First Real Harvest of the Season!

Things have been busy around Ye Olde Homestead lately.  Since my last post we have opened the rain barrels and had them filled, emptied and refilled by some pretty heavy rains.  We also went ahead with our plan to get a rabbit.

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Chloe is a beautiful brown mixed-breed bunny with a perfect personality.  She has lots of energy but at the same time enjoys cuddling up beside me on the chair while I read a book.  Our original plan was to get a rabbit to put in a 4′ X 4′ “cubbyhole” in the Pollinator Garden.  It was a large enough space for a two-story hutch and a worm bin underneath to catch the rabbit pellets.  The area is very sheltered from the elements, is right up against the house and seemed perfect… until I saw her sweet little face and held her in my arms.  It was then that I knew I couldn’t relegate her to the backyard no matter how close in proximity she would be to the house.  My husband bought me a beautiful hutch that would fit on the enclosed porch and this is where she now lives.

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She has the run of the back deck during the day and is only locked up in the hutch at night. She took to a litter box almost immediately and we haven’t had any problems while she’s out of the cage.  This makes it easy to scoop out the pellets and toss them in the garden every day or so.  The first week that she was home with me over spring break I had her free-roaming all-day everyday.  When I went back to work the following Monday I left her caged up because I was nervous about leaving her out on her own.  BIG. MISTAKE.  She had grown accustomed to her freedom in just that short amount of time and decided to chew the bottom door to her hutch in protest.  Now that she’s out during the day and has a plethora of toys to play with, I haven’t had any problems with her chewing.  In the evening when I get home from work she will often be waiting at the sliding-glass door for me so she can come inside and hang out.  I am thoroughly head-over-heels 100% in love with her… and even though he won’t admit it out loud, my husband thinks she’s pretty darn cool too.

This weekend was huge on the garden-front.  I put in the last of the vegetable plants and seeds, weeded like a crazy person and procured some new additions.  It was also our first major harvest of the season.  My husband and father-in-law built me four of these really great A-frame trellises.  Two have chicken wire for vines and two have slats to hang watermelon hammocks.  These were placed in a section of the garden that used to have the turtle pen.  This area was sectioned off into 7-3′ X 4′ rectangles where a different type of green, lettuce or root vegetable is grown in each rectangle.  Then, to save garden space one A-frame sits inside of every second one of these rectangles.  I know that’s probably hard to envision so I’ll be sure to post pictures of it later.  Essentially, it’s set up so that the greens grow under the A-frames where it will be shadier and cooler as the season progresses.  I’m hoping this will mean that we can extend the growing season for these cooler weather vegetables.

On the A-frames I have growing cucumbers, lima beans and two types of watermelon.  Under the A-frames and in the three open areas I have spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, mustard greens, collards, beets and radishes.  The radish crop came up yesterday and I re-sowed that space with carrots.

In the garden itself I planted a total of 6 heirloom slicing tomatoes, 5 cherry tomatoes, 6 basil, 4 celery, 8 peppers (bell, poblano, jalapeno), 1 zucchini, 1 squash, 2 arugula, 1 parcel (parsley/celery hybrid), 1 swiss chard and a few other things I can’t for the life of me remember.

Over the weekend I planted 2 new blueberry bushes since we lost two to some sort of damage.  It appeared to be child related rather than animal.  I also planted a tomatillo, however, it appears that I need a second one to cross-pollinate with the first so I’ll be headed back to the nursery next weekend.  We thought we had lost the two fig trees that I planted last year.  On Saturday we went to the nursery and, since the fruit trees were on sale decided to pick up a replacement fig and an apple to go in the places where the ruined figs were.  Well, when we got home we noticed that BOTH fig trees had some new growth at the bottom and had leaves sprouting.  This wasn’t there last weekend.  After all that lugging we made one final trip to the nursery to return the replacement fig and give the old ones another season to see what they’ll do.  The apple, however, I decided to keep.  We have a weeping cherry in our front yard that is diseased and needs to come down.  The plan is to put the apple tree in its place.

While we were at the nursery I found myself drooling over the Hibiscus trees.  They were a whopping $25.  I wasn’t about to pay that much so I kept walking.  What I was looking for was some pink honeysuckle like I had seen earlier in the day.  Well, I didn’t find that but what I DID find was a clearance rack with a small neglected Hibiscus for $3.  SCORE!!!!!  I took that puppy home, pruned off all of its ugly bits and put it in a fresh new pot.  It’s going to be GORGEOUS!

As for the pink honeysuckle, I went to a different nursery and picked up two of those to go on the trellis that we used to have beans on.  Once the A-frames went in there was no room for the old trellis anymore so we moved it to a spot over the heat pump.  I wanted to put something on it that would attract pollinators since that is in my herb garden and is adjacent to the pollinator garden.  When I saw the beautiful pink honeysuckle I just couldn’t pass it up.  It’s going to look beautiful when it’s all full and lush.

This Week’s Harvest

.1 lb. chive blossoms
.5 lb. romaine lettuce
.6 lb. spinach
2.5 lb. strawberries
5.1 lb. radishes

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