The last couple weeks have been non-stop busy around our place. When the warm weather arrives suddenly I can find a million things to do outside rather than vacuum the house. I have been mowing, pulling ivy, painting the chicken coop, clearing blackberry vines, mulching, removing old fence sections, burning brush piles, weeding, and planting. It would be best not to stop by our house right now or the drifting hairballs off Aggie might swallow you whole.
We have big news: I have officially lost my mind. I had talked myself out of raising any baby chicks this year to replace the 8 annoying chickens. Then we went to the feed store to get some more seed potatoes and I broke down after looking at the baby chicks. ARG!!!! So we came home with 3 Rhode Island Reds, 3 Red Sex Links, and 3 mystery chicks (probably Araucanas) that were half priced. A couple days later, at a different farm store, I picked up 2 Black Australorps and 2 Welsummers. The bad news is that Lee has banned me from feed stores until chick season ends. The good news is that the chicks are outside in the brooder rather than in my house. Thank goodness for the reconfigurable chicken house Lee built last year.
We weeded around Lee’s hops, thinned them, laid down a nice layer of composted pig manure, and covered it in bark-o-mulch. This picture is several days old–they have already grown two feet since it was taken. We are expecting a pretty nice crop this year.
We ran out of our fertilizer mix like we do every year, so it was time to make up a new batch. We use Steve Solomon’s “Complete Organic Fertilizer” recipe for everything in the garden. The formula is designed to maximize vegetable nutritional value, without encouraging needlessly bulky plant growth. It has worked well for us for several years now, but we also need to find a source for compost to maintain the soil organic matter content. While some people fertilize only with compost, in western Oregon that can encourage symphyla infestation (we have enough problems with them already). The chicken coop only yields enough compost for a couple garden beds each year, and when we eventually get sheep they will be on pasture full time (no handy manure piles).
We had to replant tomatoes as I planted them earlier then I usually do (kicking myself) and a cold snap came through and killed them.
When I was watering our cole crops today I was smashing cucumber beetles left and right. It looks like it’s going to be a bad year on that front.
We planted our last row of potatoes tonight.
I planted a row of winter squash and Lee set up the drip irrigation for it. We bought the starts at a plant sale for our local youth farm. We have so much of the garden planted right now that we are running out of room in the existing beds. I feel so on top of things!
Lee got three pots of timber bamboo today. He is very excited and has plans of making bamboo fences and structures. The next couple days will probably find us preparing a permanent location for a bamboo grove.