Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday's Livestock and Garden Report~ Week 7

yesterday was a big gardening day, with all hands on deck.

all 3 girls were ready for a busy and muddy day in the garden with properly clad feet. with such cheerful and colorful boots, how could we not have a great day?

G got right to work tilling the remainder of the lower garden.

M and i planted the peppers together. i put them in the dirt and she covered them with milk jugs, since it's still a bit early in zone 5 to have peppers out. even though we've literally been saving milk jugs since January, we were still several dozen short.

we also planted carrots~ many carrots. when we were done, B and i watered them. (and as any experienced gardener knows, the only sure way to be certain that you'll get rain in the next 24 hours is to water whatever you've just planted. works every time. try it yourself!)

these are the 7 rows of potatoes in the lower garden. some are just starting to peek through the soil, but you can't tell from the picture. i tilled between all the rows to keep the weeds down.

rows of onions, beets, onions. i will thin the beets when they get a little bit bigger. unfortunately, i planted these rows too close together, so they will need to be hand weeded, since the tiller cannot fit down through rows this narrow.

here's the lower garden as it looked when we were done last night. at the far bottom is the 7 rows of potatoes (red pontiac, yukon gold and kennebec) then the onions, beets, onions. next is 2 more rows of red pontiac potaoes. then the row of peppers. above that is ½ row of sweet potatoes in the black fabric to help keep the soil warm. (not planted yet). i plan to put the winter squash on either side of the sweet potatoes. then a row of pitiful looking broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. not sure if they will survive, since they are quite spindly and leggy. we started those ourselves, and obviously we don't quite have the knack of seed starting just yet. the carrots are all planted at the far end, filling out the incomplete rows of beets, onions and peppers.

the yukon gold potatoes in the upper garden are mostly up, and after i tilled between the rows, Dave hilled them. the potatoes will all get hilled at least 3 times.

the tomatoes are planted in the high tunnel, and doing nicely. even though we've had a few nights of high 30's, they have done just fine. i got nervous on 2 of the coldest nights, and we covered the tomatoes with another layer of insulation. (just more black fabric carefully laid on top) better safe than sorry!

today Dave decided that the oats and clover are big enough to withstand the chickens foraging, so we moved the meat birds' hoop houses over to the "chicken triangle." while the cornish cross roosters are mostly sedentary, they do enjoy picking at the fresh green grasses. also, their coop will be cleaner, as the hoop houses will be moved every day.

here they are happily settled in~ fresh water, and lots of their special high protein food. BTW, just this morning they started on their eighth 100 pound bag of food. with 5 weeks yet to go until we get to butchering day, I'm thinking that I'll be lucky if i can hold them to 1000 pounds of feed.

even though these chickens are phenomenally stupid (and that's saying something, as chickens in general are not too bright!) they are curious.

the "baby buffs" as we call them are also in the chicken triangle, and they will get the same special treatment as the cornish X. (minus the looming butchering date) they are fully feathered out, and much tamer than i expected them to be.

this poor little guy didn't quite make it to June 17th. the cornish X are such mutant freaks a fragile breed that their legs can easily get broken, or their hearts give out. tomorrow we'll be having fresh chicken for lunch. even with 5 full weeks to go, he weighed in at just over 2 lbs. not too bad, I'd say.

the pigs are settled in nicely, and although they are still quite skittish we do see them more often.

they sure do love those scraps! it's a blessing to have the restaurant garbage to feed them because it really helps cut down on their feed bill. (some weeks i spend more at the feed mill than i do at the grocery store!)

there's another week in review. thanks so much for stopping by- i enjoy your comments and encouragement!


Angie said...

That's an awesome idea to use milk jugs. I will have to try it. I am anxious to get my peppers planted.

Are chickens a pain to pluck? I've never plucked anything before.

I love the watering can picture and you girls in your matching dresses. It's so cute!

Annette said...

You are insane. Scratch that...just hard working! My big question is what do you can, freeze, or ?? Do you sell some too? That is an amazingly large family garden.

Cute boots, cute dresses, lots of hard work.


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