This Week on the Homestead!

Two years ago, in a moment of weakness I planted everything a few weeks earlier than the last frost date and lived to regret it.  We got hit with a cold snap and lost a TON of seedlings.  This year, even though my husband was urging me to start early, I remembered those lessons learned and have only put out cold hardy plants.  I’m so glad I played it safe.  After several weeks of mild weather and quite a few days in the 70’s and even 80’s, we had a freak frost warning earlier this week.  So far, it doesn’t appear that we have been affected and honestly, I’m not even sure we actually got any frost.  It was still a little worrisome there for a day or two.  An ingenious neighbor put up Christmas lights on her fruit trees to keep them a bit warmer in case the temps went too low.  I’ll have to remember that!

It has been about ten days since I did any planting and I was starting to get a bit discouraged that so few sprouts were popping up.  Over the weekend, however, we got a bit of rain and everything has started sprouting beautifully.  It‘s amazing to see the results of hose water vs. rain water.  Everything has started sprouting in the lettuce/greens beds and if you look in the right-hand corner of the lettuce bed picture you’ll see my one lone purple onion sprout.  My mother-in-law is supposed to bring me some more purple onion sets this weekend.  I have no idea where I’ll put them but I’ll definitely find a place.

The irrigation hoses have been all laid out in a nice neat pattern just waiting to be tucked around some beautiful plants.  There isn’t much I can set out yet but this weekend I’ll at least be planting celery.  It’s probably a bit late for that but that’s okay.  We’ll see how it goes.

Over in the strawberry patch things are filling out quite nicely.  It is chock full of blooms and the vines are spreading like wildfire.  It’s hard to believe that the little bunch of bare roots I planted can turn into such a beautiful tangle of green and red.  I may pick up a few more plants from the nursery just to add some more variety to the three types I have in there right now.  

 

While the weeds in the turtle pen are coming along, I was hoping they would fill in a LOT faster.  I was told that it should be filled in within 10 days from planting.  So far I’m only noticing about three different types of weeds/grasses popping up.  I’ve also been tossing in some of my older seeds for edible flowers, greens and vegetables that may or may not germinate.  Hopefully it will really fill in soon and create a beautiful grazing area for our little Sully.  He is so ready to get out of his indoor pen and outside for the next three seasons.  Once the last board is placed on top of the pen I’ll have to add corner overhangs and finish the hide box.  The hide box is at the far end of the pen and is a very thick plywood that is hinged to the frame of the pen and then shingled to keep out the rain.  The interior walls will be solid blocks for insulation.  On the other end of the pen will be a small soaking pond.  In the previous pen it was made from a sunken mortar pan, however, I’m thinking about using concrete to make this one a more permanent structure.

This week I harvested my first herb of the season – chives.  They were delicious and I easily have double the amount I had last year.

Literally, all the trees that I planted last year have begun to leaf out.  This is very exciting.

Down in the basement everything has sprouted.  The first true leaves have even emerged on the zucchini.  So far, I don’t think I’ve had anything that hasn’t at least sprouted one seed.  I’m a little disappointed that the Microgreens haven’t done better.  I was expecting them to really fill in the pan and become lush enough to cut.  So far it looks more like a balding man’s comb over.

And finally for something new, the husband and I have decided to add a new critter to our homestead.  A rabbit!  S/he isn’t here yet since we’ve only just decided to move forward and will need time to have the hutch built and then pick one out.  The plan is to choose one from the inevitable castoffs that will surface after Easter.  Unless I can find the perfect hutch for nearly free on Craigslist, my father-in-law will build it for me.  I plan to incorporate a worm bin directly under the hutch as well.  I’m not usually wild about keeping my animals outdoors, however, we have a perfect spot that is mild in the winter and sheltered with nearly full shade in the summer.  It is also two steps out the back door.  I’m excited about the prospect of a bunny at my back door and the resulting droppings that will be pure gold for my garden.

Until next time!

 

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