Don’t you hate it when you feel guilty for not buying something – but you really don’t need, can’t use whatever that is? Outer Aisle Foods was kind enough to open their organic farm for an informative tour, followed by a spectacular lunch of fresh foods at historic Milfiori and shopping at their store. I so love what they’re doing (they also support the grade school’s garden), but am completely buried in fresh veggies at the moment as my own garden is cranking out an abundance of yummies (above is my all time favorite tomato, Eva Purple Ball, grown by yours truly). I will be back to the shop (they carry wonderful items other than fruit and veggies) but skulked away at the end of the day, skipping the store stop.
Outer Aisle Foods & Goods
The Calaveras County Garden Club tour was not for the faint of heart. Reports were 106/107F degree temperatures – my car registered 110 by the end of the tour! But, gardeners can be a crazy bunch, and quite a few of us donned sunscreen, hats and comfy shoes to go check this out. I’m glad I did as Eric has been growing for 25 years and had so many good tips to share – he’s quite the advocate of sustainable farming, pointing out his consistent use and choices of cover crops. Diligently following the rallying cry of organic gardeners everywhere - “grow the soil” – he’s created a beautiful Eden in the midst of our critters, bugs and scorching summers.
With our heat, it does take a lot of water and shade cloth. That’s potatoes with the white flowers in the foreground; they plant a cornucopia of various varieties.
Outer Aisle Foods is also a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture – where locals sign up for weekly or bi-weekly deliveries of fresh produce, fruit and more; a “Farmer’s Market in a Bag”. CSA is a popular concept across the country – support local small farms by committing to share in the abundance of their efforts as well as share in the risks farmers face.
He shades his peppers (I’d meant to add shade cloth to my beds, even got the shade cloth out of the garage – but then it got soooo hot and, well, you know how that goes).
So that’s what you do with excess summer squash you let get too big – anchor the shade cloth (101 uses of summer squash – we’ll have to start a comment thread on the topic.
And there certainly is a lot of shade cloth to anchor.
Basil is protected from the relentless sun with row covers, and the covers extend their cool season growing. For an easy how to on hooping home vegetable beds, see my instructions , more info and a good photo here. Eric was happy to share his information on rodent trapping (note open space surrounding the farm), but with the heat – we left the trap inspection for another day.
Pinterest fans have seen many variations of the angled vegetable trellis – including those made from cattle panels and pallets (check my “likes” for trellises). The lemon cucumbers are easily harvested by walking down the row and collecting the fruit. No digging around amidst scratchy leaves required.
Showy pollinator attracting flowers like tithonia and sunflower border the vegetable plantings.
Cook, bake, eat, freeze and share with the neighbors – the garden is hitting full swing.
To do list includes freezing up Sunburst squash and about 7 portions each of kale and chard.
Happy chard nestled in the shade of tomato plants.
Young Italian Trombocino Zucchetta Rampicante (note that rampant is part of the name) provides an afternoon napping place for a paper wasp (they eat bad bugs, so keep em happy).
Love small sugar pie pumpkins and the first ones are almost ripe. This is my absolute favorite winter squash.
I didn’t get all the tomatoes staked (that’s what the remaining roll of fencing is for) and a few plants are languishing, but I am loving my garden. Renee’s Garden Portuguese Garden Kale gets stars for it’s heat resilience, productivity and tasty sweetness. Note these photos were taken on a 106 degree day – the garden is much hardier than the gardener (I just let it wilt and do some extra watering at night).
I’ll share more on Milfiori Historic Country Retreat in my next post.