Saturday, December 11, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

December certainly came in with a blast, A COLD BLAST!! We, at the Crooked Cedar Farm, have been enduring, as well as everyone else in these parts, a very cold time of it and it's not going away quite yet. Last Saturday morning we did make it back to the All Local Market and had a good day selling our produce. Not so this week, however. We covered most of the greens and salad mixes with frost blankets at the beginning of the week and just removed them today. No picking last week or market today, either. Just too cold. Rain is expected tonight and the temps should be above freezing. The plants really need some rain and thawed soil so their roots can take up the water. Tomorrow afternoon, the frost blankets go back on as the weather is going to be freezing again until mid week.

While it's been so cold, we have done a little decorating and shopping for Christmas. It will soon be here. It seems to come around faster every year.

 Our son, his wife and his two children came over last Sunday and brought me a beautiful flower, a red cyclamen, for my birthday. It looks so pretty on the kitchen table. We had such a good time with them and our two grandsons. I also had calls from our other son, his wife, other family members and friends for my birthday. It was a good day.

I was able to work in the greenhouse this week, which was a toasty 70 degrees. I planted the window boxes that Selvin gave me for my birthday. They are going on the three windows on the front of the house that aren't covered by the porch. I've wanted to have window boxes there for a long time and they should be very pretty when the plants grow enough to be seen. The broccoli and kohlrabi seedlings are looking great and will soon be big enough to come off of the heat mats. I'll keep them under the lights, though, so they won't get leggy.

Everyday I are replenishing the wood pile on the porch and the wood stove is pumping out wonderful warm heat. Love that wood heat. While it's a lot of work to cut, split and haul the wood, we would rather have this kind of heat. We do have a gas pack furnace for a backup heat source.

Selvin's back continues to improve and he is able to do a few more things around the farm. Just light tasks, but still taking it slow.Today I picked just a small amount of spinach, which I put into omelets for supper tonight. We also had our great "Summer in a Jar" tomato soup. Nothing better on a cold winter's night.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Getting Ready to Start Harvesting

Today we started getting all of our big washing and picking tubs ready for the upcoming harvest this week. We also washed the big plastic bags that we hold the washed and dried greens in for the market and home sales. I checked the field and will start picking and cutting greens tomorrow. We are going to the market on Saturday so its time to get going. Just have to wait for the rain to finish. It should be clear tomorrow, but cold. I'll need to break out the gloves and stocking hat. If I am able to pick enough this week, I will sent out an e-mail for farm sales. We'll see how much this first harvest yields. While it rained this afternoon, we went through the remaining peppers to see what was still good. We have lots of hot peppers, which seem to hold better and dry great. I am thinking of making some pepper vinegar to sale. Lots of people love hot vinegar with their greens.
Time to cook supper, fish and grits, then settle down on the sofa. It's good sleeping weather.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Raking leaves

Today was a great day to get outside and rake leaves. It was cold and partly cloudy early this morning, but by 11 am the sun came out. Instead of trying to use the leaf blower to get the leaves in rows, I used the riding lawn mower. I just raised the cutting deck to its highest position,turned on the blades and away I went across the yard. This worked great to get most of the leaves in rows and then I came back with my rake to finish raking everything nice and neat. I then collected the leaves onto a tarp and pulled them to my flower beds and spread the leaves as mulch. The yard looks much better. Leaves are still falling, but I plan to start topdressing all the flower beds with pine straw for that finished look.  Everything always looks so much better mulched and it sure helps keep down weeds. Mulch will keep the plants warm this winter and keep the work down next spring.

Selvin had to go to therapy this afternoon and then on to Lowe's to get the shelving units that we will be using in our market space. We have to redesign our allotted space in order to have enough room to set up our produce display. We will be returning to the All Local Market this coming Saturday. While he was gone, I watered all the plants in the greenhouse and raised beds and planted out some more scallions.  I have just one more pot of scallion seedlings to plant. Waiting for them to get just a little bigger.

Supper was the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers. Tomorrow I will have to cook something else other than turkey. It sure was good, though. We have now settled down in front of the fire. We'll both be asleep in no time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back to the Blog

Now that Thanksgiving is past and things are finally settling down a little on the farm, we hope to now do a little better with keeping up with the blog. As many of you know, Selvin has been laid up with a herniated disc in his back.
He is improving and is getting very antsy not being able to work. I keep assigning little projects for him and sometimes have to call him down for trying to over-do. Need to get him well because salad season will soon be upon us. Yes, there will be salad mix in about another week.

During the last month the log splitter arrived and Kirby, Matt (our son who visited us during Thanksgiving from Washington state) and I have split two nice big piles of firewood. We let Selvin help by working the lever to raise and lower the wedge.

The Swiss Chard plants, that I grew from seed in the greenhouse, have been planted in the field. Still have three more flats to plant, but I think I'll use some of the plants in my flower boxes for the winter. The plants are not only good to eat, they are also beautiful when planted with pansies and ornamental kale.  It will also be good to keep some in reserve in case of die-off with the cold weather coming. I have also started white and purple kohlrabi and broccoli plants for the early spring planting. The little plants are staying very toasty and warm on the heat mats and under the grow lights in greenhouse. The snow peas are also coming up in the side garden. Planted six rows about two weeks ago and will plant six more rows after the start of the new year. They will grow slowly during the winter months and then come spring will shoot up and be ready to harvest around late March.

Tonight we are enjoying a quiet Sunday evening by a nice warm fire. Nice to just relax and get ready to rake leaves tomorrow.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Digging Sweet Potatoes

It has been a real job the last few days getting the rest of the sweet potatoes out of the ground. With the rain last week, the lower part of the rows were very wet and sticky. The potatoes were also very deep in the ground. After much plowing, I think we have gotten most of them. Thanks to our friend, Darlene, for her help on Saturday afternoon. Selvin has not been able to do much work since his back injury. We finally found out that the trouble with his back is a herniated lumbar disc. Today he is feeling better and was able to sit in the warm sunshine and clean the potatoes as I dug them out. As soon as the inflammation and pain is under control he will have some physical therapy. The greens and lettuce continue to grow well, but I will have to replant some of the spinach. The hot weather caused some of it to "dampen off" and die. Looking forward to cooler temperatures.
Need some frost on the collards and then we can start harvesting and selling them. Maybe in the next few weeks we will have them ready to go. The broccoli crowns have been harvested and now the side shoots are forming.  The broccoli has been delicious. I hope everyone, who were lucky enough to get some, enjoyed it as much as we have.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Almost Finished Planting

Hurray! I have just about finished planting all of the seeds and plants for the late fall and winter garden. Just have to plant the onion sets, garlic, leeks, scallions, snow peas and Swiss chard during the next couple of weeks. Thursday and Friday were spent seeding all of the remaining raised beds with the lettuce for the Crooked Cedar Salad mix. The spinach, carrots, beets, and kale that were seeded two weeks ago have all germinated well and are growing, The weather has been warm, but too dry, so I have been watering daily all the plants and seed beds. Today, Selvin's back felt well enough for him to change the oil in the car. Hopefully, he is on the mend. I dug a couple hills of sweet potatoes this afternoon and it looks like we will have a good crop. Next week, we will use the tractor to harvest them, which should be faster than digging by hand. I have been working on a website for the farm and it is coming along. I think that soon I will be ready to share the web address so people can visit it. Tonight I made western omelets, brown rice and quinoa (pronounced "keen wa"), and grilled salmon for supper, with zucchini bread and ice cream for dessert.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back to Work

We have arrived back from our vacation and are very busy. We had a great trip to Alaska and Washington state. Alaska is an awesome place. It is so big and wild with lots of wildlife and different climates. Can't believe that it is now below freezing in many of the places that we were visiting just three weeks ago.
Here at the farm, plowing and planting have been the order of the day since our return. So far almost all of the collard, cabbage and brussels sprouts plants have been planted and watered in with the use of the drip irrigation hoses. It has been quite a job to get over 1000 plants in the ground in the past week. It is so dry, sure hope it rains tomorrow.
As soon as we got home, Selvin plowed most of the raised beds and Edwina sowed five different types of kale, the carrots, spinach and the four types of beets. Everything with the exception of the carrots are up and growing.
Carrots take a long time to germinate. They should be making a showing in about another two weeks.
Selvin is having some back problems, so now Edwina is learning to drive the garden tractor and the tiller.  Doing a pretty good job at it, too.
Edwina hopes to plow the rest of the seed beds tomorrow and finish the sowing of the different salad greens.
We're looking forward to finishing all of the major planting this week.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Taking a Break

Just wanted to let everyone know that we have decided to take a little break and will be back very soon with the day to day happenings on the Crooked Cedar Farm.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Planting day

This morning Selvin got up early and plowed and prepared two wide rows for planting. After breakfast he went over to the Feed and Seed store to pick up the broccoli and collard plants, while Edwina spread compost over the rows. Just finished up when a customer came by to pick up an order for okra.  Selvin arrived home with the news that we couldn't get a many plants today as we needed. We visited with our customer for a while and after he left, we planted out the two flats of plants that were available and watered them in. After lunch, two more customers came by to pick up their orders.  One of our customers was new to the farm, so we gave her a tour. We love to visit with our customers when they come by. Gives us a break and we make nice friends. The rest of the afternoon was spent just relaxing after a busy morning and week.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sleeping In

We slept in a little later today thanks to the rain in the early morning hours. After the field dried off, Edwina picked four rows of butter beans and some eggplants that are hanging on in the garden.Selvin weed eated around the daylillies and loaded the truck with the remains of the woodpile and dumped it in the gully. During lunch, Edwina shelled out the butter beans while watching "The Young and The Restless" and packaged them up for a customer. We were featured in a local Blythewood newspaper, The Independent Voice of the People's Republic of Blythewood, Thursday, Aug. 19 issue. I spent the afternoon trying to figure out how to post the article to Facebook and will attempt to do so here. Thanks to Susan, a friend of ours for her help. After a supper of omelets, grits and watermelon, Edwina picked okra and Selvin checked the dryness of the soil to determine if we could start planting the broccoli and collard plants.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday, Aug. 19

Our friend and helper, Kirby came over today to help get the rest of the stakes out of the ground and then Selvin and he loaded the truck with the old rotted firewood pile and took it up to a gully on the back of our property and dumped it there. This should help control some of the erosion that we have every time it rains hard. Edwina baked and iced two coconut cream cakes for a customer to pickup on Saturday ,after returning from a dental appointment. Took it kind of easy this afternoon and then went out to pick okra toward evening when the temperature was a little cooler. Just leftovers for supper tonight, but did have fresh baked zucchini bread and ice cream for dessert. We are addicted to dessert.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer garden clean up time

Today was another hot, busy day. We have been trying to clean up the fields and one of these duties is to pull up the spent tomato plants and stakes. Not an easy task, but we decided to use the tractor to help pull the stakes out of the ground. We hooked a chain to the potato plow and the stake and used the hydraulic lift. Worked like a charm. Edwina picked the last of the tomatoes, pulled up the plants, and then we raked up the plants and removed them from the field. We like to get rid of the old plants in order to keep down viruses and fungi that can damage next years crops. Selvin plowed where the 500 tomato plants had been and also some of the other parts of the garden where we will be planting the fall crops. Edwina pulled the irrigation hoses out of the rows  of eggplants and peppers and put them away. While Selvin made a trip to Columbia, SC, Edwina picked and prepared okra for the freezer. For supper tonight we had baked chicken, fried okra, brown rice and for dessert, the rest of the apple pie that Edwina made with apples from our trees. Tonight we had a really good rain.


Welcome to the diary of the Crooked Cedar Farm. This will be an account of the day to day activities of life on our farm. We hope you will enjoy reading about the workings of a small organic farm and that it will be educational and enlightening. We at the Crooked Cedar Farm are not as good yet with blogging as we are with farming, so please bear with us as we learn. Lets get started.