Daily Archives: June 11, 2009

We get the nod

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Today, Thursday, some produce managers from our local food coop, Ozark Natural Foods came to the farm to take a peek at our practices.  Pauline and Jeff toured around with Paul as he shcmoozed and sashayed them amongst the goods.  I was happy to know that they were very impressed with what we were doing.  It looks like they are definitely interested in some of our potatoes and whatever else we might have extras in, sans tomatoes and peppers.  It’s great to have that option, I’m glad that they are promoting local produce.  To all of you other local Fayetteville farmers and beyond, consider giving Pauline or Jeff a call at the store and have them come out to sneak a peek at your “op”.

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Yes, they even wore the “farm” hats.  When you come over to visit, you can wear one too.

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Our friend, our future

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We have a new friend here on the ole’ farm.  On several occasions he or she has visited and allowed me to get close enough to take these pictures.  DSC_0050

The kids have named this new pal “Hootie”.  Hootie is a barred owl, 21″ long.  He is perched on a log that is crossing the creek behind my house.  I was standing in the backyard when I took these pictures.  He was about 12 ft.-15 ft. away from me.  

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The first time we met Hootie, my kids were “Hoo-hooing” their little hearts out right at him.  He was even closer that time, and he/she never moved.  I think it was amused by their attempts.

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Pretty neat huh?  Owls during the day!  High-definition living!

The newest of the new

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There were four new rows added to the farm this year.  With pumpkin and watermelon dreams, you need a lot of space, so space is what we made.  Josh and I were the idea people in this endeavor and Paul was the action man, if it weren’t for him saying “Hey, the space doesn’t exist, if you want to do this, we’ll need more dirt”, then they still might be just dreams.  Paul and Josh got to work, ordered dirt, shoveled dirt, planted, mulched etc…  So we are on our way to pumpkin and watermelon bliss.  I have also started sneaking more pumpkin seeds here and there.  I have two sugar-pie plants in my backyard (pie pumpkins) and more in the old compost zone.  I have also sneaked a few extra of the Howden variety (carving pumpkins) around.  Again, we’ll see.  As far as watermelons go, we have Sugar-baby, Charleston Grey, and All sweet varieties.  

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Install.

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From this picture, I’m assuming there will be a few cantaloupe as well.

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Watermelons are really something that Josh is passionate about.  His Grandfather was a watermelon farmer in east Arkansas, so needless to say, this is his baby.

How’s it going? Are you growing?

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Here’s a little update on the status of what’s growing in our patch.  We planted potatoes on March 22, we were told that if you plant by that date, that you will have full size potatoes by July 4th.  Paul just handed me some while I’m sitting here and I asked “Oh!  Did you just pick these”?  “No”, he said, “I just went out and bought them.”  They’re huge, and quite delicious looking.  Wow.  Our plants were affected by the Colorado potato beetle.  Their grubs chewed off the flowers and holes in most of the leaves, causing the plants to turn yellowish.  It’s nice to know that we have full size potatoes under there, and we can start to pull some out.  

Also ready, our onion patch.  I looks like something walked through it and bent down some of the tops, be it dog, deer or chickens.  They are starting to all turn yellow though and it is time too bend down the remaining tops and let them sit until the whole top turns brown.  From there we will put them in the garage for a week or longer (depending on the humidity) to cure and dry.  What we will replace the onions with, right now I’m not sure.  I would suspect some winter squash, or…  The potatoes will be replaced with a late variety of corn.

We are starting to get fruit on some of our tomato plants.  There are two different methods going on in the garden at the moment, the Calvin Bey method and the Chuck Bartok method, and I have to say, so far the Bey plants look much better.  Calvin Bey is a local recreational gardener, who is of a cult status in this area, he also happens to be a neighbor.  Chuck Bartok is a gentleman who commented on a post of mine last year about not making your fortune in tomatoes.  He was nice enough to send me a link to a group of Youtube videos he made about his tomato planting/pruning method.  I gave it a shot, watched the videos, though not spectacular (home-movie-ish), still an interesting method to which we have dedicated a whole row of Arkansas travelers.  The Bey method deals with caging the tomatoes, which gets expensive and very space consuming and shoring the plant up with bamboo steaks stuck through the cage.  The plants are much bushier and if I were Paul, I would go through and nip off all of the unnecessary limbs and suckers.  The Bartok method deals with a lot of pruning, because according to Chuck, he’s growing the tomato plants for fruit, not foliage.  I have to say that they are looking pretty weak at the moment.  We have had some hot weather here over the past few weeks and the sun is getting to them.  There are some flowers on one of the plants, we will see.  Please don’t let me down Chuck Bartok!  One factor that may play a role in wether or not this will work is our respective locals.  Me, Fayetteville Arkansas.  Mr. Chuck Bartok, off of Hwy.99 in California, up near the Chico area.  His area, hot and dry, sandy soil.  My area, hot and humid, clay soil.  Hmmmmmm.  Stay tuned and in the meantime plant a tomato pant in your backyard.

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The “Bey” method.

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The “Bartok” method.

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Garden view from the roof.  Notice the new rows at the top left.

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Potatoes.

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Corn.

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Newer corn.  Might I add here that we are planting blocks of corn in two week intervals.  This way, we will have corn harvested at different times, instead of all at once.  AHAAA!

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Tomatoes on the vine.