This has been, by far, my favorite garden season. I have probably gotten more done than in any year past, but it has felt leisurely. There never feels as though there’s enough time, but there’s also no pressure.
I’m trying to make it a habit to go to the farmers market on Saturdays. In years past, I would go maybe three times the whole summer. I spent most of my weekends writing papers for school, so I never felt like I had time or energy to go. I always felt guilty for talking the talk, but not walking the walk.
I’m trying to figure out what I want to grow for us and what I want to rely on the farmers market for. I like the way beets look, but I’m not sure I eat them often enough to justify growing them. I like cole slaw a lot, but I’m not sure I want to dedicate the space in the garden to cabbage.
It’s been a different approach to the garden. I think I have written before about potentially making a career change that could mean taking a pay cut. It would be nice to be in a place to make some money from the farm to supplement the change in income. I always have a mind to what I think I could sell well at a market. This summer and the next would be the time to really figure out a plan for that.
I’m not even positive I will pursue the career change. I know I want to in my heart, but there’s a fair amount of risk involved that is intimidating. No job is going to be perfect, but this is what I have wanted to do since I was a kid and I think it would allow me the time and space to continue to grow the farm.
I have a little less than a year to make a firm decision.
It started with one chicken. Then her chicken friend joined her. They’ve been sitting for three weeks now, but no babies.
Then a duck joined in, sitting on what I think is a lone egg. She’s been sitting for five days? I really should have written that down.
Another duck joined in yesterday, and a third this morning. At least one of the ducks is sitting on a mix of chicken and duck eggs. If I dare enter the coop right now, the hissing of the ducks gets intense.
I guess I’m going to let it keep happening. I have candled a few of the chicken’s eggs and some of them seemed to have something going on, but some of them seemed like a chicken was just trying to lay in her regular spot and they rolled that egg right on in. Plus, I know I can beat the ducks, but they’re scary and I don’t wanna.
On Tuesday, I transplanted all of the tomato plants. By Tuesday evening, a small crew of chickens had found a small hole in the fence and destroyed almost all of the tomatoes. We fixed the fence on Wednesday, but one of the hens was still able to get in. She has been moved to the chicken retirement home (just some people who love chickens) and hopefully the garden is safe.
Several years ago I bought two strawberry plants from the farmers market. The lady gave me a strange look when I did it, I assume because she thought two strawberry plants wasn’t enough to do anything with. I knew the plants would send out runners and multiply, so I went for it. The strawberry patch from that area is pretty huge now and it is covered in little baby strawberries. I’m not sure what I will do with that strawberry patch after this season, though. I planted 100 strawberry plants throughout the garden this spring with plans of mowing down the old patch and replacing it with something else. I have enough room in the garden this year for everything I really want to grow, so I’m thinking it might be able to stay at least for a few more seasons.
In other garden maintenance news, the blueberry plants are trying to flower. I’m going out a couple of times a day to pinch flowers off the blueberry and strawberry plants so that they spend the energy on building a good root system, but it hurts to do it. I know it’s the best in the long term, but I just want some dang fruit. One of the cherry trees sent out flowers, too, so those got pinched back. I am looking forward to the hopefully abundant fruit harvests of 2020 and beyond.
Planted the cucumbers, squash, nasturtium, and watermelon today.
I’m not saying anything new, but cow manure smells terrible.
We knew it would be hot today, so we started as early as possible to try to beat the heat. The morning was absolutely perfect – cloudy, light breeze, perfect temperature. We were able to get a ton done – four no till beds, mulched the asparagus, weeded the other raised beds, cleared the fence lines, mowed, etc.
Tomorrow the plan is to plant squash, watermelon, muskmelon, and cucumbers. I plan to do about 4 squash plants – 2 each of the honeynut and 898 squash. The Crimson Sweet watermelon has a forever place in our garden, but I did get some Borries Yellow seeds for this season.
I’m extremely pleased with the garden so far. I’m going to have to do a little bit of tilling this year – I don’t have enough compost to make more beds and I have definitely spent enough on the homestead this year. Hopefully by next year I can finish out the no till transition.
Two of the Silver Gray Dorkings have gone broody. They’re sitting on a clutch of eggs together, and I still have no idea how many eggs they’re trying to hatch.
I did candle a couple of eggs earlier today and from what I can tell, they might be about 18 days along. That aligns with about how long I think they’ve been sitting on the eggs. It’s possible that by early next week we will have homegrown chicks.
I am both excited and terrified.
I have been a pretty poor gardener to date. I don’t think I’ve ever properly hardened off transplants. Granted, for the last few years I’ve opted to just purchase transplants to avoid that whole confusion. For a long time, my strategy was just toss it in the ground and trust in the plants ability to survive.
I’m doing it right this year, however. I’m slowly easing them in to the insane wind we have at the farm and the sunlight and nature in general. I’m hoping to plant them next weekend.