Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weeding and Skeeters

Most everything's at least partially up now.  The beets were first seen on Monday.  However, the beans that were seen are being systematically destroyed, apparently by quail.  I covered them up with row cover.  Hopefully that will protect them, but I fear it may be too late.
On the good news front, it's been several days since I found a Colorado potato beetle.  They are really cool looking bugs, but not good for the potatoes or for eggplant.  In years past I have had to spend an hour a night picking the larval form off leaves and drowning them.  I don't mind picking up the beetles, they actually make a satisfactory sound and mess when squished (with a shoe--never bare hands), but the larva creeps me out a bit.  So, I'm pleased that the problem seems minimized.  We've been told that if you wait long enough to plant your potatoes you don't have as much of a problem.  Apparently that's correct, as this is the latest we've ever planted the potatoes.
On the bad news front, the mosquitoes have emerged, and of course there are more than usual.  They chased me in Tuesday night, even though all that was exposed were my hands and face.  Most work will have to be done in the heat of the day for a while, because "I am a tender sweet young thing."
On the ultra-cute front, the resident elk herd came down to play in the fallow wheatfield in front of our house.  Lots of running by the calves (about 17) and by their moms and siblings--bucking and playing.  So far, only a deer has been in the garden, which allows the elk to continue to be considered cute.
Not much was accomplished this weekend; had to work on Friday, market and soccer on Saturday, cleaning up, running errands, etc. on Sunday.  Just a bit of irrigating and weeding in terms of accomplishments.  Also made garlic scape pesto.

 Here are the scapes.

Here's the final product.  Scapes, olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and salt.  Yummy!

Good germination on this row of squash.

Aunt Ruby's hanging in there!

The sun was out this week, but I came to take the picture too late in the day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


As I said, we got everything but the (most of) cucumbers and cantaloupe in last week.  It did not rain much.  We work in Pendleton, where it seems to have rained plenty, but the peppers indicated they had not had enough moisture.
Friday was a busy day of getting the internet fixed (finally), dealing with life outside the farm, harvesting stuff, and watering plants by hand that looked like they had about 5 minutes to live.  The latter took a good hour I wasn't planning on spending doing that.  The good news is that I noticed the corn was coming up--hurrah!
Saturday we went off to market for a sunny but windy day.  We teamed with The Plantworks from Cove and sold their native plants (sage, lupine, buckwheat, giant wildrye, spirea, mountain ash, Rocky Mountain juniper, ponderosa pine, and golden currant).  Of our own stuff, we had all the pepper plants we didn't plant, a few artichokes, garlic scapes, dried peppers, and leeks.  It was a pretty good day, but tough to cram it all in the truck.
Saturday afternoon, back into the garden with us.  I again tried to rescue the peppers from dehydration, despite the appearance that rain was near.  In order to ensure it would rain, we laid out the irrigation system for hours, and even managed to run water to half of the peppers and the eggplant.  Shawn prepped a bed for the poor leeks, some of whom finally made it into the ground.  We planted almost the entire row before the (so we thought) pouring rain arrived.  We zipped up to the house in time to see it really start pouring.  It rained a lot.
Sunday, more rain.  We had an unusual (for June) lazy morning of reading, surfing the net, and watching the World Cup.  Luckily, I finished the book and motivated to go outside to check the birdhouses, a chore which didn't get done last week.  Things are kind of grim up there--apparently several swallows have abandoned their eggs and nests, presumably because it's just too cold/wet to feed the young.  Apparently, though, they can leave and come back and start incubating even after 14 days, so there's hope.  The bluebirds are sticking it out, though, and have four young, which look to be about 8 or 9 days old.  The chickadee chicks are fully feathered and seem almost ready to go.
OK, then I got back to work, went down and photographed some things in the garden and planted the armenian, lemon, pickling, and Orient Express cucumbers.  Shawn had planted the Marketmore sometime back, and they are germinating.  I can't frankly remember what the Orient Express is now.  It's supposed to rain like crazy tonight (flood warnings) and then warm up, so should be perfect conditions.

Last week's stand at the market.

Potatoes last week--they're much bigger this week!

Biggest tomato so far--Aunt Ruby's German Green.  Planting the peppers.

The baby chickadees.

The peas are blooming!

Beans just emerging.

One row of leeks.  Shawn plants them widely, I plant them narrowly.

Winter squash.

Mmmmm, corn.

I'll see if I can remember to do weekly overviews.  Let's hope the sun's out for the next one!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mostly Planted

Well, it's not been the best of springs for farming, but most of the stuff is in the ground finally.  Last Tuesday was pretty nice so when we got home from work we went straight to the garden and started planting tomatoes.  Shawn, Teri, and I got almost all of them in, and then Teri finished it up on Wednesday morning.  She also attached them all to their fences and watered them in.  Then the weather system arrived, and it poured, about 0.9 inches.  I think we got almost 3 inches in 10 days.  I realize that doesn't seem like much compared to the mayhem in the southeast, but that's a lot for us--almost a quarter of a year's total.  Anyway, the tomatoes survived the rain.  The plants at the house got some hail damage.
June 9 is Treaty Day for the Umatilla Tribes.  We were to have a holiday (taken on Thursday), but it was very clear that a lot of gardening needed to be done and none of it would be done on Thursday, which was still plenty wet.  So I transferred my holiday to Monday.
Friday and Saturday were still pretty wet, but we were able to do some weeding (everyone's favorite) and got some seeds in the ground.  This included corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, and beets.  Saturday I was able to go to market with scapes, dried peppers, basil plants, and artichoke plants.  It was a beautiful day and things sold pretty well.  I also learned that from our stand we can pick up the wireless from the library. Potential for blogging directly from the market--I'm sure everyone is thrilled.
Sunday we were putting plants in the ground no matter what.  Shawn rototilled and it was fairly wet, but doable.  We sorted through the peppers and figured out how many of each we wanted and got approximately 200 plants in (thanks again to Teri for the help!).  It took pretty much all day.
The ladybugs showed up pretty much immediately.  Yes, there are aphids, so we were very happy to see them.
Today I got all the eggplant, artichokes, and basil in.  All the tall peppers were attached to their support sticks.  It's hard to know what's best to do--sometimes it seems like the stakes help and sometimes it seems they just give a place for the plants to snap in half.  The wind blew pretty hard last night, and all were fine.  We'll see what this next change of weather brings.
What's left?  Cucumbers and cantaloupe.  Once they're in, I'll be happy if it rains for a bit until we get the irrigation systems installed.
We've been having internet problems, so I'll work on photos in a separate post.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Normally, we plant out the garden Memorial Day weekend.  We were lucky enough to be on vacation, so didn't even try.  We had high hopes for this weekend.  The rain has thwarted them.

Thus, we are left with very large plants in the greenhouse who would like to have some room to spread their roots and get some better nutrition.  We need a few dry days so that our clay soil can dry out and put up with us walking on it and digging holes.  In previous years, we've had to resort to planting some things in wet soil.  Then the soil dried and cracked as clay is wont to do.  The cracks went right along the intersection of the potting soil and the native soil, making perfect squares.  It allowed the air to get to the roots and the plants really suffered.  We would like to avoid that, but the plants are going in no matter what next weekend--another weekend away cancelled.

Unbeknownst to me, Shawn got some of the potatoes in at some point, and they are up!  Unfortunately, the photo was not in focus and now it's dark.
The carrots, lettuce, and cilantro are coming along too.  It does seem like maybe the cold is past, so seeds can germinate.  

The peas, radishes, et al. are enjoying the weather.

The garlic seems enormous; this may be the first year it's actually gotten all the water it wants.  Thai Fire, always ahead of the others, has sent up its scapes.  Teri did yeowoman's service and weeded all of the paths--thanks Teri!

One thing that's happy is the volunteer cilantro.  Since it was another pretty rainy day, and I managed to get soaked, I harvested quite a bit of it.  I made cilantro pesto, which may be the ultimate pesto--so good on so many things.  It's cilantro, lime juice, garlic, olive oil and salt.  We have almost two quarts of it now.

We determined where to put the tomatoes and Shawn started putting up their fences in between rain storms.

The zucchini was put in the ground in a fit of pique a while back.  Most were eaten, but some are doing alright.

Finally, the tomatillo forest has re-emerged.