Six on Saturday: This week in the garden

The weather is finally a little warmer, although the winds haven’t died down much, except for a day or two. That’s when the Black Flies started to descend upon me, enough so that Mark broke out our mosquito netted hoods and shirts. Mosquito netting is a necessary part of the gardening outfit this time of year, especially if you want to get anything done. Of course I was bitten a number of times before the netting came out. My right pinkie feels like a sausage right now due to a bite and I have two on my stomach.

I was determined to get things started in the garden this week. Our season is short up here, so I’m anxious to get things started. However I am always prepared to run out there and cover the beds up if there is a frost warning or god forbid snow.

1. Start the seed potato bags

My seed potatoes arrived a couple of weeks ago and I have been waiting to get the potato sacks started. I noticed a couple of weeks go that dandelions had cropped up in our lawn which to me is a clear sign that it was okay to start my potatoes.

2. Deal with Cold Frames

After loading up all the grow bags, I needed to turn my attention towards checking the progress of the plants that are under the cold frames. I felt that I could take off one of the frames since the plants were getting so big their leaves were hitting up against the frames. I was going to simply keep the door lifted but wanted to also throw in some compost and it’s easier if the frame is not in the way.

The spinach and lettuce has grown nicely. My daughter has been harvesting from that bed daily this week in making her spinach omelette breakfast and having fresh salads for lunch and dinner. Two broccoli starts – although it could be cauliflower starts that I threw in there a few weeks ago are beginning to take shape, as are the peas. I started them all from seed inside and put some in our indoor Tower Garden and the rest under the cold frames. We have been able to eat peas off the Tower Garden already and have been enjoying fresh salads for a a few weeks now. Which brings me to the third thing on this week’s garden list:

3. Start more Seeds

4.Plant Strawberry Starts

We love strawberries and I can’t have enough of them planted. Every year I have been adding in the ground in a tiered portion of our garden, this year I decided to plant some into a few grow back and planters that we have around the garden. That way when the groundhog does find his way in, he can have some and so can we.

5. Amend the Raised Beds

I plan on planting next week, weather permitting, so I decided it was a good time to start adding some compost to the raised garden beds. The 3′ x 6′ needed more compost for a number of reasons, one of which is my son’s goldendoodle, Kona kept breaking in to the garden and eating some of the compost I had put down a few weeks earlier. Thankfully the garlic I planted last fall hadn’t come up yet when she was doing all this, but I noticed it had sprung up this week.

6. Chickens

The latest news and addition to our homesteading is the arrival of our new chickens. Four Rhode Island Red pullets arrived on Mother’s Day and it’s been a week of new changes for all of us. Luckily I was already waking as early as 4:30 am thanks to our dogs who begin to whine around that time. Marley has done this since she was a puppy and is solely responsible for my waking up these last 6 years before the sun. Going to bed on the other hand, I have had to stay up a little later than my normal 7:300/8pm I am used to since they prefer to head into the hen house close to 8:00-8:30pm right now. They aren’t laying eggs yet as they are only about 18 weeks old but I am told that should start to happen in the next couple of weeks. We are new to chicken farming, so it’s an exciting new chapter for us.

I cleaned their roost area and reminded myself of how their poop would be a rich additive to our compost pile. I had build a dropping board which I saw was widely recommended by others and found it easy to clean, very similar to dealing with scooping out poop from the kitty litter box. I cut off some thyme from the garden and threw it into their food as well in their dust bath area since the herbs are good for repelling insects.

Right now I hear the wind hitting my windows and see the temperature is reading 50ºF, although somewhere in town, 1000 feet lower it’s 57ºF. Last night we had tornado warnings here in New Hampshire, not your usual weather warning for this area, but nothing has been usual this year.

Boomer checking out the chickens outdoor run

I find that I am anxious to get plants started and pray that we have a good season this summer. The last few months with the family together under quarantine, we have gone through much more of the canned tomato sauce and salsas I have made over the last two years much more so than I would have thought we would. I am thankful that I have been canning all these years as it has helped a great deal in these first few month of quarantine, I never considered ourselves preppers but now that I have less in inventory I am feeling slightly anxious. I will feel better when things have started in the garden and you can be sure I will be canning away as soon as I can. Happy Gardening Everyone!

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