Memphis Backyard Farmer

Farming Fun In Knoxville
June 27, 2011, 8:16 pm
Filed under: General

The Scotts are completing a weekend jaunt to Knoxville, TN today. The weather is beautiful here in East Tennessee; it’s a few degrees cooler here, and the humidity is not the wet blanket covering you in Memphis.

We had a little farming adventure yesterday that I thought I’d share with anyone who comes through this way. We visited “The Fruit And Berry Patch“, a little pick-your-own place here in the hills. We took in blueberries and bucket-loads of some of the sweetest blackberries I’ve tasted (from thorn-less blackberry canes, no less), and simply ran out of time to hit the peaches. It was a leisurely afternoon of picking off the dripping wet bushes (it had just finished raining when we arrived), wandering among the rows, and playing with goats and sheep. The operation is run by a sweet man who mans the store and keeps it stocked with an assortment of home-made fried pies, molasses suckers, fruit spread, apple butter and honey. The honey, by the way, was my only point of contention with the operation. I asked where his bees were (assuming he produced his own honey from the berry patch), and though he has bees on the property, he buys his honey from…Montana! In his defense, he claims it’s the best he’s ever had – pure alfala honey – and so he orders it from Montana. But clearly he’s never had ours.

If you’re in the Knoxville area, be sure to stop by.

June 9 Garden Update
June 9, 2011, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Gardening

I’ve been out of town for a few days, and came back to find things in the garden trucking along. Here’s a quick rundown of today’s work.

Because of the weird weather this spring, the tomatoes and peppers are a bit behind. But thankfully, both have blooms on them, so hopefully they’ll set some fruit before the real heat comes on.

Potatoes are also blooming. I’m so hoping for some good potatoes this year. Last year we didn’t plant, but got a pleasant surprise because we evidently left a few stragglers in the ground the year before, which produced a wonderful – though small – crop. We’ve planted “Red Gold” potatoes from – you guessed it – High Mowing Seeds – which were a second choice. We really wanted “Yellow Gold” (one of our favorites), but after many backorder notices, High Mowing told us that the Yellow Gold’s weren’t going to be available. But these have come up strong, so we’re anxious.

Beans are producing really well. I’ve planted beans everywhere, for a few reasons. First of all, beans are a great staple around the house. High in fiber, protein, and good carbs, they’re really a healthful food. But second, because my soil sucks. Much of the soil I’ve used in my raised beds has either been bagged topsoil from Home Depot, or a load of soil from my local nursery. I can tell by comparison with other similar garden plots that the soil is just deplete of nutrients. So in an effort to build as much nitrogen as I can, I’ve put beans in virtually every bed: green beans, kidneys and Calypso’s.

The compost “crop” is coming on strong. The bed I cooked over winter is ready to spread (and is growing some nice crops of its own: squash and tomatoes abound!). The early spring pile will be ready by July, and I’ve started a new bed for fall bed prep. Today I got everything turned and watered.

And finally, I rely on natural pest control mechanisms, one of which is predators. I’m the biggest predator (I go slug hunting every night), but I encourage wasps, ants and frogs to join in garden security. But I have a new helper – this bad boy showed up today. It’s my first snake here in the yard. I don’t know what he’s eaten, but when I found him, he was fat with some critter, which was still wriggling inside.

Circle of life.