Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer
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New veggie varieties this year

Each year I like to try new varieties of the crop menagerie at the farm, and this year is no exception.  It is so hard to resist buying one of everything in the seed catalogs when it is stark, naked, winter, but better judgement must take over because there are only so many garden beds to be filled (although there are quite a few).  New varieties that will hopefully find their way into the members' boxes this year include:

  • Cauliflower, variety 'Amazing' from Johnny's Selected Seeds
  • Several new varieties of beans, including 'Christmas' heirloom seed passed along from a couple who have been long-time members of the farm; 'Dragon Langerie' from Pinetree; 'Provider', from Johnny's; 'Royal Burgundy' from Pinetree
  • 'Red Ace' Beets from Johnny's
  • 'Nelson' Carrots from Johnny's
  • Eggplant, varieties 'Fairy Tale', 'Orient Express' from Johnny's
  • Melons 'Tasty Bites' and 'Sun Jewel' from Johnny's
  • Snow peas, 'Oregon Giant' from Johnny's
  • Peppers 'Lipstick', 'Sahuaro', 'Aconcagua', 'Marconi Red' from Pinetree and Johnny's
  • Squash 'Ambassador', 'Metro Butternut', 'Kabocha', 'Horn of Plenty', 'Cashflow'
  • Tomatoes 'Yellow Pear mini', 'Matt's Wild Cherry', 'New Girl', 'Black Cherry'
  • Rutabaga

Last year I attempted to grow Artichokes but our winter was just too cold and wet; it was one of those experiments anyway. 

The tried and true varieties are the staples of the gardens on the farm but it's always fun to try new things each year. 


Dogs are the funniest people.......

Late this afternoon--make that "greatly sunny" afternoon I took a break in a porch swing on the west side of the house.  The 4 resident dogs decided to join me.  Me, Hattie and Reuben (the Catahoulas), Angus (the Boxer) and Cooper (the Bad-Haired Terrier) were soaking up some rays when Angus noticed a ball of stuffing (from a comforter someone shredded earlier this winter) about 3 feet from the edge of the porch.  There was a dead leaf barely caught in it so the leaf was waving back and forth in the breeze.  Angus stared at it, cocking his head from side to side when he suddenly decided to attack it. 

His jump sent the whole pack into "attack mode" and everyone jumped up and over the porch rail (it's only about a foot off the ground) and tumbled over each other because Angus was right there tending to the polyester invader.  I had to chuckle. 

Little episodes like this around the farm are better than buying tickets to a movie :)


Welcome Blues in Late Winter

Here in Tennessee this winter has become one of the nastiest and coldest that I remember and much of the winter has been spent working inside.   Several projects have been completed inside the house, namely flooring and stair railing.

Yesterday was a late winter "blues gift" of blue skies and a beautiful day where one could get outside and do a few cleanup chores.

Protecting the chickens' domain are two huge sycamore trees.  Anyone who has had the opportunity of sharing the same piece of ground with a sycamore tree knows how messy they are.  I renamed them "Stick-a-more" trees because I picked up a pile of sticks that was about 4 feet wide and 6 feet tall in no time at all.  I burned them on top of a stump I'm trying to get rid of that is in an area where I want to plant basil this season. 

I spent a while in the high tunnel cleaning out crops that just didn't enjoy being in there over the winter.  Broccoli didn't appreciate the cold temperatures so I put them out of their misery and into the chicken pen.  There was also one last bed of spinach in one of the outside gardens that the chickens enjoyed immensely.  I folded endless numbers of frost blanket and stacked them to be ready for unexpected frosts and finished pulling all the wire hoops, posts, and stakes out of the gardens in preparation for that day when suddenly the ground is dry enough to till.  That day seems like an eternity away right now because if you step off the pathways you just might lose your shoe!

The greenhouse is also getting busy.  Seeds have been started on propagation mats for a mesclun mix, lettuce, lots of onions, swiss chard, kale, and arugula.  I've also started seeds for an early tomato to be planted in the high tunnel just to see how early one can get a tomato here in this area.

Yesterday's case of the "wintertime blues" was much welcome--I hope everyone else within shot of it got to enjoy the day as much as I did. 

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