Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lucky Lettuce

Thanks to Hannah for the beautiful farm pics!
A super unusual summer garden plant! Lettuce in August! 
       Hey! Does anyone remember when it rained and rained and rained? Which time am I talking about?  The 4th of July was very rainy and cool.  No one got to go swimming or watch fireworks due the days and days of storming.  However, here at the farm, we did plant some lettuce seeds and they germinated (sprouted and grew), which is usually an impossible gardening feat in the summer.  
     Lettuce does not sprout very well when the temperature is in the 80’s.  It will usually just stay dormant.   And if you do get it to germinate or sprout during the months that we receive 90 degree weather, the mature heads or baby lettuce usually tastes very bitter.  But it was never terribly hot this summer, so my little 4th of July experiment worked.  
     This lettuce will fill the boxes of our very lucky CSA members this week!

Arugula is growing quickly

Pumpkin patch

Farm pictures from Marie....
Cinnamon basil- good to attract bees and other pollinators

This is  our tasty tomato high tunnel, hoophouse, or cheap Haygrove. Whatever you call it, it helps us make some delicious organic tomatoes!

Fruitful harvest. This is Defiant, Ozark Pink, Arkansas Traveler, and Eva Purple Ball.

Black cherry and sungold cherry.


Freshly planted collards on the left.  A bed of radishes and arugula in the center.

Our cheerleader, Okra

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

ToMater House

Hoophouse Raising
Our tomatoes have full, juicy, ripe flavors since we grow them under the hoophouse, which keeps the rain from watering the flavor down.
Rain is the downfall of tomatoes. Well, how about building a rain-proof covering over the tomatoes?  It’s like an umbrella for the tomato plants since the fruit cracks so easily in the rain.  We currently have 2 of these structures built and we are building a third structure over 3 beds of tomatoes that will produce in late August.  We call these structures “tomato hoophouses” or “tomato umbrellas.”  They are long structures that look like greenhouses, but the plastic covering does not reach the ground on the two long sides, and the structure doesn’t keep the tomatoes warm in the spring or fall.  There are no end walls on the narrow ends or doors.  We have 2 goals: keep the tomatoes out of the rain and keep the humid air circulating.  What are the benefits?  We are keeping fungus/ blight from landing on the plants and killing them.  Conventional (not organic) tomatoes are sprayed with fungicides to kill these fungal diseases.  We are preventing these tomato problems and not using the conventional fungicides.  Another added benefit…rain on the fruit usually causes the fruit to crack before it ripens.

This our third hoophouse that is dedicated to growing just tomatoes.  It is 100 feet long and fits 3 rows of tomatoes.

Hoops and legs were installed over the trellised tomatoes (it is better to do it the other way around, but the spring overran us)
Ropes to hole the plastic to the hoops

Funny explanation of unfolding plastic roll to make it 30 feet wide by 100 feet long
Pulling plastic over hoops and under ropes.

Hannah is pulling plastic forward and down

Clamping the plastic down with wiggle wire on the end of the hoop house.  The ropes hold the plastic down at every hoop.

Finishing touches. Yay, we created a hoophouse!

The ropes are tightened down now.
Grow tomatoes, grow!

This is just like Italy under here, little tomatoes.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Around the Farm

William is making adjustments and explaining the Allis Chalmers "G" tractor to Thomas and Keegan

William weeding the baby cucumbers

Keegan and Hannah picking cucumbers

The cherry tomatoes are towering over Thomas, who is a very tall person.

Thomas picking tomatoes.
Cucumber flowers