2014 Archives Apr/May/Jun

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Week by Week in pictures

Week of 22nd  June – 28th June


I finally managed to get all of my summer producing plants into the ground or pots. Now I am starting to germinate some fall crops to plant at Catawba.

We went to Catawba on Thursday and while I mounded up dirt for the sweet potatoes David set out his second rotation of corn plants and sowed some seed directly into the ground for his third rotation.

The buckwheat I sowed in the main pepper patch did not germinate so I reworked the patch and tried again. This time I remembered to tie the plants to their stakes. I forgot the last time and I was imagining myself tiptoeing through buckwheat seedlings trying to accomplish this task.


cutting brush into smaller pieces


I am still tearing up the perennial garden and David keeps hauling all the brush.


Derby (left) – Roma (right)














David set out more beans in bean bed C. He also cleaned up and tilled the spring onion patch and bean bed A. The onion patch will be sown with buckwheat in preparation for fall crops and bed A will now become the growing ground for winter squash.

week_of_22june2014_onionpatchDavid pulling up the last of the spring onions.

week_of_22june2014_onionpatch2Foreground – ready for buckwheat

Background – left to right – bed A ready for winter squash, reworked sweet peppers and bean bed B


My Spanish Musica pole beans were decimated by a deer. The few that managed to escaped, the ravenous beast, I left to mature and dry for next year’s seed. Unfortunately the stink bug wars have begun. I have killed a number of matting adults and hundreds of babies on the vines.



Week of 15 June – 21 June

week_of_15jun_catawba2 Our sons came in for Father’s Day and we went to Catawba. While our youngest mowed Lucas tilled between the potatoes and corn. He also worked up some ground for sweet potatoes and David’s next rotation of corn. I put in some tomato plants and David weeded and watered.


The boys survey the result of their labors








The sweet potato plants we procured are a bit scrawny. David planted them in the greenhouse growing beds to toughen them up. He will move them to Catawba in a few weeks. Woody and Chuck, of our local terrorist group The Groundhog Guerrillas, launched and assault on our beans in the Secret Garden. After construction of extensive barriers  we may have thwarted more attacks. I sowed some buckwheat in our squash and pepper beds to grow as living mulch. I also started to rework our entrance and front gardens and prepare an area for some Green Giant evergreens that we will plant along our boundary line in the fall. These will replace the Privet Hedge (Mar. 9th) Lucas removed earlier.

Week of June 8th – June 14th 2014


The most important event of this week was David’s Post-op checkup.  He had all of his staples removed except for  two. His wound was still seeping a discharge.  He will have to keep it clean and covered with a band aid. This problem will be reevaluated in two weeks.

David tried to work this week but he is still feeling the effects of the drugs used during his surgery. His recovery from this procedure is taking longer than his first operation, which was longer, 4 to 5 hours, and more complicated.  After the first operation I was able to see him an hour after his procedure. However, after his second procedure, which only took 1 hour and 45 minutes, I was not able to see him for 6 hours and he was still extremely groggy when I did. Furthermore, an anesthesiologist check on him twice during his hospital stays. This did not happen with his first operation. Because of these events we are starting to think someone made a mistake when they were dosing and monitoring David during his second surgery.

War of the Worms

We do not spray or dust our greens and covering them with agricultural cloth is not an option. Because of our lack of defense the cabbage worms invaded in force. I retaliated by pulling up the last of our Spring greens, black kale and collards, and added them to the compost pile. Hopefully the heat of the compost is not conducive to their existence.

From another Frontweek_of_8jun2014_dics

To keep the birds from attacking our red raspberries I suspended used CDs above the plants. The slightest breeze causes the discs to spin refracting and reflection the light.  It makes a beautiful display and it seems to work.


Week of June 1st – June 7th 2014

David had a reverse ileostomy on Friday May 30th and was released from the hospital on Monday June the 2nd. After a difficult night he was readmitted to the hospital Tuesday the 3rd and rereleased on Thursday June 5th. Our sons were here for their Dad’s surgery and recovery and despite running back and forth to the hospital and spending most of Tuesday in the ER we did manage to get some farm work done.


removing second rotation of peas

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!   One of the problems with farming a small amount of land is when to change one crop for another. Our second rotations of peas have just hit their prime but I need more room for peppers. Since the market is being flooded with peas now and I am not sure how long the weather will support pea production I decided to remove them in favor of a later producing crop. After I cut down the pea plants Lucas removed their stakes and tilled their former home. Lucas put the stakes he removed from the peas next to some other pepper plants that have been in the ground for a few weeks. week_of_1jun2014_lucas

week_of_ 1jun2014_lucas2Lucas also weed wacked around the electric fence and cut back any brush that was touching it, pounded stakes in for the trellis that will support our Rattlesnake pole beans in The Secret Garden, dug up a place for some of my odds and ends and he removed the last remaining pea plants from bean bed B. (see below)


Our three sons were a big help to us during this week. Thanks Boys!

Week of May 25th – 31st May


corn and potatoes at Catawba

We went to Catawba on Monday, David wacked weeds while I watered the corn.


Bean Bed A









David acquired more stakes and put a cloth screen around two of the beans beds because of a groundhog assault.






Bean Bed B


He also staked and wove twine around the black-eye peas.


Since David was scheduled for surgery on Friday he did a lot of catch up work during the week, tilling, planting and maintenance.


Bean Bed C

Week of May 18th – May 24th

This week we went to Catawba. While David planted sweet corn I mowed. Then we both worked up the ground around the potatoes. At home, besides the usual garden maintenance,  David pounded stakes in our main tomato patch. He also washed, sterilized and filled a number of 5 gallon pots to hold our eggplants. I tied tomato plants to the stakes that David put in, planted eggplant and tomatoes in the pots that he had prepared and set out most of my sweet peppers plants in the main garden.



Maintaining The Secret Garden


Week of May 11th – May 17th


Market season is in full swing. On Tuesday mornings we harvest and prepare for our afternoon market at West End and on Fridays our day is filled with preparations for Saturday’s Grandin Village Market. The rest of the week we concern ourselves with planting, planning and garden maintenance.


This week David worked up the ground of The Secret Garden and started to fill it with beans, onions and beets.

I pulled up some aging brassicas and planted tomatoes in their place. I also planted some squash in another brassica bed and the black-eyed peas between the strawberries.


Week of May 4th – May 1oth


Our boys came in over the weekend and we went to Catawba. It took us three hours to complete our task. While I mowed our youngest finished cleaning up the brush left over from last season and hauled it to the CSC’s compost pile.

Lucas and David tilled. Lucas used our tiller and David used the Center’s. When the potato area was ready Lucas continued to till an area for corn while David and our youngest planted the potatoes. Unfortunately our blue potato order did not come to fruition so we will only have white and red ones this season.


At home David finally took the plastic off the high tunnel and did a lot of hoeing, weeding and other garden maintenance.

 I set out 20 different varieties of tomato plants and my

Spanish Musica pole beans.



Week of April 27th -May 3rd



dig them up

This week David was our mechanic again. He fixed the catalytic converter on the Hyundai, to the amazement of our regular mechanic, and repaired the weed eater.

David planted out more bean plants, till the onion bed again and set out most of our specialty onions and wacked a lot of weeds. During the two days of rain we had, he started corn, squash, cucumber, black-eyed peas and more beans seeds in cell packs.

I am still transplanting tomato plants.



plant them out


till it up


plant them out


Week of April 20th – April 26th 


Traditionally the last frost date in this area is the 20th of April. However, for the last several years it has been changed to the 10th or even the 15th of May. David and I both decided to tempt fate. David set out 4 rows of his beans and I planted 2 dozen tomato plants on the 20th. Naturally the weather station forecasted a cold night in the middle of the week after we had all our plants in the ground. I put pots over my tomatoes and David rigged a frame around his beans in order to cover them. Everything made it through, but we are keeping the pots next to the tomatoes and the frame around the beans just in case.


Still weak from his illness, it took David all day to put in 4 rows of beans.


Three days later he was much improved and worked up the ground for his specialty onions and another place for beans under the trellis.

Week of April 13th – April 19th 



At home resting after tilling; David is watching the sprinkler in the high tunnel.

We went to Catawba first thing Sunday Morning. While David tilled I mowed around our plot and loaded brush into the truck, which was taken to the compost pile before we left. The plan was to plant potatoes in this plot on Good Friday but three days of cold weather postponed that event for several days.

We harvested for market on Monday because it was going to rain on Tuesday. Market was very slow and David was still tired from tilling, so we left early.

When the cold weather set in David became ill and did not feel better until Saturday evening.

The cold damaged a number of our plants and wiped out our new row of beets. Oh well, I will plant them again.

This week I started transplanting tomato plants from cell packs into pots for resale. I’m from the Old School that believes that transplanting tomato plants multiple times, placing the root ball deeper in the soil each time, makes for a larger root system and stronger plants.

peas_tunnelShower Time


Week of April 6th – April 12th 


lucas_catawba2We went to Catawba on the 6th and with the help of Lucas and our youngest we cleaned up some brush left over from last season. We also started to clean up our new plot making it ready for tilling.

At home David set out some white and red onion sets on the north side of the trellis.

We took down the low tunnel frame unfortunately; temps in the thirties are forecasted for a few days. Oh well, we will cover everything again with agricultural cloth.

I started some flower seeds and transplanted more tomato seedlings into cell packs.

Most of our greens have been set out and we planted some more turnips  and beets.


David laying off onion rows




After low_gone_cir



Week of March 30th – April 5th

week_of_toms_blogDavid started germinating bean seeds.  He is planning, weather permitting, to set out the seedlings the last week of April.

I planted more greens outside and transplanted tomato seedlings from germination trays to cell packs. The peas in the high tunnel needed another string. The peas planted in the open sustained some damage during the last cold spell but are making a comeback.

We went to Catawba Sustainability Center and secured a plot for this year. We intend to plant 150 lbs. of potatoes there.

Lucas came in this weekend and tilled up our future tomato beds and some new beds as well. He tilled so much his back hurts.