Mystery vegetables from volunteer plants
Random Thoughts

Five Things Friday

The five little things that made my week…

1. I haven’t been as vigilant with the garden as I usually am, which means loads of volunteer plants and lots of mystery vegetables that we’re starting to harvest. This week’s haul included butternut squash, mystery summer squash, mystery winter squash, and what I think is an overgrown mystery cucumber (but could possibly be a mystery melon). Such are the little joys the garden brings to the kitchen.

Little helper in the garden

2. She loves to help at harvest time (or any time we’re out in the garden, really).

An onslaught of figs is coming soon

3. Oh boy. Looks like we’re gonna be getting a few hundred figs this summer!

Beautiful ribbed heirloom tomatoes grown from seven-year-old seeds

4. These lovely, juicy, ribbed heirloom tomatoes came from seven-year-old seeds! (Have you ever wondered how long your seeds can actually last? Check out my cheat sheet on seed storage life here.)

Color-coordinated tomatoes ready to turn into tomato sauce

5. Anybody else like to color-coordinate their tomatoes? These babies are ready to turn into tomato sauce this weekend!

The flock has grown! Meet the new girls
Backyard Chickens

The Flock Has Grown! Meet the New Girls

A few months ago, Will and I revisited with friends and farmers Megan and Jeremy, just a couple hours up the coast from us in the small town of Lompoc, California. Tucked in a canyon north of Santa Barbara, on 40 acres of old-growth forest, they run a humane poultry farm, organic farm stand, and local CSA operation called Dare 2 Dream Farms.

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while may remember this post from nearly six years ago, when I brought home my original flock of three feisty ladies.

After the devastating loss of our Barred Rock this past spring, we knew we needed to bring home some new companions for Iman, our Golden Laced Cochin (and the only remaining hen from that first flock). And we knew there was no other place we’d rather turn to than Dare 2 Dream for adding to our feathered family.

Plus, we hadn’t seen Megan and Jeremy since that initial visit and were excited to see how they — and the farm — had grown!

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Collecting calendula seeds and fresh eggs from the garden
Random Thoughts

Five Things Friday

The five little things that made my week…

1. Collecting calendula seeds and fresh eggs from the garden. One of the new hens has started laying those beautiful brown eggs, but as I haven’t caught her in the act yet, I don’t know who it is!

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Gardening quick tip: eat those thinnings
Garden of Eatin', Seeds & Seedlings

Gardening Quick Tip: Eat Those Thinnings

Thinning your seedlings is a necessary evil.

On the one hand, thinning helps produce greater yields in the garden, since overcrowded seedlings compete for sun, nutrients, and moisture. When they lack adequate space to develop roots, they can become stunted and unproductive. They’re also more susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases if there’s not enough air circulation between plants.

On the other hand, thinning can be tedious work if (like me) you tend to sprinkle your seeds pretty liberally in the soil and are faced with hundreds of seedlings to thin every season.

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