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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Cycle Begins for Year Three

Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Tilling one of the fields
Starting the new crop year. It always seems so far away after harvest. Then when the time arrives, a sense of urgency comes over me. Even though I'm not the one doing the 99% of the work.

Although we added a tractor and a tiller a little over a year ago, much of the work is still accomplished by hand. We don't have the implement for the tractor that would alleviate much of the hand work involved with working the soil. Even used, it would cost about $2000. Lance says he considers all the handwork a good work out everyday. Love the attitude. But he loves what he does. We still borrow the gannon from our good neighbor Dave which scrapes and tears the ground.

Forming the rows
The first rows to be formed are for the cucumbers. They are wide to allow planting on both sides of the trellis that Lance will build. This will be our third year of planting and the configuration has been revised again. What and how much has also been revised. Each year is a learning experience.

Carrots on the right
For example, carrots. We had two long rows outside. They are planted from seed and they do not like weeds since they are a root vegetable. Weeds compete for water and nutrients below the surface. But when those little, itty, bitty carrot tops first appear, it's hard to tell them from weeds. By the time we could tell, the weeds had a strong foothold. It was a huge task to weed them and we gave up on some areas. They still produced extremely well even though some were small. They produced so well that we only harvested one row. The other row was left until winter when we dug up most of them and gave them to the food bank. Amazing thing about the row we kept for ourselves - we're still eating carrots from it. We had a small amount of spoilage just this month. Carrots are in the green house this year. The weed problem is negligible.

We received word from the Prescott Farmers Market that we are accepted pending two things - insurance and a special permit from the county. Hopefully, we'll have those next week. One step closer!


  1. Sounds like you're better at gardening than I am. Although I always give it a shot. Then I give it up in late summer and pull it all up. But again, I'll give it a shot. Hope you enjoy yours.

    1. My son is the farmer, Shirley. I'm along for the ride. I enjoy the little I help. Good luck with yours.

  2. YAY!!! It has been a quiet blog winter so I am glad planting time has arrived!! Seems like your family has found a happy place to exist, so happy for you!!

  3. I shall stop complaining about my snail infestation in that case. So exciting. I can't imagine having that much small here in suburbia.

    1. Snails, slugs - not the problem here, Maddy. We hold our breath through blister bug season and those nasty tomato worms.

    2. Maddy, if you eat eggs, crush the shells and scatter next to plants that attract grubs. Egg shells will help repel the grubs and add nutrients to the soil. Can't miss!

  4. Congrats on starting your new season! I love the feeling spring brings of new beginnings and hope.

  5. How do you store your carrots?
    I'm trying my hand at them this year!
    The weather is supposed to hit 70 (again! Finally!) beginning Monday. I'm hoping to get my peas out and lettuce and whatever else will tolerate the cold :)

    1. Most important thing is to not wash them real good. Just kind of get most of the dirt off. Let them lay a while to make sure they are dry. We stored them in both plastic bags and in the drawers of the refrigerator lined with paper towels. The ones in the drawers have lasted the longest. I always thought that carrots should be kept moist to last but they need to be kept dry. We had to pitch two bags in plastic last week. In the drawer, we've only pitched a few. Some have started discoloring on the surface and we just skim that off. So don't wash good until you are ready to use.