This week I had a few days between VRBO guests staying at the Dirt Farm and decided to enjoy the space a bit before the summer tourist season really kicks in. The perennial gardens are looking lovely ... but the vegetable garden is a shambles compared to the lush greenhouse over at Lake View. The rotational march of insects and critters through the garden beds seems worse than ever. Cabbages didn't have a chance, pepper seedlings got lopped off by something, many a tomato plant chewed to the ground - only the onions and volunteer lettuces are making their way. Impatient gardeners ( I see you pointing at me!) suffer these issues in many outdoor gardens. In my case, once the ground warms sufficiently and other yummy plants become available in the natural environment, I can grow my garden just fine. Planting it before June is fruitless - literally! Yet, plant it before I should is what I always do. Then I replant it in June. Geez, some of us just never learn! Good thing I always start ten times the amount of plants I can possibly use!
The perennial gardens, on the other hand, really are spec - FRICKIN' - tacular this year! I mulched in November last year which gave the gardens a lovely backdrop of fresh canvas for regrowth this year. Some are still a bit of a weedy mess, but the mulch certainly helped, and where the weeds popped though, I have almost been able to keep up.
Quack grass is the scourge out here. In the city I never knew the likes of this incessant run-all-over-the-place pest. These suckers send out running roots (rhizomes) under the soil, and if you pull from the top and break it off, they sprout multiple extensions which make the problem worse. The only way to really thin them back is to dig them up and pull out ALL the possible runners you can find...and even then you'll miss a few. Nothing smothers this stuff - no mulch, no fabric....no rugs, NOTHING! Why isn't "Quack Grass" a swear word?
I shouldn't complain about the vegetable garden completely, because we have lots of perennial herbs coming in. I have already dried some chives and oregano for the salad dressings and spice blends. This year I also dried a bunch of arugula which is really tasty in my Herb & Garlic dressing. William has been munching piles of Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce (a very big leafed light chartreuse colored lettuce) with this dressing exclaiming the virtues, "Dirty Dressing! It's delicious!" Most of my salad dressings do get the "Ugly Delicious" award!
The other thing looking fabulous at the Dirt Farm is the garlic bed! These babies are going to start sending out scapes any day now. Then we'll have Scape Dressing, Scape Pesto and lots of other savory scape deliciousness! I'll have them for sale in the store for grilling as well.
Expect to see scapes the third weekend in June.
The field planting is almost done. William has been planting organic corn the last two days. Once he finishes planting, then it's time to cut and bale the FIRST CROP hay and begin cultivation in the organic soybeans, sunflowers and corn. Organic farmers need to weed or lose the crop. Those other guys, the farmers who spray, I'm not sure what they do all summer! Joking aside, I bet they'll be working their day jobs. Did you know that most farmers have full time jobs outside of farming and use their vacation days to farm? It's true.
I'll have to surprise you in the store this weekend, as my mini staycation has taken me away from Lake View and the Farm Store mentally this week. I will definitely have a new savory farmhouse bar, some Herb & Garlic Dressing and likely some goodies from the greenhouse. If you are gardening, remember we have straw for mulch to help suppress weeds and hold in moisture. Let us know if you need more than just a few bales and we'll fish them out of the haymow for you. Straw is $6 a bale or $5 each if you buy ten or more.
Okay. I better get to work.
Sending LOVE to you all from the Driftless Dirt Farm AND Lake View Farm this week!