Sweet Corn: overall the corn did not do very well. Most of the ears were very small and of the ones that were nicer seems like many ended up as deer food. I had more trouble with deer this year than any other in the almost 20 years of living here. My main deer deterent is to play a radio on loud, in the garden during the night. Maybe they like country music more than I thought they would. Not sure what I'll do next year - maybe switch the radio station.
As far as the small ears, I'm going to go back to a variety I had seemed to have better success with two years ago. Also hoping a good dose of composted hog manure makes a difference.
Raspberries: they were the biggest disappointment of the gardening season. I thought they would set fruit this year but all they did was grow nice green canes. The last two years they have been crowded out by the incredibly vigorous squash so that may have something to do with it. But thats not happening any more. I told Marla I'm done with those squash plants, I don't even like squash that much. Other than that I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Wish my great Uncle Tim was around. He was my grandfathers brother and always had a wonderful red raspberry patch.
Green Beans: the beans did well enough for us to get in the freezer all we will need for the coming year. However, I was hoping for more - I was going to sell what we didn't need for ourselves. We did sell a little but very little.
Tomatoes: the tomatoes were the biggest improvement over last year. Last year was a 95% crop failure. This year they did real well (as you can see in the photo above. And that was a small percentage of the overall crop). The difference? I have no idea. The three varieties I used were Amish Paste, Brandywine and Oregon Spring. All told the tomatoes yielded 25 quarts of tomato juice, 8 quarts of soup, 21 pints of salsa and 20 pints of pizza sauce.
Zucchini: normally the zucchini does not do real well. They come up nice, start bearing some nice fruit and then all of a sudden start wilting and dying. This year they produced more than normal before starting their usual routine.
Cucumbers: this is another plant I usually have trouble getting a good crop out of. This year was no different. At the beginning the plants look good, start to bear a little and then soon begin to wilt and die. Wish I knew what to do here too.
Potatoes: they did well but with only planting one row I don't have near enough to take us through the winter.
The most important thing I've learned about gardening in the last 20 years is that I'll never have it all figured out. And I think thats the way God intended it. If we have it all figured out we don't need Him. I think God instituted the agrarian life thousands of years ago because He knew it would be the best way for us to learn to be dependent on Him each day. He wants us to live in daily dependence on Him, not only for our spiritual needs but for our daily physical needs as well. Thank you Father for another season of learning to depend on You for our daily bread. And thank you for another season of showing your faithfullness in your daily provision for us.
In the Summer 2013 issue of Small Farmers Journal is an article by Ryan Foxley. Ryan lives and farms in Arlington, WA. He is not Amish, yet he farms exclusively with draft horses instead of tractors. The next two paragraphs are part of his article in the above issue.
"My sensibilities have been hijacked by the mechanized world I was born into. It will take me three weeks to put up the same amount of hay that my mechanized neighbors will put up in four or five days. The weather has been near perfect; the horses sound and fit, the help reliable and good. So why this nagging sense of hurry? Why this unbidden static in my mind that makes me question the whole operation? It can only be because the option of speed exists. Pandora's box of fossil-fuel-driven-speed bas been opened and it has, like it or not, been a part of my reality for my whole life. If tractors had never been invented of course, I wouldn't be experiencing this cognitive dissonance at all. I think all of us who aspire to a slower mode of living, surrounded as we are by modernity, must struggle at times with our choice to go slow. I know farmers who have given up entirely on horses because they simply couldn't see to it to leave the tractor parked and hook up a team. The pressures of time weigh heavy on even the most high-minded of us and we suffer at times a sort of Dark Night of the Soul of the modern day horse farmer.
Part of what saves me, however, is that I have intentionally set up Littlefield Farm to be reliant on horses. I have no baler to fall back on, or tractor compatible tedder. The hay must be gathered loose and put in the haymow using horses. So, day after day I harness up and go to the field and fuss over my crop and get the work done. When I stop to rest the team of horses and listen to the quiet while swallows dive and dip in front of majestic Mt. Pilchuck, my doubts melt away and I feel nothing but contentment and gratitude."
I am not a "real farmer" like Mr. Foxely but sometimes I feel the same angst that he does even though I work in a completely different field. I am a full-time woodworker, not a farmer, but my industry (and every industry) suffers from the same disease that farming does. It's the "go faster" disease. There's no time to enjoy the use of finely tuned hand-tools, no time to savor the smell of raw wood, and no time to enjoy the finished product - its all about "just get it done and out the door", go faster, faster, faster. It's all about the "bottom line", thanks to the industrial paradigm that we all live according to.
Marla and I will be grandparents any day now. We have been told it will be a little boy. Please pray for Tara and the little shaver as he will soon make his way into this wild yet wonderful world.
A few months ago I told you that I would post a picture of what I made for the baby when the project was complete. Well, here it is...
Thanks again for visiting the Lil Bitty Farm blog !
Agrarian blessings to all ! ! !