After a very, VERY busy weekend, we finally have this year’s garden more or less installed! We got a late start this year, but there’s still plenty of time to get a good yield of fresh veggies.
The property we currently rent is on the border of our landlord’s 200+ acre horse farm. The property manager is our neighbor and is kind enough to till our large garden plot with the tractor in the spring. However, because of the hard winter and all of the delayed chores and storm cleanup this spring, we’ve had to wait our turn – which of course, we are happy to do, since this is after all a favor! Luckily the garden was tilled late last week, which meant we had the whole weekend to get it in order and plant as much as possible.
Because of the late start, I did go to the local garden center and buy several started plants to get a bit of a jump on things – zucchini, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, hot peppers, and (just for fun) a watermelon. We also had some extra tomatoes, eggplant, and sweet peppers that my father-in-law started from seed under his grow lights earlier in the year, plus plenty of seed for beets, carrots, beans, more zucchini and cucumbers, and greens of all kinds. After two days of work, almost everything is planted and mulched! Later on we will add winter carrots, fall brassicas, hardneck garlic, more greens, pumpkins, and winter squash. As you can see, we have plenty of space left to fill.
We have a pretty big weed issue in this garden, so we use a layer of newspaper under our straw mulch to help. It’s a trick we tried when we grew pumpkins a few years ago, and it worked very well, so we’re using it throughout the garden, anywhere we would usually mulch. It definitely adds work to the initial setup, but if you’re like me and hate weeding, it’s completely worth it!
I also brought my new chicks from the hatchery order up to our farm from my in-laws’ place. They are still a bit nervous, but some mealworms do wonders to win them over! This year we added several exotic breeds: Silver-Grey Dorkings, Dark Brahmas, and Salmon Faverolles. We also got some new young Speckled Sussex, Ameraucanas, Barred Rocks, and Buff Orpingtons.
Bacon and Pork Chops are getting much more comfortable with life here on our little homestead. They are champs at the use of the nipple waterer and self-feeder, and have learned that their feed pan fills itself with delicious treats every time we come to visit. We make sure to keep their mud wallow in the center of the pen nice and damp so they can keep cool, and they no longer spook when I refresh it with the hose – in fact, they love to play in the stream of cool water!