Potluck at Luna Hill
Tomorrow night is our first potluck! We’ll be grilling up hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken. This is a good ol fashioned barbecue for those who will be attending. The sign up is still open on ourEvents Page and also on Facebook Events. If you’d like to come, please click the link to join us. I’ll contact everyone tonight to let them know what to bring.
Dom and I will be providing the chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, fresh salad, and a few side dishes made with ingredients from our garden.
Hope to see you there!
Ducklings and Chicks
The ducklings and chicks are all doing wonderful in their new outdoor temporary home. We did loose a few sick ducklings a few days ago after they drowned. I didn’t think they could even get into the little bin of water, but somehow they managed to drag their bodies in. They couldn’t get out of the water and since their legs weren’t working properly, they couldn’t stay above water. It’s sad, but at least they aren’t struggling anymore. I was at the point where I thought I would have to cull them since they weren’t recovering. I believe they had organ damage, since although they were eating and drinking, they weren’t gaining any weight and they were stunted in size. My last count of living ducklings was 21, with us losing a total of 9 ducklings since they arrived. They are one month now and doing well.
The chicks (now pullets) are doing well, and enjoying their time outside as well. They haven’t taken to roosting in the mulberry tree, but suspect that they may catch on soon.
The Sweltering Summer Heat
It has been very hot outside. Too hot to plant, and way too hot to be out in rubber boots. We’ve been watering, weeding and waiting for the high temps to break. The heat is also revealing which tomatoes I’ll plant next year, and which one’s not to. Some tomatoes do well in our dry hot climate, while others struggle to survive. I’ve observed Black Krim (pictured above still small and yellowing against the fence) to be an heirloom variety that may not be suitable in our region. The poor things are stunted, yellowing, and looking very sad. I haven’t pulled them out, but I’m not giving them any special attention either.
Our star in the tomato garden is the Brandywine. This baby is lush, green, and starting to put out some gorgeous fruit! It seems to enjoy 100 degree weather, and is stunning to look at. The scent it puts off is intoxicating also. If a gentle breeze blows by, you can smell the Brandywine fragrance.
Next up are Yellow Pear tomatoes. These guys also perform well in our area. This will be the third year we’re growing them, and they never seem to disappoint.
The last variety we have is the Roma tomato. The Roma is also performing well, and doing great in 100 degree temps. I would like to grow a few more new varieties next year of hard to find tomatoes. Any suggestions? It should be a tomato that can handle the heat and won’t require shading in the late day.
The shade cloth I put on the brassicas last week has really helped to take the heat stress off them. They stay perky and upright even at the hottest part of the day.
Onions and sunflowers are doing well. Purslane has been coming up, and I love that it makes a natural ground cover. By the end of the summer, the onion bed should be covered in purslane. Growing next to the fence is another weed I LOVE…pig weed. As long as it’s not growing in an area that will compromise crops or individual plants, I love it being in the garden.
Pig weed pictured on the right (amaranth) next to the white wild flowers is a wild edible weed and doubles as a great trap crop. Flea beetles LOVE this weed, and I’m more than happy to allow it to grow and get eaten, if we can come to some sort of arrangement that the bad bugs can have their fill of pig weed, while leaving my good plants alone.
The agreement has been kept so far, and I get to monitor what kind of bugs are in the garden depending on how much of the pig weed they eat. Weeds can play an amazing part in garden if we let them.
Comfrey and squash are getting along and growing beautifully.
Sunflowers are large and in charge.
Eggplant is struggling a bit. They love the heat, but something else has been loving it as well. Neem oil seems to help and the new little ones are coming in okay, but the older eggplant have something chewing at the stem. I’m hoping that after this next treatment of neem, we won’t have any more issues with the plant. It’s just starting to blossom too.
A volunteer on the other side of the fence! It’s the first time we’ve ever had a vegetable try to infiltrate our garden! Bugs and birds? Yes, small rodents, rabbits and snakes…yup. But fruits and vegetables trying to get in? I LOVE IT! So, this veggie looks like it could be another acorn squash, by the shape and color of the leaves. I had an acorn squash show up in one of our garden beds last year, but not in this area. I took a picture of it last year, because we didn’t plant it, nor did we ever grow acorn squash at that point, and we never watered it or tended to it. It was delicious by the way:
I love volunteers!
The squash patch continues to grow and do very well. They’re just about ready to take off and fill the area!
Arugula and flowers continue to grow. They struggled a little in the heat, but have recovered well.
Another cool volunteer growing near the onions. It looks like it could be an Armenian cucumber or some sort of squash.
A view from our porch
Grapes are doing well, although this is their last year in this spot. They have struggled over the last several years, and we’ll be moving them to the courtyard next winter. For now, I’ve just been cutting back the canes which just seems to make it more determined to grow. They have also been treated with neem oil which has prevented flea beetle infestations. We do have flea beetles this year, but they have been sticking with the neem-free meal of pig weed. I’m happy to oblige.
Our massive continuous lettuce bed. The water lines are laid, and now we are just trying to decide whether we should go ahead a plant all the beautiful lettuce, or wait until the rabbits are caught. We have a number of bunnies on our property (I’m hoping the snakes will eat them) and while they haven’t eaten any of our plants, they might eat all the lettuce. They haven’t touched the arugula or spinach, which is a good sign, but we’re unsure what our next step will be. The bunnies are small enough to JUMP right through chicken wire. Yes, that small! There is no keeping them out at this point, so we have been trying to come up with some strategies to keep them off our lettuce patch.
Any ideas? Please let us know!
I hope everyone has an amazing weekend,
Angela aka Farmer Jane
Owner, Luna Hill Heritage Farm