Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Harvest is Coming In

Here at Noble Gardens we can tell the Fall will be here soon.  The veggies all seem to be ready at once and we are about running off our feet getting it all harvested in time.  The celery is almost all harvested.  Reuben was helping Tim and couldn't resist grabbing a stalk to munch on as he worked.

The second crop of beans is in full swing and we could spend hours out there picking beans.  The plants had the perfect growing weather and have rewarded us with baskets and baskets of beans.  Picking is - reaching under the plant and grabbing handfuls at a time!

So, Saturday morning it was all hands on deck to get the work done.  All the kids worked very hard and were proud of all the pails they filled in a short amount of time.  From 10 year old Aaron to 22 month old Sarah, everyone knows how to pick beans!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Golden Zuchinni Ready at Last!

Finally the golden zuchinni are ready for harvest.  We had frost the day before this was taken and were not sure if there ever would be a zuchinni harvest.  Thankfully the zuchinni was protected by the corn and suffered very little damage.  The kids love helping with this job.  They put their arms out "like a forklift" and we load them up.  And anything that the other kids are doing, you can bet that Sarah will do it too.  It is amazing how fast the crates fill up when you have 1-2 lb zuchinnis going in them!

The job is so much fun that 'mom and dad' could just about go in for coffee while they do all the work.  Aaron and Rebecca know exactly how to turn the fruit to get it off and the forklifts are ready and waiting to get a bigger load each time.
Tim is surveying our next undertaking - a huge patch of beans.  They came up very good and are just starting to produce beans now.  Hopefully the weather will hold long enough for us to harvest many pounds.  Picking beans is definitely the most labor intensive of all the harvesting that is done here at Noble Gardens.  You sit bent over for hours getting down the rows.  The reward comes at the end when you see how many pails of beans you actually picked! 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Spuds and Carrots are Ready to Harvest

The baskets are starting to fill up nicely now as more and more things are ready to harvest.  The first of the onions have been delivered and this week we dug the first potatoes as well.  We go down the row and mow the tops off first and then go through with the furrower and dig the potatoes up.  This is definitely a family affair.  Everyone helps out from the oldest to the youngest, even the neighbour kids are happy to come and help for a bit. 

 Carrots are also a lot of work because they all need to be dug and then topped and washed.  Tim digs, Brenda and the kids top and then the carrot train forms to get them to the truck and home again!

 We have no problem getting rid of cracked carrots - our little farmers gobble them right up (dirt and all for Sarah!!)
Once the carrots are on the truck it is time to go back and start packaging!  What a truck load!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Kids on the Farm

We are very happy to have very helpful children out here on the farm.  They help us with many different tasks and so I decided to follow them with the camera for a few days.

First thing on the list was to pick peas while it was still cool out.  They were all very excited to see their pails fill up as fast as they did.  Aaron figured it was going to be hard work - he needed to wear a hard hat!

Sarah had lots of fun as well, anything we do she tries to do also.  She kept repeating "Peas, pick peas, Pull!!"  Quite the helper at 20 months.

When we went out to the back garden where all the cabbages are growing we found that the cabbage butterflies had arrived.  This was one thing we hoped would not arrive at all - but the kids had a remedy - they would catch them all and squish them.  Well they tried hard but the butterflies were faster then they were.

The next morning was berry picking time.  Tim and Brenda do most of the picking because we are very picky about doing it just right.  But the kids help is very useful for carrying the pails to the ends of the rows. 

The berries are planted in raised boxes to make it easier to pick.  That has posed a problem this year because the cold weather made for a very slow start to the growing season.

Everyone helps out with the easier parts of harvesting.  They help gather, sort, wash, package and, last but not least, they help at the delivery locations with the CSA pickups.  Here we are harvesting baby beets.  Aaron and Rebecca had a challenge to see who could gather the largest arm full.

Oof - Ivan gets an armload of turnips

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Day at Noble Gardens

Harvesting new mesclun crop
There is no such thing as a quiet day on the farm unless it is raining.  That was certainly not the case this past week - we had a few very hot days!  Our day starts at 4:30 when we drag ourselves out of bed even though it is still dark outside.  By 5:00 we are ready to go.  This seems early but believe me it is the best time of the day to be working in the garden.  Some days the mosquitoes are not even out yet.  We try to get the most work done as early in the day as we can.  Once 11:00 hits it is getting very warm and we know it is time to leave the garden.  Today we did lots of harvesting and put everything in the cooler.  Then in the afternoon (after a nap) we are ready to package.  Everything needs to be weighed out and organized  so nothing gets left behind when we leave for market.  The packaging stage always amazes us because it all takes longer than we expect it to.  Then once supper is done and the kids are all down for the night  - that is when the blog gets updated!!
The warm weather has been great for the garden.  We can see a difference every day now.  The potatoes are coming along well - we have even found little spuds on them ( 2 inches big)  It won't be long and they will be arriving in the baskets. 
The cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli have also really shot up the last week - I think they have almost doubled in size.  To give you an idea of how big the garden is, this photo shows the hoses at the beginning of the row  ---all the way down to the end of the row 400' farther.  They are very long rows when they need to be weeded!  As you can tell the mulch beds are really helping to keep the weeds away ( it is nice not to have to worry about the weeds here).
The long rows are starting to fill out nicely now.  First is the golden beets, then red beets, turnips and carrots.  The turnips will be a space by tomorrow when they get harvested for the basket.  Last year we did not have enough carrots, we simply couldn't get them to grow, so this year we made sure to plant enough.  We now have 1000' of carrots plus a new seeding of 800'.  Yup, I think we will have lots this year!
All is well in the garden until the wind starts to blow.  On Friday night we had "some" wind.  Well it was enough to blow the hoses all over the place.  To put them all back in place we need to walk down each row (400' remember) and place the hoses all as close to the plants as we can.  Next year we hope to invest in a machine that will bury the hose 2'' under the ground.  This is the new seeding of corn - hope we gets lots of warm weather yet so we can harvest lots of corn on the cob!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Harvest Begins at Noble Gardens

 Now that the mulch beds are all in we have been working very hard to get all the transplants in.  There were alot of them and some of the plants had pleasant surprises for us.  How exciting to see the fruit coming on the plants!

golden zuchinni - 1/4 inch long
summer squash - 1/2"big

Although we are a few weeks late, it sure feels good to be able to start delivering veggies.  It seems as though as soon as everything is finally in the garden it is already time to start taking things out again.  The first harvest basket included mesclun salad greens, spinach, snow peas and a basil plant to enjoy all summer.
Now we are on week two of CSA deliveries.  This week we are adding beets to the basket as well. 
The peas have tons of fruit on them!
The beets hide underground so they are always a surprise when you first pull them out.  We were pleasantly surprised by the size of the beets and Sarah was happy to help get them on the wash table. 
Hats off to our children for all the hard work they are doing in the garden.  They have pulled tons of weeds with us and now they finally get to start helping with the harvest.  We could not do without the "many hands that make light work"!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finally! Summer Weather at Noble Gardens.

Aaron & Reuben riding the mulch layer
After rain that just didn't seem to let up we finally are seeing the sun again.  That means that we can also get busy and try to catch up on all the things that need to be done.  We managed to get half of the mulch beds in before the last rain.  The mulch layer is a very handy machine.  It lays the plastic mulch, buries the edges and lays the dripper tape all in one pass.

Once the sun came out again we were ready and very anxious to get the transplants into the ground.  They are late because of all the rain but they did very well in the greenhouse and were very healthy plants going in.  The plants all have a solid root ball which makes them easy to handle.  With the kids helping lay out the plants, Tim poking the holes and Brenda planting we were able to move along very quickly today.  We have learned that the best time to be out in the garden is very early in the morning (the mosquitoes are all sleeping yet then!)
Today we finished all the cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower.  The beds look pretty impressive when they are all full of plants!
We must admit we are falling behind on the weeding but our first goal right now is to get all the transplants done so they can get growing.  The peas are blooming well so we should be picking that in just a few short weeks.  The strawberries have also finally started flowering.  They are at least three weeks behind but hopefully they will start catching up now.  The mesclun looks beautiful and is almost ready to go and the radishes are quickly getting there also.  We are hoping that summer is finally here to stay!
Peas blooming -June 22,2011
Mesclun salad mix
Strawberries flowering