Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tomato Harvest




Lately we have been getting tons of tomatoes out of the garden!!



I believe this is the first year I can actually say our tomatoes have done really well. I am especially excited that our Cherokee Purple heirlooms have produced well, because they are my favorite :)






When they all come at once, it's a race to figure out what to do with them before they go bad. Usually I like to can and preserve some of them, but unfortunately all of our roma tomato plants did not get started in time and then once we did have good starts we didn't have any room for them.






I think with these tomatoes which are mostly for slicing/eating, we will be eating lots of caprese salads, BLT's, dishes with fresh tomatoes like pasta or pizzas, and I might even make some sauce to freeze or preserve. Any leftovers we can give away to our local food pantry.

homegrown tomatoes drizzled with feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, oregano, and fresh basil leaves

My girls have not learned to love tomatoes yet, even though I've been giving them the sweet little Sungold cherry tomatoes since we have been getting them in the garden. Hopefully they will come around :)


 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Abandoned but Beautiful....



I thought I would share with you today some farm scenes I shot while in Martin County, North Carolina. I'm sure you all know how much of a sucker I am for old farmhouses and outbuildings :)

a frame barn or pack house sits along the path to other farm outbuildings at the Bowen Farm


The Bowen Farm, whose main house is a frame "Triple-A" I-house with exterior end chimneys and a rear ell
 

an unidentified set of outbuildings sits at the back of a dilapidated farm complex


an unidentified farm house overgrown and in need of some repair


I dream about the day we might have our own cluster of farm buildings to restore and land to revive either for crops, pasture, or forest. Oh how fun that will be!

For now though, we will enjoy our modest little garden and flock of chickens while waiting on God's timing and his direction for where we will go and what we will do.


 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Spring Garden





I love this time of year in North Carolina. I've been meaning to post a spring garden update for quite some time and now that it's almost summer I'm finally getting around to it! Such is the life with toddler twins...

collards

Even though most of our free time is occupied busily raising seedlings and transplanting them into the garden, planting new seeds and prepping garden beds, and trying to stay on schedule with our garden plans despite the weather, I feel that the season offers hope of new life, rebirth, and the excitement of a new growing season (and hopefully a better harvest!).

sugar snap peas

beautiful sage

This year was our first year of actually testing the soil in each of our raised beds and sending the samples into the state lab for results. The testing showed that our beds has an abundance of phosphorus--far too much. And the ph was off. To remedy this, we added various amendments to help balance out the soil in order to make it healthier. As you can see, it has definitely helped and we have greens coming out of our ears!! We simply cannot eat all the kale, collards, lettuce, and arugula fast enough --we have SO much.

arugula

this raised bed holds kale, collards, some onion, and sugar snap peas along the back

We also cut down a few trees around the raised beds that were shading the plants too much and preventing much needed sunlight. Our yard doesn't get a whole lot sunlight anyway from being so wooded, but hopefully this will help a little bit.

some of our raised beds

We started seedlings in February and again in March for broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. Using our DIY grow light, we cared for the seedlings until the first batch was ready to be hardened off for a couple of weeks prior to transplanting.

this raised bed holds tomatoes, carrots, and spinach

Don't have enough space in your raised beds? Try planting tomatoes or peppers in post, like we have with this cherry tomato below.

cherry tomato plant in a pot

tiny cherry tomatoes- I can't wait until they are ripe for the picking!

We also sowed seeds directly into the garden starting in March and each week have planted a little more now that temperatures have really warmed up and we are past the threat of frost. I'm not sure if it's because we don't get a whole lot of sun, but for some reason when we try to plant cold-weather crops during the early spring when it's still fairly chilly, they don't do well despite claims that certain cold-weather veggies thrive in colder weather.

a bed against the side of our screened porch holds turnips and beets

Right now we are growing  kale, collards, peas, onions, beets, turnips, arugula, spinach, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, okra, radishes, pole beans and a variety of herbs. Also planted are squash, cucumbers, potatoes, and bush beans. We recently harvested garlic in May and planted in its place radishes and more peppers.

this bed in our side yard contains potatoes, squash, cucumber starts and October beans

a recently transplanted pepper plant

lettuce mix

New additions to the garden include strawberries and a blueberry bush. The strawberries are showing signs of growth but I doubt the blueberry bush will be fruitful until next year. Overall, the garden has definitely improved from last year and I'm so excited to see how the rest of the plants do (and I'm patiently waiting that harvest of the first ripe tomato!). Then comes the hard work of preserving all the veggies so that none go to waste!


chives and pretty chive blossoms :)



Happy Gardening,