Monday, April 29, 2019

The Scramble that is Spring

Has anyone else been scrambling??

I do so love spring, but man oh man have we been going like crazy around here.  It seems that no matter what we do, there is always a list of ten other things that need to get done while the weather is still nice.... and were in the middle of a bathroom remodel on top of all of it and I spent all day Saturday re-plumbing the house.  But at least it was windy and nasty for at least part of the day.  

Spring Update 

So, lets see.  So much has been going on this spring, I think its a good idea to spend a post just sort of rambling about it all.  I was in the middle of the soil building series and will get some great ideas updated here soon, but there has been just too much going on.  Too many problems came up that needed attention and just plain too much fun going on in the yard and in life.  I don't really know where to start. 

Worm Bins.  I am going to get a post about this soon...but I have been watching my worm bin in the shed and watching videos online and my worm bin didn't look like what I was seeing.  So I figured out a new approach to their bedding that I am excited to share here soon.  I just divided my worm bin into two worm bins, and I think this new approach is going to be even better. 

Rolling Compost.  I have been using one of those fancy black rolling compost tumblers for the first time and was a bit concerned about how it was all going to pan out.  I was surprised however today, after a number rather warm sunny days, to find what looked liked semi decent compost inside.  I decided that a good use for this was as part of my new worm bedding mixture, so I added some of it to that after sifting it.  

Pluot and Pluerry problems have hit my garden this year.  If you have plum trees, or their relatives, then you probably know all about plum aphids and how they curl your leaves at the growing tips of the plants.  I unfortunately didn't know anything about them until now so I have been doing my best to get ahead of them.  They have found at least two of the four plum family trees on our property, so well see if I can keep them going.  Right now I have resorted to a safe spray that can be used up to the day of harvest and spending some time blasting the leaves with water to try and knock them off.  I think we may be making some head way so we will keep after them. 

The other fruit trees have been doing amazing.  Apples are blooming here now, and the apricot, cherry, and nectarines have all done their things and were frost free through it all.  Now we wait and see how many of the plants set fruit and if they are strong enough this year to hold onto it. The cherry tree has been a solid producer so if I can keep the birds out, then I should have a great crop of cherries.  What do you do to keep the birds away from your fruit trees?

Deep Mulch Food Forest Garden.  This space is doing amazing.  The deep mulch has been keeping most of the weeds in check and we have begun working in the semi raised beds in this space.  There are over 50 lettuce plants growing now, as well as some kale, and we have tons more in the greenhouse that needs to get planted out here soon or else fed to the chickens.  I really want to get the mustard greens and other kale we started from seed in the ground asap too.

The volunteer  plants in this space are nuts.  We had a few flowers survive the mild winter, and the fall raspberries are absolutely taking over the front corner of the garden.  The Honey berries are coming into their own and spring has been so mild this year, that I think we might luck our way into some actual fruit finally this season. After cleaning out the strawberry bed the plants are going nuts and there are flowers all over them now.  Fingers crossed for a great harvest there.  So much fruit its so exciting to see it all start the season off right. 

If that wasn't enough, there is dill popping up all over the place, as well a host of herbs, including our container grown mint, which I just love. There are more holly hocks than I think I can let survive, so maybe I can transplant some of them around the yard.  Radishes are up, as well as some swiss chard. There is so much more I want to get planted, but its still so fun to be in this space and see all the life that is going on down there.  I think this year is going to be another great growing season!  

Critter Care.  The chickens are laying like crazy now and we have been pumping them full of grass clippings and pulled weeds on top of their regular ration to get those glorious spring eggs that everyone loves.  Yokes are so orange this time of year!

The rabbits are out of the greenhouse pens now and out on their weed patch, helping keep things mowed down for us.  I still need to build a better pen for one of our bunnies, but well see how long it takes me to get that done.

Here very soon I will get the chickens out of the greenhouse space as well.  They have access to an outdoor run, and it hasn't gotten too hot in there since we keep the door open, but its time for them to get into their summer space.  Once I get a cage around the trees and finish cleaning out their coop to add to the compost piles, well get them moved over.  I planted two fruit trees in their run this spring, so hopefully within a few years they have some decent shade in the run and can help me clean up the fallen fruit .  The fall pumpkins we threw in there are having a hay day so its time to get the girls in there soon so they can knock everything back before its too late. 

Soil Building.  Compost piles are still rocking.  I need to turn the hot pile again as I am sure it has cooled down here lately.  We are getting closed to being able to sift out the good stuff with that one I think, then we can start our next hot pile with all the stuff we have been gathering from the yard this spring.  Loads of good stuff to get going there. 

We also have a couple lasagna beds going, both of which are a direct response to weeds in places I didn't want them.  I will get a post done here soon on those, but basically your just layering organic matter right where you want to have great soil.  Given enough time, mother nature turns it into some of the best dirt you have ever seen. 

And finally, we have a bit of an experiment going.  We rolled out a large sheet of black plastic to keep the weeds down in the future garden area.  I have seen many people online using this technique and I as anxious to see if it even works. I will have a post coming on that at a later date but it looks interesting.  

I am sure there are a pile of other things that I have been doing on top of all this, but for now, this is enough to make me feel like I have been doing some good work around here and helping things get going in the right direction.

If you are into this sort of thing, there is more information over at our web site which you can view here and a continual stream of information throughout this blog. There is loads of information about gardening, composting, and even some ideas about home remodeling!  Come check it out.  We'll keep posting here on the blog, and do our best to continue to add more content to the website as well.

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