Independence Days Update: A Change in the Weather

Sharon June 7th, 2010

After a hot, dry May, we’ve shifted into a cooler weather pattern for at least the next few days, perfect for all the raised bed building we’re doing (we’re finally, finally getting the rest of the garden raised up to deal with drainage problems that have been totally irrelevant this year ;-) ).  I admit, 89 and humid is not my favorite weather for digging all day.  I’m not a hot weather gal, I guess.

We’ve also had enough rain to actually make a difference, which is great - the pond is low, the creek was nearly dry, and even after several shorter rainfalls, you couldn’t feel moisture in the soil.  It takes a lot of rain to compensate for that kind of dryness.  But the last two days have been great, and we are now ready for hard labor.

And since I have to get these beds built before I can get a lot of my plants, particularly the perennial herbs, into the ground, there’s some urgency to it.  Even the wetland herbs are getting slightly raised up beds, for soil improvement and increased yields.  I’ve got cranberrybush viburnums, valerian and blue vervain galore waiting to go in, and am hoping I’ll be able to get it in within the next couple of days. 

Meanwhile, the new, expanded culinary herb bed is up and running (the old one has been shifted into a spot for acid lovers like blueberries, bearberries and arnica montana), and we’re getting the annual crops put in just as fast as we can.  The heat and drought were tough on my transplants, even watered in, so this will be a good week for getting the last ones in.

We’re having a huge birthday party for Eric’s 40th in two weeks, so my goal is to have everything in and looking nice by then, except, of course, the fall crops.  Realistically, this probably won’t happen, especially since I’m off to DC for a meeting this weekend, but we’ll take advantage of the energizing cool breezes.

The does are starting to look pregnant, and we’re in the process of drying them off - they need to be done by next week, so we’re enjoying the last bits of goat milk for a bit.  The hens set and hatched out 11 surviving chicks altogether, so now they are being kicked off their nests to lay eggs for us for a while ;-) .  I’ll be starting the meat birds and turkey poults for fall as soon as I get back. 

We went strawberry picking for the first time this year - by long tradition, the first batches we pick are used only for consumption - everyone eats strawberries as much as humanly possible for the first few days, and then we can bear to reserve some for preservation.  So no preserving so far - but the season has only just begun here, and I’ve got the rhubarb set aside for Tuesday’s first batch of strawberry rhubarb jam.  Meanwhile, we ate strawberry shortcake, and I plotted Eric’s birthday party, which will involve strawberry shortcake for fifty.

Otherwise, it is just back to the grind ;-) .

Plant something: Peppers, eggplant, melons, cucumbers, squash, beets, corn, sweet potatoes, green beans, dry beans, barley, basil, rosemary, tarragon, lemon thyme, organge thyme, shiso, parsley, vap ca, maypop, elderberry, kale, chard, rau om, watercress,

Harvest something: Lettuce, bok choy, kale, mint, chard, chives, pea shoots, peas, beet greens, orach, strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus, eggs, milk

Preserved something: nope, but we start Tuesday

Waste Not: Been freezing milk for cheese during the period without milking does, collected bottles of (very good) salad dressing not finished at an event I was attending for home use.  The usual composting and feeding things to other things.

Want Not: Did a bit of yard saling on Friday - picked up glass wiretop canning jars for storing food (I don’t can in them) and some garden pots.  Eli’s bus driver brought me a bag of size-8 boys boots that she found, all new, at the dump of all places - they should fit him next fall.

Eat the Food: Strawberry shortcake!  Strawberry rhubarb pie! Stir fried snap peas and asparagus.  Haven’t done anything fancy with them, just too happy to have them to gussy them up!

Build community food systems: Gave a talk on the need for more young farmers.

How about you?


9 Responses to “Independence Days Update: A Change in the Weather”

  1. Leigh says:

    We had a lot of rain last week so I didn’t get as much planting and mulching done as I’d have liked. I’m glad for the rain, but yikes the weeds after a good rain grow like, well, like weeds.

    Here’s my update -

  2. Karin says:

    We had rain too! But last year’s weather is still fresh on everyone’s mind. We had a month and half of rain. I have heard many folks fretting that it may be a repeat. Today, however, is beautiful!

  3. Claire says:

    Finally a dry last few days, and yesterday was the first comfortable, low humidity day in the last couple of weeks. We spent yesterday at the International Horseradish Festival in Collinsville, IL (greater St. Louis, MO metro area). Did you know that 60% of the world’s horseradish supply is grown in the Collinsville area? Perfect soils and weather here for the crop.

    Plant: St. Johnswort and skullcap seedlings, into the herb garden. Started preparing the area that will receive the pepper and eggplant seedlings.

    Harvest: lots of raspberries and lettuce. A few blueberries and musk and alpine strawberries. Bok choy and purple mustard.

    Preserve: used about 1 3/4 pound of the raspberries to make raspberry cordial (fill quart canning jar with raspberries, add 1 cup sugar, fill the jar with vodka [or in our case, grain alcohol], allow to set for at least a month or more and shake contents of jar when you think of it). I’m drying some of last year’s popcorn crop in the solar-powered food dehydrator because it isn’t popping and we think it’s because it’s too moist. At least we hope it’s that, and not that it got crossed with some other corn.

    Waste not: just the usual.

    Want not: the DH found a couple of good canisters in his Saturday morning neighborhood garage sale rounds. He garage-sales on his bicycle, which gets him some exercise at the same time.

    Build community food systems: the DH and our neighbor are planning a street BBQ/potluck event on the last weekend of the month. Our street is just two blocks long so everyone will be invited.

    Eat the food: fresh raspberries!! More lettuce salad. More stir-fries with bok choy and other greens. Gotta love June …

  4. Lynne says:

    International Horseradish Festival. Cool.

    We went from the warmest winter on record to an unusually wet and cool May/June. We had about a foot of rain in a 5 week period or so and I’ve never seen things so lush. I usually like to think the hotter the better, but the spinach leaves are the size of my head, I’ve never had such enormous cabbage and broccoli (and without the cabbage moth, too!), the peas are gorgeous (not ready, though), so it’s ok that the corn and tomatoes are sort of pouting. And our nearby forest needed this so badly, I swear I can see it reviving.

    Plant: late beans

    Harvest: spinach, lettuce, green onion, radish, broccoli, chive flowers, violets, dill, eggs, parsley

    Preserve - not yet, this afternoon will make some frozen spinach blocks and frozen spinach puree

    Waste not - to be honest, I feel like we’ve thrown out a bit more than usual due to earnest spring cleaning

    Want not - Stocked up on toiletries and cleaning supplies which I’m actually using. Did you know that baseboards need to be washed? They look great now.

    Community: just helping my sister with her garden; also trying to be as open and friendly to passersby who like to “tour” our little urban farm/garden

    Eat: chicken cassoulet; squash (still tasty!); salad galore; eggs+++; homemade salad dressings with fresh herbs; violets on cake; the last of the pickles, homemade spaghetti sauce, dried tomatoes and fruit - almost gone, crabapple syrup, grape jelly on pancakes from home ground local flour

  5. Jennie says:

    Got the last of my warm weather plants in the ground. Mulched and everything! Still don’t have my hills made for the squashes. Might not happen this year. Squash is cheap though right? :-D

  6. Ms Betterhome says:

    Plant something: Pouring rain all week, no planting at all.

    Harvest something: Mizuna, parsley, basil (still!), pak choy, spring onions, rocket, mizuna, radicchio, oregano

    Preserved something: Apple & date chutney

    Waste not: usual composting, worm-farming & recycling. Good use of leftovers.

    Want not: Invested in 3 pairs of extra warm, quick drying padded socks. Even on sale they cost a lot, but I should get minimum 5 years wear out of them.

    Build Community Food Systems: Continued blogging about csa box.

    Eat the food: Lots of goodies, but the triumphs were vegan shepherd’s pie (using up leftover lentils, plus all our tiny leftover veggie bits & pieces) and banana bread.

  7. Sarah says:

    We’ve been having thunderstorms, rain, hail, and tornado watches lately, making me rather glad that I’m not growing anything outdoors myself.

    This is being a lovely week for local food systems, though :-) Our new CSA pickups start this Thursday. I also had a useful food-connection at our synagogue’s members meeting in mentioning that I always want to help with calls to make food for people who are sick or otherwise needing some TLC, but can’t necessarily get to them without a car. It turns out that there’s someone in my area with a car but who isn’t all that fond of cooking. I will make people tasty things involving CSA veggies and she will deliver them!

  8. Lise says:

    Missed a week due to vacation (yay!), but have my latest update up on my blog, here:

  9. AnneT says:

    My rain barrels are full and the soil is moist the first foot.

    Plant: lettuce, red shepherd peppers, marigolds, portalucca.

    Harvest: baby spinach, baby chard, lettuce, radishes, garlic chives, rhubarb, strawberries, parsley.

    Preserve: nothing this week.

    Want not: found a 4 quart pressure cooker for 50 cents at a yard sale. Tried it out with chickpeas the afternoon I got it home; works great, and just the right size for a two person household.

    Waste not: Found some pails and small plastic pots in the neighborhood recycling. Got more spouts to convert 2 liter pop bottles (from neighborhood recycling) to tomato plant waterers.

    Community food systems: nothing special this week.

    Eat the food: salad for potluck, salad at home, made a couple of batches of cookie bars using my preserved fruit spread. More preserved items went into slow cooker and stir-fry dishes: pulled pork and a curry.

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