5/2/16 – 5/20/16 | Headlines of the past 2.5 weeks:
- First Farmers Markets!
- Lots of hand hoeing
- Planting lettuce, basil, cilantro, butternut squash, green beans, sweet potatoes, cayenne peppers, tomatoes, and sunflowers
- Preparing for chicks!!
The first Farmers Market was a resounding success! Jan and Andy sold out super quick of all their gorgeous veggies (and they had a lot, especially for the first weekend in May!).
Since I didn’t have a medium-sized tiller and since I hadn’t mulched last fall, I ended up doing a lot of hoeing in order to get rid of the weeds and loosen up the soil so I could plant lettuce, basil, cilantro, butternut squash, green beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and sunflowers. In the past I’ve never bothered about multiple plantings to get a steady supply of one kind of produce (for example, if I wanted to have cilantro every week for the market I would basically have to plant it every week), but I’ve realized how important that is! So instead of planting my entire garden in a few days, I started sooner and will be stretching it out a lot more.
Besides strategic timing, I’m also experimenting with my spacing. For example, I planted rows of lettuce seeds between some of my transplanted lettuce rows. The idea is that the bigger lettuce will be harvested before the next planting needs that extra space, and as a result I have less unused space.
In the next picture you can see strategic spacing in action again and the start of my mulching. The white marker in the circle of bare soil is where I planted butternut squash. The lettuce is pretty close, but again, that lettuce will be out of the way by the time the butternut reaches it (in theory). And then the messy mulching job is the result of pulling up a bunch of tall grass and grass clippings. I will cover as much bare ground with mulch like this as I can in the coming weeks, and I figured I might as well start somewhere!
A few weeks ago I started cayenne peppers inside – a bit late, but we’ll see what comes of it.
When they seedlings were about an inch tall the leaves started to curl at the ends. Jan had mentioned something similar with her own pepper seedlings, and said it was probably a nutrient deficiency (or something along those lines). A bit of fertilizer made them shape right up, she said. I brainstormed about some kind of fertilizer I could use and remembered that comfrey, one of my favorite herbs, is jam-packed full of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium (to name a few). It can be used as fertilizer, either in the form of decomposing leaves or “tea.” Comfrey tea is typically made by letting the leaves decompose in water for a few weeks, but I needed fertilizer right then and was willing to try something new. I heated up some water, let fresh comfrey leaves steep all night, and strained them off in the morning. I used that on the plants for the next few days. The leaves uncurled and are growing at a nice rate! I’ll probably never know if it was the tea that did the trick… but I have my suspicions.
And finally: I’ve been brainstorming and stocking up on supplies for my chicks! I’ve got a shipment of 77 little fluff balls due to arrive May 31st, so I’ll be setting up their brooder soon. Here are a few of my supplies: wood shavings for bedding (I’ve got more than just this), feed scoops, chick feeders, one of my homemade chick waterers, heat lamp bulbs, and buckets.
Congratulations, my friend! You have reached the end of this update! Feast your eyes on some lovely oregano blossoms (doesn’t it seem strange that if you rubbed the flowers in this picture it would smell like pizza? If the flowers themselves have a smell it’s overpowered by the fragrance of the leaves), and have a fantastic rest of your week!