Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Sunday, May 21, 2006


We planted a row of dahlias along the driveway this afternoon, right next to a row of raspberries and across a ditch from where we seeded some sunflowers last week. It should eventually make for a stunning approach to the house.
It all came about by chance, chance that I seized upon immediately, and I'm glad that I did. The subject of dahlias came up some time last week, and Intern 2006 remarked that she was accustomed to whole front yards full of dahlias, and more dahlias, where she went to school on the West Coast. We both mused on how cool that would be, and wished we had some dahlias.
At market on Saturday, there happened to be a woman selling clumps of dahlias, and I bought some.
"Now I'm excited," Intern 2006 said when I told her.
We seperated the clumps and planted them this afternoon (with the generous help of J.B.) and had a great time doing so. It was something we did just because we wanted to do it, and that was all there was to it. We spent a few hours this afternoon doing something not because it would make us money, or because something was broken, or because something was starting to get annoying and it had to be addressed. No, we did it because we wanted to and because it would make the place pretty. It was a good feeling.
Things fade into the past. There are countless tasks that I've been wanted to get done for years, be it planting flowers here and there or moving something that's been lieing around or building something simple, tasks that never seem to make it to the top of the list of priorities, and, another year passes, and another and another.
The dahlia thing just rolled into my life and I got them into the ground. We were talking about them, we found them, and we planted them, all a bit serendipitous, but all perhaps guided by a higher power, and now we're just waiting for them to come up out of the ground.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Amber Waves of Grain

We're all to hell.
We're in complete vehicle breakdown situation once again, with nothing running, parts all over the place and another shirt wasted because of grease and oil. There was a time this morning when the weedeater was the only internal combustion engine on the farm that was operational, or so I believed, and I refused to try to start it and prove my theory. I just took it on faith.
Oh. But J*'s Honda runs. Always. Like a top.
Manna from Heaven arrived in the form of an old cast-off van from a friend, something that I believes runs, should anyway, and may just help us during my time of infirmary.
But this isn't what I wanted to write about. I wanted to write about my lack of bush-hogging this year.
I've been trying to spend as little time as possible on the tractor (and must, now that it has a flat tire.) That has precluded bush-hogging and other general maintenence. The meadow is all grown up, first time it had been in years, and I kind of like it. The grass has all gone to seed now, and the tassles sway and rock in the breeze. There's a wildness to it all the appeals to me, and I'd keep it that way if only I didn't know that it would slow me down in the future, and eventually all go to brambles and honey locust.
The birds are loving it, as are the bunnies and the box turtles, but, alas, it has to be cut down, eventually, and thus there will be carnage. Generally, I keep it cut on a fairly regular basis, and the little animals know what to expect. This year, I'm just teasing them, lulling them into a false sense of home and hearth, only to go in after they've taken up residence and destroy their world unmercilessly. I think about that, too, when I watch the pretty grain tassles sway in the wind. Kind of takes the scenic quality out of it.
In the interim, I watch the colors - grass isn't just one color, it's lots of colors! - especially toward evening, when the sun is just over the mountain, and shines across the farm from a low angle, and makes everuthing all soft and warm.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Reflections On Green

The rotation this year called for the broccoli and the squash going in adjacent sections.
It is, I believe, the first time that has ever happened.
Two rows of squash went in today, with four more to follow, tomorrow, if the weather holds. Right next to the broccoli that went in five weeks ago. The differences in green is striking.
The broccoli is a pretty green, but a rugged green that can stand up to cold weather, that will survive outdoors at night in April and brave gale winds. It is a strong and sturdy green.
The squash is a bright and sunny green, a green that announces summer, and a green that needs to be nestled in soil under a warm blue sky. It is cheerful and airy and light.
Sunflowers got in the ground today, too, and beens and cucumbers.
Not corn though. The corn was a deadly neon pink. The seed company screwed up (or I screwed up) and sent me treated seed. The best part? The fungicide that it was treated with is called phytotoxin or phytosomething. Phyto, which probably means plant but in my imagination can also mean leaf or light or something. They named a fungicide after it. I'll send it back to the seed company. Have to order more seed. I don't want to plant pink corn.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Wet and One-Armed in Appalachia

The Spring rains are, well, wet, and keeping us out of the fields. Let me just say that the greenhouses are neat and tidy and that our various storage spaces are becoming very well organised. I'm even about to build some shelves for the back of J*'s van, an event three years in the making.
When it dries out, we'll be putting corn and beans and squash in the ground, followed by tomatoes (!) and peppers and eggplant. Well, it's the squash that's got me really excited.
For now, we're in plant season. Starts for your garden. We've got quite an array, I must say. Herbs of all varieties, both culinary and medicinal. That's J*'s doing. She's the one putting the cornucoia out there on the table every week, from lemon basil to mugwort. We're finally starting to get this thing down, bringing this show around to where we're set up to start and sell plants, start and plant plants, harvest and sell plants, without running into insurmountable obstacles.
It's turning into J*'s year, too, what with me still not being up to par. J* is really coming into her own, this year, taking a greater role in farm management and doing all of our markets so far.
The greenhouses are looking great and the fields are quickly catching up, thanks to all of our wonderful friends who've given us so much help. I'm not far away from being fully recovered, or, at least, pretty much functional, which may be as much as I can hope for this season. And we've got really good help this year. Intern 2006 has proven to be a delight to get to know and to work with, and has even talked us into planting black eyed peas. We're riding the tide upwards.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Lion's and Tiger's and ...

I've managed to stumble upon yet another farming conundrum, believe it or not.
I've been staying away from the tractor, lately, what with me recuperating from surgery, and all. That grass is getting pretty tall.
So: how do you find the bush-hog to cut the grass when the grass has grown over the bush-hog?

The bees are happy. The entrance to the hives are always a, ahem, swarm of activity. And bees flying all around the hives. And less and less bees as the spread out in all directions the farther they get away from the hives.The go everywhere, it occurs to me sometimes. Miles and miles and miles away from the farm, and then they come back. All while I'm still here, working in this field or that and then walking back to the house. It makes me feel as though the farm has no boundaries or dimensions, with the bees flying all over whenever they please.
The chickens don't travel so far, but the make their rounds, most certainly. They're always moving. This is why I've always liked having chickens here. The vegetables are so static, growing placidly in their neat little rows. The chickens are so kinetic, walking here and then walking there, and always moving their necks even when they're not walking. So they complement each other, perfectly, I think, vegetables and chickens. And bees.

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