laying the beds to rest

This weekend, we had some helpers, so we put them to work. We pulled all the summer plants, harvested any last tomatoes, and then layered newspaper and mulch in the beds. Almost all the beds are laid to rest. We also planted a few more blueberry plants and in a few days, I hope to get some Camellias in the ground and one more Gardenia before the ground gets too hard and cold. Next on our “to do list”: finish up prepping for winter, solve a few problems with the chicken coop, process the rest of the produce. We’ve already planted beets, kale, turnips, and mustard greens for the fall, so we should be set in the greens department.

Last year, we didn’t do a lot of fall prep, so I feel good about getting it done. Things look good. Thank goodness for helpful hands!

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What we buy at the farmer’s market

We’ve listed many of the things we have planted in the garden, but I’ve never mentioned the things we don’t have or the things we don’t quite have enough of.  On our trips to the farmer’s market, we may purchase some or all of the following:

Fruit. We don’t grow much fruit at all, unfortunately.  So, we buy (in season) strawberries, blueberries, cantelope, watermelon, grapes, peaches, apples, pears, and blackberries.

Meat. Greg tries only  to eat local meat.  The same goes for the boys.  I don’t eat anything but seafood when it comes to meat.

Cheese. Sometimes this good ole boy farmer will have an orange wheel of cheese and we’ll get some.  We love love love Bosky Acres Goat cheese and buy it on occasion.

Beans:  We can never grow enough beans or peas.  We love October beans, green beans, crowder peas, etc.  We plant and harvest some, but not enough, so we buy some from the farmers.  After trying Tracy and Adam’s Dilly Beans, we pickled some of our own last year and they were delicious!  This requires a large purchase of green beans from the market.

Okra:  We grow okra, but one can never have enough, especially when you’re pickling the stuff! 

Odds and ends. Dependant upon our own harvest, we’ll purchase a few things to add to the mix: eggplant, mushrooms, greens, squash.

What do you buy at your market?

Farmer’s Market

Being city folk, there’s no way we could grow/raise everything we needed in our tiny back yard.  We make it a Saturday morning ritual of our to go to the Yorkmont Farmer’s Market.  Long ago, when I was making crafts and selling them at the tailgate market, we’d get a lot of our produce there.  Several of the vendors from the Tailgate now sell at Atherton Mills Market.  While I like the Atherton Mills Market, the Yorkmont Market tends to have more things and more vendors, more people and more variety. 

Although Greg is the one who typically makes “friends” at the market, I have to admit that I have my own favorite vendors.   I like the Secret Chocolatier because they give samples to John Tyson and also because they use the Spicy Globe Basil that we grow to make their Basil Truffles.  I like Puzzle Piece farm best out of all the produce providing farmers.  Their table display looks cool, the people are friendly, they farm sustainably, and they write a funny update email and blog.  Greg likes to buy meat at Underwood Family Farms and Red Dirt Ranch.  One of these days, he’s going to keep his promise and join the Red Dirt Ranch folk for processing.  He’s hoping to learn a thing or two from the pros before our chickens stop laying eggs and become potential dinner.

I have noticed that there are certain vendors that I trust more than others.  I know the ones who have signs saying “Organic” or “Local” make me feel better about my purchases.  The other thing that attracts me is if the person at the booth actually looks like a farmer.  Oh, and the other thing that makes me more apt to purchase from a vendor is if they are wearing an NC State t-shirt.  I figure if they went to an agricultural school, then they must be legit.  This just goes to show that my Wolfpack upbringing influences not only my choice of basketball teams but also my choice of farmers.  Go Pack!

 

Mosquitoes

Now that we have (sort of) conquered the flies, I want to tackle the mosquitoes. We have so many that sometimes they keep me from going outside.
I know all the common knowledge: no standing water, mow your grass, use bt dunks to kill larvae. But all that is just not enough for the ones who have taken over our yard.
Do I really have to get a bat house and learn the bird call for the purple martin?
What are some other earth friendly options?

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Cherry tomatoes

What do you do with all the cherry tomatoes…from the plants you planted and the volunteers? We need quick and easy solutions. Are there any?

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Flowers in the garden

I keep picking and they keep growing more!
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