Favored Photos: Matt’s Top 20

December 10, 2010

Matt

I scanned through my photos from this year at the farm, and gathered up my top 20. Originally, my plan was to pick the top 10, but I failed miserably.

I chose these images, not just based on aesthetic appeal, but also because they capture some fine moments, and important events that marked the year (e.g., snowstorms).

Browse the photos at your leisure!

First Frost

November 8, 2010

Caleb

garlic shoot

Frost has not stopped all garden activity

It’s been about a week since our first major frost of autumn, marking the end of most, but not all, activity in the garden.  The frost was pretty late, I think, even for as far south as we are—so we counted ourselves lucky.

(more…)

Lucy’s Birthday Shindig

October 6, 2010

Caleb

This past weekend we hosted a farm-themed gathering to celebrate Lucy’s first birthday. We went to Fluvanna County’s “Old Farm Day” and enjoyed refreshments back at the homestead.  Don’t worry; we took pictures.  In addition to plenty of Lucy pictures, we took a couple photos (1, 2) of some machines to see if people could guess what they do.  We think we know.

In other news, things are wrapping up pretty well in the garden.  I planted an oat cover crop and a clover cover crop over parts of the garden.   The clover should give the soil a charge of nitrogen and organic matter, and the oat crop will hopefully provide a bit of cover for garlic that we’ll be planting soon.  I hope to get the rest of the beds planted in the next week so there’s at least a little growth before winter kill.  We expect the three younger chickens we have to start laying in a couple of weeks.  With days shortening like they are, laying will probably not be an everyday thing.

Dude, Where’s My Rain?

September 30, 2010

Matt

Matt in the garden wondering 'dude, where's my rain?'

I just finished my third summer in Virginia, and I can safely say that this was by far the hottest of the three. Even more of an issue for our garden, it was also extremely dry.

How dry? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration*, from June 1 to September 23, Charlottesville (10 miles from the farm) received 6.17 inches of rainfall…total. On average, it receives about 17 inches during roughly the same time period. Contrast this with the several feet of snow we received from December to February.

The dry summer has yielded brown, crunchy grass, and young trees showing signs of stress (just like grad students). (more…)

Lessons from Production

August 22, 2010

Matt

In late July and early August, Whitney and I spent a fair bit of time and away from the farm traveling. Consequently, I had grown out of touch with the garden. This past weekend I was able to invest a sizable amount of time reconnecting with it. Our Needs Eatin’ week was so successful in large part because the garden has been producing. After weeks of suspense, our tomato and pepper plants have taken off. The green beans have been steady, and cucumbers are doing well, staving off the bugs that have devastated related plants. Those of us who can consume soy recently enjoyed a small harvest of edamame. (more…)

Plant Gantt

April 22, 2010

Caleb

Thumbnail of calendar with plantsI’ve posted our planting schedule for your viewing pleasure.  The schedule will give you an idea of what our agricultural trajectory is for the rest of the growing season.  Please comment on any potential problems you see with the schedule—even if the damage is already done.

It turns out that nature and we don’t follow our schedule very well.  (more…)

First Crop Out, First Crops in

March 23, 2010

Caleb

garlic chivesThis weekend we took advantage of the fine weather, which began in the middle of last week with the arrival of Carl “Bringer of Spring” Bear,  to get some work done. To make room in the beds, we divided and potted some garlic chive plants. Garlic chive plants prolifically reseed if their flowers aren’t chopped off, so they had gotten a little out of hand. We spread some of our garlic chive wealth at church the next day, selling some plants for an average of $0.83 a piece. We probably could have made more if Kristin was doing the selling rather than me. I’d much rather grow the crops than market them. Luckily, Kristin would rather market than tend to the crops. (more…)

Marmota monax

March 15, 2010

Matt

One of many holes in the garden fence

Over the past two weeks we have been experiencing a Great Thaw. I hate to stir up jealousy in my family from Minnesota, but we’ve been seeing temperatures consistently in the mid-fifties with a couple days up to seventy. Needless to say, the snow is gone, and we’re turning our attention to the garden space.

Returning to the garden means returning to the challenges of the garden. Early last fall, our number one concern with was the groundhog (Marmota monax). (more…)