Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Late post, and lots going on.

 Sorry for the delayed post, computer problems can be a time consuming difficulty. On the homestead though, things are going well. Not a whole lot of new work got done due to the rain all weekend long preventing work on the hutch or digging beds, but the garden is looking good for it.

But first in the grand tradition of this blog, the rabbits.  You may notice something about where they are. Ok, maybe a few things. First of all, it's painted, and second, they're not with their mom. Twilight's litter has finally been separated from Twilight. She wasn't thrilled about it at first, but seems to be adapting to having more space quite nicely. Not that she'll have more space for much longer since she's expecting in the next week. The babies on the other hand seem to be fairly thrilled to have more room.

If we had a growing out hutch available they'd be in that, but we obviously don't at the moment. I'm slowly working on getting the 3'x6.5' hutch up and running for Twilight in the near future, but with only an hour here and there it isn't the most efficient construction project. The limits of what one can get done when also working 60+ hours a week are being keenly felt with that. At least we have the hutch the babies are in painted up at least. Right you can see that the paint stops before the rabbits can reach it. We don't need to find out just how non toxic latex paint is, and even if it is fine for you stereotypes about paint chips lead me to not want to eat paint even second hand. Unfortunately none of the photos of how crowded Twilight's hutch had gotten came out, but at least you can see that the babies are making good use of the extra space that comes of mom not sharing a hutch with them.

One of the nice things about moving them is that we will be able to move Twilight (briefly) back to a hay heavy diet and get her gut solid again. She really needs to not eat much of the pellets, but we want her and the young kits to have more nutrition while they're growing. It just means we're cleaning the hutch more regularly to avoid problems with her having soft stools which has consistently been the trouble with her eating pellets.

As for the gardening, there are a lot of pieces of it going on right now. Left is the indoor seed sprouting area. The tomatoes are going gangbusters and most of the other plants are doing alright, if much smaller than the tomatoes. We had a good hard frost last night so we are glad we didn't give in to the temptation to plant early and risk the frost. We are seriously considering giving in and planting just after Memorial Day instead of waiting for June 1st as we "should".
Right now we are also preparing for the Hilltown Seed Saving Network seedling swap this Saturday. In light of that, having a bunch of tomato plants that are doing well is going to be nice since we can bring the excess there, and bring back other varieties from the swap if we so need. The other thing we're going to bring a bunch of is the kale sprouts. The kale bed was over run with little kale seedlings, and we just didn't need that many. So on Sunday the Lady of the House went through and painstakingly separated out a bunch of the seedlings and put them in a seedling try for us to bring with us to the event. Below is the kale bed post thinning. As you can tell, we need to go through and aggressively get after the grass and mulch as soon as the kale is big enough.
Weeding is going to become a problem given how little time we actually have to spend. The Lady of the House has been taking the lead on weeding, and we're finding it isn't as hard to tell the good from the bad as we were worried it might. Well, as long as you know what the seedlings should look like. I'd have picked out Kale as weeds if we hadn't checked first!

The radish and lettuce beds are doing wonderfully despite some of the concerns we had. Left is the radish and lettuce bed in the foreground with the bed beyond it having so far only one row of watermelon radish. As you can see there's a lot of green, but not nearly enough mulch down. We want to get more mulch down to preserve water and keep the weeds down, but we don't want to kill the plants that we are trying to grow. It's a delicate balance and we're very much still learning. Up close though the radishes look fairly good, and we're seeing new leaves on them which indicates that they're doing fairly well from what we've been able to find out. Below is the lettuce patch, and one of our big concerns. That rock in the middle of the lettuce patch goes down a long way. Not sure how big it actually is, but I can tell you it's at least two feet deep and just getting bigger at that point.

We did our best to not plant right on it, but having a bed right there made us a little unhappy for obvious reasons.Happily, the lettuce seems to be doing just fine there. As we continue to rotate crops in the future we'll have to plan around not having any deep rooted plants there until I get a wild hare and take to it with a sledge hammer and knock it down below the point we don't care about it.

Read, forever.

Last but not least, the garlic. It's getting big. We still don't have any scapes yet to harvest and eat, but at least we know it is growing well. We are going to be doing a bit of research on letting them flower and gathering seeds rather than just going with clones of garlic. From what we can tell, that's a whole lot of specialized work.
Sorry about the late post again, and hopefully Thursday I'll have some more progress to show on the new hutch!


  1. You should check out the Square Foot Gardening method. I think it will help with problems like that giant rock and potential quantity issues, plus it makes it easier to week a bed at a time when they are smaller.

    1. We've had the book recommended before, and need to read through it. The garlic bed we definitely could learn from that book, and we actually stole from some of its principles. The radish bed and the other beds I'm working on are no more than 4' wide so they can easily be weeded more quickly than a more expansive bed. Once we get mulch down on everything it'll also be easier.

  2. Great post for this kinda day!

    LOL maybe we SHOULD invest in a jackhammer! The excuse: clear our rocks AND make our own driveway gravel.