Progress At The Farm Garden

Now that the weather has settled, things at the farm are growing.  Most of the Strawberries are leafing, we have Asparagus shoots, the Eggplant, despite the drubbing they took, have a couple of eggplants on them.  The original and now replacement peppers are leafing back up and even a couple of the tomatoes, that look like children from a refuge camp, have a couple of tomatoes.  Things are growing.  Things will continue to grow.  We are determined and relentless.  And if that wasn’t enough work, we got the posts for the new pig pen yesterday.  All in all a good day.  Mom did chicken chores, dad weeded and hoed, and even Aaron came out and pulled the alfalfa that has been growing all over the beet, carrot and onion patches.


Egg Plant (you can see how badly the leaves got torn from the hail (that isn’t from bugs)



Peppers re-leafing and showing some serious determination


The first shoots of the new Asparagus patch (its blurry because it wouldn’t stop blowing around)


The sad tomatoes and tomatillos.  They are having a rough time recovering.


Acorn squash with flower



About 200 row feet of Peaches N Cream Sweet corn.  It took two seedings to get them going because the first planting got washed away in the storms.



We have 400 row feet of onions.  They are a combination of Cabernet Red, Ailsa, and Copra with a couple of sets of Whites.  All seem very healthy.


We planted somewhere on the order of 800 row feet of Black Beans.  Despite getting hammered when they were just emerging from the ground it looks like they are well on their way.  You can see in the picture that the ground got pretty crusted over from the storms.  We have been out breaking it up pretty diligently.



Three different kinds of potatoes:  Reds, Kennebecs, and Yukon Golds.  All have come up  very nicely.  We are going to do our first hilling tomorrow.


This lower patch is about 4800 square feet.  It has organic dent corn for the chickens and for corn meal (the left 2/3ds) and the right side is about 1800 square feet of kidney beans.



This is harder to see as it is very early yet – Beets and two types of Carrots.




The hardest part of this right now is simply keeping the soil broken up.  We are still devising ways of keeping something this big erosion protected but also covered in order to build the soil.  We have some ideas but that doesn’t help this year.  I imagine that next season, the lessons learned here, will prove invaluable.

Happy Summer Solstice To All Of My Heretic Friends!!!

Farmer Jon

Supervised Free Ranging on a Breezy Saturday

We have 6 or 7 hens that have gone broody.  What a pain.  When a hen is broody it means she wants to be a mommy.  She stops laying eggs and will sit in a nesting box trying to hatch any number of eggs….. even NONE.  She will sit there as though she has settled in to the 3 week incubation period.  They get kind of zombie like and mean.  They will peck at you if you try to get them out of the box.   This is a problem, 1. because when they are like this they stop laying eggs, and 2.  The other hens that want to lay eggs can’t get into the nesting boxes.  This creates some turmoil in the coop.  They bitch up quite a storm.  The broodies hiss and squawk and the hens squawk back.  This can go on for hours.  Even the roosters get in on the act.  Every so often you can go into the coop and there will be 3 hens in one box (12 x 18 inches).  The broody will be on the bottom and two others that can’t hold it anymore are on top of her trying to lay eggs.  It sounds hilarious and it is….. when you are in the right mood.

So today Zina decided that one way to break a broody is to deny her the ability to get to a nesting box and get the hens out into the bright sunshine for awhile.  This involves a supervised outing into the grass.  If we didn’t have aerial predators we could just let em out.  The four footed predators are easily kept at bay because the whole area is fenced.  Unfortunately, hawks, falcons and owls also think chicken is tasty so we need to be out there in case of an aerial assault.

Hopefully this will help break some of the broodies.  Sure it is nature’s way, but what are we going to do with dozens of chicks that would arrive if we let them hatch their clutches?  The freezer only has so much room in it and feed at that level would be expensive enough that we’d have to sell the eggs just to keep up.  That is definitely for another day.

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