Thursday, October 30, 2008

Finishing Up

Boy! Tom and I got a lot done today. I went out to the high tunnel and tilled everything under. I kept the South Side row nearest the sidewall because that is where the parsley and spearmint are still doing fine and dandy. I want to go back out there and collect the catnip seed, too. I turned over a small section next to the parsley and transplanted my chives there. I will turn over the rest of the tunnel nearest the North sidewall by hand and rake new rows into shape another day. I can't wait to get some 2"x4"s and build the tomato trellis. I'm also toying around with making a raised bed box over another row for just lettuces; I mean, the high tunnel is 12' high so why not utilize more vertical space? After working in the high tunnel I took the BCS and tilled the horseradish row. I dug up the roots and sliced them up and replanted them. Then I dug the three holes for the grafted plum trees that will be coming, and I marked all the tree holes with bamboo poles in case it snows again before the trees arrive. I'll have to draw a new garden layout diagram to show you all how the original layout has changed.

Tom walked out to the field and helped me get the BCS into the truck. Back at the house we cleaned out the garage -- I'm going to have to make building a storage shed next year a priority. Maybe I'll just cut poles for one when I go out this winter to cut fence posts. We need to put the garden tools and farmers market supplies somewhere besides the garage. He winterized the BCS and we put it away for the year. Then he pulled out the snow thrower and got that ready for use.

I got up the nerve to go near the chicken coop (remember the rattlesnake?) and carefully retrieved the feeders and waterers for cleaning. If the weather holds, I think I've built up enough courage to finally go inside the coop and get it ready for next year.

Did I tell you I bought Free-Range Poultry Production & Marketing by Herman Beck-Chenoweth at ? I am reading and studying it. I want to raise layers for eggs and good stew hens near the house, and I am thinking about where to put the meat birds. I originally wanted to have them in the remaining pasture section next to the high tunnel, but with all the livestock theft going on all around, I'm toying with putting them under the trees by the house in an area separate from the hens. Lots to think about! I need to call Brad (the vet) and see if he can show me how to turn roosters into capons.

I sent off today for Eliot Coleman's book Winter Harvest Manual. I think it will be a good accompaniment to Au Naturel Farm's book on high tunnel growing. Using the info in both of those manuals should give me a good idea on how to increase next year's production using the big high tunnel and the covered garden boxes I built this year. I really think I may be at the turning point where I can actually start to make some money. I'll keep my fingers crossed and get my production plans set down in writing. Between the veggie production and chickens we should at least make enough to pay the taxes -- that's my goal anyway. Don't want to get rich, just pay the taxes and keep healthy by staying active. When the different fruits starts coming on, that will be all gravy. Maybe by then I'll really know what I'm doing.

You know how I'm always looking for info and recipes about the produce I sell for my customers? Well, I came across a really great cookbook utilizing all sorts of herbs and heirloom veggies called
The Kitchen Garden Cookbook
by Sylvia Thompson. Excellent. I think it's the best cookbook about using home grown veggies since The
Victory Garden Cookbook
by Marian Moresh.

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