Garden

Winter Garden Outlook

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in Farm Blog, Garden | 14 comments

Winter Garden Outlook

A reader emailed me in the New Year to point out that it has been months since I last posted a garden update. They weren’t complaining, but they were disappointed that I’d abandoned my regular garden updates last summer. The truth is, by late summer, I’d basically abandoned the gardens. Unless you live in a cave, you no doubt know that California’s lack of rainfall over the past 13 months has resulted in a record-breaking, headline stealing, drought. As we depend on an agricultural well for the farm’s water supply, we’ve been tightening water use on the...

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Pollinator Week: The Hazards Of Pollination

Posted by on Jun 21, 2013 in Beneficial Insects, Farm Blog, Garden | 22 comments

Pollinator Week: The Hazards Of Pollination

I wrote a post for Pollinator Week last year, highlighting the diversity of species we find here on the farm. I didn’t plan to write another post this year, but this week I feel compelled to. Before I get to my point, first I want you to imagine you’re a pollinator, a bumble bee, perhaps, like the one pictured above. Early every morning you set out to find your daily source of food. There are no weekends, no days off. Your survival, and the survival of your offspring, depends on your ability to gather enough food. While out scouting for sources of food, your priorities are...

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While the Farmer’s Away…

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Farm Blog, Garden, Pests | 39 comments

While the Farmer’s Away…

I once posted about the plight of the Pacific Madrone trees on the property. Many of the trees in our woodland areas are weak and diseased as a direct result of decades of poor land and forest management. This last weekend, while attending our first dairy goat show of the season, one of those diseased Madrones fell, and took out an entire 16 foot doubled run of deer fence, upslope of the garden and orchard. As it’s peak fawn season, you can imagine what happened once the fence was down, and the farmers were out of town. This should have been a post about the fun we had at this...

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April Garden Update: A Sizzling Spring

Posted by on Apr 30, 2013 in Farm Blog, Garden, Vegetables | 26 comments

April Garden Update: A Sizzling Spring

The weather so far this year has been gorgeous. Although brisk in January and February, daytime temperatures have been quite warm for a number of weeks now, and we’ve had so little rain since January 1st (our driest start to the year on record), that winter is already a distant memory. In fact, for the entire month of April we’ve had a whopping 0.87 inches of rain. Quite honestly, it feels more like the end of June, which is probably why I keep thinking I’m falling behind in the garden, when in actual fact, I’m not…well, not too much anyway. The Orchard In the...

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February Garden Update: An Erratic Winter

Posted by on Feb 20, 2013 in Farm Blog, Garden | 24 comments

February Garden Update: An Erratic Winter

It would be fair to say that this winter our weather has been all over the place.  We’ve gone from one deluge-of-a-rainstorm after another, in November and December, to an almost total lack of rain since the New Year. Cold overnight temperatures in the mid-20s persisted throughout January, and most of February, but then just to add to the confusion, some afternoons we’ve been climbing up into the low-to-mid 70s. If nothing else, this winter has emphasized the importance of dressing in layers! The Native Gardens With night after night of freezing temperatures, it eventually all...

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Mid-Winter Cleanup: The Strawberry Bed

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in Farm Blog, Garden | 33 comments

Mid-Winter Cleanup: The Strawberry Bed

I have a fondness for strawberries. I still remember, as a very small child, when I was given my first piece of garden to tend. It was all mine, to do anything I wanted with, and I didn’t have to share.  In addition to the garden bed, I was gifted a dozen bare-root strawberry plants to plant in my new garden. If I wanted strawberries though, first I’d have to plant them.  Then I’d have to learn to take care of them. I would need to keep out the slugs, water the plants, pinch out the runners, and of course, pick the fruits when they were ripe. Due to runner production, it...

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Pear Leaf Blister Mites

Posted by on Jan 23, 2013 in Farm Blog, Garden, Orchard, Pests | 14 comments

Pear Leaf Blister Mites

Many pests, and pathogens, are adept at overwintering among leaf litter, dormant buds, and bark. This means that for fruit trees the dormant season is often the best time to try to remedy pest problems noted in the orchard during the previous year. Last season, as the new leaves were emerging on our pear trees, we found a widespread pest problem with the leaves. At first, from a distance, we initially thought we had an irrigation problem as the leaves on the pear trees all had a wilted appearance. As we got closer we could see the leaves were discolored, and deformed, and we thought perhaps...

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Seeds 2013: Something Old, Something New

Posted by on Jan 11, 2013 in Farm Blog, Garden, Vegetables | 34 comments

Seeds 2013: Something Old, Something New

Although we’re only a few weeks into winter, seed starting has already begun here on the farm.  Our long, mild, growing season doesn’t give us a lot of time off. Last year we were distracted through most of winter, and early spring, with bringing our first dairy goats to the farm, and sadly, due to my own lack of discipline, our tomato seeds were started late. In addition to the late start, we chose to conduct a tomato grafting experiment last season which set our transplanting times back even further. Although the garden did eventually catch up, due in part to an extended run of...

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