Category Archives: Gardening Attempts

Nah, Poisonous Things Taste Bad

Spring has finally…well, you know the cliché, and I thought that it would be nice to update everyone as to what is happening here at LongMeadows Farm. So earlier this evening, I took my camera and ventured around the farm to see what I could find.

I first passed my husband Xandy who, even as I write this, is busy installing a new deck, which I have to add is his idea of relaxing on this Father’s Day.

Xandy working diligently on our new deck. I'll post photos when it is done.

Xandy working diligently on our new deck. I’ll post photos when it is done.

I walked to check on our three raised beds that we put in last year to give our larger garden a break (more on that later).

One 12' bed is entirely for tomatoes. Another is the home of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.

One 12′ bed is entirely for tomatoes. Another is the home of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.

 

We have caged some of the tomatoes, and have left others to grow freely. This happy plant loved yesterday's rain, and today's (albeit  windy) sunshine.

We have caged some of the tomatoes, and have left others to grow freely. This happy plant loved yesterday’s rain, and today’s (albeit windy) sunshine.

 

I then walked up by the pool to check on our third bed.

This bed is the home of everything from peppers, to zucchini, to carrots, to beets and other greens.

This bed is the home of everything from peppers, to zucchini, to carrots, to beets and other greens.

The radishes are finally coming to an end, but oh how they have served us over the past couple of weeks.

The radishes are finally coming to an end, but oh how they have served us over the past couple of weeks.

We also have a 1/6 acre garden plot that had been planted by the Browns for over a decade. After a couple of years of pleading, Xandy finally assented to DO SOMETHING about the noxious weeds that had overtaken the plot.

The newly tamed garden plot.

The newly tamed garden plot.

He planted winter rye which we left last year to grow. Earlier this spring we grazed the rye and then Xandy tilled the land twice. What was left is the most amazingly rich soil that I have ever seen. Although, I have to admit that is not saying much considering I have only been gardening for five years.

We have decided to plant half of this plot each year on a rotational schedule. Today I planted crimson clover on the left side, along with in between rows of the rest of the garden.

Here is a tender corn chute that has just emerged. In this plot we have planted onions, potatoes, squash, green beens, and the rest of the tomato, broccoli, and cabbage seedlings that we (I mean Xandy) didn't have the heart to kill.  Funny how that works, he saves the plants and I have to put them in the ground. But I digress...

Here is a tender corn chute that has just emerged. In this plot we have planted onions, potatoes, squash, green beans, corn and the rest of the tomato, broccoli, and cabbage seedlings that we (I mean Xandy) didn’t have the heart to kill. Funny how that works, he saves the plants and I have to put them in the ground. But I digress…

I then walked back by Xandy, out front to check on our garlic. I found my dog relaxing on the front lawn.

This is her favorite spot in both the early evening and early morning.

This is her favorite spot in both the early evening and early morning.

Our garlic, I noticed, is doing fabulously.

The tasty garlic scapes, seed pods that shoot up from the middle of the plant, are starting to grow. I cannot wait to snap them off for cooking.

The tasty garlic scapes, seed pods that shoot up from the middle of the plant, are starting to grow. I cannot wait to snap them off for cooking.

It was while I was picking a few weeds out of the garlic, that I found an interesting purple flowered vine with a hard, round pod that I  wondered if Xandy could identify. I walked back to the deck and asked if he knew what it was.

“No idea,” he said and proceeded to pull apart the pod.

It was hard, and almost felt like a nut.

“It’s wild cucumber, I think,” he said, and then took a bite out of the pod.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” I yelled back at him, “That thing could be poisonous.”

“Nah, poisonous stuff tastes bad.” He said, and took another bite. “Hey, this tastes good. I think we should cultivate it.”

I went inside and frantically searched Google and our Audubon Field Guide for answers. I kept listening outside to be sure that I still heard noises from him, and I wondered where we had put the poison control number. Then I found this:

Glecoma hederacea -- Ground Ivy Not poisonous. Surprisingly he was right. It has actually been used for medicinal uses for centuries.

Glecoma hederacea — Ground Ivy
Not poisonous. Shocking. It has actually been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.

The plant could be toxic for these guys, however:

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So I don’t think that we’ll cultivate it just yet.

That’s if from the farm for this evening. Haying starts tomorrow. Xandy mowed a swathe tonight to be wrapped for silage tomorrow. I guess I won’t see him until September. Hopefully, he won’t eat random plants until then…

 

 

 

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Garlic and Basil and Dill, OH MY!

Finally — we are starting to see some of the “fruits” of our labor. Here are just a few of the things we have begun to harvest:

This may be my favorite thing that we grow: GARLIC. YUM. Garlic gives twice during the year -- first when we harvest the delicious garlic scapes, and now.

This may be my favorite thing that we grow: GARLIC. YUM. Garlic gives twice during the year — first when we harvest the delicious garlic scapes and now as we collect the full heads.

Here is our garlic in the drying racks. We will keep it here for a couple of weeks and then store it in our basement to use during the year. We will cut the "hair" off the bottom of the heads in a few days after the dirt has dried It is just easier that way.

Here is our garlic in the drying racks. We will keep it here for a couple of weeks and then store it in our basement to use during the year. We will cut the “hair” off the bottom of the heads in a few days after the dirt has dried It is just easier that way.

We have A LOT of cucumbers and they are huge. I have also started harvesting some of the beets. This one was particularly large!

We have A LOT of cucumbers and they are huge. I have also started harvesting some of the beets. This one was particularly large! Xandy yelled at me because I gave the beet greens to the pigs. Hey, a pig’s gotta eat too, right???

My basil has just taken off. Pesto, here I come.

My basil has just taken off. Pesto, here I come.

Look at this fabulous dill. Hmmmm...and I have cucumbers. I think I know what is my next post! :-)

Look at this fabulous dill. Hmmmm…and I have cucumbers…. I think I know what my next post will be! :-)

Stay tuned for the rest. Tomatoes are coming, and I think that it may be time for coleslaw. Hooray for summer!

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July 29, 2013 · 8:00 am

It’s OK…They’re Not THOSE Peaches

Placenta Peaches -- 2010

Placenta Peaches — 2010

Kitt showing her true feelings of the trek -- 2013

Kitt showing her true feelings of the trek — 2013

So, our peach tree died. Yes, THAT peach tree. The one that three years ago my husband and young daughter planted above my placenta.

I can’t help but take this a bit to heart. I mean, that placenta nourished my daughter for her entire gestation, and the damn thing can’t even keep a tree alive? Fortunately, my daughter is fine (although looking at her current outfit, you may question my idea of “fine”).

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The Placenta Beech Tree

If I am to be completely honest, my placenta was not entirely faulty. As of now, where the peach tree once stood, a beech tree has taken root.

I know some greater message lies in that tree somewhere — something related to that Rolling Stones hymn about getting what you need, but regardless it is hard not to take the death of the original tree personally.

This year, after enjoying peaches from a friend’s tree, we decided to give peach planting another try. This time (thankfully) placenta-less. Kitt and Xandy “suited-up” and headed to plant out near our apple trees.

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Kitt following her dad to the new planting spot.

"Supervising" the planting process.

“Supervising” the planting process.

The finished product.

The finished product.

This year we are told that we may get a few peaches. After all of this, those better taste like nirvana. I’m just saying.

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Don’t Eat the Peaches

As I mentioned in my first post, I recently gave birth to an amazing little girl: Kitt. Her actual name is Katharine, but when Eartha Kitt passed away during my pregnancy, I had to convince my husband not to call her Eartha (it was a difficult fight, trust me), and so I compromised with “Kitt.” She is an amazing little girl, and motherhood thus far has been an unexpected albeit wonderful challenge.

Much like it was a difficult fight not naming my daughter after Catwoman (or the big globe at the Delorme store off I-95), it was a battle of what to do with my placenta. That’s right: my placenta. I was completely ok with allowing it to be considered biowaste and having it tossed away or incinerated with all of the other body parts, but my husband had other ideas.

“Let’s bury it under a tree.”

“Seriously? A tree?? What if the dogs dig it up????”

“Come on, it will be fun, then the kid will have her own tree.” That’s right, my husband calls his daughter “kid.” “It’s easier that way…you know, ‘kid’, ‘dog’, ‘wife…’ ” ” Don’t get me started on the last one…

“She can have a tree without a freaking placenta underneath it.”

“It won’t be the same.”

Needless to say, I was not victorious in this battle.

According to my husband, the nutrients in the placenta would make amazing fertilizer for the tree.  So upon admittance to the hospital, he smiled and told the nurse that we wanted to keep the placenta.

“Really? For what?”

I have since learned that some women cook and eat their own placenta (mostly in pill form) to help stave off post-partum depression. I am sure she was wondering if that were the case.

“We are going to plant a tree over it.”

“Of course you are…”

So, the hospital kindly put the placenta in a white tupperware container to be frozen until we were ready to use it. For the entire winter I was then forced to root around the thing when getting meat from our chest freezer. There were more than a few nights when I decided on take out instead of braving the freezer.

This spring I got the chance to see a cow placenta (****WARNING — Next picture is not for the faint-hearted****) While this is not the actual placenta I saw, this is a close facsimile and should help to demonstrate just how disgustuing this whole thing is:

That’s it — that’s what I saw, and that (a little smaller of course) is what my husband was planning to plant under a peach tree for our daughter.

I told him that I would have nothing to do with it. I was not going to hold a shovel, the baby, or any human tissue. I couldn’t help but hold the camera, however. So off we went.

There go Xandy and Kitt, off to plant the placenta, I mean peach tree.

 Yup, that is exactly what you think it is. My tough farmer husband gagged a bit while he was putting it into the ground.

There’s the peach tree getting ready to suck up all of the nutrients I am sure.

There they are — Kitt and her proud papa in some sort of perverted American Gothic pose. It’s officially done. The tree has actually now begun to sprout leaves. I wonder how many years it will take before peaches emerge.

I overheard my sister talking to one of her friends the other day — “If ever you are over to Sherry’s and she offers you peach cobbler, or peach pie, or peach preserves, DON’T EAT THEM!” I was a little offended, I mean –what does she have against my placenta??

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