Suburban Farm Update

Suburban Farm Update

Posted by subu9213 | On :February 26, 2013 | 1 Comment

The farm has evolved substantially in the past month.  The asparagus are now planted (ten 3-year-old crowns), though I’m second-guessing the location I picked (it’s probably too shady).  It’s not too late to re-plant them elsewhere—I’m just not sure whether I should.  Worst case: I lose another year and have to replant next year.

All the seeds I started indoors have been transplanted outdoors (except the tomatoes): sugar snap peas, snow peas, turnips, carrots, lettuce, broccoli and spinach.  I also sowed additional seed for each at the time of transplanting.

I ordered 50 new Chandler strawberry plants and planted each into temporary pots and set them in my cold frame outside.  The plants are sold bare-root, and in past years I’ve not enjoyed a very good mortality rate on them, so the idea was to see whether it’s the plants themselves or what I do to them after they arrive.  Right now the evidence is clearly pointing at me, not the plants….  In fact, they need to be transplanted soon (perhaps immediately?).  I’d like to put some into the existing strawberry bed (inside the bird guard) but I don’t dare put new plants in there until I’ve finished remodeling it, and at my current rate of progress that’s still a week or more into the future.

I finally got new trellises installed for the boysenberries, and all the canes attached to them.  They have really come to life in the past few days and are sprouting leaves like crazy.  Last year’s strawberry plants are blossoming also.

There are 1.5 barrels of new compost loaded and “cooking,” though the cooler temps have severely slowed the process.  This is bad because I’m really low on compost right now.

I tilled two new areas of the back yard for what I assumed would be new strawberry patches, but one of these areas is dang near useless at present: in my race to get the asparagus planted within the time “window,” I was forced to till the area while the clay was still too wet, and the result was disastrous.  Good lesson learned, but a mess that must be dealt with.  Waiting two days to till the second patch made a world of difference.  Again, good lesson learned.  A lot of sacred compost was wasted on that first patch, however.

Last night we made our third harvest of broccoli and brokali from what I planted in the Fall.  The evil white moths have already re-appeared, threatening both the producing plants and the new ones I just set out.

I anticipate a successful garlic harvest in June based on how the plants look currently.  Simultaneously, the onions will be a complete disappointment: we’ll get lots of green onions, but no bulb onions.  Given the amount of effort I put into them, that’s really disheartening.  The chickens attacked my seedlings back in December, which forced me to transplant them sooner than desired, and they just haven’t recovered.  They’re still alive, but have just been dormant–like in a coma–for 2 months.

I started my heirloom tomato seeds indoors too early; the plants are huge but I can’t put them in the ground outside for another month….  I need to go buy some gallon size pots and re-pot them (yet again).  Otherwise they’re going to get root-bound.

I built a new ark for the chickens so I can put them in the front yard without them running off.  The goal is to have them eat the weeds in the front lawn.  It’s pretty funny to see the reactions of people when they see chickens in my suburban yard.  Several have asked if I’m offering them for sale.  One woman thought maybe someone had just dumped them in my yard….  The hens have started to resume laying after the winter slow-down.

I had planned to plant sunflowers along the chicken fence, and then grow pole beans up their stalks; however, when researching sunflower varieties, I read (on the Burpee website) that sunflowers emit a toxin into the soil that is specifically harmful to beans.  Yet I also read in some gardening forums that people grow beans up sunflowers all the time.  Nevertheless I now plan to play it safe and just use stakes for the beans, since harvesting beans is of much greater priority to me than growing sunflower seeds (which will only attract birds anyway).

That’s about it for now.

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One thought on “Suburban Farm Update

  1. You mentioned your chickens are starting to lay again reminded me to tell you that the Orpington chickens will lay through the winter and also make good eating chickens. Also found out that chickens only lay really well for the first 2-3 years, then production drops off dramatically, and hence they are ready for stew pot!. Just a couple of tid bits if you are interested.

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