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“Once upon a time, what’s behind my back?” she asks as we stroll to the garden. The children have been trucking in wildflowers by the bucketful but she likes to surprise me… a dozen times a day. Note the flower pollen on her nose and upper lip.

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I often take the girls to the garden when we’re all in need of some new scenery. Late in the afternoons while supper cooks, mid-morning when we’ve been washing dishes since dawn, and always when Daddy asks us to join him.

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We’ve got a potato patch going this year. It takes up about 15 square feet (husband’s note: she actually means 15′ x 15′ bed, so it is closer to 225 sq. ft.) in the chicken field and looks pretty decent. Every year we plant greens and tomatoes and peppers and every year we’re reminded that beans, sweet potatoes, and Irish potatoes are all that will do well on soil we haven’t completely overhauled. IMG_7275

Speaking of major overhauls… last fall we put down straw and manure and a bunch of compost in one long 4′ wide row in the chicken field. This year, without any amendments or tilling, I simply pulled back the mulch and planted transplants and direct seed germination was by far better than other places. I have never seen soil like that here.

It confirms some of my suspicions about the wood mulch and long-game versus short-game.

IMG_7256This comfrey plant, despite my inability to take photos in bright daylight with correct white balance, is a lush, deep green. Stewart has been propagating them all over the property. They are plentiful and well-established enough for me to grab some leaves and add them to the soil when we plant tomatoes.

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We planted a long row of turnips in the chicken field and maybe 25% of them germinated. They are growing well, the ones that did survive, but we replanted in fast-growing radishes.

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And Ruthie’s favorite part of going to the garden? Getting out and chasing the chicks.