March 23, 2015
We had a lot going on this week on the homestead. First up, harvests: We are harvesting onions (not pictured) and overwintered kale.Chickens
We’re also up to about a dozen eggs/day. However:
- we eat nearly this many daily
- we would like to provide eggs to a few families around us
- our hens are in their 2nd year
I was planning on hatching out as many chicks as possible this year to replenish our egg-laying numbers. We had a number of hens go broody last year but only 3 chicks hatched and of those, only 1 made it to adulthood (our rooster).
So, when I saw our local feed store had chicks for sale, I went ahead and bought 10 (5 Wynadottes, 5 Golden Brahmas). The lady said they were all pullets but she is new and I would not be surprised if they were, indeed, a mix. We’ll find out as they grow.So what happens if we have too many roosters?
Friends of ours are butchering their older hens this year and we are planning on watching (and maybe participating) so if we do end up having too many roosters, we can use them for stews.
Another option is to just use them around the homestead for pest control. Another friend lets her extra roosters go ‘wild’…basically, we would not put them up at night & would not keep them in the run during the day. They would hopefully keep our bug population down but not do as much damage in the garden as a whole flock of hens. We’ll see. If the lady at the feed store was right, I won’t have to worry about that!
Even if all 10 chicks are pullets, I am still going to let the hens hatch out their own chicks if they so desire. It is so much fun to see the interaction between mama hen and chicks.
Temperatures rose enough this week that we were able to open our greenhouses some. My mistake last year was definitely not duct taping them shut! Keeping the cool air out while they germinated made all the difference! All of the cool-weather crops have sprouted and some are starting to put on true leaves. (greenhouses on the inside are warm-weather crops and have not sprouted yet) (onions) (purple cabbage) (red and green lettuce) (kale)
The beginning and end of the week were nice. The middle was cool and wet. We planted on the warm days. We planted lettuce, cilantro, beets, carrots, spinach, peas, and 25lbs of potatoes. These are normal plantings for this time of year.(the kids planted the first 25lbs) (I covered them with 8″ of mulch – no need to hill!) (more planted in these two raised boxes)
They left me to plant the next round (20lbs) later in the week. We planted 20lbs red, 20lbs yukon gold, 5lbs white, and we are getting 5lbs purple later in the month. In years past, I have tried to plant potatoes in a low area where there will be plenty of moisture. This year, I am just putting them wherever (running out of places). I hope our harvests do not suffer. I may have to water just in case (I rarely water, using the BTE method).(potatoes covered) For experimental purposes, I also direct seeded broccoli, cabbage, kale, 12 varieties of tomatoes, 4 varieties of peppers, and two varieties of ground cherries. I typically do not direct sow warm weather crops until April 21 (last frost date for zone 7b) but we have not gotten down to freezing temps for a couple of weeks now and there was nothing close in the 10 day forecast so I thought I would just plant one seed each. Always experimenting! If only I were better at recording the outcomes 😉
We started seeing some previously-planted seeds sprout this week as well. Peas, carrots, beets, and spinach planted at the beginning of March:(peas) (Nearly impossible to find those carrot sprouts (look btwn my finger & thumb)! Especially covered by DE. Last year all of our sprouts were eaten by slugs though so I am doing what I can to get a good harvest this year) (Spinach sprouts not much easier to see but they’re there! Looking forward to fresh spinach salads!!!!)
There is a lot more going on here but I will save that for a post later this week. It has to do with flowers! 🙂 yay!
Are you harvesting? Planting? Babying seedlings? Head over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what other gardeners are up to.