ON THE ‘STEAD

Clay pot irrigation tomato bed.  Cassidy, our cat, sleeps among the rows of tomatoes

Plants are heavy with sun ripen tomatoes.  No salmonella worries on our farm!

Summer blooms.

It’s a jungle out there.  Lady bug earth oven nestles amongst the garden greenery

Backyard garden growing up!

The garden giants take over! The four corners of the yard are packed, stacked with vegetables, herbs and fruits.

A berry good harvest of strawberries

Huckleberries!  You know I always wondered who was the first  (er, last) to realize that this deadly nightshade look a like was edible.

Cukes alive!  It’s picklin’ time

Summer’s not complete without homegrown tomatoes

So many interesting things are happening here on the urban homestead It’s hard to write about that’s going on but I’ll try to give a sense of summer time on the ‘stead.

First off, it’s going to be hot and humid once again.  I know I said this before, but what is up with the humidity – could someone please tell me this is NOT normal.  We are in in SoCal – think scrub brush and cactus for petes sake. Is the increase in humidity what we should expect from now on?

Around the Urban Homestead

We have three broody hens so the chicken house once again is under lock down.  Of course the lock down causes a bit of a raucous since the broodies are all uptight – feathers puffed, head down and cluck cluck clucking.  Of course, the non broody hens can’t stand the insane antics of the broody ones so there’s some internal, shunning issues amongst the ladies.  I know it’s a bit rude, but we find broody hens hilarious.  Yeah, I know, we need to get a life.  But hey, that’s our form of cheap entertainment and that is our life.

The homestead bees are steadily working all the bloomin’ herbs.  Towards evening the air is perfumed with the sweet scent of honey.  Make one stop for minute to inhale the sweet, herbal aroma.  They guys will be checking on the hive soon – perhaps harvest some more summer honey.

In the summer most of the delicate green salad crops are grown in containers or under larger shading vegetables.  With the intense heat, our mobile “greens” containers been moved to the northwest side of the house under the passive cooling trellis that’s covered in colorful scarlet runner beans.

The garden is growing like crazy and the harvest is pouring in – huckleberries, apples, peaches, strawberries, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beans and more.   So the kitchen is packed with all sorts of homegrown vegetables and fruits so I know who I’ll be spending time with from now on.

I don;t know about you, but we like to play music while we’re jammin’ – what about ya’ll?  What tunes do whistle to while you work?  Right now we are in an 80’s sort of mood – 10,000 Maniacs, Cranberries & REM make up much our play list this week.

Back to gardening…

We were discussing the other day that the growing season feels like it’s a month behind schedule.  Are you fellow SoCal gardeners also sensing this?  Aren’t you seeing firsthand that the season’s a “little off” again this year?

For the July 4th gathering our garden provided us with a wonderful harvest blessing. I know I forgot to take a picture (bummer), but we contributed three tasty homegrown salads for the potluck.

1. a cool, refreshing cucumber and dill salad with dressing

2. summer salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, arugula and basil with homemade Italian dressing

3. the evening’s ultimate hit a homegrown fruit bowl with apples, peaches, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries with chopped pineapple sage and lemon verbena.

It’ll be a busy week in kitchen this week with preserving the garden’s bounty, so posting will be lighter than usual.

Ya”ll can join in the fun!  If you haven’t already accepted your preserving assignment then join fellow recruits at  Harvest Keeper Challenge

I’ll be hanging out with Mr Cuke & Ms Apple how about you?

Newsbytes

We urban homesteaders really enjoy making the NY Times No Knead bread.  Fellow Freedom Gardener and bread addict, A Posse Esse, has made a nifty No Knead Bread time chart

Imagine…. $200 a barrel oil

Quince Urban Homestead – nominated for Freedom Gardener of the month

Hmmm, wonder who’s next month nomination will be?

Coming Up

Another busy week for us.  Besides the everyday goings on this week there are meetings, speaking engagements coming up,  an inspirational film screening event to plan and another challenge to issue to all you new recruits.

Stay tuned!

:: Field Hand Appreciation :: GM $10 donation.  Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated.  Look for something in the mail!

Comments(28)

  1. ~~Melissa says:

    I really enjoy your updates, broody ladies and all! I’m in southern Ontario, Canada and my growing season is also late. My marker is strawberries which are normally ripe and done in the first few weeks of June. I’m just getting some now. Raspberries, which nicely follow the strawbs, should be full blast by now, but the early blooms are just turning to berry. I guess only time will tell if we’re moving into new ‘normals’ or these are just some quirky years….
    Happy canning!

  2. ~~Melissa says:

    I really enjoy your updates, broody ladies and all! I’m in southern Ontario, Canada and my growing season is also late. My marker is strawberries which are normally ripe and done in the first few weeks of June. I’m just getting some now. Raspberries, which nicely follow the strawbs, should be full blast by now, but the early blooms are just turning to berry. I guess only time will tell if we’re moving into new ‘normals’ or these are just some quirky years….
    Happy canning!

  3. Katie says:

    I live in Northern California and we too are “enjoying” higher than normal humidity this year, along with a lot more wind than normal. I hope this is not permanent – our plants are NOT liking all the wind.

    And yes, I think our garden is about a month behind where it should be. I’m looking at pictures from last year and can’t believe how immature this year’s garden is looking. You are not alone.

    I thought huckleberries weren’t domesticated! My dad grew up in Montana and adores huckleberries. I didn’t know you could grow them – I thought all cultivation attempts had been unsuccessful…good to know otherwise.

    I love these picture posts!

  4. Katie says:

    I live in Northern California and we too are “enjoying” higher than normal humidity this year, along with a lot more wind than normal. I hope this is not permanent – our plants are NOT liking all the wind.

    And yes, I think our garden is about a month behind where it should be. I’m looking at pictures from last year and can’t believe how immature this year’s garden is looking. You are not alone.

    I thought huckleberries weren’t domesticated! My dad grew up in Montana and adores huckleberries. I didn’t know you could grow them – I thought all cultivation attempts had been unsuccessful…good to know otherwise.

    I love these picture posts!

  5. Jan says:

    We are in KY and I think the garden is behind this year also. Usually by now the tomatoes are turning and I havent had one yet!!
    I understand how you feel about the kitchen being your best friend though, our cukes are growing like crazy so the canning process is in full swing!

  6. Jan says:

    We are in KY and I think the garden is behind this year also. Usually by now the tomatoes are turning and I havent had one yet!!
    I understand how you feel about the kitchen being your best friend though, our cukes are growing like crazy so the canning process is in full swing!

  7. Joe says:

    The last time I had hens I was four years old. What does “broody” mean anyway?
    I know people would curse me, but I’d like to see gas rise to $7, or even $10, per gallon. That’s what I think it’ll take to pust most Americans to change their lifestyle. Can you imagine a 170 mile commute? That’s crazy!
    On the other hand, “Restaurant owners are complaining that thieves are helping themselves to used barrels of cooking oil, which can be home-brewed into biodiesel fuel.”
    Your garden looks like such fun! I want to join! 🙂

  8. Joe says:

    The last time I had hens I was four years old. What does “broody” mean anyway?
    I know people would curse me, but I’d like to see gas rise to $7, or even $10, per gallon. That’s what I think it’ll take to pust most Americans to change their lifestyle. Can you imagine a 170 mile commute? That’s crazy!
    On the other hand, “Restaurant owners are complaining that thieves are helping themselves to used barrels of cooking oil, which can be home-brewed into biodiesel fuel.”
    Your garden looks like such fun! I want to join! 🙂

  9. Laurie says:

    Here in Wisconsin we are definitely 2-3 weeks behind normal in plant growth/harvest. My perennial flowers are also showing up very slowly. But, then, I remember that last year everything was about one week EARLY, so who knows??

    I am very happy that this Spring I started many of my vegetables indoors – these plants are doing waaaay better than their direct seeded counterparts. I actually harvested a cucumber yesterday – the earliest I’ve ever had one – from a plant that got a huge head start indoors. The zucchini is also ready to harvest – yay, I was hoping to extend the season, instead of getting a flood of zukes all at once. Now if the direct seeded plants will just take off then I’ll be set. I’m making plans to start zukes and cukes and pumpkins indoors again next season.

    Praying for a late frost – Laurie

  10. Laurie says:

    Here in Wisconsin we are definitely 2-3 weeks behind normal in plant growth/harvest. My perennial flowers are also showing up very slowly. But, then, I remember that last year everything was about one week EARLY, so who knows??

    I am very happy that this Spring I started many of my vegetables indoors – these plants are doing waaaay better than their direct seeded counterparts. I actually harvested a cucumber yesterday – the earliest I’ve ever had one – from a plant that got a huge head start indoors. The zucchini is also ready to harvest – yay, I was hoping to extend the season, instead of getting a flood of zukes all at once. Now if the direct seeded plants will just take off then I’ll be set. I’m making plans to start zukes and cukes and pumpkins indoors again next season.

    Praying for a late frost – Laurie

  11. Di says:

    Well I started late in the season so yep I am behind anyways. First tomatoes are ripening now! So excited! And yes it has been humid here in So Cal! Dreading the real summer if this is anything to go by. though we did have a marine layer this morning till about 7.30am! Burned off quick!
    What size are your raised beds. Once I get the back yard cleared I want raised beds on our terrace.
    All that is AFTER I sort out the squirrel issue we have right now! *sigh*

  12. Di says:

    Well I started late in the season so yep I am behind anyways. First tomatoes are ripening now! So excited! And yes it has been humid here in So Cal! Dreading the real summer if this is anything to go by. though we did have a marine layer this morning till about 7.30am! Burned off quick!
    What size are your raised beds. Once I get the back yard cleared I want raised beds on our terrace.
    All that is AFTER I sort out the squirrel issue we have right now! *sigh*

  13. Marci says:

    We have had a cooler than normal summer. I think things are a bit behind. My first tomato is turning orange. Our peppers aren’t growing really well, but I think it is because it has been so cool.

    Why do you close the coop down when you get broody hens? Is it to keep them on the eggs?

    Also, you have tomatoes year round there in Southern California?

    Sorry for all the questions. 😀

  14. Marci says:

    We have had a cooler than normal summer. I think things are a bit behind. My first tomato is turning orange. Our peppers aren’t growing really well, but I think it is because it has been so cool.

    Why do you close the coop down when you get broody hens? Is it to keep them on the eggs?

    Also, you have tomatoes year round there in Southern California?

    Sorry for all the questions. 😀

  15. Cameron says:

    I’m in northern Vermont and we’re also experiencing way-higher-than-normal humidity this year. We’ve also gotten way more rain than normal. Afternoon thunderstorms are becoming almost a daily occurrence, more typical of Florida than northern New England! So it’s not just SoCal that’s experiencing the high humidity.

  16. Cameron says:

    I’m in northern Vermont and we’re also experiencing way-higher-than-normal humidity this year. We’ve also gotten way more rain than normal. Afternoon thunderstorms are becoming almost a daily occurrence, more typical of Florida than northern New England! So it’s not just SoCal that’s experiencing the high humidity.

  17. Stacy says:

    Yes, please, let the humidity stop! While we’re at it, I could stand a weather forecast where not every single day started with a “9” or (egads) a “1”. It’s killing us over here. If I’m not melted by the end of August it’ll be a miracle.

  18. Stacy says:

    Yes, please, let the humidity stop! While we’re at it, I could stand a weather forecast where not every single day started with a “9” or (egads) a “1”. It’s killing us over here. If I’m not melted by the end of August it’ll be a miracle.

  19. Lucy says:

    Harvesting in full swing there, I see! I haven’t had any tomatoes other than green yet, but my beans and squash are starting to produce. Whee!

    When are we going to get a pound update on “Growing for 10K”?

  20. Lucy says:

    Harvesting in full swing there, I see! I haven’t had any tomatoes other than green yet, but my beans and squash are starting to produce. Whee!

    When are we going to get a pound update on “Growing for 10K”?

  21. P~ says:

    Having grown up in Southern CA (Huntington, Redondo, San Diego) and now being in Northern Utah, you always make me so jealous with your early yields!! Thanks for the nod too, I hope it makes planning the NYT bread a little easier for someone. It helped me, but maybe I’m just a little slow 😉
    P~

  22. P~ says:

    Having grown up in Southern CA (Huntington, Redondo, San Diego) and now being in Northern Utah, you always make me so jealous with your early yields!! Thanks for the nod too, I hope it makes planning the NYT bread a little easier for someone. It helped me, but maybe I’m just a little slow 😉
    P~

  23. Sue says:

    I LOVE your pictures. I live in the midwest. Everything you are harvesting is ahead of me. I just noticed a cute little cucumber on one of the vines, none of my tomatoes are red yet, but the first of the jalepenos is ready to pick. We had a really cool spring so everything does seem to be a bit late this year.

  24. Sue says:

    I LOVE your pictures. I live in the midwest. Everything you are harvesting is ahead of me. I just noticed a cute little cucumber on one of the vines, none of my tomatoes are red yet, but the first of the jalepenos is ready to pick. We had a really cool spring so everything does seem to be a bit late this year.

  25. Wendy says:

    We like to listen to audio books while we’re “jamming” :). Right now, it’s the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Fascinating.

    Of course, so far, it’s only strawberries and rhubarb, but it’s still early for harvesting and canning here in Maine ;).

  26. Wendy says:

    We like to listen to audio books while we’re “jamming” :). Right now, it’s the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Fascinating.

    Of course, so far, it’s only strawberries and rhubarb, but it’s still early for harvesting and canning here in Maine ;).

  27. Kristi says:

    Everything’s late up Seattle’s way as well. I only harvested one pound of food from the garden during June. But it’s making up for it this month!

    I was “jammin'” strawberries last weekend. I didn’t turn the stereo on, but the song that was going through my head was Bob Marley and the Wailers “Jamming”.

  28. Kristi says:

    Everything’s late up Seattle’s way as well. I only harvested one pound of food from the garden during June. But it’s making up for it this month!

    I was “jammin'” strawberries last weekend. I didn’t turn the stereo on, but the song that was going through my head was Bob Marley and the Wailers “Jamming”.

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