Thursday, February 19, 2015

More Winter Planting

One Month Till Spring

Garlic & Lupinis & Favas

Well here she is in all her glory, the Valley Oak that lives in the creek.  She's putting on her new skirt and the leaves are as big as a squirrel's ear, so that means it's time to get planting.

She's my faithful indicator tree.

The soil is still very cool, so my knees tell me, so way too early to plant anything like corn, but that doesn't mean that I've not been busy with lettuce and other greens.

As you can see, the garlic is looking good.  The bed on the right is newly transplanted garlic which I found hiding in the field when we went to plant the willow hedge.

Behind the favas are another row that I'll be putting cabbages in later today.

I harvested my first asparagus yesterday, and this morning, more have popped up.

Row P here, I planted in Mizuna last November.  To the right of them are early onions.  But we all know the onions take so long that if that was all that was in this bed I'd be weeding every day.  So yesterday I planted 2 kinds of Misticanza.  One with radicchio and other greens, and one with just lettuce.   Today when I pick the Mizuna, the Misticanza will start getting larger.  By the time I harvest the Mizuna again, the Misticanza should be just about full grown and ready to pick.  Each of these should give 2 pickings unless the weather turns abysmally hot.  Please no summer in early spring.

Joseph's turnip greens need thinning!  I also planted these in November, so we should be eating these soon.  In the bed next to them are also raddishes that need to be harvested.

There's also a couple of cabbages lingering about that should be harvested, and the kale is not liking this weather, so out it will come.

The rhubarb is also up, and won't be long till it's ready to harvest.

I lost a few rhubarb plants over the winter.  Was it too dry, too cold, too hot, too many gophers?  I haven't any idea, but they take so long from seed that it's annoying to lose any of them.

Here's the second bed that I've been working on, row 66.  Note at the back of row 66 is part of the chicken coop roof that blew off in that crazy windstorm we had on New Year's Day.  We also lost a couple of trees that day.  Thankfully, no Eucy trees dropped on us.

Row 66 has carrots and onions on the sides.  But down the middle I planted lettuce, Scarlet Ohno, mild mustard and Baby Choi.

Scarlet Ohno is a turnip planted just for it's mild greens.  It did not do well for us last year, this is its last chance, if it fails to perform I'll send these seeds farther North or East.

The soil is too damp for tilling, so I can only plant the beds that Leo prepared many moons ago for me.
The peas I planted last November are limping along.  The birds have eaten them twice!

These are the lovely Wando Alaska X that I crossed.  Which I may call Skado or Doska if they turn out any good this year.  These are English Shelling peas.

I also have some lovely snow peas to plant.  Which I'll put in pretty soon. 

The leeks, onions, cress, collards, spinach, and Chinese cabbage are already to transplant.  Soon as I get them in,  I'll have another tray to start more peppers and onions for later in the season.

So many greens this year!


I received a note from Sandhill Preserve that our new flock of chickens should be here in March.  And a darn good thing too, because with only 4 hens left from the Mountain Lion Attack, I'm only getting 2 eggs a day.  That's barely enough to keep up with the morning ritual.  I have to stash eggs to be able to have enough for weekend pancakes and French toast!  I actually had to buy eggs last week.  Eww.  Store bought eggs!  I think March chickens will give us eggs by June or July.  My Father used to say, "She's no spring chicken" all the time, and by golly I know what he means now.  Spring chickens lay early, late fall chickens start laying at the same time, but you have to feed them all winter.  Now you know why I didn't replace the flock earlier.

Hopefully the farm will get a few more inches of rain before we're done for the season. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

A review of Taos Blue Corn

Taos Blue on 7/13

On June 16, 2014 I planted Taos Blue.  This is a GRIN corn, PI 476868.  Its from the Taos Pueblo and it's called "Blue Corn".  I can't have a corn called "Blue Corn" because hey, lots of them are blue.

This is a flour corn, and I'm always looking for a good flour corn.
Taos Blue August 14

This is a short season corn and so I knew I had time to plant it before frost.  (Which did not come till December in 2014!)  The soil was dry, I had to irrigate 2-3 times a week to prevent wilting.  There was no residual soil moisture even in the spring, due to the drought.

October 2 Taos Blue

As you can see, there was lodging.  This corn is not very tall and the cobs are not held very far off of the ground.  I harvested this right after I took this photo.  This corn was the least productive in my field.  The Kaanga Pango and the Yellow Papago yielded twice the amount of this corn.

Taos Blue & Fusarium 
Note the starburst pattern on the kernels...Its a fusarium.  Fumonisins are a group of mycotoxins produced by fungi in the genus Fusarium. The fungus Fusarium moniliforme (Fusarium verticillioides) is a common pathogen of corn, so common in fact that it is found wherever corn is grown. Fusarium moniliforme usually appears white to salmon colored, although it may not be visible on the corn kernel. This fungus often produces a symptom on the corn kernels referred to as "starburst," or a white streaking of the kernel.  You can't eat corn with fusarium or feed it to horses.  I guess this one will be chicken food.  As part of their rations, fumonisins don't bother chickens.  

I suspect the very very dry weather, coupled with insect invasions of every known kind are probably responsible for this.  I won't be doing any more summer planting of corn.  This year the plan is to plant all four corns of the season as early as possible.   I'm keeping an eye on the soil temperature.  If it continues to warm,  I may plant in March!  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Winter Planting 2015

The Willow Hedge

And here's the last of the willow hedge being planted.  These last ones are native willows that turned up on the farm last year, so Leo cut them and stuck them in a bucket full of water.  They rooted well.  They are a pretty red color.

The rest of the willows we purchased from Dunbar Gardens in Washington.  We selected both hedge and basket types.  We hope to be able to do a number of farm projects with willow in the future, but for now this is the first of our new windbreaks.  Water loss here at the farm is mostly a result of the wind and evaporation.  We can't change the weather, so we hope that wind breaks will help mitigate for water loss.  Well, at least maybe slow it down.

In a few years, we hope to have a hedge that looks like this one at Dunbar Gardens.