I was finally able to plant something yesterday in the garden box! Whoooooo-hooooo! However, after planting, I noticed two things: the garden box had settled unevenly and the dirt settled at about the half-way point. Oops.
So, on 5/5/11 onion, parsnips and beets were planted.
Chiogga Beets: Germinate in 5-10 days, harvest at 50 days.
Parsnips: Germination can take up to 20 days! Harvest at about 130 days!
Yellow Onion: These I did not plant from seed – they were already started bulbs. Apparently they are ready for harvest when the top browns and falls over. Hmm…
I learned, just this year, that the same idea applies to garlic (in regards to harvest time).
Additionally, the soil is not all that spectacular – it is actually a bit heavy with clay. I pulled it out of the paddock where the horses have aided in the composting process by stirring things up anytime it gets muddy. We shall see…
Additionally, chicken eggs are now for sale! $2.50 per dozen!
Yesterday it was nice enough outside to go out into the garden and get some work done! Not much, but I did succeed in separating last year’s garlic and transplanting it. I also planted two rows of basil at the far end of the tomato box – a lovely mix of lemon basil, purple basil, Genovese basil and others.
I also set out the plants that were started in our bathroom “grow house” – giant pumpkin, 3 varieties of tomato, bell pepper, marigolds, malva and aster. I set them in the barn aisle, so that they were not in direct sun or wind – I did leave them out there overnight (doors closed, of course) so they’d acclimate to the cooler weather. The pumpkins were looking wilty this morning and the marigolds were kind of leaning. Hopefully they’ll come back around once they are transplanted in the fertile, horse manure-laced soil outside!
Here is a quick look at some of what has been happening in the garden:
A purple coneflower (echinacea) nestled against a border of German chammomile.
Snap peas sprouting adjacent to our wedding trellis.
The surprise peony! Growing in the middle of a group of Iris!
The transplanted garlic, at the near end of the tomato box... mmmm! My fave!
Additionally, the hens have been laying about 9 eggs per day, including 2-3 pretty blue-green Aracauna eggs! We collect our eggs daily and they go straight to the refrigerator. On the days we forget, the eggs go to the garbage… better safe than sorry!
I’ve spent a lot of time pondering our garden this year. I’ve spent just as much time getting excited about it! I was not excited when I realized that garlic bulbs were something like, $5 for 3 to plant. I had planted garlic last year and was very disappointed when the leaves turned yellow, then brown and died. I did not realize that this meant the garlic was ready to dig!
Fast forward to this Spring: that garlic from last year was never pulled. I assumed (wrongly) that the roots must have turned to mush. Nope, they were busy making more garlic!
Each day I look out in the garden become giddy thinking about all of the yummy plants, but this year, I’m especially nuts about the garlic. I love cooking with garlic, and it looks like last years garlic has presented us with many garlic plants to divide and grow! Yay!
However, as it is, the rain has been non-stop and the garden and the awesome paddock “stirred compost” are equal parts water and sludge. Ick.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow, when I can get out and start making our garden look like a garden!
A few weeks ago I ordered 3 chicken automatic waterers – commonly referred to as “chicken nipples”. Ultimately, what it boils down to is the equivalent of a guinea pig waterer for chickens. I set one up yesterday for the chicks and was so pleased that they caught on in about 2 minutes. Once they discovered the little silver pin gave them a “treat” they went to town!
Another pleasant surprise was that the chickens have been busy laying eggs again… I’ve just been too busy to notice. It is the time of year where the coop needs to be cleaned out, and the chickens have been laying them on the floor. During the week we have to restore the nesting hay every few days… and this job has been neglected as of late. I am also going to be changing the bedding to wood shavings for them once the cleaning is done.
In the garden – I finished repotting several more of the tomatos… and I am hoping that the overwatered seedlings that I started come back around. In my research about overwatering, I discovered “compost tea”… which looks like more work than what I’m willing to put in currently. However, I went to the local feed and grain store and found “Earthworm Casting Tea Bags”. It is completely organic. We shall see how this works! I will be misting the tomatos with this ucky (think: worm poop) concoction. I’ve heard it helps give the plants more nutrients, and it is actually good on the leaves, too! I always thought that getting the leaves wet would cause problems… apparently I was wrong! Can’t wait to see how well it works!
Okay… so, last night I checked our bathroom jungle, only to discover that the tomato seedlings were bent over, as if their leaves were inspecting the soil. Uh oh! I feared that my seedlings were “leggy”, and I believe this confirms that worry!
I am going to try to rescue them! Tomatoes are one of the only common garden plants (or so I’ve heard) that will sprout new roots if you bury the stem deeper into the soil. So, this afternoon, I will be repotting them and doing just that, hopefully encouraging them to form sturdier stems!
The nice part about the tomato plants is that they are starting to get their true leaves! Yay!
No luck with the pepper plants, however.
Also – check out these awesome heirloom, organic seed companies! How fun!
We shall see how this progresses. Or not…
The garden is essentially a mucky, sloppy mess right now.
I went out to see about clearing away some of last year’s weeds (after the last harvest,we just kind of let everything go back to it’s “natural” state). When I stepped into the muddy mess, I heard the sound of a million worms slurping deeper into their holes. SPRING!
Here are some pictures of our messy garden! The green carpet is made up mainly of the organic German Chamomile that has reseeded itself two years in a row!
The Spring garden... what a mess!
Vibrant green, crinkly little leaves are unfurling amidst the remnants of last year's garden!
What a pleasant, bright surprise!
I can’t wait until the ideas for this year’s garden start to come together! I also look forward to improving upon it each year!