Thursday, September 03, 2009

Thursday's Livestock and Garden Report ~ Week 23

can you believe that it's week 23 already? almost half of the year, and I've been posting these weekly sporadic L&G reports! are you as tired of reading them as i am of posting them? could anybody possibly still be interested in the weekly blow-by-blow of our garden? most likely not- but thanks for being polite and reading anyway! the garden is winding down, so this should be near the end.

did i hear a big internets sigh of relief from all my readers?

yesterday we got our last 50 peeps, bringing our grand total for the year to 175 chickens. (25 buff orpingtons and 150 cornish cross cockerels.) we are still on a learning curve as far as the meat birds go. our last batch of 50 had the shocking and disappointing mortality rate of 50%!!!! hopefully this batch will not be so. some of this batch is for selling, and some for us to eat.

the pigs are growing well- as of this morning the larger of the 2 weighs approximately 250 pounds. come the cooler weather, i guess we'll be butchering! we've already eaten nearly all of the pig that we had butchered last April. just a few pounds of bacon and miscellaneous roasts floating about in the freezer. with that consumption rate, we're guessing that our family will eat about 3 pigs a year. (in addition to the 100 chickens that we butcher and freeze for ourselves)

I've finally and officially given up on the tomatoes. this meager spread is all the beefsteak that G and i were able to salvage. (although there may be a few more out there that we'll find when we pull up the remaining 2 rows of tomatoes this afternoon, this is truly the end.) all in all, a very disappointing year for tomatoes. however, we cannot count the tomatoes as a total loss, since we "harvested" well over six 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes to feed the pigs. at least we got some food value out of all that work!

next year the tomatoes will be planted in the lower garden, so we don't have to worry about the spores of the blight hibernating in the soil to attack again.

the cauliflower and broccoli is doing very well in the high tunnel- perhaps I'll actually harvest some?

the beans are very lush and green, and they are all flowering, leading me to believe (hope?) that we'll get more beans for the freezer. the buckwheat cover is doing well, too, here in the upper garden.

many of the potatoes are still in the ground down in the lower garden. we've still been steadily selling them in the produce stand, as well as giving some away. we're hoping to borrow a potato digger for the tractor~ there is probably over 500 feet of potato rows, between the kennebec, red Pontiac and yukon gold. neither G or i look forward to that much manual labor, so I'll try to nail down the rumor of a potato digger for the tractor.

we bought 4 more bales of hay for mulch, and between the hay, buckwheat and annual rye, we'll make sure that both gardens have an adequate cover of mulch/green manure for the winter. additionally, we'll have soil samples from both gardens tested to make sure that we're on the right track as far as the soil nutrients go. i have no problem trying to address the deficiencies in our soil's nutrients organically with mulch and green manure cover, but i am not opposed to some synthetic fertilizer, either.

so, except for some beans, cauliflower and broccoli, and a ton of potatoes, we're done! it's hard to imagine that it's been almost 6 months that we've been working at our garden! I'm tired just thinking about it, and i look forward to those long winter days to just relax. i can read to the girls, sew and maybe even knit something.

won't that be nice!


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Angie said...

Nick was telling me about the "blight" thing. I had never heard of it before, but I definitely see it in our garden.
It's neat that you are getting the garden routine figured out- as far as what you are going to do next year. I think gardening (and lots of other things) is a lot of trial and error.
I seem to have lots of "error" over here in my garden. :)
Have a great day!


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