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watermelon

The farm sure has been a busy place. Updates haven’t been made here in quite some time. Lots of updates have been going on with the farm though. We’ve expanded a bit in size and added a few more veggies to the mix. I will try to keep pictures better updated for everyone.

A new, small chick hutch was built as a staging point so they can eat some developer feed for a bit. That should help turn them into some nice egg laying hens. Unfortunately, we’ve been dealing with a few predators. Solved the problem with the cat eating chickens by installing a finer mesh screen for protection. Skunks however, don’t mind digging underneath the entire building. Last night, our local skunk decided it needed 3 chicks for dinner.

Peppers in the aquaponic system have been growing well but not producing as many peppers as the ground planted variety. The plants look a bit healthier but that is mostly due to less wind exposure. The hot, dry winds have been wreaking havoc on the front yard gardens.

Potatoes have been hilled several times. We should have a nice crop of purple potatoes this fall. Golden celery was also planted to experiment with. It’s handling the heat very well so far. The hardier of the plants will be left to grow out to seed for next season.

Watermelons are growing very successfully for us this year. Lots of mulch was key to keeping the soil moist for them. A few of the melons are nearly the size of an 8 year olds head. We should be picking and eating in just a few weeks.

Even in a drought, tomatoes can be over-watered. I managed to stunt their growth a little by keeping the soil too saturated which locked up some of the nutrients. After backing off for a few days and then adding a foliar feed spray, they’ve turned back around and started setting tomatoes again.

We’ve forgotten the name of these but they’ll just be Backyard Grapes for now. They’re ripening up nicely. We won’t have enough for wine making but we’re learning more about growing better grapes for the future.

In order to determine the best growing pepper for our yard, we’re growing 8 types. The jalapenos, serranos and bull nosed bells are all doing great. In fact, I’ll be pickling peppers this week as they’re producing quite a few peppers every day.

The raised-bed corn experiment is doing very well. Next year, we’ll need to make sure it’s in the ground 2-3 weeks sooner than this year. There won’t be a big harvest but it should all be pretty tasty.

One of the fig trees out front. Hopefully it will start setting fruit. This one hasn’t been a producer yet.

Here are a few bottles of the spicy kimchi I’ve made. All the recipes I could find varied with seasonings and vegetables. I decided to use what we had and make up my own pickling recipe. It is really tasty and will be a great way to save money. This much kimchi at the farmer’s market would be around $30. I made all of this for about $6.

It looks like we’re getting rid of a chicken tomorrow. Cheese has been a bit aggressive towards the other girls and it’s time for her to go. She’s going to a good home where she more likely will get to roam the streets at night and lay her eggs under parked cars.

We’re planting a few strawberry plants in pots to ‘over winter’ them in the garage. Hopefully, there will be a lot of yummy strawberries growing on them in the spring.

Daily Farm Pic 09.25.09 am
Daily Farm Pic 09.25.09 pm
Cherry tomatoes are rockin’!
This honeydew is growing fast!
New strawberries in bloom.
A beautiful Texas sunset.

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Daily Farm Pic 09.17.09 am
Daily Farm Pic 09.17.09 pm
More of the corn.
A tiny honeydew melon.

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Oh, the weather has been great this week! Plenty of clouds to keep the heat to a minimum and our highs are in the low 90s! All of our heat stricken plants have begun to perk up. Our fall garden is going to be awesome!
Daily Farm Pic 08.31.09
Butternut squash.
Bell Peppers are rockin’!
Honeydew Melon flowers.
Butternut squashes.

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The monster and I managed to do a lot of chores on the farm today. We added more to the new chicken pen. The poles are in concrete but with the windy storms around here, the roof will also need cable anchors to the fence. Plenty of other cleanup work was done as well as entertaining the chickens with hip-hop music.

The butternut squash are doing great with 3″ fruits already on the vines. We learned how to control the pollination so we can make sure to have pure seed for next season -squash are famous for cross-breeding.

Daily Farm Pic 08.30.09 am
Daily Farm Pic 08.30.09 pm

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Well, you might notice a jump forward in the blog emails. I got a little behind on posting the daily pictures and didn’t want to flood any email boxes. Everything is now caught up even though I missed this morning’s picture. We’re still adjusting to the new 1st grade schedule and this was our first Saturday to sleep in.

We had a good bit of rain this week. Not enough to recover from our drought but enough to cool temps and make our tomatoes and seedlings happy. The late-summer to fall garden is growing rapidly. Our broccoli and cabbage seeds have sprouted and will be in the ground in a few weeks. Onions and leeks were planted directly in the ground in a drier section of the garden. We’re really excited about our fall garden.

There’s going to be more construction work going on the gardens. Not only is the chicken pen growing and becoming permanent, but there will be small green houses going over several garden patches.

Daily Farm Pic 08.29.09

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Daily Farm Pic 08.28.09 am
Daily Farm Pic 08.28.09 pm
The start of the late-summer to fall gardens.
The tomatoes are loving the recent rains and slightly cooler tempuratures.