Thursday, March 31, 2016

Volunteer sprouts.

Looks like I missed picking some garlic last year! Not a big deal, I'll just let it mature and pull it up as I would have if I'd actually planted garlic last year. It's definitely the answer to the question I had of whether I could get away with planting garlic as winter slowly wandered in last year. Turns out, if I'd put it in at the normal time the garlic probably would have been just fine. I am a big fan of hearty varieties for just that reason. Learning curve for the future, make sure that you get those over winter plants in the ground!

The other thing that's sprouting much to my surprise is some of the Kale from last year. This Kale is exactly the kind of hearty that the gentleman that bred it was going for! We picked up the seeds for this variety of Kale at a seed saving event 3 or 4 years ago, and it has served us well. For one thing, these are the self seeded volunteers, not deliberately planted or in good soil. For another, we have yet to have some Kale not survive the winter. This monster of a plant is definitely going to have seeds saved from it this spring. The gentleman that bred this variety of Kale did so by scattering seeds in bad areas of his property and letting it grow. When it came up in the spring he scattered the seeds in more terrible areas, and came up with this. The leaves are hard and tough, the flavor is strong, and it survives anything. I think I'm going to now that we have a really strong variety start marking and selecting the ones with better tasting leaves to breed for that in a known hearty variety.
I'm trying to decide if I want to till the garden beds this year. There's a lot of rocks around in the garden beds, but every time you turn the soil you lose nutrients. If I can just dig holes in the beds and put seeds, and let them go that would be ideal. For most of the garden that should be fine. For some of the front beds I'm probably going to have to turn the soil. Especially in the earliest beds we made which are not very well dug, or planned. That said, the front beds like the one Right are in good shape, and with how well they grew last year my main concern is to weed better this year than I did last year. I think that with decent weeding we're going to have a much better year this year. We'll see of course.

As always we have a lot of good rabbit manure that we can add to our garden, the trick of course is where to add it. Part of me thinks that I should use it to improve the East facing beds that are in bad shape, and probably need turning and re shaping. Part of me thinks that those beds should just have beans put in them and given a year to get better without interference. Much of my decision is going to come down to just how much manure we actually have. Given our paltry breeding last year I suspect we aren't going to have That much manure to work with compared to the beds we have available. The other thing to think about is, if we actually do dig or build new beds this year manure going there in freshly dug soil is going to be important.
Of course, there will always be more rabbit manure on the way day by day, so it isn't like running out early on means we don't have any more to work with. This weekend is going to include full hutch clean outs, and pressure washing inside and outside hutches. Once that's done and we've given the rabbits a day or two to settle down we're starting this year's breeding cycle. Given the ages of our original breeding stock we're going to need to start being sure of actually setting replacements. We're also going to be doing final determination on if Herbie is going to stay with us, or get removed. We need to make sure that he actually produces. After all, this isn't a dude ranch. Not producing, not staying.

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