Sunday, April 12, 2015

Homestead Update: April 12

Hello Fellow Homesteaders!

Spring has sprung and the growth has already started to become exponential. I could write a new update nearly everyday!

The crate potatoes are doing amazing! Better than they have ever done!

Nothing in the tomato bed yet, except a few dandelions.

The 3 Sisters (corn, beans, squash) bed isn't planted yet.

But there are some volunteer brassicas plants in there. I'm letting them go! I have learned from experience that volunteer plants tend to do better than the rest.

The path behind the 3 sisters bed is doing well with plantain and dandelion. If you look close, the chamomile is sprouting everywhere! I'm so excited about this!

It seems the garlic gets taller right before your eyes! The garlic I have tried to grow in the summer time has never come close to this! I wish I could see what's going on underground, but I dare not disturb even one of them to check.

I think the potatoes I planted last fall (in the leafy area) have all rotted. I had tried Yukon Gold and it was recommended to use white potatoes, so, lesson learned. I have some companion plants I was going to grow with the potatoes, so this space won't be wasted. The straw bales are looking well...there is grass growing in them and the one closest is riddled with mushrooms every single morning! This tells me that they are conditioned well and will hopefully grow a good crop!

My melon and squash trellis is all set up and waiting for warmer weather to plant! I have several spaces for these plants since they take so much room. Underneath I will attempt to grow summer lettuce.

The root bed is doing great! Beets and radishes have sprouted. The carrots take a long time to sprout. Last year it took them a whole month! I am growing parsnips for the first time this year and am excited to see how they turn out. The companion plants, Kohlrabi and spinach, have also sprouted. I have not had any luck with spinach so far, so I am hoping this year will be different.

The brassicas bed is also doing well. Almost everything has sprouted. Broccoli is the only thing that sprouted in the starter pots, so I put everything else in ground. The middle row is Brussels sprouts, left side is half cabbage, half collards, the 4 corners have 2 different kinds of kale, and the row on the right side will get the broccoli starts.

I have volunteers in this bed too! They are either squash or melons of some sort. I'm letting these grow too. That is if the darn rollie pollies will leave them alone! I had 5 of them growing and 2 of them have been mowed down.

This one picked a great spot by the ollas.

The chickens have gotten more used to their small temporary pen.

But I'm working diligently to get their new one done before the heat of summer hits. The past couple weeks have been cold and/or rainy, so painting has been halted to a stand-still.

Right now it's looking pretty sad.

The green house is flourishing. I only had one bell pepper sprout, but the jalapeno and cayenne are doing great, so I started more of those in place of the bell. Either are great companions for tomatoes, but you don't want to plant hot and sweet peppers together because they may cross pollinate and you'll get mild hot peppers or hot sweet peppers...which actually might be yummy though. (So I have read, though I have not experienced this yet since I keep the 2 types far apart in my garden.) Last year I put the bell peppers in the ground and kept the hot ones in pots on the other side of the house. This year it will be the opposite.

Tomatoes are doing well.

The broccoli got a little leggy, but I have been setting them out during the day, so hopefully they'll get more sun and grow OK now.

The herbs haven't sprouted yet. I have a lot of thyme for the brassicas and basil for the tomatoes. There is also parsley, sage, oregano, and dill.

Then we have my ever faithful hens creating cackle berries! Not sure which RIR this is since I didn't want to disturb her to look at her leg band, but the black one is Aquilla. You can see she is much smaller, though her eggs are still about the same size as the reds'.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the tour! One thing I didn't get was a picture of my baby chicks! I am moving them to their bigger brooder in the next day or two. The little one is getting quite dirty, so I didn't take a pic of it. How is your homestead doing?

Happy Homesteading!

Jen Hen