Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hold everything ....

Young plants are beginning to outgrow their 2.5" pots
Beauty Kings and Black Cherries wait patiently
Today was going to be the first day of tomato planting at my place, but Mother Nature was in no mood to cooperate. Now it'll probably will be Thursday before the wind dies down enough to make it even feasible to put a tender young tomato plant into the ground. I'm chomping at the bit, too. The plants are getting a bit leggy because while my greenhouse has an automatic exhaust fan that goes on at 80 degrees, it also is covered in shade cloth because too much heat would build up even with the fan when the weather pushes above 80. So it really needs a swamp cooler, which probably will be one of my projects for this coming winter. For now the shade cloth is sufficient with the caveat that the reduced sunlight does cause the young tomatoes to stretch a bit in search of even stronger sunlight. My dilemma will be solved once the plants get into the ground. Not that there won't be new problems to keep me up at night!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What any sustainable farmer loves to see

Ladybugs are everywhere in my artichoke patch. They come out  like white knights every spring to keep the bug populations in check. And they don't need an invitation, either. They're my favorite party crashers, right up there with the praying mantis. They're not omnipotent, that is, they don't get every single bad bug on the farm, but the numbers of good bugs increases yearly and I hope they are bringing a better balance into my farm's ecological equation. In the larger photo we see a very welcome site to any organic gardener: procreation of even more ladybugs!! The newbies will have plenty of work to do: Soon the tomatoes will be in the ground  and the new crop of beautiful beetles can migrate over to them to patrol for white flies and the like. I wish ladybugs were big enough to gobble up the the stink bugs and cucumber beetles that attack my crops, but only the mighty mantis has the size to make a meal of them. Speaking of eating ... it's time for lunch!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Coming soon ....

It was inevitable. Eventually the name Whaley Heirloom Veggies became a little too flawed to keep. The main problem is that it sounds more like a wholesaler than a farm. And pretty soon (well, sometime this year) we will be adding eggs to our offering. Beautiful dark, brown eggs from Black Copper Marans chickens. The problem is, eggs are not vegetables. And chickens, if we butcher any, are not vegetables, either. So a name change was called for. But what to call this shoestring operation? Well, there's this fabulous chorus of tiny frogs on the property that we have totally fallen in love with, so we are going to build a pond to help them better survive. And so, presto chango, Whaley Heirloom Veggies will morph into, ta da,  Singing Frog Farm. We filed the paperwork in Yuba City yesterday and set up ads to run in the Marysville Appeal-Democrat on the next four successive Wednesdays. Now we will have to change the words on the logo, get new checks from the bank and add our little friend into the logo somewhere to complete the process. Wow, a lot of work to do .... guess I better hop to it!