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Farm Update 6/24 & 7/5/19

First let me say that although Greg writes our 'Farm Update' blogs, it is I, Yvonne, who is responsible for taking photos and posting the blogs.  So, I take full responsibility for the delay in timely postings, you know what they say, (in more universally acceptable language) 'Stuff happens'.  In an effort to catch up, I'm going to combine the content of Greg's last two blogs.

Farm Update 6/24/19

The tea farm is coming along nicely.  Today I planted the two Jim Dandy hollies, which were needed to pollinate the other female hollies.  If all goes well and the deer leave them alone we should have berries next spring. 

 Deer on San Juan Island

Speaking of deer, they are becoming quite a nuisance since the grass stopped growing.  Typical of summers here, the deer are now foraging on everything that grows green.  I had some organic plantskydd in the garage and sprayed almost everything that I thought they might munch on.  We’ll see how it works (it does stink to high heaven). 

Yesterday I tilled part of the bamboo garden in the Japanese garden area and then planted 16,000 marigold seeds.  If they germinate and grow it will look spectacular in the fall.

Since the last update I have dug a miniature alpine lake and dry river in the new garden room and next will line the dry riverbed with landscape fabric and then place the river rock. Hopefully it will achieve the look I am going for.

 San Juan Island Tea Garden

While trying to move a massive boulder with the tractor I separated a tire from the front wheel and have to deliver it to the tire store on the mainland tomorrow for a new tire (one of the many joys of living an hour and half away from civilization).  Should be back in operation by the weekend.

Yvonne and I did go off island last week and while there stopped at a nursery and purchased a number of trees, shrubs and grasses for the Japanese Garden.  Now to find the time to plant them.

With the warmer, dryer weather the well will be tested to its limit in the coming weeks, I am crossing my fingers that it holds out for the season.

If anyone is interested in any part of the construction the farm or garden, pleae feel free to email me ( with any questions or comments. 

Cheers, Greg

Farm Update 7/5/19

The Fourth of July is now in the past and the island is abuzz with visiting humanity.


OK, not really San Juan Island, but good crowd photo.

Like a good farmer I did not let the holiday disrupt our labor.  Since the last update I have planted trees in the Japanese garden along with a multitude of drought resistant grasses.  Also the second miniature bridge was erected and put in place.

 San Juan Island Tea Garden

San Juan Island Tea Garden

2nd bridge connecting the garden to the San Juan Island tea farm

I rented a chipper and took care of all the piles of branches that I had staged and now have 3 to 4 yards of wood chips to use as mulch.  Another weekly chore, that of mowing, was completed today and I moved the massive boulder that took its toll on the tractor last week.  It still needs to be place in the garden, but that cannot take place until I form the last two garden rooms. 

Approximately 200 new tea plants should arrive next week and we readied nursery pots for them.  Of the ones received earlier this spring we salvaged an additional 100 plus plants and will experiment with them to see if they will be strong enough to over winter here. 

The deer fencing has arrived on the mainland and I will head off island tomorrow and bring the posts and miscellaneous parts back next week.

Looking down on the farm/garden from the house is a true joy.  The riding arena is now a memory and once the deer fence is up I don’t think anyone will ever guess it ever existed.


The cows are doing well, especially Matcha ( the brown one)  who is learning to love getting a massage.  Once you begin to groom him, his head falls to the ground and you can almost hear a relaxing sigh escape his lips.  Oolong (the black one) is another matter and so far is resisting any and all attempts to get close. (Look! Matcha's wearing a mini Oolong hat!)

Rain came this week and was very welcome here on the farm.  It is forecast to be cooler for the next week and hopefully we will see more of the wet stuff falling.

Ciao from the farm, hope all is well at your home.