Things are getting busy here. I have “installed” one 4’x18′ bed, and am partway through a second one of similar size. We will put in at least one more in the next week or so, and possibly another 3-4 in May (at least that is the plan at the moment). The plants are all growing as they should, and the onions have been out-doors for about a week now, hardening off. We have started on the next round of seeds, and should start the direct seeding of the beds once the snow threat is gone tomorrow. Actually, most of the peas, and some radishes are in a small bed at the end of the clothes-line, and the peas should be popping up any time now. The radishes are planted behind/north of the peas and should grow and mature fast enough that the peas will not interfere. We may end up with a nice pea tent in June. We have 100+ onion seedlings and 30+ sets to put out, along with some leeks. The leeks are looking pretty weak, but I am not sure if it is because they take a long time to mature, or if they really should already be in the ground. I have kept both leeks and onions trimmed, but it is time for another. Bea started broccoli, basil and celery early this week, and has pots ready for flowers.
Bea has filed the remaining seeds based on when they should be planted, so we now have a schedule to keep. I was trying to keep track, but after 27 pots of tomatoes, 6 eggplant, 24 peppers, 38 onion, 18 leek, and 8 Chichiquelite Huckleberry, I grew weary and overwhelmed trying to determine what was next, and how much to start. It is the first year, so next year should be easier.
And… we have chicks! Bea stopped by the feed store to see what they had and came home with 4 Rhode Island Reds, 3 White Rock, and 3 Black Sex-link (Black Star). They are very cute and it is always amazing to see how early they act like chickens. They naturally scratch when they eat, pick on each other, preen, hop onto a roost, and compete for food. The kids get endless entertainment from digging worms to feed the chicks and watching them chase each other around, fighting for the tasty morsel. Also interesting is that the chicks are not really that interested in the boxelder bugs that we have wandering our house, are only slightly interested in the Japanese lady beetles, but go crazy at the sight of a worm or slug. And they are only 5 days old. Those are some strong instincts.
In preparation for the future chickens, I have made the first step towards a finished coop: I put in the posts. That was last week, and I am still gathering info on the amount of lumber/materials needed to move on to the next phase: the floor. We have 5 weeks or so before the chicks reach outdoor size and constitution, so I will be working on the coop and the run in parallel to the gardens.
There are a few items we would like to grow, but have either neglected to order them, or do not have a firm plan for them, even though they are sitting in the cheese drawer of the fridge:
- Hops (in the fridge)
- Black currants
We are still not sure these will all make it into our ground this year (even though I still have hope). The hops will definitely go in, but the arbor that we intended to build may not. It will be a lot easier to put in the aesthetic elements once the production is in place, I think. As the hops grow, we will be able to split/transplant them as needed in the following years to places where we want shade in summer.