As Spring rolls into the heat of summer, I wanted to continue sharing garden progress. We added new gates to our garden arch. We have to use something at the arch to keep the chickens (which we love to have free ranging because they give us delicious eggs) out of the garden. I LOVE the look of my new gate doors!
New summer colors are starting to bloom. My crepe myrtle bushes are just starting to give me new pink color!
These gates may help with chickens, but I found other unexpected guests in the garden and wanted to share them with you. Every time I walked through the garden arch I noticed a beautiful cardinal flying out from the roses that trail over the arch. I looked a little closer and found a nest just at eye level with sweet little babies! What a treat to see!
I have a small two tiered raised bed in the garden and I couldn’t figure out why the sage continued to turn yellow even though I was watering regularly. One day as I was watering I decided to really drench that particular plant. I heard little squeaking noises and watched as two little baby bunnies came crawling out from under the sage plant I was trying to save. They were so cute, I had to leave them and let the sage go. As the days went on, mommy rabbit showed herself more and more and became so bold as to stay very close to me and watch as I watered. She never seemed to do any damage eating any plants. The bunnies must have grown enough to be independent because mommy rabbit has moved them to a less busy location. My sage plant did survive.
The tilapia and the aquaponic system continue doing well. As the fish get bigger, I was having a more difficult time keeping the tank clean. Through some trial and error techniques, I think we have found a nice balance and it seems to be working well for now.
Due to the higher temperatures and some increased bug issues, I had to harvest all the potatoes and kale. The potatoes were planted rather quickly in the large black tubs. The goal was to try to transplant them later so they were planted pretty shallow, so I couldn’t add more dirt on top as they grew. At first they exploded with big wonderful leaves and looked very healthy. As the temperatures grew hotter (and I’m sure the black color didn’t help), the stems and leaves began dying quickly. This was my first attempt at potatoes and I planted purples, red and Yukon. We harvested a little over ten pounds and they have been very tasty. Next year they will go in the u-shaped large raised bed and we will add dirt as they grow.
My kale was lush, large and incredible. Bugs started stripping the leaves, and I didn’t want to spray it with any chemicals, so I decided it was time to harvest all of it. I started all the kale from seeds with several varieties. My favorite has been a purple kale. After harvesting and washing all leaves, I took scissors and cut out all the large veins. I placed all the kale in large freezer bags. After it is frozen, I crunch up the kale in the bags so it takes up less space. I use it in eggs, smoothies, meatloaf, sauces and soups. I did save some to each fresh in salads.
I replaced the kale with lavender for now. I plan to replant kale in the greenhouse to start all over again.
The u-shape has some of the lavender, and the sweet potatoes and beets are doing great so far!
The name of our farm location is South Grand Farms because the South Grand river borders our property. Technically I am WellStone Gardens at South Grand Farms. You have seen posts on events here like the ladybug and butterfly release for kids (you can see photos under Kids Korner). This past weekend we had a wonderful group of young adults come and stay. The lightning bugs presented a magical display in the woods on Friday night. We were awestruck!! It was a total blessing having them here!
I hope your summer is blessed and remember – keep growing!!