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This week on the farm, ending 6/17/18

Wowza! Another busy weekend on the farm. It seems like the battle was farm vs. storms and LOTS of rain. We received between three and four inches of rain, which was not a lot compared to other areas, but plenty for us. I was quite worried about newly-planted seeds getting to drenched and then getting moldy. Time will tell if the little seeds are tenacious enough to grow up into awesome food-bearing plants.

The week consisted of squeezing in planting as much as possible after work in the evenings and in-between events and storms. We did get all but four halves of the "viney" garden completed. We will wrap up everything this week. We also started on our upper garden, and planted sunflowers, corn, tomatoes and peppers. I transplanted some corn so the ground could be tilled again. We also transplanted volunteer borage. We planted sunflower seeds and borage plants on our north and west sides of the garden, so hopefully in a month or so we'll have some beautiful flowers lining our vegetables! In case you didn't know, borage is an amazing pollinator plant. Our honeybees love it and the plan has such pretty purple flowers.

The "viney" garden, 90 percent planted.

I planted a lot of seeds in each "viney" garden bed, because my seeds were anywhere from three to five years old. Once seeds get to be a few years old, they lose their viability. To test the germination rate of a package of seeds, lay ten seeds in a damp paper towel and place in a plastic zipper bag. Wait a few days and see how many of the seeds sprout. Since you planted ten seeds, you can then calculate your germination rate. I typically don't have the patience and/or forget to check the germination rate, so my fail-proof planting method is to plant about twice the amount that I would plant with new seeds. It works okay, with some hits and misses. Oh well, such is life!

"Straight Eight" cucumbers, growing strong! Glad I planted extra seed. . .

We also worked on our raised beds. We like to use our raised beds to plant green beans, because harvesting the bush beans does not hurt our backs as much as harvesting in a traditional garden. We are now playing the waiting game. We cannot lay the weed guard paper down or add mulch until the plants emerge.

Two raised beds of green beans - three rows each! We'll be eating well in a month or so.

We also started planting tomatoes and peppers, which was a daunting task. We had started the plants in March in our little indoor greenhouse, but because of the late spring, our plants did not get transferred to the outdoor greenhouse as planned. The tomato plants grew into each other's plant "cube" and created a mess. I'll try to get some photos to post for next week. It was a challenge to plant these crazy tomato plants, but we were able to get a few rows planted and mulched in between the thunderstorms.

Rows of tomatoes and peppers, mulched and ready to reach for the sky!

One happy little tomato plant.

Our strawberries are still doing great and didn't have too much slug damage. I picked two 5-quart ice cream pails full and am working on processing them for the freezer. I'll describe the process more next week. I am very happy with leaving my "weed" catch crop, which is actually a lot of oats from oat straw mulch from a few years back. I might leave the strawberry patch weedy until after fruiting each year!

Two ice cream buckets of strawberries to freeze for healthy smoothies. Yum!

Lastly, we have to show the beauty on the farm with the storms all around. The clouds make a menacing and lovely sight.

A cloud working on becoming a thunderstorm during the hot, humid weekend.

Have a farmiful week! Talk to you soon.

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