We have organic gardens around drive way, office and next to the horse pasture. We grow local plants, fruit trees, wild flowers, vegetables, and herbs. We harvest the herbs, vegetables and fruits when they are fully ripe, and we put them in the customer center so you are more than welcome to take them for your gourmet meals. You can also pick vegetables, fresh flowers or collect seeds in the garden as well.
We use compost and natural fertilizers as our plant foods, and we grow natural pest repellants (scented flowers and herbs) around fruits and vegetables to minimize the damages from bugs and birds, and make a spray mixture of herbs and water to spray on the plants as another natural pest repellent. However, we wouldn’t mind to share some of our fruits and vegetables with birds, butterflies, bees and cute baby rabbits. Our donkey enjoys them too.
Our growing seasons start in late April through early October. Here are some of the vegetables and herbs you can find in our gardens:
Asparagus – We grow Jersey Giant and Sweet Purple. They can be harvested from late April to June. The fresh asparagus from the garden is so sweet that you can eat it raw. We still recommend to cook it lightly and drizzle with butter.
Corn – We grow Black and Gold sweet corns. The best harvest time is from Late June to July. They are our customers’ favorites, but it’s hard to tell when the corns are ready for harvest. The tip is to wait till it’s firm and big when you touch it, and the top of the corn should be brown and dry.
Cucumber – They can be harvested from June to August. They are great for salad. I like to slice them and put a few pieces in drinking water. The taste of the water is quite refreshing.
Greens – We grow all kinds of salad greens and cabbages. However, because bugs love them so we plant them in July and enjoy them as Fall crops.
Peas and Beans – peas start really early in the season, they don’t like heat much, so they will die down when summer starts. It starts from April and last till late May. Beans like heat, the harvest time is from June till August.
Pepper – We like the color of all sweet peppers, so we plant one of each every year. Of course, we will add some hot peppers to spice it up. We use hot pepper to make pest repellent some time. The best insect repellant recipe is using hot pepper, garlic, soaps and water mixture to spray on the infected plants.
Potato – we mainly grow Purple Peruvian and Cranberry Red because they are healthier and we think they taste better than Idaho potato (did I say their flowers are prettier, they are lilac and pink colors). We just have to convince some of our customers to try new things…. It’s hard to see your mashed potato in pink or purple color.
Summer Squash and Zucchini – They grow fast but have a short season, they can be harvested from June to July. Add some olive oil/butter, salt and pepper, they are wonderful on the grill. Some of our Italian customers like to stir fry them with onion and tomato.
Sweet Potato – The only kind we grow is the Japanese Yam. It has the texture of potato, and with sweet taste to it. They are ready from August to early October.
Tomato –we have seven to eight kinds of tomato every year, it starts to ripe from late May to early September. They are great for salad or soap. Some of our customers eat them as snacks, especially the cherry tomato.
Turnips and Carrots – Turnips are pretty easy to grow. They can be harvested from April to June and from September to October. However, not many people like turnips. Carrots are pretty hard to grow, our neighbor “little rabbits” can spot them earlier then we can. If we ever have any luck with carrots in the garden, our young customers love to pull them up and give them to the ponies (their way to say thank you for the pony ride).
Basil – Basil is a great companion plant with Tomato. They grow well together and they taste great together. Basil is available from late May to October (till the first frost).
Bee Balm – They are available from late April to early October. Some people like to use the leaves to make tea, we like them for the pretty flowers. Butterflies love them. They are also great for soap making.
Chives – Chives are for all seasons, they grow from very cold winter and die down some during hot summer. Their leaves are great addition for soup and salad. Their purple round flowers are beautiful, they can be added to salad dressing or decoration for the salad plate. It has light spring onion flavor.
Garlic – We grow a few kinds of garlic plants around roses, fruits and greens. Some customers really like our garlic, especially the native mountain garlic and the elephant garlic. Try to use garlic plants when they are young. You can chop the whole plant (leaves and young root use like onion) and enjoy the freshest garlic.
German Chamomile – The flowers are great for tea or cosmetic. They bloom from May to July. I like to use them when they are in full bloom, it’s such a treat to take a chamomile bath, or drinking chamomile tea for a relaxing nap.
Lavender – They are almost available for all seasons. Some people use them in tea, we only use them to make soaps or dry flowers. They are addition to our room spray and home-made cleaning solutions.
Lemon Balm – They are available from late April to early October. They are great to be added in tea. It has light lemon fragrance and flavor.
Mint and Pepper Mint – They are available from late April to early October. Spear Mint is great to be added to ice tea or water, Pepper Mint tea is wonderful to drink after a heavy meal.
Onion – We grow Siskiyou Sweet Onion and Red Onion. We also have the Egypian Walking Onion so you can harvest them easier (on top of plants). We like to put them around the cabbage plants and greens. Their flowers are beautiful so we managed to keep a few for the seeds for next year’s growing cycle.
Rosemary – They are almost available for all seasons. They are great with potato or chicken. The fragrance is great as flea repellent.
Sage - They are almost available for all seasons. They are great with chicken or turkey.
Thyme - We use Thyme as ground cover around the gardens, they are also a great addition to many of my home cooking receipes.
We also grow Bay Leave, Lemon, and Lemon grass around the office porch. They are not winter hardy, so we have to put them indoor for the winter season.
Generally, Blue Berries, Straw Berries, Gooseberries and Blackberries are ready between May and June. Melons, Jojobe are ready between July and August. Raspberries and figs are available between July and September.
If the weather permitted (sometime, we have late frost that kill most of the flowers or young fruits), we will have Europeon Plums, Apples and Pears available starting from late July to September.
We planted Persimmon trees, Musadine, Mayhow tree, Honey Berries, Goji Berries, Green Tea Camelia, Peach and Nectarine in 2011 and 2012.
We like to grow flowers around vegetables to attract lady bugs, bees, butterflies and birds. Our favorite ones are Cleome, Cosmos, Four O’Clock, Dahlia, Holly Hock, Lamb’s Ear, Marigold, Sun flowers, Mexican Sun flowers, and Zinnia. There are also many wildflowers growing on the property.
Sources of our fruit trees and vegetable seeds,
In addtion to our local nurseries, our favorite suppliers are,
Edible Landscaping at http://ediblelandscaping.com
Territorial Seed Company at http://www.territorialseed.com
Seeds of Change at http://www.seedsofchange.com
Grow Organic at http://www.groworganic.com
Trees of Antiquity at http://www.treesofantiquity.com
Garden Diary (March)
I started tomatos, peppers, eggplants, and salad greens early this month in my basement. My baby chickens and ducks are also there growing with my plants. They are happily sharing the lights and heat. It's fun to watch things growing…. I planted cabbages, lettus, onions, garlics outdoor. The hot house now have turnips, carrots, mix salad greens and Irish Bells waiting to be sprouted. The hens are working hard cleaning bugs and weeds for us in my gardens. It's pretty wet and windy to go out gardening (as much as I wanted), so I have to put the hens to work.