Sunday, June 07, 2009

And Away We Go

Wow! I finally completed most of the planting. There is a space of two rows that I have purposely left empty that I can use should I need to plant something, but otherwise, the field is full. Ed and I worked most of yesterday watering the plants in the high tunnel and planting up the rest of the hops section. As soon as I translate my notes into a map, I'll post it for you to give you a visual reference for what is in the field. Last night we had a good rain so I hope everything will sprout and I can keep up with the watering till the plants get well rooted. The hops section should look especially good with all of the herbs I put in: Tansy, Sweet Annie, Lavender, Foxy Digitalis, Calendula, Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Cumin, Borage, Soapwort, Sweet and bulb Fennel, and Lovage. If enough of those herbs take off, I will use clumps of them to put into a medicine wheel garden -- yes, I still want to make a medicine wheel garden, and I want it to look good right off the bat so it will need bigger initial plantings. I don't know what it is about medicine wheel gardens, but I just have to have one.

Yesterday morning I worked on weeding the garden boxes. The plants are really taking off. I will definitely have enough salad makings to take to the farmers market this coming week: French Breakfast Radishes, Nichols Mesclun Mix, Noble Spinach, and Navet des Vertus Marteau turnip greens. I will sell the turnip thinnings, but will let the turnips go to seed since I like them so much. I am impressed with the Paris Island Cos romaine lettuce; that should be ready to harvest by the time the mesclun mix is done. I am going to only cut the mesclun mix once because I want to let most of what I grow this year set seed. Many of my seeds are old and I need to grow everything out for fresh seed. I planted all of my squashes together -- a bad idea for seed saving -- but I plan to select, mark, isolate and hand pollinate the different varieties for seed production. I even planted four extra seeds with each plant I put in just in case I lose one to weather or varmints. If I am able to keep up with the watering, and if everything grows well, the field should look spectacular by August.

I am really excited about some of the new varities I planted this year. Golden Amaranth is supposed to be easy to grow and very nutritious. You can eat the leaves and the seeds. From what I've read, you can get up to 1 lb. of seed per plant, and you can grind the seeds for flour. Another new variety is Senposai, a type of green similar to spinach, that Pat Meadows, a list serv friend, recommended. A couple of squashes are new this year -- Queensland Blue and Galeaux D'Eyesine, and this year I heavily planted pole beans -- Cherokee Trail of Tears, Rattlesnake, Kentucky Blue, and True Red Cranberry. Interestingly, the True Red Cranberry had the poorest germination of all the pole beans I planted, but the seedlings that did sprout were the strongest of all the varieties.

The wolves must be back because all the varmints are coming by us early this year! Besides the chickens being kamikazied by the foxes, last night I got a good look at, yes, the BIG bear is back! And the rattlesnake has showed up by my Dad's chicken coop! He, fortunately, has a shot gun.

I called the utility company and they will come to mark the utility line for me out in the field so I can start working on fixing the fence next Wednesday after 12:00 P.M. Hopefully that will not take long. Maybe I can start moving the roosters out to the field that evening. We'll see. Repairs always take longer than you expect! I have some woven wire left over from when I first put the field fence up that I will use to make a gate and separate the chicken area from the garden sections. I hope there is enough of it; I hate having to buy "just a little bit more".

Lori Wagner and her boys are going to come help me butcher the chickens. That will be a big help! I'm trying to find a Featherman or tub chicken plucker to rent for a weekend (can't wait to build my own Whizbang Chicken Plucker!). I will give her a call to set a day that's ok with both of us.

Well, that's all for now. Have a good weekend, everybody. And hey, go see the new Star Trek movie -- as a life long Star Trek fan I have to say I love the way the fresh perspective of this movie, and the casting was billiant! I can't wait to see the next one.

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