Fairytale Farm is hibernating for the winter! We are planting blueberries, pruning fruit trees, planting 100’s of sweet peas, peas, lettuces, and other greens. It’s also poppy season, lots of poppies are being transplanted. Gophers are being hunted, hedges that haven’t gotten enough water are being pruned, and generally, we are praying for lots of rain. Until springtime, enjoy your gardens!
When the rose bush is in full splendor…
You set up two tables in the garden.
When the guests arrive, serve salads with nasturtium blossoms.
Play with your shadows when it’s a full solar eclipse.
A simple dinner becomes divine.
We ate the mustard greens that grew all around us.
Even the chickens had a good time.
As sweet peas and roses scented the air.
When all the plate are cleared away, there may still be leftovers for the lucky hens…
There is a lot growing in the winter garden, despite my not planting most of it. The giant red mustard has self-seeded everywhere! And it is giant. We found if you just dunk it in boiling water for a minute or two, then plunge it in an ice bath, it’s glowing green and loses its mustard pungency. I’ve got baby mache growing in between the mustards, another prolific self-seeder, but with a mild flavor.
My current favorite beauties are the purple peas. Their fuscia and lavendar flowers are as lovely as sweet peas, but edible. The peas themselves are too fibrous as snow peas, but if you wait until they are plump, there are tasty (but disappointingly, green) peas inside. I also have yellow peas growing. Green peas are boring!
Last week’s project was to separate the strawberries and move them to the borders of the garden. First, I decided to create a “strawberry spiral”. I planted tall yellow lupine, 3 different poppies, and some dahlias. If they all grow to their reported 4 feet, you will be invisible as you sit on the wooly thyme in the center of the circle.
And then it became time to prune the grapevine. Note we skipped pruning it last year, due to sickness and neglect. Which meant that there was an amazing amount of grape wood that is now littering half the yard.
Since I now have over 40 grapevine wreaths, I’ve been experimenting with adding flowering branches, such as quince blossoms.
So I cut some quince branches… and tucked them into the grapevines…and the result is lovely! Doesn’t last long, though.
I just twisted the grape vines around and around until I had enough bulk to make a wreath. Then, you need clippers and a few flowering spring branches. I tucked these in one at a time, using no twine or wire, the grape vines held them into place.
I think the wreath could use even more quince branches, but I was being stingy. I especially like the pink blossoms against my pink livingroom walls. Nice!
I also planted 4 new trees : a chocolate persimmon, a black mulberry tree, another cherry, a wolfberry bush (goji berry). I’ve never tasted a fresh goji berry…I hope it’s good! And I added a few more yellow raspberries, 4 “pink lemonade” blueberries – yes, they’re pink! Now I just have to wait several years to see if the varieties are tasty enough to keep.
We’re starting up Fairy-Tale Farm events in May, so stay tuned! The greenhouse is packed right now with tomato seedlings, peppers, sweet peas and edible peas galore, and other herbs and vegetables. Now if everything escapes the wrath of gophers, birds, the one chicken who flies out everyday, and assorted insects, then in a few months, the garden will look like paradise! Come back and see…
2011 at Fairy-Tale Farm was hard. In Spring, I had to take some time off of hosting events in order to tend to my health. Here I contemplate what to plant next.
Months later, the fava beans behind the rocking chair grow into 6 foot towers. The triple compost system that Karsten built out of old wood pallets against the back fence slowly rots. Sweet peas bloom on the left next to the chicken coop. Giant red mustard continues to grow, and red lettuces snuggle in with baby carrots.
I grew some exotic poppies this year. I call the red and white one “poppy from outerspace”. The pink peony-like one was a volunteer. Red pom-pom type from Annie’s Annuals. Can’t wait to see what combo I get wildly this year.
I had so many sweet peas and fava beans I sold them at the Corralitos Farmer’s Market:
Then, I unfortunately ended up in the hospital with my sweet peas.
But in the summer I am free, and I spend hours sleeping on the porch as the garden slowly grows around me.
Fairy-Tale Farm is quiet with only the cat for company.
We get a farm dog named “Kia”. The purple, yellow, and red potatoes are dug up. Rainbow tomatoes are harvested. Pears.
The winter comes to a close and we harvest pumpkins and peas. I slowly mend, and contemplate what to do for 2012. Happy gardening, all. Stay tuned for upcoming events.
From the Santa Cruz Sentinel article found at: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_16109132
Living a Fairy-Tale: Santa Cruz family ‘grows’ community at their downtown area farm
Nestled among multiplexes not far from downtown Santa Cruz is a garden where 10-foot-high sunflowers overlook the winding vines of pumpkins and the soft ferns of overgrown asparagus. A few chickens wander through the aisles full of tomatoes and tomatillos, part of the 50-by-50-foot garden, which is shaped like a star, a red, circular wooden platform positioned in the center.
“It’s a magical garden,” said owner Debora Wade, pointing to a giant sunflower whose head has begun splitting into two sections. “It grows weird things.” Continue reading
One year, Fairy-Tale Farm had a sheep and a goat! The goat needed to be milked, so children were invited to join in, and pet the sheep.
And crafts to behold!
And sometimes, a Bluegrass Band! Page Brownton and Sidetrack !
We did figure drawing with a nude model sometimes, or other times, people just sketched the garden.
It was a beautiful time had by all.