewhere. I've noticed fewer egg vendors at the market and I've fetched more dinero from my wholesale eggs. So that just tells me that my mamas are spoiled and happy and have tons of shade to snooze under. Their new home is also rototill-able, so they get freshly turned dirt (and the bugs that come with it) every Sunday. Ah, the life of a chicken. 

This here is my rack! Get your own, buster. 
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The garlic harvest is finally over! Talk about the longest marathon ever. Needless to say, I have a ton of garlic. Find me at the market this Saturday-- I'll have convenient $2 bags for sale. 
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And for some final thoughts... it's summer! These things mean summer to me: 


Zinnias-- my official flower of summer. 
Blooming zinnias and almost blooimg dark red
sunflowers in the background. 
A gigantic frog chillaxin in my greenhouse. 
See ya later, alligator! 

I'm off to feed the chickens! Hope to see everyone at the market this Saturday. Come early if you want huevos! Later, alligator :)

-Christina

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Since when is it July?!

Why didn't anyone tell me it was July already!? Holy cows, time flies when a million things are going on. So many great things have happened with the farm, I'm excited to divulge details about it all!

Last week, I took "time off" to relocate myself, my boyfriend, and my lovely chickens to new homes. (It was very strange not going to market on Saturday!) The chickens have moved into the deluxe farm suite, complete with wonderful trees, spacious living areas, and wonderful views. They are happy as clams, proven by their noticeable jump in egg production. Here's some photos of their new diggs:

Private patio included, rent to be paid in huevos. 
They heard me coming. Food? Food food food food?
Happy with their nesting boxes. 
Long hallways with outside space all around.
Not bad for a day's work. 
This is her good side. 

We humans, on the other hand, also moved into a spacious new house. Adrian and I jumped ship on a pretty bad living situation and are also happy as clams to be living in a wonderful new house. It was really great to consolidate all farm stuff to the farm, and all house stuff to the house. And there's less driving!
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Summer veggies are fast approaching! Not that I'm tired of delicious greens, but I'm pretty excited about squash, carrots, eggplant, melons, tomatoes, bell peppers, green chili......... whoa! Check out pictures of what's growing on... get it... growing on? going on? Everyone loves farm jokes!
Green frijoles!
Purple frijoles!
Soon, we'll be indulging in the best cantaloupe
you've ever had in your entire life. Trust me. 
Teeny weeny eggplant. Yum!

This extended and seemingly permanent heat wave we're having has taken a toll on the spring veggies. The garlic matured and is ready to harvest a bit too early for my taste. It's still totally delicious, but a tad smaller than I'd like. Learning, learning, learning, I'll tell ya.

The last of the green garlic harvest. Dried, bulb garlic from here on out!

Lots of spring stuff is still growing strong. I had a tasty head lettuce-turnip-radish-tatsoi salad for lunch today.

Purple top turnips, tried and true! 
Green, green, green. 
Head lettuce with a lady bug baby. 
Rainbow chard, roots attached for extra shelf life.
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My manure-water-fertilizer-not-fish-emulsion idea is working very well! I've worked out kinks with concentration and how to get the solution into the irrigation lines, and it seems to be doing its job. Things definitely perk up in the days following fertilization, so I'm going to carry on, my wayward son, with this fantastically sustainable system. I mean, look at it... doesn't it just look like a great idea!? And the entire system only cost me about 13 bucks.

Pretty nice use of manure, if you ask me. 
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Well, that's a whole lot of updates in a whole little space. This week's CSA is a good one, so be sure to come visit me at the market. Thanks to my members for hanging on for a week while I sorted everything out! See everyone Saturday :)

Don't forget that sunscreen...
Christina

Friday, June 10, 2011

Yowza! So busy.

Wow everyone! These past two weeks have been a crazy whirlwind of everything imaginable. I've got a ton of stuff to do to prepare for tomorrow's market, so this farmtastic blog will be a short but sweet.
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I'm moving all the chickens to the farm! The mamas happily live at my house now, but I couldn't resist the temptation of closing the loop and consolidating my farming adventures at one place. They'll have a bit more space and wonderful acacia elm trees to snooze under. I'll post pictures asap!
She's ready to go. 
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Let's hear it for another crazy farm project! I'm proud introduce my new (and very farmy) adventure:
Craigslist never fails me. I couldn't have asked for something better!
Here's the plan. Insulate the heck out of it, install a cooler, and wa-la. Walk-in-cooler on wheels. The cooler at my house is working great, but yet again... I couldn't resist the urge to consolidate everything to the farm. Now I will be able to harvest and refrigerate immediately, which, believe it or not, helps you out too. The shelf life of the veggies will be far superior if they can be chilled within just a few minutes of harvest. Call me a nerd but I'm pretty excited about this fact. Hooray for cold vegetables!

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I've made an executive decision regarding the important problem of plant fertilization. I know, sounds serious right? I've decided to ex-nay the very easy and convenient "organic" option of fish or seaweed emulsions. Here's how they work. Follow the directions, mix with water, douse the roots, and the plant receives a steroid shot of nutrients. Call me crazy but this seems to bear a lot of resemblance to conventional farming techniques. And besides, shipping 55gal drums of emulsion weighing at least 500 pounds from Alaska just doesn't do it for me. So my executive decision is to experiment with making soluble fertilizer from those cute little alpacas in my last blog.
You're gunna use my poop? Cool, dude. 
The pelleted poop does wonders for the soil, but the nutrient release is slower than molasses. So why not leach the nutrients into water, play around with concentrations, and pump it into the irrigation lines? Well, duh! As if that wasn't obvious. I have serious faith in this procedure, and it has nothing to do with Alaskan fish waste. Thumbs up that.

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Alright, my wonderful air-conditioned writing time has expired. Back to the field I go!

And hey I'm still looking for a volunteer Wednesday Weeder! And let me know if a Saturday evening weeding and eating farm party sounds appealing to anyone. I need many nimble fingers to help catch me up on weeding. Have a wonderful Friday everyone! :)

-Christina

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Fourth Week.

Wow, everyone! This is the 4th CSA pickup. That's so exciting. I hope everyone is thoroughly enjoying their organic veggies.

News on the farm? It's hot... 90s this weekend, better lather up that sunscreen. The crops are loving it. Everything hit a big growth spurt as soon as the nights were up into the 50s. All the row cover is gone and everything is basking in full sun.

What a view! Garlic galore. 

Me, with tasty turnips!
Someday very soon, we'll have squash. 
Potatoes are growing fast in the sun. 
My harvest volunteer and I bunching nice red radishes. 
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Here's some really great news. The veggie-devouring-guinea-hens are all gone! It took a lot of time and a lot of people and a lot of frustration to catch them all. What a relief, let me tell you. It's nice and quiet now and nothing is munching down on the veggies. Although I spotted a little bunny foo-foo eating some head lettuce the other day. I've been noticing a ton of lizards around, so hopefully they are eating as many bugs as the guineas. Adios, amigos!

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Here'a picture of a really empty looking spot, but it's soon to be full of wonderful flowers! I've planted zinnias, red sunflowers, cosmos, nasturtiums, calendula, marigolds, and a hummingbird and bee mix. I can't wait for the after picture. Summer is definitely approaching fast!

Soon to be jam packed with 2-5ft tall flowers. 

Alright, I've got to skedattle and start washing some vegetables. See everyone at the market! Have a safe memorial day, and remember: Only YOU can prevent forest fires! :-)

-Christina