Whats Happening at Pipe Creek Farm (July)

We have been blessed this year with lots of rain! That is hours of Mother Nature doing my evening chores and cooling off the the very hot daily temperatures. But rain can bring its own unique problems, we have many down or weakened trees and loads of weeds. So …lots of expense and hard work..as always.

The Garden shed awaits a rainy afternoon

They hay harvest was late and got barned just before the 4th- so no fireworks! It only takes minutes for a spark to level a full barn of hay. But thanks to the downed Locust tree, we could see all the other fireworks from the porch.

Tomatoes seem late to me, but we planted so many that I will never go hungry this winter. The herbs are nuts! The neighbor’s corn is almost ready. BTW how do you buy “Local Corn” when the fields everywhere are only half high? As always zucchini and squash are prolific. Potatoes are doing great. Sweet potatoes not so much. A good lesson to the different ways they were planted… Its really too hot to be outside during the day but starting after work there are a couple of hours that are really beautiful in the garden and of course, we finish the day atop the hill or by the pond with a glass of wine.

OUR STORY

What we can still do in the garden:

FIRST: WE SHOP

All the garden centers have SALES going on now. Try and buy from the local garden centers if possible but even I cannot resist the sales at Home Depot and Lowes. A 4 foot tall Nanho Butterfly Bush is now 17.00. Come on! Do be careful though…the damage done to these plants from forced survival waterings and sitting on baking asphalt for months can be too much for healthy roots. I sometimes look at these centers as a plant ASPCA. I feel more like I am adopting. If a tree is truly days away from death, I always offer to take them off their hands for few dollars. Amazingly, managers agree most times. So its a great time to shop, make some deals and plan for next years garden lay out.

SECOND: We can still plant. You can even still sow seeds. But get started now!

BEANS, BEETS, CARROTS can start from seed

CUCUMBERS, KALE, CABBAGE, BROCCOLI, CAWLIFLOWER, SQUASH are available in plant packs and that gives them some extra time. If you grow to harvest- you can wait on Kale – it hates the heat and will push to flower. I have Kale in my fenced garden for eating and Kale in the pasture garden for its beauty and for the deer, of course.

THIRD: We Harvest! You should still be getting strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. And then, of course, its July so we get Peaches!!

We planted 4 trees in our newly restored orchard, two made it past winter. We had moved them late when we finally got the orchard cleared last year. But we did not give them enough time to get their roots down. The surviving two are burdened down with peaches now and they should be in our store by this weekend. And I will be making peach ice cream for myself…If peaches are really plentiful, we’ll do a chutney. Of all the fruit crops, peaches are the most beautiful and helpful….planted in the right spot (protected from wind)…they are pretty easy. So I’ll be checking those SALES for a few more to complete that orchard.

FOURTH: MORE MULCHING ! Compost should be turning out now from early Spring clean up and water will get scarce next month. Its back breaking work so we do one wheel barrel every morning. and just let the projects pile up.

FIFTH: We start the canning. We have finished the Dill pickles and Bread and Butter pickles. And tomatoes are now coming on at a rate that is beyond our meals and store. So its getting to sauce time. And with all these zuchinnis- I’m guessing that relish is in my future.

WHAT WE’RE COOKIN

BLACKBERRY CAKE

HOT MILK CAKE

VIRGINIA HAM BISCUITS

VISITING the GARDEN SHED

When we first moved to Pipe Creek Farm, our first project was the horse run in barn. Filled with manure and hornets, it was very close to the main house and had to be cleaned but was far enough way to be able to have a rustic, tree house fun space of it own. Someplace you sit while still dirty or hide out with a book.

The shed was small- but big enough to be a room. So manure out of the barn and into the compost pile…Next we tried to level out the shed floor but even an axe could not get through. We put down cobblestone “look” cement pavers. A pair of louvered doors that I had been carrying around for years- finally found their forever home on either side of the opening. We painted the interior a light green, with a black green coat over the beams and the ceiling (metal, yuck) and them scrubbed the wood walls which this fall will get a coat of wax.

Then it was off to the stone yard for stone pallets, which are stronger and made to last and they have way too many! Back home and level out the front of the entry. Lay out the pallets, measure them and then off to Lowes for decking. No you should not do this…but you CAN. I wanted a deck, a porch so that a dining table could be under the stars. It doesn’t have to last forever, I wont.

We found a great but over the hill, antique German wardrobe at an auction (Brad Dudley & Son). It had no doors so we took just the top and bottom and made a big potting stand. Above it, another collection of iron wedges found a home. I put in a small flagstone area underneath to keep water from seeping into the wood. The potting area faces the garden and old zinc milk boxes keep seeds and small tools dry.

On the other side, I put a grill. This summer, sauces for canning will all be done here. Meanwhile, dinner goes right to the grill! and we rarely make it back in the house. Carrots with just a little oil and salt and pepper- peppers, corn and tomatoes are all just a few minutes and a little gas or charcoal from vine to dine!

The shed looks down on a new stock tank pool tucked into a fig orchard.

Have you redone a shed? I would love to see it!

Want to learn more about Pipe Creek Farm

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