Time Lapse at the Farm

Sometimes I wish we had a time lapse camera recording at the farm. 
I am amazed at the changes I find from day to day, and especially week to week. 
While some of this can predict, of course, so much depends 
on the weather and just how the plants "take," 
that often we are surprised at what we find at the farm.
that's purslane growing in the radish bed
although we didn't plant it, we certainly like to use it!

We planted our potatoes at the farm at the end of February 
and soon we will be harvesting them.
The amount of time it takes for potatoes to grow depends on the variety 
(as well as the conditions), but generally fingerlings 
are ready about 100 days from planting.
potato beds late February ready for planting
potatoes getting going
potato beds last week!

We are especially excited about our Russian Banana Fingerling potatoes.  
This variety makes our farm staff and chefs happy:  
 in the Baltic Region of Europe/Asia and are
"heralded as excellent for salads (note to chefs!),
 and are a favorite of among chefs and gourmet markets." (note to diners!). 
Here are some great tips on planting and using Russian Banana potatoes.
notice that the Russian Banana potato flower is purple
while the Yukon golds have white flowers

these blossoms are our indicator
that the potatoes are pretty well set
we will likely pick the potatoes
about two weeks after the plants have lost their blossoms 
While the chefs will be inspired to create with the Russian Bananas, 
we find the Yukon Golds are best for this party nibble:
Photo of Salt Cod & Potato croquettes by Steven Krause
for Plats du Jour: the girl & the fig's Journey Through the Seasons in Wine Country
For fun, here's a time lapse video of a tomato plant growing over 42 days. 

We are counting the days (maybe minutes?) for ours to mature 
and each visit to the farm chronicles how much they are growing. 

last week found our first tomato flower!
As we are keeping track, we are on our second planting of radishes already, 
having harvested the ones we planted late winter into early spring. 
For our menu at the girl & the fig, we know we always need 
to have radishes going at the farm.

Just picked radishes in April 
one of our most popular starters:
mixed seasonal radishes from our garden, anchovy butter & grey sea salt
Any guess how long it will take for these to get from our farm to your table? 
Follow the blog and you can follow the progress of these radishes!

What are you following in your garden? 
Any tips to share while you wait?


More than tomatoes growing

We admit we've gotten a bit carried away
with tomatoes recently, but can you blame us? 
500 of those beauties is a lot to salivate about. 
But now it's the patience part of farming, so, like you, we will wait
until it's time for picking to enjoy the fruits of those labors.
Well, we will do more than wait-we promise to tend them!
John picking tomatoes last summer
for now, John like the rest of us, is still in tending mode
 thoughts of this keeps us focused!
So, we turn our attention to the other plants at the farm 
that are in "ready" mode--our beets and radishes are very close 
to harvesting and the carrots are not far behind.

beet salad at the girl & the fig
carrots a few weeks ago
carrots this week
carrots next week!
photo by Steven Krause for
Plats du Jour: the girl & the fig's Journey through the Seasons in Wine Country
We haven't forgotten the upper quad beds–we've planted lots of potatoes 
including Butterball, Fingerling 
and Russian Banana (which is actually a Fingerling variety). 

yet another way to keep us focused on our work
Something else going on in the upper quads caught is really interesting. 
 during the interim period as the farm transitioned from winter to spring. 
The nutrients from the favas "fed" the soil. 
As the pods mature, they are like decoys, attracting aphids 
but the aphids attract ladybugs, who get to work right away.
Ladybugs are busy getting rid of the aphids 
and all the other good work they do as our partners at this biodynamic farm.

Did you know that one ladybug can eat 5,000 aphids in a lifetime!
(and on average that is only one year!)
Learn more about our ladybug pals and other friendly bugs from

Always lots of good stuff going on at the farm, even 
when we aren't picking food to bring to table.
And the same can be true in your "backyard farm."
We like this book and website tips and resources.

There is a lot of good information out there for you, 
whether you are planting a big space, part of a community garden, 
or even just tending a few pots of vegetables.  
We recently stumbled upon this online garden forum 
and have enjoyed the ongoing conversation. 
Check it out, join in with a question or if you have an answer to share. 

And please do the same here, as you follow the farm project with us.
What are you growing? 


First batch of tomatoes?

Continuing our tomato talk after last week's post
 chronicling the first batch we planted.

I say first batch for two reasonsthe plan all along has been 
to have an ongoing growth cycle for our tomatoes this season. 
This way, we will ensure our tomato bounty to be plentiful 
which keeps the chefs (and our diners) happy, 
while not having so many ripening at one time, 
that we almost don't know what to do with them! 
Although of course, you know we would never let a luscious red gem go to waste. 

Matt & Ray from Local Landscapers have worked arduously 
planning when to plant seeds, spacing out the early nurturing of the starts 
for our 800 tomato plants so that they are maturing at varying times.

tomato starts at various stages
in greenhouse 
This has been the plan. But, as we continue to learn 
farming doesn't always go according to plan 
and we are often reminded that our partners, 
Mother Nature and the weather can have more influence. 
So it was the very next night following our April tomato planting party,
 that winds of 65mph swept through Sonoma Valley 
and rattled our fragile tomato plants. 

Sigh. But we were back at it the next morning, tending to the plants, 
staking and securing them (which ironically had been "the plan" anyway for that day) 
and honestly we lost only a few of the most fragile ones. 

So, replacing those will mean a "second" planting day that was not initially intended. 
But farming does not always go according to plan, 
which is truly one of the life lessons this endeavor affords us: 
staying flexible, being open, (keeping a sense of humor) 
and figuring out how to move on when unexpected things happen. 
two days after the winds
A week after the winds, most of the tomato plants
are standing tall
staked and ready to climb
And in this first round of tomatoes, we have many varieties
including a few new ones that we have not tried before:
"Good taste, rich and sweet, tasty, complex flavour, exceptionally rich 
 yet sweet, delicious, rich flavour, tangy, smoky flavor, rich earthy sweet flavour, 
outstanding taste, season with salt and pepper and it tastes like meat/steak/bacon."
Carbon tomatoes
Also Purple Smudge and Brandywine tomatoes are new to us this season. 
Purple Smudge tomatoes are "a vibrant tangerine orange with random 
true purple blotches on the shoulders," (so don't assume those are bruises!). 

Amy Goldman, author of The Heirloom Tomato, calls Purple Smudge tomatoes
 "Truly a thing to behold." You may know Amy Goldman, 
who grows some 250 vintage varieties of tomatoes collected from around the world. 
Check out this slide show from her garden featured in an article in Scientific American.

one of our Brandywine rows
which will yield us these jewels
Brandywine tomato
And for more "tomato talk," check out this new blog we've discovered,
Talk of Tomatoes (which she does with great passion).
Actually, the blogger writes about more than tomatoes
all with passion, wit and smarts.

What varieties of tomatoes are you planting?
Have you seen any new ones at the Farmers Market?
Looking forward to continuing "tomato talk" 
for many more months.