State of the Farm, July 4, 2022

I had a couple of ideas for this entry. It’s the fourth of July so it should be something about America.

I had one about how politics has become personal and it shouldn’t be. By this, I mean we are taking peoples actions personally—as if they were aimed at us. It’s like they say at the beginning of town meeting: remember that after the meeting you’re still living in the same town.

But I ran out of steam.

When you’re so filled with rage a misstep on the pavement makes you think terrible thoughts, it’s not the time to talk about such things. Not here.

So, I went to my happy place.

The picture above is the main garden. We have three gardens: the raised beds to the west of the main garden. The east garden where we keep the turtles in the summer. That has some sweet corn and the asparagus patch. And this one.

To the right is the Bloody Butcher corn, entwined with beans for winter with the squash beginning to grow. In the middle are some daikon radishes, some spinach that is not doing well in the heat, and a set of basil. The trellises will have cucumber. Brussel sprouts are in the left near corner. We cultivated these in the aquaponics section of the greenhouse until they outgrew the space. Now, they’re planted in the garden. We have some hope they’ll do well in the heat since they did well in the greenhouse.

The A-frames are for hanging tomatoes. In the left near corner is a Sops-of-Wine apple and in the far-right corner, just past the corn, is a Granny Smith that is plagued with cedar apple rust. The tall trees in the right distance are Chestnuts. The tree behind the A-Frame is one of our peaches.

If you notice in the center of the picture (you may have to zoom in) there are two rows of what look like white pipes. Those are for bush beans. We’ve been having trouble with cut-worms. So, we took some PVC pipe and cut it into four-inch length and pounded it into the soil so it goes down two inches and is raised two inches. Then, we planted the beans inside them. We’ll see if that helps with the cut-worms.

It’s the time of the summer I do most of my weeding. The absolute best weeding tool is, of course, the human hand. But I also use three other tools: a garden hoe, 4-tine cultivator (essentially a special kind of rake), and a diamond hoe. The diamond hoe is especially useful. The blade is an elongated diamond that is sharp on all four sides. It can be pushed under the soil and rip up weeds or pulled back. The narrow points allow for precise pulling out of weeks in hard to get to places. I rip up the weeds with one of the hoes, leave them more or less in place, and then drag them to where I want them with the cultivator. The chickens are eating well this year.

These tools are for what I call industrial weeding: weeding of large spaces where I don’t have to worry about pulling up nearby crops. But I also do a lot of weeding by hand. I don’t get up and down so much these days so I got myself a kneeler. This one doubles as a stool. I find it makes weeding much more doable.

Nothing helps my SCOTUS frustration like ripping invading weeds to bits.

This part of the summer is a waiting game. The radishes have come in—that was in the dinner salad tonight—but not a lot else. The greenhouse salads are thinning down since it getting too hot in there for lettuce. The Guomi and Honeyberries came and went quickly this year. The birds have discovered them. I wrapped up the big highbush blueberry to protect the berries and lost half of them in the process. Next year we’re going to put up the frame before the blossoms come in. Ditto Guomi and Honeyberries. We lost most of the pie cherries, too, for the same reason.

The squirrels took most of the strawberries. Last year it was chipmunks but we’ve been making headway there. But the squirrels have filled that breach. We’re looking into handling that, too. Maybe a barn cat.

But it looks like a good grape harvest might be coming. We have quite a few pears. And the Sops-of-Wine is covered with new apples. Even the sick Granny Smith is showing promise. The garden looks good and the potatoes in the raised bed are huge.

I’m cautiously optimistic. About the garden, at least.

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