Chronicles of the Long Shot Farm


Finally cleaned up the front section near the fruit trees (where water puddles in a hard rain) and made room for two rows of elderberry plants. We had taken cuttings from our old bushes and started them in flowerpots – all of them grew nicely over the winter. We rototilled the rows, and made them far enough apart for the lawnmower to fit easily (so we can pick from both sides). Each row has about eight plants each. The remaining elderberry bushes will be planted in the blackberry rows to keep birds away from the blackberries – apparently birds prefer the elderberries, and this approach had worked really well for us before.

Quick update on the garden status:

  • planted 4 Carolina Gold tomatoes
  • planted 4 Better Boy tomatoes
  • 50 sweet potato vines
  • 1 pack of watermelon seeds
  • 1 pack of cantaloupe seeds
  • various varieties of sunflowers and cosmos to fill in the rest of the row

Today we pulled one of the flowering potato plants out and it had 6 nice sized red potatoes on it (already). We also pulled out 3 rather puny red beets – they need some more time to grow! Lars rototilled most of the garden – he was very careful between the rows of plants and did a great job!

Building a stone wall – really?

Last weekend we did some major grading, pulling the artificially high “flower bed” that had been created around the front of the house away, to allow for better drainage of rain water after major storms. The flower bed had been edged with large field stones, which looked to have come from an old foundation or stone wall. Sam had the idea of building a new stone wall as a border between the back yard and the adjoining field – where Tina had started to create some sort of shady flower beds under the existing tree line. None of the guys were keen on this idea (probably realizing that they would have to help with the heavy lifting for a project bound to take months), but Tina found basic instructions for a mortar free stone wall – with pictures – and the first stones were sorted into piles. There are literally tons of such stones around the house and fields, so theoretically, the wall may become a reality.

We also ended up rototilling and raking the newly graded front yard sections, sowed grass seed and covered the seeds with some of the left over dry hay from the barn. We had to water this for two days, until luckily it rained all day Wednesday. Hopefully this grass seed will sprout OK – to match the rest of the front yard, which we seeded a few months ago (first grass appeared right around Easter)

Painting Barn Roof, Planting More Garden

Jens volunteered to paint the barn roof! He arrived before 7:00 am, and Jeff had already gotten a safety harness (plus reflective roof paint and brushes). By 8:00 am Jens had secured the D hooks on the rooftop and strapped himself into the harness – he finished the entire one side of the roof by 3:00!

Also got more garden planted this morning:

  • 42 bell pepper plants
  • finished the pepper row and tomato row with cucumbers (marketfare)
  • row next to the peppers starts with 1 pack of yellow straight neck zucchini
  • about 4 oz of black zucchini
  • 1 packet spaghetti squash
  • about 1 teaspoon of acorn squash (saving the rest for late summer planting)
  • next 1.5 rows = green beans: .5 lbs of Tema, .5 lbs of Slenderette

Worked a little on the herb garden, added mariegolds to the border, hoed and watered


Wine, Sauce & Yams

Finished washing and labeling the canned goods, then ran wires to add more lights in the cellar, set up more shelves and finally moved all the jars and bottles downstairs. Thanks to Knud and Shannon, these two batches of wine bottles were capped with the heat-shrink foil, red for the peach wine and green for the apple wine.

Garden Update – May 22

Our potatoes are up very nicely, as are the red beets, peas, parsnips, lettuce and spinach. We had a nice slow drizzling rain all afternoon and planted – finally – 114 tomato plants (about 100 Roma and the rest Brandywine) and the 47 cabbage plants. Also planted a dozen basil plants in the herb garden. Went to the Newville Hardware store to get more corn seeds, as well as summer and winter squash, cucumber and some flower seeds. Weed-whacked two rows of blackberries and filled in those spots where the plants did not take (about 10%) – we had extras set aside for filling in. Would have gotten more done today, but Sam locked her keys in the car while getting ready to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding – so we had to drive the spare key out to the wedding venue for her (twice – since the first time we took the wrong spare key). Also got another section done in the shade bed at the edge of the lawn, put in more bleeding hearts, sweet woodruff and hostas.