Notes from the Farm

At this the end of our second full summer at Highclere I'd like to discuss the farm. Also known as the garden to those with less fanciful imaginations then myself. 

At the beginning of each summer thus far I have been so wholly enthusiastic about the enterprise. I buy all the seeds one might want and I read all the garden books given to me by MoCo. I lovingly start my seeds indoors or in the greenhouse. I check them daily for progress and adjust their conditions as best I know how to ensure their growing success. During this optimistic early part of the summer I both assume nothing will grow while also thinking that one day soon I'll be like a modern day pioneer woman living off the land. 

And then we move into the middle of the summer where I am still blown away that seeds become plants and plants provide fruit. It is singularly amazing to me. At this point my excitement about the garden is probably at it's peak only to descend from there. And that is because the dreaded, rotted, miserable mosquitoes are back. This means I can only go in our yard clothed as though I am expecting some form of chemical warfare attack, or a surprise visit from the pope. That is to say I am wearing a lot of clothing for 90 degree weather.

This July I also found that my precious crops were suffering from the dreaded tomato blight! And of course in my early summer enthusiasm I had quite unreasonably planted approximately 1,739 tomato plants. The horror. I took to the web looking for the best way to salvage the crops and landed on copper based fungicide. I hesitate to admit this here but I actually lost sleep over the tomato blight situation. But the good news is even with the blight I had a very successful tomato harvest. And very little to harvest from most of the other things I planted. I guess it's fair to say farming is still a mystery to me.

As we roll through September I'm doing very little in the yard except cutting some zinnias and Mexican sunflowers to keep around the house. And let me mention here that Mexican sunflowers (the tall orange flowers in the photos) are the best. Hummingbirds love them and they seem to sturdy, always a plus in my garden. As the gardening season winds down I'm already thinking about what I might plant next year.... Pumpkins! Butternut squash? And so my adventures in farming continue!

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