Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bean trellis, and chickens in the greens.

After an incredibly productive weekend last weekend thanks to much help from friends, this weekend was more focused on family time. It was lovely but meant that as far as the homestead go, it's basically been all about maintenance. The big that that got done was putting in posts (though they could use being driven further in), and dragging over the cattle panel to set up a bean trellis.
The beans had been going a bit crazy, and lacking something more solid to climb, they'd been climbing up the garlic in the front bed. It can be kind of hard to tell in this photo Left but if you look down at the base of the garlic, you can see a darker green wrapped around the base and climbing up. When I put the trellis in, I carefully unwrapped the beans, and re wrapped them around the wire. That should work out well from what I know of beans. The beans growing in that row are scarlet runner beans (I think), and the ones in the bed below are bush beans so they aren't going to need a trellis like this. The Lady of the House picked the beans to plant so I have to admit I'm a little behind the 8 ball on remembering everything that's out there in the garden right now. If they are actually the scarlet runner beans I think they are, every part of the plant can be eaten which is great. I haven't had the greens part of the beans, but at least in theory being able to use everything is good. Even if it isn't very flavorful, or has a bad texture I'm going to be happy to use them at least as something that can be steamed, and mixed in with other things with spices. We'll see when we have a chance to actually use it.

One of the interesting sort of random things that's happening in the garden is our volunteer kale that popped up from what we'd had planted before. This stuff is very hearty, and is doing quite well. This one here has survived us eating quite a bit of it, and getting whacked around fairly hard by me placing the cattle panel trellis. At this point it's earned me leaving it alone to go to seed so we can use that, if its seed is as hearty as it is, we'll happily plant that to try to supplant other weeds.

The chickens are enjoying the state of the yard and garden, especially just post clearing things out. They are here, there, and everywhere eating anything that moves, and a lot that doesn't. So far we haven't had too much problem with them damaging the plants we're growing, other than rolling over the garlic plants or knocking them down, which doesn't really seem to stop them. Right now they're actually eating around the yard so much they aren't eating the feed we put out for them. That has led to me cutting down the feed I do put out to a minimal amount just so it is there if they want or need it. I'm going to be upping the feed amount I put out again if the eggs under the australorp hatch. At that point if they do I'm going to be putting out the medicated chick feed again for obvious reasons. One thing we're happy about is the leghorn chicks have started being allowed into the coop without us having to move them there. They are also much more adventurous than they were, and have recently discovered the delights of the smorgasbord that is under the rabbit hutches. The leghorns still don't travel everywhere with the rest of the flock, but at least they aren't the object of instant attacks now. I think that when we move everyone into the new coop it'll help the social dynamics.
 Last but not least I want to talk about a couple of the plants we got from the seedling swap. Left is the edible chrysanthemum that we picked up. We actually need to look this particular plant up, and see when and what we should eat of it. We should have done that before now, but now that it's bloomed it has given a certain urgency to it. From a quick look it looks like we should be eating the greens, and leaving the flowers alone. Also looks like we should be blanching the leaves before eating them and scattering them as flavoring more than anything else.
The other thing that came up from the seedling swap that's going very well is the Swiss Chard, and as you can see Right it looks great. That's one that we can cut any time and just put in with some olive oil, garlic, and pepper and have with just about anything we have. Having the luxury of going out and cutting greens and pulling up garlic or green onion any time we want is really enjoyable.

Next week we're going to be very busy, so there is a possibility that I'll be missing one, or both of next week's posts. I hope to avoid that, and I'm going to try to work ahead. If I do miss things I'm sorry, but I figured better to give an up front warning.

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