Planting, Covering, and CHICKS!!!

April 18, 2015

Thursday was a big day for us!

I planted 80-90 onion seedlings, 28 buttercrunch lettuce, and 14 garnet rose lettuce. I also transplanted about 5 celery plants. I am unsure what happened to them in the greenhouses but most of them died. I went ahead and planted the ones that survived, even though they were itty-bitty. I am not expecting anything from them but we’ll see.

The plan was to harvest 100 onion plants each year so depending on how these do, I’m in pretty good shape. Last year was the first year I had ever grown onions from seed and they never got very large at all. I learned AFTER I had ordered all of my seed for this year that I have been ordering and planting the wrong kind of onion seed! I have been ordering long-day onions when I need to order short-day onions. Oh well. I try not to waste anything so I will just see what happens to these and I’ll be sure to order the correct kind next time.Nieto Photography 2015(See those itty-bitty pieces of grass? Yeah, those are onion seedlings) Nieto Photography 2015(more planted under the apple tree)

The lettuce I planted in the greenhouses were looking lovely until our unexpected frost Easter morning. It killed the lettuces (or so I thought). A few days of good, soaking rains brought most of them back to life. They all were frost-bitten a bit but alive. We’ll see how they do after being transplanted.Nieto Photography 2015Our broody hen also hatched out FIVE chicks!!! When she went broody, we went ahead and put 11 eggs under her. I had been checking for weeks to see if our eggs were fertile (looking for the bulls eye) and only half or less than half were fertile whenever I checked. Because of this, I was not expecting much. She lost 3 throughout her 3 weeks of sitting (they were kicked out and eaten by other hens). The last time she was broody, a hen stole one of her baby chicks and ate it so Tuesday night (two days before her due date), we put her and her eggs in a dog crate, to keep everyone safe.

We checked on her about 8 times throughout the day Thursday (her due date). We didn’t want to mess with her too much until all the eggs that were going to hatch did so. Each time we went in, we were able to see more and more chicks peeking from behind her. So exciting 😀 We found the fifth chick Friday. Two more eggs are under her so we’ll see if we get any more chicks. One egg was crushed (not sure how).chicks5(I apologize for quality. I was getting ready to post and realized, although we look at them 10x/day, we had yet to take any pics! Here they are, 2 days old 🙂 )

Last year we tried to hatch out our own chicks when a hen went broody 3 times. We did not have a rooster then so we ‘borrowed’ fertile eggs from a friend. We were able to hatch out two chicks first (one died at 5mo, one is our rooster 🙂 ), no chicks the second time, and one chick the third time (was put with the other hens too early and was trampled). This year, when a hen went broody, we were able to use our own eggs. We are super excited so many ended up being viable 😀

I spent Friday morning covering all of the brassicas. I used old covers to cover the cabbages. I ordered 50 feet of agribon insect barrier from Johnny’s and used that to cover my broccoli and kale tunnels. When we were unrolling them, they were stuck together and left holes every foot or so 😦 I called Johnny’s and they said they would mail me a new one first thing Monday. They aren’t kidding when they say ‘satisfaction guaranteed’. Color me impressed.Nieto Photography 2015(cabbage rows between peas, covered haphazardly. covered low tunnels in the back) Nieto Photography 2015Kale low tunnel (75 sq. feet) Nieto Photography 2015Broccoli low tunnel (100 sq. feet) Nieto Photography 2015

Since I had planted all of the cool-weather greenhouse plants and the afternoon turned out to be quite hot, I spent it indoors, making carrot, beet, and spinach seed mats to plant out Saturday morning.

I hope to plant out peas, carrots, beets, spinach, and maybe lettuce today and Monday I’ll have an actual harvest to post!!!!!

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