Friday, May 8, 2009

Scenes From Thursday


Here's a shot of the celery we have that is the happiest. As yet unplanted, but it's in the shade, sitting in a puddle of water. Very wet feet! They like a lot of water.


We were so busy all day that I didn't bring out my camera until most of the day gone. But here we are adding another tier to the potato boxes. We'll have to find a way to carefully add in the dirt when they are high enough. To save money we are using scraps of anything; deck trimmings, barn siding, even the trimmings from the neighbor's saw mill. You can see one board with the bark on it.


We picked up all the rocks, moved the mulch, mowed, raised the electric wire - all around the garden. Then we added chicken wire as a barrier to keep the little bunnies out.


This is the area I planted all in corn for the most part; mostly a hybrid sweet corn, but also an old open-pollinated variety so I can save seeds. I don't think I mentioned it, but with all the weirdness happening financially I wanted to have a garden that I didn't need to repurchase seeds for again. It will take a little effort, but I hope I will make myself do this. I will post instructions for each seed saving technique as I do them myself.

I am doing a Three Sisters planting here, meaning corn first, then add in beans, then squash; like the old story of the Indians. You wait until the corn is about 4 inches high before you plant the beans, and likewise for the squash.

I WAS going to also do this in combination with succession plantings of the corn. But as the season gets later and later it's just not going to be enough growing days. So yesterday I put in all the corn. I'll still be pushing it a little, It's going to be nearly July by the time the squash, pumpkin, gourds, and such go in. I may have to bump it up just a little.


With the little area I had left below the corn, I put in a double row of cucumbers, still needing the stakes put in, and I inter-planted peanuts with broom corn.


Over where I was going to add in more celery and celeriac I chose instead to use the space for a more sure bet, a GIANT pumpkin hill, on the right (This is looking a little like a moonscape); you know, one of those award winning, humongous kinds. And to the left of them a little double circle of Indian corn. I hope it will be enough for good pollination. I may have to go out and shake a little pollen down onto the tassels to make sure.


I was pleased to see this little lady bug in our happy sugar snap peas.


But on my evening walkabout, I sure wished she was over on my eggplants!


ACK! Flea beetles or aphids (My knees hurt too much to bend them, my sight is too bad, and I was too much in a hurry to kill them to take the time to look.) already, and I just put these in a few days ago. They'd already sucked the life out of 2 and were well on their way to finishing off the rest of them. Michael did his best to try to look disappointed. Actually, he was. He's been working really hard here too, and was not happy to see even this crop decimated. I went back down with a sprayer of soapy water, but I suspect I'm too late and will have to replant.

We mowed most things yesterday as well. Michael rode the tractor mower for about 3 hours getting the major stuff. I did some edge work with the push mower. The field looked so pretty with the buttercups still growing. The horses eat around them.

We've been getting a lot of grass clippings for the mulch pile. Not enough dried vegetation to add with it, so we have stored it in the bin to the left of the current compost pile. On the outside you can see our meager brown pile, all fluffy with leaves. Not enough to do well with the huge pile of very heavy and packed green clippings.

I found the mulch pile much too dry. I had hoped that with the wet grass clippings and steady showering, it would have enough moisture. So I did much watering and turning of the pile for about 10 minutes. I think it's still too dry and will have to pay more attention to adding water each time I add materials from now on.


My dad will also bring out his pine needles. I won't add too many to the compost pile, as it will end up being acidic at first and I don't know where or when I'll be using it. But the needles will make excellent mulch for acid loving plants like azaleas and the blueberries I'd like to grow again.

This problem is new. I'm not sure what this is, but some little tunneling creature is digging along under the chicken yard fence. I would say a small vole, but I thought they liked grassy and mulchy areas...


So all the rocks we had taken out of the garden soil and picked the piles up, went here. We are going to line the bottom of the fence all the way around, maybe on both sides. You really have to keep a step ahead with predators.


And we got three eggs again today, our current usual. After the upsetting events of the last few days, egg production was off. The golf ball is a training aid for new hens. They look around, think that other hens are laying here, and this is the best place to lay as well.


Hawk Tales! - As we worked yesterday we saw the pair of hawks repeatedly come back and circle over the chicken yard, their cries are beautiful. I'd love to know what they are saying. They would change their angle of sight, think, eye the chickens and the sun on the line, circle and cry some more. I'd stop my fence repair and Michael would put the brakes on the mower and we'd watch and wait....

But they never dove and they finally went off for good. I'm hoping it worked.

Michael got this whole area behind the fence cleared of scrub trees last night. WooHOO!


With so much rain, we have to 'make hay while the sun shines'. So we juggle the schoolwork in with the rain. Homeschooling is so wonderfully flexible. Not only that, but one of Michael's courses this year is horticulture. So he's getting hands-on learning.

One more morning before the rain comes back this afternoon. Hopefully lots will get done in those hours. I'm looking forward to a good rest this weekend for Mothers' Day!



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