The Garden is In

Happy Tomatoes We have at long last declared the garden “in”. Obviously there remains weeding, harvesting and succession planting, but no more new beds will be planted. We’re startling to eat out of it, but the harvest for storage won’t really start until August. July is hereby dedicated to fencing. I did a parry in septime to stop the pigs walking through the electronet Sunday. (All pig parries are lowline. They go for the knees.) It seems to be working.

Building new raised beds for everything we want to plant is incredibly time consuming. Especially when it starts with felling a tree and milling 6×6 for the raised bed. Then add fresh dug forest loam and have to remove the rocks and roots. We really don’t have a choice though. Thin soil, poor drainage and lots of rocks pretty much require the raised beds. We’re up to a thousand square feet of them, just over half of it made this year. The potatoes and pumpkins weren’t that well treated. I turned over the soil in the old pig garden with the backhoe, and shoved them in. Not optimal perhaps, but they’re not on the compost pile.

Coffee Grounds We’ve started picking up the coffee grounds at Prime Roast again. I figure we need six cubic yards of compost just to top-dress the beds we have. We won’t get it from animal bedding and kitchen waste. After composting, the coffee should be at least a couple of cubic yards over the course of a year.

Hello Summer The weather this year has been incredible. The sap ran two weeks early, and the pattern continued throughout the spring. Now that it’s summer it’s less consistent. The heliopsis started last week, almost a month early. The daylilies bloomed over the weekend, probably two weeks early. However we picked the first half dozen raspberries yesterday. By the time we get a good picking tomorrow or Friday, they’ll be barely ahead of the normal Fourth of July readiness. We’ve also had a good two weeks of actual hot weather already, which is showing up mostly in the tomatoes. The potatoes weren’t doing much until I watered them, then they took off. I’m not sure what the cuke’s excuse is.

Harvest We’re eating the cool weather crops (broccoli, lettuce, spinach, pak choi) now. The cabbage and peas aren’t quite ready. We’ve also bought seeds now for fall planting of these same crops. The stores still seem to be playing catch up with the big rise in gardening.

We’ve done relatively well at keeping animals out of the garden. The horses got in once, and there are way too many chickens, but we’re way ahead of last year. As of now, it looks like we will feed ourselves, with a little extra to sell.

My gorgeous ducksThe ducks and the Chanteclers are both molting now into adult plumage. There are still a few ducks whose sex we’re unsure of. We’ll slaughter all but two of the boys as soon as we’re sure of everyone. The Chanteclers are still growing, but we want to pull the cockerels as soon as we can. We have one batch of Icelandics chicks that are a couple of weeks younger, but we’ll pull the boys there too as we find them.

Here come the gooses! The goslings are growing like weeds. They are so big already. We’re thinking we need to band either the goslings or the grown ups so we can tell who the babies are, come fall, as they’ll all be going to freezer camp. Whichever set we decide to band, it won’t be a fun exercise, that’s for sure. Those geese are really tame as far as gaggles of geese go, and Lisa did cuddle one and live to tell the tale, but still. They are still geese.

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