Early June 2020

The garden is in full swing. I had it planted by mid may because we had several warm days in a row – the weather report called for a lot more to come, and mostly this has been true. We did get a frost warning on May 31st, so we had to hurry up and cover all our tomato plants, squashes, and a few other things.  We didn’t actually get any frost, luckily.  We’ve had a lot going on here, check out the pics below:

tulips 1
I planted a bunch of tulip bulbs in the fall, all along our front porch. They’ve been blooming nicely. Here on the right, we seem to have some color changing ones! They started yellow, as you see here.
tulips 2
Here they are yellow. Oh wait, there is an orange one next to them (but the same kind)
tulips 3
Here they are again.
tulips 4
A few days later they were all orange.
tulips 5
Then a day or so later, they turned red. Then the petals all fell off. I’m not sure what kind they are. I bought a mixture of tulips. I like that these ones changed color.
salamander
Here is a salamander that we found one day. These guys are so cool.
morel
Here is the ONE morel that I found. I have not found any for a few years. I was out picking mint in a spot where I have mint growing, and I came across this. There were no others there. I’ll have to check that spot next year. It was colder than I thought it would need to be for Morels, so I need to remember that for next year.
nepenthes
I have my Nepenthes pitcher plant hung up in the greenhouse. Our greenhouse has been really helpful this year. I put this guy hanging from the ceiling. It gets lots of humidity and there are a bunch of bugs flying around in there. The bugs fly in and can’t seem to figure out how to get out of the greenhouse. But then they get drawn to the Nepenthes’ pitchers.
lemongrass
I have lemongrass growing this year. I replanted them into this box the other day, since they are getting big. I originally planted them in an old mushroom container. I have tried to grow lemongrass before but they like humidity, so they are going to stay in the greenhouse. I’ve never actually had them get this far before, probably due to lack of heat/humidity.
greenhouse plants 2
Here are some of my greenhouse plants. I mostly have things that are waiting to go in the regular garden – a few herbs and flowers that will be put in the cottage garden. I also have some tomato seedlings. (I was trying to start more because we had some issues with tomatoes this year – more on that below).
greenhouse plants 1
Here are more greenhouse plants. I have peppers in the front. I may leave them in the greenhouse. I also have extra tomato plants in here.
ginger
Here is the ginger I’m growing this year. I started some last year, it really didn’t do a lot – due to lack of heat, I believe. From what I planted I got two little nubs of ginger, which I left in the soil and kept in a mini-greenhouse in my house all winter. This spring they started sprouting. So they are now in the regular greenhouse. Hopefully I’ll get to eat some fresh ginger this year.
tomatos
Here are some tomatoes. I had some issues with my tomato seedlings this year. I started with 10 varieties, and a few did great, but 7 kinds stunted for some reason (after research I think I overwatered and they were suffering from nutrient deficiencies due to that). I put some of the stunted seedlings in the garden, some in the greenhouse. Some of the garden ones did ok and recovered, but some didn’t. I ended up buying a few heirloom plants from a local greenhouse to make up for the lost time of my stunted plants. Here you can see the purchased plant at the back, and one of my stunted (but recovering) seedlings. I hope we get lots of tomatoes.
butterfly
Here is a butterfly that we saw in the yard.
comfrey
I planted some Comfrey several years ago, and they are going strong and spreading a little here. The bees love them and they are pretty, even though their flowers are small.
hollyhocks
Here you can see some hollyhock plants. This part of the yard is kind of a bee garden – there are hollyhocks, peonies, comfrey, goldenrod (I just leave for the bees) and some mugwort.
foxglove
I bought a foxglove plant, and the flowers are coming in. The flower stalk is getting too heavy, I guess, since it had fallen over. I picked it up to get this photo.
garlic
Here are the garlic and shallots that I planted in fall. They are all growing in well. I have 4 kinds of garlic, and 2 kinds of shallots here.
cottage garden 2
The Cottage Garden. (My new name for the old chicken yard). It’s a bit of a mess – we are still cleaning stuff up, and the things I’ve planted are still tiny. But it’s coming together.
spiral
Here is my herb and flower spiral. I lined it with rocks, it’s actually a labyrinth path (so you can walk it to the center). I’m slowly adding rocks and plants. I have a lot of things waiting to go in – they are getting bigger in the greenhouse. I have found that transplanting tiny seedlings is too much trouble, so I’ll wait till they are bigger. Next year if I need to, I will direct seed instead of transplanting herbs and things.
cottage garden
Here is another view of the Cottage Garden.
cauliflowe
Here is a picture of my cauliflower, these are growing well. I made a cabbage-moth spray with garlic and citrus that I have been spraying on all the brassicas to keep cabbage moths off. So far it’s been mostly successful.
beans
My beans are finally coming up – these are in the cottage garden as well.
garden sign
Here is a sign that my dear friend Ellen got me a few years ago. She passed away this February. I’m glad I finally have somewhere to put it. It has different sayings so you can change what it says – there’s another one “Lettuce Turnip the Beet” and some other silly ones.

The garden is doing well, I can’t wait to see it all grow in.

 

Planning & Planting in Early May

We have had a strange spring, it’s finally warming up again. Our weather was warming when I last posted, and then we got more snow over the Easter weekend – about a foot. That melted after a week or so, so we are finally getting into actual spring here.   I planted some tulips in the fall and those are emerging now, and our daffodils are getting ready to bloom soon.  We’ve been adding some stuff to the yard, planning the garden, and we put up a greenhouse yesterday! Here are some pictures of our farm in early May:

garden
The main garden is getting ready for planting, although we have a while before our last frost date. We put in newspaper and cardboard covered with old chicken bedding as mulch, to try to keep weeds down this year. Next I’ll be turning the actual beds for planting.
onions
Here are the onions, I am starting to harden them off so I can put them in the garden soon. This picture was just before I took them out to the porch to harden off.
seedlings 2
Some seedlings – these are mostly cauliflower I think.
seedlings 1
More seedlings. I am growing 10 types of tomatoes this year!
asparagus
Here are the asparagus. I’m growing two kinds, and planning out their permanent bed – we’ll be putting that in soon.
haskap 2
I planted some Honeyberries, or Haskap. They are a cold-hardy oblong blue berry, that is supposed to taste something like a cross between strawberry and raspberry.
haskap
Here is another Haskap. I put in 4 bushes. I got these from Honeyberry USA, out of Northern Minnesota.
gooseberry
Here is our Gooseberry bush, I got it a few years ago, but planted it next to the house. It really didn’t thrive there, because it was always crowded by weeds and wildflowers,  but it lived. So I just transplanted it into our front yard so it will hopefully do better there. We do tend to get gooseberries from it, but only like 4 or 5 per year so far. Maybe it will get more this year since it has more room. I also fenced it against deer in case they decide that it looks tasty.
elderberry
Here is one of the elderberries – I just put in two trees in our front yard, and circled them both with fencing to keep the deer from eating them. I have attempted to plant them before but had deer destroy them. This time they are protected.
arborvitae 2
We got some Emerald Green Arborvitae to make a privacy hedge in our front yard – here they are – they are all just under a foot tall right now – they should grow 12-15 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide, so they’ll make a nice hedge.
tiny arborvitae
Here is another view of the arborvitae. We put in 10 in a little haphazard row to make the hedge. We fenced this also, to keep the deer from wrecking them.  Luckily this part of the yard doesn’t grow grass very quickly so it won’t really need mowing while they grow in.
greenhouse
Here is our greenhouse! My uncle gave it to me in the fall. He had had it sitting in his garage (had been given it by our other uncle) and neither uncle wanted to use it anymore so they gave it to us. We put it up yesterday, and then extended our dog fence around it (so it will be easier to access from the backyard where the garden is). It’s approximately 10×10 feet. It’s pretty nice, we are happy with how it went up.
wizard
My cat, Wizard was investigating the greenhouse and decided to pose for some pictures.
wizard 2
Here is another picture of Wizard. He is excited to be able to explore outside without dealing with snow. We are all happy it is spring.

Spring is here, 2020

Spring is finally here – it comes a little late to us here in the U.P.  I am on a lot of garden groups online and have seen all sorts of people showing their gardens already, and we are just seeing the snow melting now.  I’ve been a bit jealous this spring but my turn will come soon, since it’s warming up now.

We made the difficult decision this spring to get rid of our poultry – the costs for feeding them all were getting too hard for us, so we sold them to our neighbors, who were happy to get already-laying hens and ducks. I do miss them but it’s for the best.  I will be using their old chicken yard for gardens for greens and herbs, and there are spots I can un-fence now – the deer don’t bother these areas but the chickens always liked to dust bathe in a few spots and would decimate plants, if there was no fence. I can take those fences out now.

I went around today and took some pictures of our yard, here is how the snow melt is going:

old chicken yard
Here is the old chicken yard. I have a plan to take this whole space over with plants this year.
garlic
Here is an existing garden – the snow is right over where I planted garlic and shallots in the fall.
cat in rafters
While taking pics, I heard meowing from the old chicken house. My cat, Wizard was inside, up in the rafters, chasing mice. He didn’t go in when the chickens were here, but he’s been spending a lot of time in there now.
back garden
Here is a back garden space, we are thinking of adding a porch where the big doors are. We’ll see if that happens this year.
strawberries
Here you can see my strawberry plants are waking up.
snow melting
Our yard.  We still have a lot of snow, especially where there were banks around the house. I am glad to see it melting.
crocus purple
Our crocuses are up! Here are some purple ones.
crocus yellow
Yellow crocus.
iris
Here you can see a bearded iris – I found them on sale in the fall and got a dozen – they are planted around our oak tree in the front – they all seem to be coming up.
spruce trees
Here are our spruce trees in the front. The little one looks like it still needs to recover from being completely buried by snow all winter. The largest one is about 4 feet, and that one was peeking out of the snow, but we had times where the other two were completely buried.
onions
I started onions in February – they are doing well. I am planning on starting tomatoes and stuff today so they are nice and big for transplanting into the garden in June.
poppies
Here are some poppies, I started these in February as well. I have tried to start them in May before and they are always really small when I’ve transplanted, and they don’t seem to survive. So I thought I would try to have them larger for transplant. If this year doesn’t work I’ll throw seeds in directly in the fall so they come up next year.

Early June 2019

We’ve been really busy here lately. It has been mostly a colder spring with night temps in the 40s- we had our heat still going at times until last week, and we even had a frost advisory for June 1st;  but then this weekend we got a warmup – we were at 90 degrees yesterday!

The garden is mostly planted; I have a few things that are waiting to go in, but I am mostly just working on maintenance and weeding now. Seeds have been slow to start because we are really dry this year as well.  That is somewhat of a nice change over the last few years but I have to make sure to water everything often, and I have seeds that I haven’t seen sprout yet, like my broccoli and some of my beans (I’m growing 6 kinds of beans this year – some are up but some have not sprouted, and some have not been planted yet).

Here are some pictures of the goings-on at our tiny farm:

apple blossoms
Our apple trees are in blossom.
bumble bee
Here is a big bee visiting the apple blossoms.
tulip
A lone tulip. This came up randomly in the middle of our yard. I haven’t seen any tulips here in years, although my mom used to have a lot of them. I replanted it in a safer spot.
main garden
Here is the main garden. It is mostly in – I’m waiting for the corn to emerge and then I’ll put some more beans in to grow up the corn.
tomatos
Here are the two tomato beds, with some marigolds planted among them. I have 18 tomato plants this year, 7 different kinds.
crosnes
Here you can see my Crosnes are coming up – they look a bit like mint; I had to look them up online to verify what the plants look like, but there are 5 or 6 of them that have emerged.
sunchokes
Here are some sunchokes coming up as well.
shade garden
Here is the back / chicken garden (I stole it from the chickens last year). It gets less sun so I planted things that can take a lot of shade toward the back, like lettuce and herbs.
back garden
Here is my back of the house garden. I put some watermelon, cantaloupe, and summer squash in here. This bed gets a lot of sun, and is sandier soil – supposed to be really good for melons, so I figured I would try them here this year. The bags have potatoes. At the far end of the garden is my strawberry/mint patch.
strawberries
Here is a close up of the strawberry patch. You can see the mint intermixed. I use mint a lot, and the strawberries are getting lots of flowers. Hopefully I’ll get a lot of berries this year.
chicks
The chicks are growing up! I put them in with the adults a couple weeks ago, so they could see each other but were separated; they are now mixed with the adults and everyone seems to be getting along well.
Nova
Here is Nova enjoying the sunshine and some petting.
atat
Here is Atat out in the sunshine. I’m not sure where Downey (our other dog) was when we were taking pictures, but he has been enjoying the sunshine too.

This summer is shaping up to be a nice one so far.

Chick and Garden Updates, mid May 2019

Our spring finally seems to be in full swing – we kept getting unseasonably cold weather for a bit – they were calling for 6 inches of snow last week but we didn’t get any, luckily. The temperatures are starting to warm enough that I put in a bunch of the garden this past weekend (the stuff that can tolerate frost, anyway).  I heard the frogs chirping the last few evenings –  it’s finally been warm enough for them.

The chicks are growing up really fast. I gave them a larger box from their original brooder box. I think I have mostly females but there are at least a couple of roosters in there – someone has been attempting to crow, but it’s not very developed yet. Below are some new pictures of the chicks and the rest of the farm:

two weeks old
Here are the chicks today – they are just over 2 weeks old now.
penguin
Here is one of the penguin-looking chicks. I’m hoping it’s a girl but with that comb it doesn’t look promising. I do have some adult hens with large combs, so we’ll have to wait to find out.
gray
Here is one of the gray chicks.
brown
A couple of brown/red chicks. They were not happy that I had moved them, they were ducking down a little scared.
yellow
Here is one of the blonde chicks.
yellow two
Here are two of our blonde chicks – the one with the orange head is on the left, the one with the cat-eye-eyeliner is on the right. (From individual pics in the last post)
yellow 3
Here is another pic – you can see the wing feather coloration change on the right. It’s cool when their feathers come in – chicks’ coloring can completely change as they grow.
potato bags
We are growing potatoes in feed bags again this year – we have 20 bags planted – I put in about 11.5 pounds of potatoes, three different types. We had really good luck last year growing them in bags. They are in the garden fence to keep them from the chickens.
strawberries
Here is our Strawberry patch. It is also a mint patch (they are both taking over this area). Hopefully they can grow together and keep the other weeds out but let each other grow. There may be a fight. Even though I love mint, I would still let the strawberries win.
back garden
Here is my back garden that I took from the chicken coop – last year we grew squash and tomatoes here but it doesn’t get enough sun later in the season. I am putting a lot of shade tolerant things in here, lettuce, peas, and other things. I planted everything yesterday that can go in already. Peas, spinach, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, lettuce, chard, kale, and brocollini. I have some other stuff started inside, and I will direct sow beans in June.
onions
Here are my onions! I have a full bed of yellow and a half bed of red that I planted this past weekend. The red onions will be sharing a bed with radishes for this month and then peanuts in the summer. The radishes should be ready before I put the peanuts in.
garlic
Here you can see the garlic starting to come up through the straw – this was planted in October.
garden preseason
Here is my garden as of today. There are only a couple of beds ready – this is the double-dug French Intensive garden. I have 12 beds in here, but the weeds are trying to take over. Most of this garden will go in next month, so I have some time to get the beds weeded and ready.
daffodils
Our daffodils are finally blooming!
purple
Here are some purple flowers we have growing in our yard. I’m not sure what these are called.

A Nice Day in April…

Today was a beautiful day. We had temps in at least the 50s, and it was sunny. The snow is melting, and I planted a new bed full of perennial vegetables. Here are some pictures from this nice spring day:

snow yard 1
Here you can see our yard is on it’s way to being snow-free. It’s taking awhile. This picture is taken from outside of our dog fence, near the garage. On the left you can kind of see my garden, which is still half covered. The garlic bed started to peak out of the snow today, and that was the deepest part of the snow in the actual garden.
snow yard 2
Here is the house with some snow around it – we have a metal roof so the snow falls around the house and those snowbanks always take longer to melt.
chicken path
Here is our chicken-coop path currently. It’s a low, muddy mess. Luckily we have muck boots to wear when we go to the chicken coop. The ducks love this area – they dabble their bills in the puddles when they pass though. (When the snow is all melted and the ground dries out, the “path” actually disappears, but it’s been a pathway for the last several months).
new bed
Here is a new bed I’m creating near the garage for some perennial flowers and vegetables – I originally planned for just sunchokes and crosnes in this area but I think I will put some milkweeds and gogi berries as well since there is enough room. This is a good spot in case the sunchokes go a little invasive, as I’ve heard they can. This area is out of the way, just grassy, and it could use some nice flowers – sunchokes are supposed to have yellow flowers and be nice and tall. I set this up last weekend, and I thought I would have a week or so for the plastic to kill the grass, but I did not; the sunchokes and crosnes arrived sooner than I thought they would.
sunchokes
Here are the sunchokes – they arrived the other day. I got two kinds, a red (on the left) and white fuseau, on the right. I got three tubers of each kind.
crosnes
Here are Crosnes (aka Chinese Artichokes). These are pretty small but they are supposed to be delicious, and a very easy to grow perennial. I read that you should cut the plants before they flower in order to get tubers of decent size though, so I plan on doing that. I ordered 6 tubers – I think I actually received 8 but some were very small.
planted bed
Here is the sunchoke and crosnes portion of the bed planted. I left the rest of the bed with the plastic on it so it can continue to cook in the sun for awhile. I laid fencing over the bed to keep chickens out – it’s very sandy and they would love to make this into a dust bath area. I will fence it soon and then will be able to take this cover off.
moss
I went wandering the woods and yard a bit today – I found some moss that had greened up already – here is a bug’s eye view of the moss.
white crocus
We have crocuses blooming! Here are some white flowers.
crocus
Here are some purple crocus. We have daffodil leaves emerging too.

Maple Syrup, and new friends on the way

We made maple syrup this year.  We started collecting at the end of March, when we still had a bunch of snow. We ended our collection after a couple of weeks because we had run out of room in our freezer and fridge for gallon jugs of sap.  The snow had been melting but then this last Thursday we got hit by the end of the Bomb-Cyclone storm that came up through the middle of the country – we only got 5 inches of snow here at the house though, but it made it look like winter again.  Below are some pictures from before that snow hit us.

trees tapped
Here are some of the trees tapped this year. We only tapped three right at the edge of the yard, because there was a foot of snow around the trees when we first started. We collected sap for about 2 weeks. This picture was from right at the end of that time.
wizard
Here is our cat Wizard, venturing outside on a nice day last week.

I planned on cooking the sap outside this year. I bought a big steam-table pan (I just searched for “maple syrup pan” on amazon) that would hold 22 quarts. We have a firepit already set up that I was going to set the pan over to cook the sap on; but then the day I planned on cooking everything up, it was pouring rain.  I ended up just doing it on the stove using two big canning pots. It took a full day on Sunday and then the evening Monday after work, but it is now complete.

sap on the stove
Sap on the stove.
sap
A close up of the maple sap steam.
syrup
Syrup! We got 6 pint jars.

I also have some exciting news about chickens! Last April we got Bertram, our Russian Orloff rooster, from an ad on Craigslist. I was planning on ordering some chicks this year, but then I was contacted on Facebook by the lady I got Bertram from – she found me through this blog. She asked if I was interested in trading hatching eggs, since she still has another Russian Orloff and then we both get chicks from these roosters.  So we traded eggs – I saved pretty much all our eggs for a week, and gave her 1.5 dozen, and saved 11 for us. I received a dozen from her chickens, as well as nine eggs for Partridge Chanteclers that she got from another lady. So I have 32 eggs in the incubator, they started on 4/6.  I’m possibly going to end up with way too many chickens, but I didn’t want to waste any of the eggs I’d saved, or the ones I had gotten either.  I looked at the 3 previous hatches I did with this incubator in 2016, and we usually get about a 50% hatch rate from the original set put in – typically I candle and end up taking out about 25%, and then at the end another 25% don’t make it, so I’m figuring that is about what we’ll end up with – approximately 15 or 16. We’ll have to figure out what to do with any extra roosters, but I’ll worry about that later this summer.   We do need more hens since mine are becoming slackers – the youngest of my hens are 3 years old, from our 2016 hatches. From 16 hens currently, we are getting about 5 eggs per day if we are lucky.   I am excited for new chicken friends – Fingers crossed we don’t get mostly roosters.

incubator 4.6
Here are the new chicks on the way! We have 32 eggs in here – I expect after candling we’ll have 20-25, maybe. I will candle the eggs this coming week (after 10 days in the incubator). The left 2 columns are Partridge Chanteclers, the middle two columns are mixed eggs from Bertram’s old home, and the 2 right columns are from my hens.

Our ducks are excited that it is finally spring – they’ve been searching for snow-melt puddles:

ducks in a puddle
Our ducks wandered to the puddle at the edge of our property last week – you can kind of see them in the middle of this picture here – (the houses are our neighbors behind us). This area is low and it tends to fill up in spring. The ducks love it.
ducks in woods 2
Here they are heading back through the woods to the coop. They didn’t like that I came to take their picture.

Seed Starting 2019

Spring is officially here, even though we still have a lot of snow outside. It’s melting though and our temperatures are getting warmer. The trees are producing sap and getting ready to bud. I did see a couple of daffodil leaves emerging near a tree the other day, so things are coming along nicely. I have been garden planning, ordering and starting more seeds, and getting ready for this year’s garden.

seeds
Here are some of the new seeds from this year.

I had some seeds from last year but I had run out of a few things, and wanted to try some new vegetables and new varieties of old favorites.  I had run out of peas, so I got a new variety of those. I’m growing some dry beans this year – a variety of chickpeas and a Jade bean variety. I am going to try growing some quinoa. I also am attempting peanuts – I had given up hope of ever growing them since they are traditionally a southern heat-loving crop, but I read an article (I think in Grit magazine) by a lady who owns Fruition Seeds in New York State – she has peanuts (for sale) that she received from a person who developed them to grow right here in the U.P!  So I immediately went to their website and ordered some. Fruition has a lot of seeds for this type of climate  – the U.P. has similar climate to a lot of the rest of the northeastern U.S.  The original article I read was actually about growing things for your specific climate, and about finding seed sources for your specific climate.

seed tapes
Seed tapes with carrot seeds. I have 4 varieties of carrots. One is actually a “rainbow mix,” though. I’m giving them their own spot this year in the double-dug bed garden. Last year they shared a bed with the beets, who are also getting their own spot this year.

I’ve been starting a few things – if you read my last post I had started onions in February. This past weekend I started my “April start” crops: Tomatoes and peppers, along with a few others. I also started some shallots – I was originally going to order starts for those but ended up ordering some seeds from Baker Creek seeds. I got a lot of really good seeds from them this year. They seemed a little pricey (which is why I hadn’t ordered from them in past years) but they have a lot of varieties of different things, and they are all Heirloom seeds. So far my sprout rate is awesome from their seeds. I ordered from Seeds N Such last year, because they had great prices, but I had a lower seed sprout rate, and a few things didn’t grow true to what they said they were (for one example, I had a cantaloupe that was more of a honeydew). Plus their seed packets were too general – for example, they’d have a name for the specific type, but the directions would be for “tomatoes, peppers and other nightshades…” on the back, not for that specific type of tomato, or pepper, or whatever.  I did a small order of seeds from Baker Creek this year at first – they came within a week, and the onions and gogi berries all sprouted within a few days. Their seed packets are really big and colorful, have directions/info for the specific thing you are growing, and they actually send you free seeds as well with each order. I got a free pack of free tomato seeds when I ordered my first 3 packets. I placed two more orders (I broke my seed order into two from them, since I ordered a lot this year) and I got some free carrots and other tomatoes, and basil as well.  That’s a nice bonus.

new seed starts
Here are the newly planted seeds for tomatoes and peppers on the left, shallots (in the blue containers), green onions (in the bottom right), and cauliflower (top right). I used toilet paper tubes this year as little seed pots. So far that is working well. This picture is from right after I planted them on Sunday or Monday.
seeds start 2
Here they are today – this is almost a week later.

As you can see, I’m growing a lot of different onions this year. I have pretty much two whole spots in my double-dug garden set aside for them on my garden plan – there is still a foot or so of snow on the actual garden, so I’m waiting for it to melt before I can assess everything and clean stuff up.

onions
Here you can see the onions from before are doing well. just waiting for their spot in the garden. Right now it still has about a foot or so of snow on it. These seem crowded but they are doing well so I will leave them as is. If they seem stressed I’ll start pulling some or repot them in a bigger container to spread out before transplanting outside.

I am going to try some perennial vegetables – sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) and crosnes (also called Chinese artichokes) – these are both root crops that are supposed to be relatively easy to grow and/or become a little invasive. I picked a spot near the garage that gets a lot of sun, good drainage, and just has been tall grass for these. They both are supposed to have nice flowers, and they will have plenty of space in case they do become invasive.  I ordered tubers for these from a company called Norton Naturals out of Canada – they don’t ship till sometime in later April.  In researching perennial vegetables I came across Walking Onions, which supposedly “walk” around your garden (their shoots touch the ground and grow roots) – you shouldn’t need to replant them to get onions. I think I’m going to wait until next year to get some of these though, but it’s an idea for later.  I started looking into Perennial vegetables because it would be nice to have a bed or two of things we don’t have to replant each year.

gogi
Here are some of the Gogi berry bushes re-potted. I ended up with about 12 plants. They are still very small.
ginger
Here I am attempting to sprout Ginger. Fruition Seeds had a bunch of good info and they are selling rhizomes and fertilizer for these. I have 4 rhizomes in this tray. (It looks really dry here, I think I had just put them in).

I am going to attempt to grow Ginger as well – as you can see in the pic above I have some in a tray over a heat mat set to sprout soon; I think I’m going to grow them in bags like we do potatoes, only sideways. Ginger spreads outward instead of up – so you hill it like potatoes but very lightly (like an inch of soil or so at a time) and it will spread its rhizomes outward.  I have a good spot in our back yard that I think will give them the heat and sun they want.

I’m planning on doing potatoes in bags again this year – we had an excellent crop last year (as long as the bags are protected from the chickens, they do fantastic in them).

birdie
Here is a little bird, I’m not sure what kind. He (she?) was visiting our feeder and flew into the window. I heard the thud, went outside and found him knocked out on the porch. He sat in my hand for a few minutes and then flew off.

Spring seems to be finally in full swing. We are tapping trees for sap and planning for new chicks soon, along with all the garden plans.  Now that more is going on farm-wise, I am planning on giving you readers updates more often.

Garden 2018 is planted.

Phew! We finally got the last three double-dug French-Intensive beds finished and planted tonight. We had a bit of a hiccup a few weeks back, when we hit the part of the garden that used to be a driveway.  The soil in that bed was extremely rocky and we had to sift the soil to get all the rocks out. Once that was done things moved a bit faster. I also got the other gardens planted in the meantime. Here are some photos:

garden
Here is a shot of the garden with all the separate beds.
025
Here is another pic, the northern side of the main garden.
garden 2
A closer view. You can see the older “raised beds” are not so raised anymore, since we’ve had a bit of rain. Our clay soil doesn’t stay as fluffy as it could. It should still be better than if we were walking on it though – we won’t be since that is the whole point of this system.
greens
The greens bed. Kale, chard, and spinach. They are all growing well.
peas
Here are the peas. They are starting to try to find something to climb, so we put these strings and supports in for them yesterday.
tomatos squash
Here is the tomato bed (not part of the main garden) – I took this area back from the chickens. There are tomatoes and squash in here, and so far they are doing well.
herb garden
Here is the herb garden. It’s doing well also, but it’s hard to tell yet in this picture.
comfrey
Here is my comfrey. I fenced in the area next to the house that this is in, and now the chickens can’t get in there to eat it all.
moth 1
I found a visitor in the garden today, this Sphinx Moth. Possibly a Big Poplar Sphinx Moth or a Modest Sphinx Moth, according to a couple of websites I researched on.
moth 2
Here you can see the purple under its wings. It’s hard to tell scale on my arm here, but it had about a 3-4 inch wingspan while sitting here. They are really large.
moth 3
He was going a little crazy so I put him down on this chair, and after a few minutes he flew off. What a cool visitor.

 

Garden Progress late May

We are progressing on our garden plans for this year.  We’ve had some really warm days, and the nights are starting to warm up now, so planting for some things has started, and other things will be put in the ground soon. We are almost done with our raised bed garden that we’ve been working on, and we are getting the other beds ready as well. Here are some pictures of the goings-on for late May on our farm:

buddy outside
We moved the rabbits outside for the summer. Here is Buddy, our buck. Our does are due next week with babies.
chickens sneaking in
I am working on fencing the side of the house where the hollyhocks and comfrey are – here the chickens have snuck in since I haven’t finished the fence yet. Silly chickens.
herb garden
The herb garden (the back of the house garden) is almost ready, we just need to fence it and fix the pathways, since the chickens have messed those up. The fence will keep the chickens out. They think it’s their dust bath.
work in progress
The main garden is over halfway done with the raised bed system that we’re putting in – here you can see a hole in progress. We’ve come to the hardest part of this garden, the part that we most recently re-claimed from the yard, so it’s super rocky.
last year carrots
Here are some carrots from last year that were hiding in the garden. I found them as we were digging. You can see here why I needed to do a double-dug system. Our clay soil can be so dense that roots don’t go very deep. They should be able to get larger this year.
lemon balm
My lemon balm is doing fantastic. (next to potato bags).
garlic
Here is my garlic.
onions
The onions are coming up nicely.
peas
The peas are doing very well also. I am working on a trellis system to put over them so they have something to climb.
potatos
Here are some potatoes growing in the bags. So far this is working ok, but I think I will be trying buckets next year. The bags don’t stay as open as I’d like them to. 
seedlings 2
Here are some of my seedlings under my grow lights. I have tomatoes and squash, herbs and melons all started. I will be hardening them off here shortly.
tomato garden
Here is the tomato garden. I am taking back a section of chicken run that they really don’t use much, and I’ve dug individual holes for each tomato plant. I’m planning on putting pumpkins in this area too, so I can train them over the fence. I’m digging deep holes that will essentially be tiny raised beds for each plant. They’ll get compost next, and then filled in with loosened soil before I plant the tomatoes and things.
tree leaves
Our trees are really leafing out now. There are a few things that are just budding, but these maples are in full leaf.
the yard is green
Our yard is nicely green.

The garden is coming along nicely. I’m really glad that we’ve had such a nice spring so far.