Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Seedlings, starts, soil, and the winds of fortune.

It's a rainy, and kind of gross day with the volume of mud out there, but it is most certainly spring now. The Earth is beginning to thaw, and soon I think we'll start to see growing and living things even outside of our little indoor start. As you can see though, the indoor starts are doing quite well. I honestly should probably pot them up now since many of those little potlings have too many seedlings in them, and we don't want them to be entangled any more than they already are.

I also have started a variety of tomatoes over in a second seedling starting tray that I cleverly broke part of when I was moving it onto the rack. Ahh well, it still holds dirt and accepts water so we'll see how it goes. What I mostly started this year is a variety of paste and cherry tomatoes that are going to be headed to other homes either through giving them to friends that have asked, or through the Hilltown Seed Saving Network seedling swap. As a note, if you're interested in the seedling swap that's coming up May 16th. It's a really good time with lots of experienced seed savers and gardeners, and people bringing extra seedlings to just let people have, as well as a good place to drop off your extra starts if you have them. I know I'll be bringing tomatoes and peppers at least, if I can I'll also be starting other things to bring, but we'll see. The other thing in the starting tray is mostly for us, well, the Lady of the House. Eggplant in mass. We'll see how well that does, if we have enough some of that goes to new homes as well.
Outside I haven't started anything yet this season, but I am eagerly watching to see if anything comes up in the front beds where we planted garlic last November. So far I haven't seen any of it come up which is a little sad given that two years ago it was up by April 11th. That said, two years ago was gone by this point, and weather had already been warmer. We shall see, but I have the sinking feeling that a mole or vole dug around and ate all of the garlic we planted. We shall see what the truth of it is in the next few weeks, and I'm just hoping that the garlic all of a sudden comes up and is doing great. If not, we'll find other things to plant in those garden beds. It's not like we're over run with space to plant without enough to put in it. Honestly it's more likely we won't have enough bed space to do what we want this year, as usual.
Over this past winter I tried covering as many beds as possible with paper bags to kill off what was under the bags, and so far that seems to have done alright. However, and this is related to the probably missing garlic, it also seems to have given burrowing critters shelter from the various things that hunt and eat them which is unfortunate. As we start seeing mole holes we'll start doing things to eradicate the little creatures before they become any more of a problem, if they are indeed a problem at all. One of the things I'm considering doing this year is planting marigold around most of the garden beds to repel bugs and critters since I've heard it suggested a few times, and there's nothing wrong with having some flowers around the garden. The other concern I have about the garden is keeping the chickens out, I have some ideas for that though that I'll be going into later.
On a separate note, a somewhat somber thing for me is getting started in pulling things down at a friends small homestead. Last year I was helping them out with goat care, and one of them died unexpectedly. This year the survivor is taking all of the homesteading things from having had goats for years down, and having to sell. I'm going out and helping pull down all of the fence and the barns, and am going to be taking the fencing materials home to re-use so at least it won't be going to waste. It is just a bit sad to me to see a homestead that had been worked on for years, decades just having the components pulled down, and the property probably not going to someone who will use it for homesteading which it's frankly perfect for other than having somewhat shallow soil. Either way, over the next couple weeks I'm going to be doing a lot of extra time getting fence pulled down and rolled, pulling up posts, and taking apart the goat barn. We'll see what we can do with all of that when we get it home and see how things go.

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