07 August 2012

Corn Porn and Other Photogenic Phruits

A forest of basil


Our attempt at Coleman-esque planting

The hoophouse is green and vibrant

With buckwheat, cowpeas... and maybe a few weeds

Some muskmelons are nearly ripe
Watermelons too

Corn is formed

And ripe!

02 August 2012

WWOOFers, tomatoes, and corn, OH MY!

Three WWOOFers have blown through Long Lane Farm over the past two weeks! First we were visited by Virginia's Erin and Kelly, and this week we have had the pleasure of hosting Charlie from China. They have been a huge help and lots of fun!

Erin with bok choy

Kelly with mustards

Erin & Kelly at the North End Market

Charlie weeding the path

Charlie in the tomato trellis

Our corn is looking beautiful and our tomatoes are finally starting to ripen! Not that green tomatoes aren't delicious--pickled or fried in cornmeal batter! Mullen is threatening to overtake the herb garden, transforming it into a whimsical Seussland, and the sunflowers are coming in nicely.

Beautiful corn!

Beautiful corn & beautiful hoop house!

What's that peeking out? A RED tomato!


Crazy mullein! Great for the lungs when dried and brewed in tea or even, allegedly, smoked!

Shout out to Ultimate Kids

19 July 2012

Visiting Four Season Farm

A month ago, we emailed farming celebrity Eliot Coleman and his wife Barbara Damrosh for advice about Long Lane, specifically with regards to preparing our hoophouse for its first season this fall. We asked them if they were available to skype sometime with us and share their wisdom and experience. Eliot responded promptly to our request, but instead of wanting to skype, he and Barbara graciously invited us up to their farm to visit. It was a bit difficult for us to find time to both visit Eliot together and tend the farm, but we managed to make it work.

After harvesting for Bon Appetit early Monday morning, we finally hit the road for Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine. The journey took us seven hours in the car. The final stretches of Maine greeted us with breathtaking scenery of the sounds and wooded islands and winding roads of the North. I don't think I've ever seen land that can match the beauty of Maine in the last hour of our journey. We arrived later in the evening, but Eliot and Barbara welcomed us warmly to the farm. We were offered a place to cook dinner, veggies for our picking(those super-ripe, right off-the-vine grape tomatoes), and an invitation to sleep anywhere we desired.
The man himself
The next morning we woke early(and sleep-deprived because of constant mosquitoes) to work on the farm. Eliot set us to various tasks. He had us weeding, using tools, prepping beds, and transplanting crops. We had the opportunity to observe him working himself and he personally shared with us each all his knowledge. While showing us certain tools, for example, he even corrected our posture and hand placement. His apprentices demonstrated how they systemically germinate seeds at Four Seasons and also how they meticulously plan and beautifully plant beds. Seeing specifically how they utilize the greenhouses to produce scrumptious cukes and tomatoes will help us out a lot with planting and maintaining the hoophouse later this summer and into fall and winter.  
Note his tidy, efficient, and simple planting
Witnessing his operation in all its glory was truly inspirational. After forty years of experience, this man has farming down to a science. He is dedicated to simplifying and streamlining his work with the earth. Most of his plants are immaculately cared for and tended. He even grows artichokes, in his words, mainly "just to scare the Californian growers" He has a wonderful sense of humor and wit, good stories to tell, and is a wonderful talker. Absorbing his knowledge and witnessing his operations at Four Season Farm has inspired us to bring new techniques to Long Lane. 

10 July 2012

Our beautiful (hoop)house

Construction on our hoophouse finally began last week after months of waiting, and was completed in a mere two days! Since we missed out on the season for greenhouse tomatoes, we're planting a cover crop now to enrich the soil before we plant greens upon greens upon greens for the winter months.

The whole cleared area during construction.
 Our greenhouse is built on a metal track, so it can roll from one end of our plot to the other. This way we can rotate crops and replenish the soil season to season.

The Chicken Post!

For about a month now we've had chickens at Long Lane Farm. Our nine eight hens are a pleasure to care for and a bright spot in the day. The ladies are approaching their golden years, so we got them free of charge from a nice farmer who said they weren't laying quite heavily enough for her anymore. Still, they're providing six to seven eggs a day--more than enough for us. They are well-behaved and mostly civil with each other, though a bit chicken-like in intelligence. We try to make their time here at Long Lane Retirement Facility as nice as possible, offering services such as water, food, housing and bingo. 

Worm! Worm! Is that a-- worm?!!

Wow. I ain't ever seen grass that tasty!

Who's this hairy guy?