Friday, July 30, 2010

What's In Season?


Even with the limited palate of veggies we grow in the Hereford garden, we still get to experience the joys of the changing growing season!

Late July into August is an especially prolific time. In our garden, all different types of squash, peppers, and tomatoes are coming into season! In the squash department, we have zucchini, patty-pan, and some interesting hybrids to taste and compare.

The peppers are exciting to watch as they mature and change colors. Besides the green sweet peppers, we also have many hot pepper varieties. Some are in the process of turning from red to yellow, a beautiful thing to see.

Unfortunately, the tomato crop is having a tough time, what with the persistent ground hog and the tomato blight. Our hopes are high that the million and a half green tomatoes just hanging on the vine will transform in to red deliciousness overnight! We have already gotten to enjoy some sweet cherry tomatoes though.

Our herbs are also ready to harvest. We have myriad basil plants just asking to be turned into pesto. This means the constant battle of removing the flowers from the sweet basil is in full swing. I have gotten to spend many garden sessions bonding intimately with the basil flowers as I nip them from their stems. Have you ever looked closely at a basil flower when it first starts? It’s actually quite beautiful. Tiny leaves form a perfectly symmetrical cross shape and then begin to layer, creating an extremely delicate and intricate geometry. But you have to remove the flowers, or else the leaves start to lose their flavor and become bitter.

Outside of the Hereford garden, this is high peach season in Virginia. If you haven’t gotten a local peach yet, GO GET ONE! You can find them everywhere (C’ville Market, Farmer’s Market, Feast, Whole Foods, Integral Yoga, etc), and in several different varieties. Every local peach I have had this year has been nothing short of heavenly. If you want to make an adventure out of it, there are lots of peach-picking orchards around the area. Check out Carter’s Mountain for a spot nearby.

Other seasonal items to be found around Charlottesville in late July/early August include cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, nectarines, plums, and potatoes.

Coming up next in the Hereford garden (and around C’ville) should be corn and melons! You can already find melons of many different varieties around town. Ours are maturing on the vine, and should be ready to eat throughout August. I haven’t seen much corn yet, but that should come into abundance in the next couple of weeks. There’s nothing quite as amazing as fresh corn on the cob for dinner.

Besides all the wonderful eating we’ve been doing lately, it’s also time to think about planting a winter/fall garden. Now is the time to put in butternut squash, broccoli, and greens. We’ve planted some squash with plans to put in broccoli and other crops in the near future. Hopefully these plants will be timed to come into season around September/October.

Eat well and enjoy the height of summer food!!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

response weeding and maggots

You are certainly right Elizabeth. There is a lot of weeding to do.
>>At this time of the year, it can get discouraging because bugs really
>>start to crowd you, it gets hot and dry, and the only things that
>>really thrive are the weeds, fungus, mildew, critters, etc.
>> I like your plan. lets try to get Weedon in decent shape as quickly
>> as possible, and then attack Keith's Garden. Hopefully we will have
>> an industrial strength weed whip soon to keep the garden edged.
>> In terms of mushrooms, maggots, and other generally undesirable
>> organic things, scrape them up with a shovel and either throw them
>> into the woods, or put them into the center of a compost pile (dig a
>> hole into the center where hopefully its very hot and the "stuff"
>> will get decomposed and neutralized).
>> Jim


This morning I went up and worked on weeding Keith's needs some SERIOUS help (no offense Keith). After Weedon, can we all spend an hour or two in Keith's garden? I think maybe we should try to edge the garden in some places to keep back the grass because I could barely find the tomatoes and beans. Also, someone left a tray from seedlings in the middle of the plot and it has collected water. I went to move it and found a sea of maggots underneath. Not sure what to do about that.... Also there are some mushrooms I noticed. I don't know how to combat those either, because isn't it an underground system? Finally, there is definitely something eating the squash plant up there. Which organic pest concoction was supposed to combat the squash bugs? Sorry to pile a lot on at once, but I was pretty overwhelmed by the task up there.

see you all this evening,



Our first eggplant gem of 2010! On second glance it does look like on of those curious purple peppers we grew last year ;)

garden lessons july 15 part two

Thank you Keith especially for your suggestion that we harvest the valuable garden fruits of relationships, lessons from each other, and diversity. I would just take the liberty to add that the 'harvest' you speak about is in my humble opinion, the most significant 'fruit' of all human endeavor... personally in our lives, families, communities, country, homes, workplaces, and schools. I've come to this conclusion in my many years in the 'school of life' ... still haven't graduated yet... and with much more to learn. Thanks for teaching us these lessons.... without even saying a word!


garden lessons July 15

Thanks you all for the great dinner and conversation. I will miss the garden club terribly! My thoughts will be with you as you harvest the most valuable fruits of the garden: the relationships you build, the many lessons you learn from each other, and the value of diversity.

Your friend always, Keith

Hereford summer interns Virginia, Joel, and Colleen take a work break with Engineering Lecturer and Hereford Fellow Jim Durand.

Monday, July 26, 2010

oh deer!

I sprayed the deer spray this morning. That stuff is nasty! The first ingredient is whole putrefied eggs! I sprayed the perimeter of the garden again and did a little more weeding.

I also found something that says just mixing eggs with water and spraying will work. This could be helpful as we are almost out of Bobbex.

I have really cool stuff to tell everyone about soy for our next meeting! I also found some mycorrhizae in the greenhouse. that's the stuff that we talked about that allows you to water less frequently.


lemon grass july 6


Following some wisely kept old Cameroonian traditions, and with the help from fellow coworker Elizabeth, I was able to begin on the lemongrass project. We were able to increase the height of the mount, which was assigned to me by Nancy. After digging in the trenches to collect some more soil, we used it to cover the older dying mound. Elizabeth and I were then able to take some soil and mulch to top the newly made mount.


raspberry planted

What a delightful day for gardening today.The early showers that ran throughout most of the day greatly helped with watering. Upon meeting with Elizabeth, we were able to till the soil, weed it, and turn it over. Upon it being readied, the soil welcomed the new raspberry plant into our toad-filled garden. Now the raspberry lives happily for ever with the newly planted four lemon grass shrubs.

Amongst other news, I would like to take this moment to welcome into our midst, Leo. Welcome! As we wish all the best for the future to one of ours-- Keith-- we yet welcome other great ones-- the Durand family and Leo. Great people just seem to flow within our midst.

I must point out that history was made yesterday as world collided with Keith and James taking on Leo's orientation. With such great counsel, you sure are to be on a path of success, Leo,

That's all I had for you. Le votre, Joel

Deer Vik repellent

hi all,

You may notice a bunch of 2 inch square green cardboard tags on and around the garden fences in the heaviest hit areas. They are covered in a goo called Deer Vik-- a substance which hopefully deters deer and rabbits. We'll see. Let's monitor. I see Leo watered.... one more day of intense heat and then relief!


ground hog trap suggestions

The landscape crews suggested we move the ground hog have-a heart trap to the side of the garden opposite the road where there is clear evidence of the critter trying to dig holes near that part of the fencing. They suggested facing it in line with the wall of the green house with one opening leading under the greenhouse. We need some new tasty sweet treat in the trap... maybe pineapple. If you go to the garden tonight, please place the food in the trap and test the mechanism again. The men also thought it might be good to try the trap uncovered. Another person suggested that we put very bright pink plastic ribbon in strips along our fences. He said deer don't like that.

Please continue to weed and mulch both the Garden of Weedon and Middle Earth. the more weeds will get rid of, the more our precious water goes to fruits and veggies.
Keith suggested we transplant some of the 4 o'clocks from the north garden down to the south area. They're like an army of defense against deer which don't like them.

happy gardening!
Dear Farmers,
I spent this morning at the garden... so much cooler than the last few days.. it was refreshing! Saw a bunch of beautiful yellow finches near the sunflowers and colorful butterflies.! A new pile of mulch arrived early this morning. I weeded and mulched the new pepper beds, butternut squash, and patty pan/ cotton patch. I took away the diseased parts of the plants to keep the good parts healthy and keep bugs away.

Also, raked up the grass clippings and threw them in the compost bin. This is very important or else the clippings will kill the grass. PLEASE MULCH vegetables with new mulch rather than clippings which contain lots of grass seed. if you mulch with clippings, grass will start popping up all over the beds.


Monday, July 5, 2010

MInifarm blog reborn!

Hi everybody! Let's post all work updates and new minifarm pix etc. here!

If you are a participant in the Hereford minifarm and wish to blog, please contact Nancy regarding the userid/password for access.