Sunday, June 27, 2010

His End of the Bargain

Papa the Farmer and I have a deal.  He agrees to not turn my pretty yard into an eyesore and I agree to stay married to him.  =)  Frankly, it looks to me like he’s not holding up his end of the bargain…  (Well, I’ll stay married to him anyway!)
I already told you what I’ve been doing for the past month in this post, but there’s been a lot going on outside in the gardens too!  I can’t take credit for any of it.  It’s been mostly Papa the Farmer and his little Farmhands out there doing the work… and they’ve sure been busy!
First, they got the plants in.  I think these are tomato plants:
101-0173_IMGWe could spend our whole lives fighting off weeds.  In fact, I did the math.  One little weed contains thousands of seeds.  And each seed holds the possibility to grow a plant which has thousands more seeds.  I don’t need to be a mathematician to know that I don’t want to fight that battle!  So, we put down 15-year weed block:
I think that’s pretty neat stuff.  You just cut a hole where you want the plant and then the weeds don’t grow in the rest of the garden.    (And yes, those are old logs and boards that he is using to hold the week block in place.)  But Papa the Farmer was still concerned about the aisles between the rows so he decided to prevent weeds from growing there and he used:
recycled carpet!  This is where I start losing my enthusiasm!  I love being “green” and saving the environment, but not when it’s ugly and it’s in my yard!  Papa the Farmer was thrilled with it… “It is soft and practical for working on,” he said.  I’m am not-thrilled.  It is ugly.  Just look at that picture.  There’s no denying it.
If you think it can’t get uglier than that… oh, but it can!  The tomatoes need supports so that the plants grow tall and strong.  We used some tomato cages, but we didn’t have enough so Papa the Farmer and his helper-friend (who doesn’t live here by the way, and is not really concerned with how any of this looks!) came up with this plan:
102-0218_IMGDoesn’t that look just like a totem pole?  I think he should carve our faces in it!  He has more of these posts on the other end of the garden and a wire that connects each end.  It’s not finished yet.  He’s outside working on it as I type.  The finished product is really a bit of a mystery.  I will have to keep you posted…  Oh, and in case you thought it couldn’t get uglier than that… It can!  Take a look at this:
102-0217_IMGI just don’t know what to say about that!  (There’s another one at the other end of the garden that matches this one!)
He’s also been busy outside putting in an irrigation system.  We were watering by hand while we were waiting for the parts to be delivered and that was taking forever!  The irrigation system has made that a lot easier!
102-0219_IMGYou just turn on the hose and water runs through the main black line, which runs the length of the garden.  Then a bit of water comes out of those skinny secondary lines and through that little plastic piece.  That plastic piece is the drip emitter and it controls how much water the plants get.  You can set different plants up to receive a different amount of water… a gallon an hour, half a gallon an hour… whatever that particular plant needs.  It even comes with a moisture sensor so that you know how much moisture is in the soil:
102-0216_IMG Progress!
We’ve been having some problems with the animal kingdom.  I already told you about the beetle bugs in this post.  Now, these guys have attacked the pepper plants:
cropped grasshopper Grasshoppers!  They eat all the leaves off the pepper plants and then the plants die because they can’t absorb sunlight without leaves.  So grasshoppers are in my “bad bug” book.  We are trying to think of a natural way to eliminate grasshoppers and the only chemical-free alternative we’ve come up with is to introduce the grasshopper’s natural predator!  Chickens!  Papa the Farmer grew up with chickens, but I did not.  I don’t want chickens in my yard.  They are nasty-dirty looking birds if you ask me.  I’ve been known to call them “Walking Vessels of Bacteria.”  So, I could hardly believe the words I heard coming out of my mouth when I suggested chickens to my husband.  We’re talking about building a “moat” in chicken wire around the garden and letting the chickens run freely in the moat.  Then grasshoppers would have to cross the chicken area to get to the vegetables and hopefully they wouldn’t make it to the pepper plants.  We haven’t  done anything about it yet and it kind of seems like an extreme solution, but we don’t have any better ideas.  If you think of something, please let us know!  When Papa the Farmer came up with this crazy farming idea, I agreed to vegetables… not to chickens!
Oh and one other nasty thing going on around here.  One day the neighbor was at the fence talking to Papa the Farmer when one of the little farmhands came running into the kitchen.  I asked him what the neighbor was showing them and the little farmhand said, “Little snake, no head!  Little snake, no head!” 
101-0182_IMG If there was a word that was a cross between “Ugh” “Ick” and “Bleah” I would insert it right here.  This was technically at the neighbor’s house.  I take comfort in the fact that it was on his side of the fence.  We haven’t actually seen any live snakes on our property this year, but we did find one that had died of natural causes, so they must be around.
But look at this… It’s all worth it!  Isn’t this a lovely first harvest: 
102-0210_IMGThose are peaches and plums from our trees!  They were so sweet and delicious!  Mmmmm Yum!


  1. LOL! You are sooooooooooo funny, Alina Joy. Personally, I think those totem poles are quite rustic and attractive. If you want to see ugly, please come to our farm. At least your hubby doesn't have about 20 pieces of machinery and attachments hanging around the yard, not to mention piles of rusty, twisted old sheets of corrugated iron, and piles of wood.

    If you do decide to get chickens, make sure you get the old breeds of chooks. They are much more attractive, and they also have a longer life than the newer hybrid breeds that are bred to produce huge numbers of eggs. Trouble is, they tend to get egg-laying health problems as well, and barely make it to the age of three. The old breeds usually live for 8-10 years. Information curtesy of my chook-expert friend. :-)

  2. I have a GREAT article on how to raise free-range chickens, etc. I'll email it to you.

    Check this out (eco farmers in Orillia)!

  4. I love the carpets and other creative fixes. It reminds me of my dad's garden. He used all kinds of things to block out the weeds: thick black rubbery stuff, newspaper, hairy vetch (plant it in the fall, let it grow all winter, it adds nitrogen to the soil, then part it down the middle like hair and plant your plants down the middle, stomping down the vetch to keep out weeds in the aisles), etc. I tried this one year, but moved out of the house before spring, so didn't get to see what effect it had on the garden.

  5. PRojects created all that junk on my farm but some of your bloggers say that us farmers collect junk, well that is true, women collect junk as well. THe tin was from an old shed that I tore down and replaced with new tin and the wood is well you know for future projects.

    ON another note..I read someplace that carpet is not really good for the ground as it has certain chemical things which harm the soils. Great for stopping weeds but do a search on the tuff and look it up. I have 30,000 seedlings coming in a few weeks so I need a few implements to farm with. Farmer John

  6. LOL! OK, Mr. and & Mrs. Farmer John... I am still figuring out how to run my own blog and I just noticed your comments! You two are funny! Thanks for the tips about chickens and carpet. We thought about the problems with carpet and are looking into it. We definitely don't want nasty carpet-chemicals! Karen - I think Yann said he is planting hairy vetch this year! (I'll have to ask him... I know he planted clover as a ground cover) And Adeena - I didn't know that farm was there! Just goes to show, sometimes local people just don't pay attention! =)