I have one more crazy week involving travel and lots of other responsibilities, culminating in our final home visit in our foster care certification (as some of you will recall, we had a tough visit our second time with a social worker who was totally appalled by the farm - our social worker's supervisor kindly agreed to come out so that we won't have to deal with shifting standards (our own social worker is totally cool with it) and can be clear what we need to do and what is ok), so there will be little content this week.
So I'm asking y'all to provide content - tell me what you are doing. It is June, we're hitting the transition to summer, there's a lot going on. What are you working on? What's up in your garden? What's your next big summer project? What are you organizing, building, doing now?
In my next post I'll be putting up pictures - a visual account of what we're doing. If you have photos of your big stuff, put in a link - I'd love to see them!
The squash are blooming but haven't set yet. We're nibbling on a few tomatoes already, along with teeny tiny alpine strawberries. Picked our first plum yesterday. The peppers are growing along with the eggplant.
Big summer projects? Staying out of the heat! Cleaning the house for possible family visit. Losing weight and getting in shape (see my new blog for reports on that). Cleaning out and organizing office to provide workout space at home.
Biggest concern now is for family and friends under mandatory evacuation due to the big, fast-moving Monument fire down south near the border. Hoping they don't lose their homes in today's red flag (HIGH winds, LOW humidity - like 5%) conditions.
Aha, Independence Days!
We have peas, garlic, onions, rhubarb, chard, bok choi, tomatoes, lettuce, kale, beans, runner beans, blueberries, apples, grapes, potatoes, sunchokes, perennial herbs, eggplants, pie cherries, sunflowers, hops, summer squash and winter squash in good shape. The figs are recovering from the last freeze, as are the kiwis, but they are too young to produce, as are the cherries, pears, goumi, aronia, and quinces. The peaches, nectarines and plums, OTOH, have severe leaf disease and I had to firewood the plums and a nectarine. The deer have disappeared for this year and there are suddenly a bazillion starlings, who like to entertain themselves by pulling up corn seedlings. Must replant.
We have already dried and put away a lot of mint, oregano, celery and chives. Plantain is next on the list, there's a lot of it.
A predator is invading the chicken coop in spite of all I can do and that's really taken the wind out of our sails.
We are in the Pacific Northwest and worrying about hot particles on some of our broad-leaved produce and such -- very glad we have a deep well in heavy clay, and we have saved a up lot of pre-2011 food. YMMV on this; I have been called everything from idiotic for worrying (about 95% of "respondents") and idiotic for not running for my life (5%).
Our new neighbors have turned out well and we chat back and forth across the fence. They are third-generation local kids who understand country things. We may have our first 80 degree day next week and I am prepared to continue brooming outbuilding roofs with white roofing compound for higher albedo.
@Chile, :( hope they come through ok.
We picked up our first CSA box this week! Lettuce, strawberries, rhubarb, chard, garlic scapes. I've frozen 1 quart of the strawberries for future use, the rest of this week's loot we plan to eat fresh. Mmmmm!
Like Risa I am in the NW and have some of the same concerns as she (had to look up albedo though :)) Herbs Elecampane and comfrey have gone nuts with all of our rain and the brussels sprouts, peas, broccoli, kale, lettuce etc are loving our weather but the peppers and tomatoes are sulking.
Am giving up and planting corn in the hoop house, trying one of Carol Deppe's (The Resilient Gardener) short season flint corns and peppers. Grumpy as I am about our weather here, when I look at all the fires, tornadoes and floods elsewhere I feel truly blessed. Bumblebees have taken over for the honeybees here and like last year am letting some things go to flower that I wouldn't ordinarily so that they will have plenty.
Our of all the bad news, a bright spot: Just heard yesterday that the Catherine Ferguson school for pregnant and parenting teens in Detroit that was scheduled for permanent closure has be purchased by a charter school and will remain open continuing with the same programs that have resulted in a 90% graduation (& college acceptance) rate for these at risk girls. That in itself is truly remarkable story, but for urban farmers like myself, this story is relevant because a part of the school curriculum is the growing and maintaining of an urban organic garden. In addition, there is a complete orchard, chickens,rabbits and goats. They built & did the solar barn raising themselves and the feed for the animals is grown elsewhere by the science and english teachers and baled by the students. In my mind, this is the way education is supposed to work.
First harvest of the herbs (all the mints, the oregano, chamomile, chives, and thyme) either tonight (if the rain holds off) or tomorrow (if I don't have to work), a trip to the Farmer's market (ditto if not working), looking forward to next week's CSA basket (I'm on a half share, so I get one every two weeks - made barley and roasted asparagus risotto with the last one - sooooooooooooo good!).
And as always - laundry (love sheets dried on the line!), the car needs a desperate cleaning, the dogs need grooming, the garden needs weeding, I want to start another batch of chive flower vinegar while the flowers last, and to try tarragon vinegar...
Community garage sale on Saturday, to support my nephew's hockey team's trip to Europe next year - hopefully, I'll be able to pick up some canning jars and other glass storage containers!
Lettuce and spinach need harvesting, and the miner-damaged leaves of chard and beets picked off, the squash bed needs fertilizing (thanks to the local alpaca farm, I have some decent manure!), the potatoes need hilling, and I need to look into replacing the lilac transplants that didn't make it (free from my sister's lilac bush, so not a surprise they didn't all live). I have to figure out if the clematis that got mistakenly cut off will live, or if I need another one, and I'm going to look for some large pots at "end of season" sales - might try salad green replants in pots, instead of the main garden.
The lawn needs mowing - now that I've replaced the mower that I killed while cutting the neighbour's lawn - apparently, mowers don't like running over water shut-offs - who knew? (I didn't do it on purpose, just didn't realize it was there!).
Food needs cooking (pasta with spinach, maybe?), the house needs cleaning, and I really want to get rid of the rest of the carpet and complete the kitchen tear-out, so we can do the (hopefully) last big dump run.
Why do I think it won't all get done by Monday??
Happy Summer Solstice to you all! (Well, nearly, eh?)
We just really finished planting the garden and it's near time to start the fall planting. More and more, it's a continuous process. We've planted the biggest garden ever utilizing front yeard, back yard and community garden space. I didn't think we'd be canning anywhre near close to the 500 jars of food again this year but if all those tomatoes produce...
And that's a big if. With a late spring, weeks of pretty steady rain and cold temps, followed by two consecutive days in the 100s, then back to below nromal temps, well, it's been an interesting start to the garden this year. Everyone's saying the same thing, "Weird weather we're having." I help coordinate a community garden and we've lost a number of gardeners to the weather challenges and weeds that thrive in any weather conditions. I'm filling in abandoned spaces with folks who are readily adaptable and encouraging the others to try again next year.
At home, we're amassing wood as last fall's weird weather produced large and late storms that took down many branches and entire trees in some cases. Our back yard is piled high at the moment with wood that still needs to be cut to length and split.
We've added another water barrel to capture rain water and managed to organize and clean the basement. I actually hung a hammock and have even used it a couple of times. (Not without "Curious George" joining me in a sea-storming journey back to Africa as the hammock is re-imagined a boat crossing the ocean but still...I've been in it!)
Homeschool curriculum moves outdoors this time of year.
My only building project for now is entirely recreational... a deck.
My spring crops are played out. It was a good year for strawberries. The garlic is curing and I need to pull the dead pea plants up this weekend and follow both beds with a second set of black beans. I'm picking up a couple of loads of compost this weekend to dress my garden and trees.
The summer garden is mostly just cucumbers and herbs at this point. (Local grass-fed bison burgers topped with fresh basil leaves? Oh yeah.) Blackberries and blueberries will be here within a couple of weeks. Some of my young fruit trees are practicing fruiting, so those fruits need to be bagged soon.
And after a month of nearly 100F days and no rain, we got 1/3". Woo hoo!
Now the bad news...
A very small part of "my" property is a tax delinquent property owned by the state, which I learned at the closing table when I bought this place. No biggie, I thought. Who on earth would want this tiny 0.08 acre landlocked parcel from me? For heavens sake, it's only assessed at $320! I applied to buy the property from over a year ago. I finally got a response today, saying that there was ann application ahead of me in the queue?!
If someone else buys it, I smell a legal fight coming. This state has laws about requiring access to landlocked properties but I am NOT tearing out my orchard so someone can put in a driveway to a tiny plot where they don't have room for septic lines. They would have to compensate me for my orchard, but the trees are young (and technically not worh much) and they can't compensate me for the time lost establishing a new orchard. Nor would it leave me a good place to start new ones.
Nor do I want a scar running through the wooded tract on my larger lot in front of it property. Nor do I want to dig up my walnut trees (on that parcel) and relocate them... to where, I don't know. Grrrr.
But frankly, it is probably it is worth the legal fees I'd incur. And once there's an ugly legal battle, how could we ever be neighbors?
At this point, my only hope is either the other person doesn't buy it, or the other applicant is my neighbor on that side. Or I can manage to make the project so expensive and time consuming for them they give up and sell it to me.
Or rather, NOT worth the legal fees.
This has been a perfect spring and early summer here in eastern-central Illinois -- plenty of rain, and if weren't for the rabbits it would be like gardening Eden. My gardening partner Jeff and I have been harvesting early turnips and carrots, the tomatoes and peppers are flowering, and the green bean patch is burgeoning. The early lettuce and spinach are about done. Basil and Italian flat-leaf parsley are doing well. The soil here on this high bluff by the Mississippi is much superior to the reddish clay I had to deal with over in Missouri.
I wish, wish, wish I could speak of the progress on the homestead. Sadly, we are away from home with lovely neighbors keeping watch, gathering eggs and (hopefully) harvesting. When we left the bull's blood beets, purple-top turnips, and carrots were near ready. The peaches were growing nicely and the cherries had already been harvested. The vetch and winter wheat were already jungle-height and I can only imagine are continuing their reach skyward.
I know my dear neighbor reads this blog. Maybe, just maybe, she can post about the state of the garden and tell us all how it's doing. :)
Risa, as you've probably mentioned to said 5 percent, trouble is, run where?
personally, I'm planning to stay here and stew (mentally, that is). : } .
We have finally finished our greenhouse, which is a wonderful feeling. It looks much bigger in person than it did in my head. Project 2, put in some automatic vent openers. It was cool when I left this morning, and I in a hurry, and forgot to open them, and husband arrived home to find it 120 degrees in there. He says my basil and eggplant starts look fine...
Most vent openers use gas and you have to replace the cylinders every so often, not so good. I did find one that claims to use expanding wax, presumably forever. For a slightly higher fee.
The garden looks lovely. We expanded from three beds to five; poor dogs have much less yard room now. Tomatoes are looking gorgeous (I had a cold frame for the first time, and they took off like rockets), and are starting to bloom. Peas, broccoli and brussels sprouts growing like crazy (I've never grown brussels sprouts before!); kale, chard, peppers, leeks, carrots and cabbages starting a growth spurt, lettuces gorgeous and big enough to start picking, spinach ditto. They may be radioactive, but boy they are pretty.
Basil still tiny, hasn't taken hold yet; thyme and oregano just getting established. Potatoes coming up; I got them in late. Just this morning spotted tiny buds on the Heavenly Blue morning glories. After months of frustration at being far behind schedule, I'm feeling gloriously happy. There are six quinces on my little quince tree -- such a harvest -- but the apples and cherries bloomed and produced very poorly. Maybe next year. Have high-ish hopes for the raspberries and strawberries. Have given away to various friends a number of starts I couldn't manage to cram into the garden. Have dried nearly a gallon of spearmint, and a small amount of lemon balm, peppermint and fir needles but have been too busy with the garden to start much preserving yet. May yet try to find time to make rose water, but the damask isn't producing heavily this year, possibly to being chopped back in mid-spring. Mason bees came and filled in most of the holes in the house we made for them. It hit 75 degrees today, which is, I personally feel, plenty hot enough, but most people around are rejoicing that it's finally warming up. At least maybe my lemon cukes and zukes will consent to sprout.
Weeding, weeding and more weeding. Lots of spinach, lettuce and strawberries. Coming soon - cabbage, brocolli, cauliflower, beets and raspberries. Worst crop of peas ever probably due to crazy weather here in No. Illinois. Cool then hot and dry, then cool... Have developed a bad case of sciatica so everything takes twice as long but that mean the house suffers as gardens and animals come first.
Here in central Virginia, we are eating the last heads of lettuce, and fava beans. A huge pea harvest this year - (mostly snow peas). I am harvesting the last bed soon for drying. I am planning to use these as a cover crop this fall and any extras for pea sprouts. (I planted too many varieties to keep the seed pure for planting.) My plan was to plant as many peas and favas as I could in mid February - primarily as soil builders and then whatever I harvested was extra.
I am harvesting lots of garlic. (I planted 3 beds). I just read that it is good to harvest them while they still have 6 green leaves. It said to cure them slowly (not in the hot sun). I am trying to harvest while the soil is dry, but we are having thunderstorms every day now.
Kale and chard are huge and happy. I am harvesting the purple pod beans that I planted in early April. The beans, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are happy, flowering, and beginning to fruit. The cowpeas look like they have a virus, but will probably grow fine anyway.
October beans are flowering and soybeans are growing.
I planted rutabagas and parsnips, yesterday before the afternoon thunderstorm.
I am waiting for my order of sweet potato slips to arrive. I hope they come soon!
The potatoes were planted late. We were expanding the garden and it took longer than expected to dig the new beds. They all look fine.
We are still eating sweet potatoes from storage, and finishing up the last quart of tomatoes from the freezer.( I still have about 50 pints in canning jars!) One more pint of peppers in the freezer and a few sprouted potatoes from the root cellar that need to be cooked.
I have been freezing some greens and put some snow peas in the freezer. I might freeze some of the purple podded beans - I think they taste good frozen.
Onlar inÅa ve kendileri ve hayvanlar iÃ§in bilim ve Ä°ngilizce Ã¶Äretmenleri tarafÄ±ndan baÅka bir yerde yetiÅir ve Ã¶Ärenciler tarafÄ±ndan baled besleme yÃ¼kselterek gÃ¼neÅ ahÄ±r yaptÄ±.
Here in Central Texas we're in the midst of an exceptional drought; 3" of rain so far this year and not much last year. Plus it's been over 100 degrees every day in June with hot, dry winds pulling every drop of moisture out of the plants. We're used to hot weather, just not this early. Luckily, I inter-planted sunflowers and melons, corn and sweet potatoes. The taller plants are shading the vines fairly well. Pole beans planted on the west side of the bush bean bed are doing the same. Kale is surviving under floating row cover and tomatoes had a great run and are now waning, somewhat protecting the bell peppers. Normally, melons and sweet potatoes would last until Nov., but I don't know if I want to spend the water. I've been getting by with twice a week so far, but we're about to enter Stage 3 water restrictions which will limit use to once a week. My 9 tree orchard is only two years old and so is still vulnerable. On a more positive note, we're keeping our house comfortable with only 2 hours of AC use per day.
Hello from New Zealand. We are about to head into the coldest part of our winter, July and August.
The blackcurrents, herbs and respberries have been pruned. We will prune the apples, pears and nectarines in another month. Compost from the chicken run has been forked into the vegetable garden. We wait in eager appreciation for the shortest day when we can plant the garlic.
There are tomatoes still ripening in the glasshouse, which is a new record. Last year the tomatoes were finished by the beginning of June.
The chickens have finished their moult and look splendid again.
Come August we will be thinking of sowing seeds in trays for later transplanting.
Our streets informal vegetable gardening group will by September be reformed and ready to blitz gardens of weeds, ending with a pot-luck lunch.
The solar hot water heater is performing well and with the wet-back on the wood fire, we turned the electric water heater off in March. The photo-voltaic array recently installed will provide back up power to the electric water heater and LED lighting.
The electric car my husband made 4 years ago, has 2 batteries which can't hold their charge, so that will be added to the to-do list.
We will go on holiday in November, to the stunning beautiful Golden Bay, before summer when there are never enough hours in the day to get every thing done.
Seems like most people posting have big gardens, and have been at it for a while. Here in Queens, NYC, I am sort of new at this. My landlords let me dig up a bit of the lawn, so I'm growing herbs, to supplement our CSA share. We've started to get low-temp pasteurized milk from a local dairy, and I'm making yogurt using the slow-cooker (a hit with my 14-month-old). We are the only household I know in the area who don't use an air conditioner (or a TV for that matter), and we're adjusting to the heat and humidity quite nicely. I've gotten some water into storage and am hoping to get some more food storage going soon -- our biggest challenge is limited space in our tiny kitchen, but it's doable. My most recent change-up is to close my accounts with Bank of America and put my money in a local savings bank -- better that it goes back to the community than god knows what projects BOA invests in. A goal is to learn to knit socks . . . anybody have suggestions for simple patterns?
Here in the St. Louis, MO area, I'm trying to finish planting our vegetable garden in between heavy rains. We've had almost 4" of rain in the last 2 1/2 days and the soil is saturated. This has been the gardening story since April ... just to get the spring crops and then the tomatoes/peppers/zucchini into the garden has been a triumph. I got a bed of black-eyed peas planted just before the last rains. Will have to wait on the rest of the beans, the winter squash, and the corn for a few days till things dry out a bit. We're 8" over normal rainfall for the year.
We're harvesting lettuce, bok choy, and other greens out of the veggie garden, and blueberries and raspberries whenever the birds miss one.
Our yard was one of 11 gardens featured on the first-ever Spanish Lake Garden Tour this year. Everyone who came liked what we've done. I even had the veggie garden beds I'd planted weeded. This year's new tool is a collinear hoe and I love it!
Enjoying lots of rhubarb. First radishes. Beans are up and looking good. Ditto lettuce and kale and whatever other green I planted in old cherry lugs. Straw bale sections of the garden hold different kinds of squash, cucumber, tomato, pepper and eggplant, and they're doing well, too. Pushing the tomato trellises into the straw this morning was much easier than pushing them into the ground in past years.
This is a great pattern for knitting socks. It's not conventional as they are knitted on one circular needle but this way has several advantages to my mind.
A circular needle means you don't drop a whole needle of stitches when working with four or five needles and a needle just slides out.
Working two socks at the same time means you don't have the psychological hiccup of having to start all over again on the second sock.
AS you knit one sock from the inside of the ball and the other from the outside you always have two matching socks and not the fear of running out just as you are finishing the second sock.
There is no way I would go back to a top down, one sock at a time way of working.
And no, I don't know the web site owners.
That's a reply for Anna at 18.
We are now in our Summer mode, since it is hot and HUMID. Since sweating doesn't seem to keep us cool right now, we are taking things slowly out of doors and going in for rests and cool drinks. At least it wasn't in the upper 90s. We are grateful to have power right now, since many areas around us lost it, due to overnight storms.
I have been doing lots of gardening on my Saturdays. Though it was late, I planted sweet potato slips yesterday. You can check out my Independence Days post on my web site http://www.plannedresilience.net/.
Re: radioactivity on the West coast. We're in Portland and get milk and dairy products from a small family-based producer, and they were so concerned about hot particles concentrating in the milk of their pastured cows that they had the milk tested. The amount of radioactive cesium and iodine turned out to be the same in a pastured cow vs one fed hay brought in from back east. I don't know if that will be reassuring for anyone, but it's one independent data point that Fukushima radiation levels in our area are probably pretty minimal.
In our garden, there's a bit of a lull right now for planting. The summer crops have been planted and most of the overwintering crops won't be put in until July or August. Our spring was so cold that everything's late this year: Strawberries are just now coming on, and also the peas which I planted back in February (!). Roses just opened up last week, irises maybe three weeks ago. All the basil is looking sad and abused from so many cloudy, 60-degree days. Blueberries are coming along nicely, so they may be reasonably on time. Failures this year: carrots (yet again) failed to germinate or are eaten fast, many radishes didn't bulb up, runner beans and melons may as well be slug bait, and 3 out of 4 winter squash wish I'd waited an extra three weeks to put them out and are sulking. Spring favas, early squash, cukes, tomatillos and tomatoes are all flowering, giving hope that some vegetables will be ready in the next few weeks.
It has been really hot in central Florida. Like 104 in the shade on my porch at 2 in the afternoon. Instead of rain, we get thunder-dust-storms. Not normal Florida weather. My tomatoes are not doing well. They have blossomed, but no fruit, and I think I have aphids. I need to buy some ladybugs. I also have wasps and banana spiders (maybe eating the aphids, but not enough and yuck!). My summer squash blossomed, but no fruit yet, either. Watermelon is also looking sad. The pineapple looks the best out of all the plants, but it will probably be another year or two before it gives me fruit. I'm thinking about buying a banana tree.
I have gotten pretty good at baking bread, and my family loves it when I take half the dough and make a deep dish pizza out of it. I made fresh lasagna and decided to keep buying dried, but I'm glad I know how in case of TEOTWAWKI.I recently learned that you cannot make a pie crust in an 80 degree kitchen. The lard will not 'cut' into the flour. Instead, it melts into a paste (and I keep my lard and flour in the freezer).
Still working on setting up the new homestead. The land part is taken care of, but there is no water or electric (or house) yet. We have a fence! I am going to start sheet mulching for the fall garden next week. Luckily my property backs up to my brother in law's humus farm-all the free organic soil I can use! I will probably start on the chicken coop next month. Same brother in law is donating a bunch of building supplies as well as knowledge-he raised chickens as a kid.
Thank you Margaret! I appreciate it and will give it a try.
My little first time garden in England is doing quite well given the odd weather, though it does feel like one giant bird feeder smorgasbord at the moment. Still in mortal fear of doing something utterly wrong as all first time gardeners are..and worrying what the neighbours think.
I'm wondering how much of a section of the grassy bit i can get away with not mowing, for the natural look (honest!).
...and weeding. I tell you, if I could eat most weeds, i'd be completely food self-sufficient now.
As it is, only the cabbages, kale and lettuces are really ready to eat. Still it's early days.
We have a ten member CSA this year. We have things growing everywhere! It is gratifying to see all the changes. My farmer and I were discussing just yesterday the visual changes in the place since we started. We ripped out bushes in the garden bed next to the garage and planted grape vines, comfrey, Nasturtiums, and Morning Glories and also a small patch of bamboo. We have been mulching the front apple trees after a major shaping this spring. Did much shaping to the plum trees too. Animals abound also - a new flock of chickens and a new calf. Just started milking the cow this morning.
I will try to post pics soon.
@Sandy, #25: Can you make biscuit dough in your 80-degree kitchen? If so, maybe that's where (and why!) peach cobblers and apple betties and blueberry slumps originated. :-)
A Community Garden for my new hometown. I'm helping on the board for the first couple of years. :-)
Everyone is so ambitious! I decided earlier this year that I wanted more free time, so I am scaling back on food preservation and gardening. I still did the raised bed gardens and the herbs on the deck, but nothing more.
Everything is growing. I took down part of the caution tape that keeps the dogs out. I've actually clipped off some tomato and pepper blossoms to give the plants more time to grow before producing fruit.
The chard is nearly big enough to start using. I've been using the mint, thyme, basil & parlsey already. The salvia is bringing in some bees, but I don't know if it will be enough to pollinate the squash blossoms when they open. The trumpet vine has a bunch of buds though so that might start bringing more around.
The garden picture is at the bottom of this post:
All the garden comments make me a bit hesitant to move the conversation to a slightly different direction, but here goes.
Much of our energy this season will be on cultivating leadership skills in the young folks we employ. We're modeling hive mind, "barn-raising" shared/collaborative work projects, relational face-to-face, not face to screen communication, etc. A pivotal part of our effort is to also knit multi-generations together in manner that elevates elders as mentors and skill sharers.
We're showing gifting practices, bartering behavior, DIY and the joy of connection to nature.
Our harvest will be in the garden and the world as these young 20 somethings make their way back to school, their home communities and their more expansive worlds.
Our hope is that this is our best investment in the seed bank of a resilient future...
Hello from New Zealand again.
What is a CSA basket?
Here in Canberra it's the depths of winter, but I'm drying apples and making jelly out of purloined medlars. I just finished making a new cardigan out of locally grown wool, and I'm working on a huge mending pile. AND I've just got a copy of Depletion and Abundance so I'm working my way through that with equal parts of terror and joy.
I recently took a wild herbs for health class. I have been able to make a jewel weed salve for my husband's poison ivy. I am collecting strawberry leaf and red clover flowers.
The garden is finally planted and now I have time to finish the fence around it. We recently moved to a new home which is more secluded and a little wilder. Something has nibbled the fava beens but no major damage yet.
Strawberry fields are almost ready for picking. I hope to get out this weekend and start picking. This year a friend and I are going to get together to can jam.
We are going to get some new chickens this summer, now that we are settled. So we will be building chicken tractor for some meat birds and a coop for layers. I hope to find some ducks too:)
Finally, a local brew supply store sells mozzarella cheese making kits so I hope to start making cheese.
We eat well:)
@#33 -- CSA = Community Supported Agriculture.
Essentially, this is a subscription to a farm. For a set amount of money for a specified period of time, you agree to pay the farmer (or even pay them in advance) for a share of whatever they have available weekly, bi-weekly, or however else defined. You share the risks as well as the harvest -- if they have a bad year, you don't get as much for your money, and vice versa.
When I didn't have room for a garden, getting my CSA box was like Christmas every week. I never knew what was going to be in the box or how much of it.
The greens in the garden are ready to start eating; last year we didn't get a single meal's worth. Tomatoes got planted a bit late, so only the cherry toms have flowers yet. Couldn't find tomatillos this year (my favorite farm to buy from went belly-up this year), but did find cape gooseberries, which also got a late start. We've enjoyed a week of strawberries (having killed the chipmunks last year); the raspberries are progressing nicely, and the blueberries ... will probably need another year or two. This may be the first year for any apples whatsoever (last year a late frost killed any hope of that); following advice, I have checked my greed and am limiting the young trees to just two apples this year. The herbs are only so-so, with the exception of the volunteer cilantro, which I am the only one in the family who eats. The weeds, however, are doing quite well. I think I will harvest some of them today (last year, decided that Lamb's Quarter quiche was delicious). The family overruled my wish to set up a beehive, so I may just set up some mason bee homes.
Thank you Nicole for your explaination of CSA. sounds a good scheme.
Is there any chance we could get some more information on what happened with the social worker? We're looking into this ourselves, and I'm awfully curious as to what is allowed and what is isn't, and also what you meant by shifting standards.
Another idea for #18:
See if your library has Ann Budd's book entitled Knitting Socks. It goes through all of the basic elements and gives a number of patterns as well as adaptations for the yarn you may already have on hand.
I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but I made one this year: to learn how to knit socks. I took a class. It was wonderful! Not only did I learn a skill, the class connected me with some interesting women.
About the harvest: I am not a farmer or much of a gardener but I have been a CSA subscriber for many years. We are past lettuce and peas in the sizzling south and have been enjoying tomatoes, even some corn.
I picked a gallon of blueberries this week, as well as a slightly smaller quantity of blackberries. (One of the local farms has several U-picks throughout the season.) My husband is a bear who can gorge on the blues this time of year. I'll pick more blueberries next week for jam and dehydrating. This week I shared with the neighbors and the local bird rehabber. I also made a huge pan of whole wheat/oatmeal blackberry bars which made the rounds at my husband's place of employment. I froze the rest of the blackberries for cobblers or fruit bars in the winter.
Another thing that I'd like to do this year is make ketchup. I regularly give gifts of jam. I was thinking that a jar of homemade ketchup might be well received. Has anyone done that?
I made ketchup for the first time a couple of years ago, and was surprised by how good it was. We have given some away, mostly my husband to his friends. He said the recipients were quite happy, one or two said, we don't eat ketchup, and then later said they'd really enjoyed it.
I give away jam too, and sometimes find it a nice change for people to include some savory things; tomatillo salsa, roasted red pepper spread, etc.
Thanks NM for your comment on ketchup and savories. Do you have a ketchup recipe that you could link? Also, did you preserve your roasted red pepper spread? This sounds like something my husband would love.
Up here in the North Country of NY I have finally gotten the garden in. The bought plants got in a few weeks ago and the seeds just made it into the ground last week (I know, that's a backwards way of doing it!). Hopefully my garden will be the usual uncontrolled jungle and everything will grow and be happy.
The goat kids are getting ready to go to new homes. I am starting to bug people to be prepared that they may come home to a goat kid on their front porch come July 1st. I love the kids but after 12 weeks, I am ready to see them go off to new homes.
The Angora goat is getting along well. He is a nice boy and a total experiment on my part. I wanted a sheep but without it actually being a sheep. So I settled for an Angora. I haven't decided what to do with his fleece yet (me being a non-knitting, non-crocheting type of gal) but hopefully some inspiration will hit before it comes shearing time.
All is well. I love reading about what others are doing!
Yes, the pepper spread was canned. I got both it and the ketchup out of the Ball Blue Book, which is one of my favorite preserving books.
The Ball website is www.freshpreserving.com, and they have the roasted red pepper spread under specialty condiments and gourmet goodies. The ketchup is under tomatoes and tomato juices.
Basil still tiny, hasn't taken hold yet; thyme and oregano just getting established. Potatoes coming up; I got them in late. Just this morning spotted tiny buds on the Heavenly Blue morning glories. After months of frustration at being far behind schedule, I'm feeling gloriously happy. There are six quinces on my little quince tree -- such a harvest -- but the apples and cherries bloomed and produced very poorly.