It’s been a while, shamefully, since I updated the handful of faithful on the status of Fox Plot. I have excuses, the lame kind that are generic and generally sound like “I’ve been so busy!”. As reigning queen of the part-time jobs, I can’t so much pick and choose when I have too much to do and when I don’t have enough. My self-appointed job of backyard farmer has not been entirely neglected, even if I haven’t gotten around to writing about it. Below you’ll see me modeling* me new overalls, which may detract from my credibility. Nothing says greenhorn like brand new work clothes. In my defense, my old overalls are in sad shape and my efforts to find Carhartt pants have failed. After trying on pairs in men’s, women’s, and youth sizes, I gave up on pants and bought overalls.
It’s finally spring in the garden, and by that I mean it’s been appropriately chilly, moderate thunderstorms, and even a smattering of hail. The garden is really beginning to take shape, and I feel a certain growing excitement as more than just the garlic is now growing. Nate shoveled and dumped load after load of compost into about 10 of the rows, then followed by tilling. I discovered that I miscounted sometime last fall- there is one more row in the back of the garden than I thought previously, which means I can plant 1/34th more than I planned! Our garden consists of 34 raised beds or rows that are each 4 feet wide and 25 feet long, give or take. We rake the rows smooth, with a bit of reshaping to keep them as close to a consistent width. Using a single row seeder, I planted one full row of carrots, one half row of radishes and one half row of turnips. These root vegetables are seeded somewhat close, with six or more rows wide in each 4′ row. The radishes seeds seem to have jammed up the seeder at some point, because there are big gaps where I thought I seeded. I’ve added a 6 row seeder to my life long garden wish-list, after I nearly pitched a fit trying to convince the one row seeder to work properly.
The bees remain very busy, especially given the sunny warm weather we’ve had, and all of the blossoming plants. I fed them once, but don’t think they’ll need it again. In a few days, we’ll do a hive check and I am hoping to add a super to each (the layer of the hive where they store honey). We also dismantled most of the bee bunker, as it is plenty warm out now for them. A few feet in front of the hive, we placed a stack of straw bales, to keep the bees from flying straight in across the garden. It’s really hard to plant kale whilst standing in the beeline- my fuzzy hair seems to be both invisible and entrapping to them. The new bees finally have an arrival date of two weeks from now. We’ll drive down (or some subset of the beekeeping collective) to Long Lane Honey Bee Farm and bring those little bees home (cue the music, I’m bringing home a baby honeybee, won’t my mommy be so proud of me…). Long Lane, if I haven’t already said this, has a great blog and courses too, for those in the area, if you are interested in keeping hives yourself.
Some of the starts that have been growing up in the greenhouse are coming home to grow too already! So far, I’ve transplanted 2/3 of a row of Napa cabbage (which grows faster than green or red cabbages), 1/4 row of komotsuna (I think), one row of kale (three varieties!) and one row of cabbage, mostly savoy. It was at that point that we ran out of daylight and time really. The hail came just after the first round of starts were successfully transplanted into the garden. Then the garden was too wet to plant before we left for my next excuse.
My final excuse is that we’re in Florida, again. I feel almost silly about it, but maintain a seize the day attitude. The flyboy doesn’t choose where he goes, but getting stuck in Florida for four days isn’t nearly as bad as somewhere like Erie, Pennsylvania in winter-time. Better still when he can drag me along! For him, it’s work, for me, it’s vacation. We’ll just summarize and call it a working vacation, where the destination chooses us (rather than the other way around). As previously mentioned, trips like these can be good for a body. We checked out a farmer’s market this morning, which I found lovely local fruits like chocolate pudding fruits, canistels, sopadillas, mamey sapotes, and other tropical fruits that never make it to grocery stores up north. I also saw Hakueri turnips, watermelon radishes, and sungold tomatoes, all things we grow too but just not now. Their market season is coming to a close, while ours won’t begin until the end of May! Today we are headed to a more conventional tourist attraction, the beach, where we will work on some pre-garden season tanning, a technique for sunburn prevention. I also want to give a thank you shout out to Kim, Tom, and Nan, whom are taking care of our wee vegetable starts and and garden whilst we bask in the southern sunshine. We couldn’t do it without them!
*Nate, a fellow of many talents, gets photo credit for at least 51% of these shots, particularly actions shots that I’m in.
5 thoughts on “Excuses and more excuses”
It is always fun to read about your garden. You have so much knowledge and energy! I look forward to enjoying some tasty tidbits from it this summer when we visit!
Thanks Ann! It’ll be in full force by the time you get here 🙂
Great post! Enjoy your time in Florida and enjoy those Sungolds. They’re my fave and I’ll be growing a high percentage of my high tunnels in them. Out here, one grower sells them for $5/half-pint! Curious to know what that market in FL had them for? I see $3.50 ea for kale of all things (pretty much our island vegetable here, ubiquotous throughout the year) and $3.50 for a bunch of Hakurei. Guess it depends on the size of the bunch.
I have the 6-row seeder you commented on (the one from Johnny’s?). It’s pretty good IF you can get your bed completely free of sticks and stones (which won’t break your bones but rather your will to live). Because of this, I gave up on lowering the V’s for making the seed furrows; they simply brought up too much stuff from just below the surface which then stopped the drum from turning (which stops the seed shaft from turning). It worked better to drop the seed right on top and then sprinkle a bit of soil on top and tamp it down a smidge. . Anyway, I have yet to find a seeder that works great. I also have an Earthway but my brief experience with it meant an awful lot of thinning (I dislike on-the-knees work). I’ve come to the temporary conclusion that it’s probably faster to go with starts for most things. I’ve also used the Hatfield transplanter and that thing seems to be pretty darned good although I’ve only used it once.
Shameless plug for my own blog.
Hey, sorry so slow to reply. Thanks, for both reading what I write and for sharing your experience. One thing I’m beginning to notice about this whole blogging business is that I am finding like minded folks doing a lot of the same things we’re doing, but scattered about the continent! I don’t remember for sure what the price on sungolds in Florida was (I sold them for $3.50 or $4 here last year). There’s a blog/site called Real Time Farms that you can look at what farmers are selling at markets around the US and Canada as well. Some prices are listed, which is always interesting how it varies from region to region. And as far as seeders go, I’ll give it another try with a little more complete bed prep, but transplants are my friends!
Everything is looking nice and fertile, can’t wait to see what you and flyboy produce this year!