Sunday, April 22, 2012

The news from When Pigs Fly Farm: 2012 edition

Have Farm Will Travel
We're baa-aaaa-aack!

Yes, the mad, but merry crew at When Pigs Fly Farm is having another go at urban farming this summer, tilting at the quixotic windmills of weather, garlic-trashing squirrels and recalcitrant romaine lettuce.

Ah, life on the Farm. Recalcitrant romaine lettuce. Of course, I have re-upped for another year!

Rumor has it, the team is expanding. I believe a couple new farmer-ettes are poised to join Farmer Jim and me. No signs of them yet -- hope we haven't scared them away.

My carrots, radishes, scallions and romaine went into the ground yesterday. Potatoes to follow a little later this week. Tri-color pole beans, lemon cucumbers, Japanese eggplant and our beloved heirloom tomatoes are in a holding pattern for the time being.

(I did set up the bamboo "tee pees" that will support the beans and cukes Saturday. This was a little akin to that first slow dance at a high school sock hop -- sock hop? does anyone actually still use this term? -- The tee pees tended to lead to the right -- I tended to lead left. As a result, we bobbed up and down my parcel of acreage in a strange, bamboo-clacking tarantula for several minutes before finally making landfall.)

I spent a goodly part of the afternoon really working the soil, disrupting any number of worms, after reading a couple articles about growing carrots and radishes.

DO. YOU. MIND!? I was sleeping here.
What a concept: They need loose, well-tilled soil so they can grow downward easily. Doh. I think that particular sin of omission in last year's garden was one reason my carrot and radish crop was relatively so puny.

I also invested in smaller, shorter carrots this year. Ha! Gotcha, carrot gods!

Stone-age gardening. Forgot my row markers.  Corrected now.
Lest you think Farmer Jim has been sitting on his keester this winter and early spring, you'll be happy to know he's added two new raised beds for -- tah dah! strawberries --

plus, he roto-tilled all the compost he (and we) generated from last year's lawn clippings, kitchen and garden waste back into the vegetable beds, and reportedly will be setting up some new bad-ass watering system for us.

It's good to be gardening with an engineer.

Me? I'm planting flowers. Martha Stewart says mixing bee-magnet annuals in with your vegetable garden increases the rate of cross pollination. Plus it looks pretty.

That's what Thomas Jefferson said of his gardens at Monticello. Really. He said "Pretty."

It's good to be gardening with a history major.

P.S. About those garlic-trashin' squirrels -- seems Farmer Jim has had an early season tussle with the little irascible rodents. They were pillaging his newly planted garlic starts a few weeks back, pulling them up and giving them a taste.

Apparently garlic was not pleasing to the always discerning squirrel.

Farmer Jim has left a few "dead soldiers" (garlic, not squirrels) out as a reminder.

Seems to be working.

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