Saturday’s Farm Diary – Harvests, Weeds and Other Things

Artichoke

Some of you may have noticed a box on the sidebar that shows what our harvests, expenditures and savings are. I haven’t updated it in awhile but I think I’m going to now update it every Wednesday and then also break it down more, esp. in regards to exactly what was harvested. So to start things off, so far up until this point we have harvested:
Artichokes – 17.4lbs
Strawberries – .2 lbs
Lettuce – 3.5 lbs
Eggs – 526

Our garden is just ramping up. Everything is either in or about to be transplanted. The artichokes are going crazy right now. It must be all the extra rain we’re getting. We are eating artichokes every day with dinner. I harvested nearly 5lbs this past Tuesday, and they have only really been producing now for a week and a half or so.

Yugoslavian Red Lettuce with Forellenschuss on the side

We’re also getting lots of lettuce. We are growing three varieties. Yugoslavian Red, Forellenschuss, and Cimmaron. The Yugo Red must be eaten right away after picking, otherwise it gets wilty. However, I LOVE butterhead type lettuce so I put up with it. The Forellenschuss (it took me forever to memorize how to spell that) is also really good. It’s very similar to most other Romaine type lettuces, but has a really pretty coloring. The Cimmaron is by far the best keeper. We picked a head and cleaned it two days ago and it’s still fresh and crisp. The leaves are really thick and meaty which also makes it heat and frost resistant.

Strawberries

As for the strawberries – well, we just started picking them this last week, so we don’t have too many yet. Usually we just throw them in the freezer after rinsing them off. If you’ve never had a fresh, sun-warmed, ripe strawberry right off of the plant, you truly are missing something. The pithy flavorless strawberries at the store and farmers’ markets just don’t compare. Of course in their defence a ripe strawberry is very soft and doesn’t last very long once it’s been picked. I’m not expecting a huge harvest this year because we just moved all of them to a new bed this winter and they have yet to get completely established.

The weed situation is making me batty. No matter how much bindweed I pull there is always more. The beds that we dug up and pulled all the roots out by hand are definitely better than last year, but they still have it. It’s impossible to get it all as even the tiniest root will turn into a new plant. I’m at a point now where I think the only thing we can do is lay down black plastic on all of our fallow areas for 3-4 years and keep hand pulling in our beds to kill it. I did some more research on it only to find that it’s considered the WORST weed in California. Just having it on farm land will drastically reduce the value of that land. Another example of exotics gone wrong. It’s from Eurasia and was brought here possibly as an ornamental groundcover. If they only knew…. One flower will produce 500 seeds and from my experience it appears that every single seed germinates. I’m hoping that the corn, alfalfa, and squash will help keep it down. The shade they produce has been shown to help reduce the vigor of bindweed as long as you don’t allow it to wind it’s way up the plants to reach sun.

Little Daisy Mae

This week we came across another problem that we thought we had solved – goats in the chicken coop. We had created a little “L” shaped wall at the chicken coop entrance to allow chickens in but keep the goats out. And it worked for a few weeks. This week it all came crashing down. Not only have they been getting into the chicken coop, but they’ve learned how to be more efficient at raiding the chicken feeder. Their new MO? Headbutting the feeder so more food spills out for them to eat. I covered the top of the feeder to keep them from just putting their head in it and eating freely. But that didn’t deter them. So now we’ve had to remove the feeder altogether and are just throwing the chicken feed out into the compost pile where the goats won’t eat as much of it off the ground. Our next bag of chicken feed will have to be crumble instead of pellets so it’s harder for the goats to eat it off of the ground. It’s said that goats don’t like to eat stuff off of the ground. Well, these two are the exception to the rule.

Squeek chasing the sprinkler

And remember last week’s post about the dogs? Well, we found the Scarecrow tonight and hooked it up only to find out that it was a complete FAIL! Of course it still works. It just needed a new battery. The issue is that it really didn’t have the desired effect. Squeek used to be terrified of it. Not so much anymore.  I’m wondering if the squirrels here have heightened her prey drive so much that she’s fine with getting soaked? I never really took her for one of those types of dogs.

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