Spring thoughts

I did finally order seeds. But not from any of the listed companies. I forgot to mention that I also requested a catalog from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and when that catalog arrived, I was no longer interested in any of the others. All the seeds listed are open-pollinated, non-hybrid, heirloom seeds, collected from seed-savers and gardeners from around the world. So, what did we order? Having a very limited experience with gardening and the qualities of any varieties listed, we opted for the Medium Homestead package for northern climates that includes 25 vegetables and 60 varieties (60 seed packets total). So we really have no idea yet what we will be growing, and in a way, that will make our first year of gardening just that much more exciting. There are few, if any, items in the catalog that I would not want (most likely candidates are the summer squash and the beets), so chances are, we will be happy to have whatever pops up. What I don’t care for, Bea will probably love.

I have also brought the grow lights* into the kitchen and we are now waiting to see if the 6 basil plants and 2 cilantro will come up for some early fresh seasoning. At some point we may have to find a window for them, but first things first. I want to know how this grow light thing works, so I am experimenting with the seeds we have. It has only been a week, and not a peep. Other bloggers are reporting sprouts at 10 days for some of their seeds, so maybe we will see some green next week.

Next up is the chicken order. We will be getting 25 chicks, and I have picked out the breeds. It looks like we will mix it up with Rhode Island Reds, Silver/Gold Laced Wyandottes, Black Australorps, and Buff Orpingtons. We are planning on ordering straight runs of the Australorps, Orpingtons, and Wyandottes, but only ordering sexed pullets of the Reds. The reason for this is that we want to have a cock, but don’t want to be stuck with only one to pick from if we order it sexed. So we will order straight runs, cull the cockerels that don’t make the cut, and end up with the favorite cock to watch over the hens. Why no Red rooster? Reds tend to have quite aggressive cocks, and I prefer to keep my spurs at boot level. The next week or so will be spent preparing for the chicks (heat lamp, feeder, waterer, quarters), and plans for the coop and the run will kick into high gear after they arrive (in late March?). Each of the breeds is a good dual-purpose breed, so we should end up with 10-15 good layers, and 10-15 meaty frozen chickens in the freezer. We are hoping to let them run amok (I mean free range), but if it seems like they are getting into things (like the house, or the road), or easy prey for hawks and coyotes, they will be confined to their run.

It sounds like a lot. It is. Still not sure how it will all work out, but it will. Sun is out this weekend, so optimism levels are high.

If you happen to live in a (sub)urban area, the book Keep Chickens! by Barbara Kilarski might be helpful. Many towns allow for small numbers of chickens, and they require so little space, and take care of many table scraps. Oh yeah, and the eggs!

* Bea’s dad did some work for a couple and they asked if he had use for the grow stand and lights. He said he knew some one who did! They are a great couple and have also loaned us an awesome stereoscopic microscope (2 eyepieces = magnification with depth). Frito’s are pretty nasty up close. Anyway, we are very thankful and excited about the grow lights, and will be even more so once we see some sprouts.

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6 thoughts on “Spring thoughts”

  1. Daniel, that Baker Creek set sounds awesome! It’s pretty cool that they include so many different varieties–that way if one of them fails or gets eaten by a groundhog or something, you’ve essentially got some backups. They are an awesome seed company.

    As for the seeds you’ve started, in my experience herbs take a little longer than veggies to sprout. I definitely remember our basil taking what seemed like too long last year, so I’m sure you guys will be making pesto in no time.

    Good luck with the garden!

  2. Thanks Meg! I know there are details on the back of the seed packet (germination time, blah blah blah, when to sow), I just chose to ignore them. 🙂

    And yes, pesto! We have missed it ever since our winter supply ran out in December (not technically even winter yet). As for the cilantro, we have some Thai and Mexican meals that really need some, and I am feeling impatient. And that means I don’t want to wait till June.

  3. How exciting! We just got our seed order in the mail this week, and I too went for a pre-made set of veggies they recommended for urban gardens, plus blends of sweet peppers, cabbages, winter greens and flowers for pickling, saurkraut and keeping things interesting. We have zero space for indoor sprouting, but hopefully we can rig a small cloche or something to keep the egg cartons full of soil warm enough. We may be buying a very small chicken coop with a mobile run tomorrow from Craigslist. Like you, we’re not sure exactly how everything will work out, but we will just have to go for it. We really envy all of your land and love hearing your plans for your microfarm! However, the yard we do have needs so much work that we probably couldn’t handle much more at this point.

  4. Dude… You’re doing it… giving up tech for -gardening. First it is your RSS feeds, and now it will be -your time.
    Good for you. I wish I was at a place where I could do it. I really resonated with this and have often wished WalMart would die. Whatev. I am going to have to come check out your place, and try some homemade cheese when you graduate from plants and chickens to plants and chickens and goats :).
    I may be in the area for longer than i had anticipated, and may be seeing another midwest winter… so tere will more than likely be a killer opportunity for us to come out!

  5. I am feeling wistful about your chicken order, wishing I could do the same. I love the idea of assorted chickens running around, and the eggs, oh my!

    Yes, herbs are slow, and in my experience cilantro is REALLY slow to come up!

  6. Man, that all sounds so good! Not to over-analyze things, but I love your common sense blend of planning, serendipity (like, plant stand!), practical convenience (Medium Homestead pack), fearless enthusiasm (Medium Homestead pack, CHICKENS!) and…optimism! It’s cool. You’re gonna have fun!!!!

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