June 1, 2015
We have stopped harvesting lettuce for eating. We are still harvesting lettuce each day for the chickens though 🙂 We are trying to feed them more from the garden and less chicken feed.
The first and second sowings of spinach (beginning and mid-March) were pulled this week. Most of them were bolting. The next day, I planted bush beans and carrots in that bed. Summer and winter squash were sown where the lettuce was pulled. I also planted some sweet potato slips, and the next round of succession plantings for cucumbers, kale, cilantro, melons, and lettuce.
We are harvesting spinach from April sowings still. As our spinach harvests are lessening, our strawberry harvests are increasing. We also started harvesting peas this week. The kids are so excited. They LOVE raw peas 🙂
We harvested this much (pics below) every other day – so 3x this week.
(I planted purple-podded peas for easy picking this year. They don’t taste as good but picking a breeze!)
We eat peas steamed as well. I was going to add some butter or some type of seasoning but the baby wanted to nurse, like, NOW, so I just served it. SO glad I did! It was amazing! I have never tasted such sweet, tender, peas. LOVE it!
The baby loves the strawberries and peas as well. This is how we keep her busy while we harvest every morning.
I pulled a carrot to see if they were ready to harvest. They’re getting there! I think we’ll see if we can hold off a little longer. We all were able to taste it though. It was sweet and juicy! Not sweet like a strawberry and no juices dripping down my chin but I typically would not describe a carrot as such and it really was.
This is the first year I remember our peas and carrots being so tasty! I think that is a reflection of how healthy our soil is becoming! Another thing, this is the carrot, after being pulled (not dug). I wiped it on the grass a bit but no need to wash it before eating. YAY Back To Eden gardening!!!
After harvesting, we weed the garden. You may be thinking, ‘Wait a minute! I thought one of the draws to BTE gardening was that you don’t have to do any weeding!’ Well, first of all, no garden is without weeds; however, weeding is TREMENDOUSLY cut down. Two reasons we have to weed:
- Dirt is exposed. The mulch decomposes with rain and heat. It is wise to put more mulch on top of the garden each fall for fertilization all winter as it rains/snows (when God fertilizes) and to keep weeds from germinating in the coming spring and summer. When we don’t get around to doing this, dirt is exposed and weeds flourish (like in a traditional garden).
- Fresh Horse Manure. I figured, horse manure is better than no manure and our chickens just don’t poop enough 🙂 so when someone offered horse manure, I jumped at the chance. No. More. Oh, the weed-seeds. The vast majority of weeding that is done is in the sections I added horse manure. Where I have chicken manure, NO.WEEDING. Okay, maybe a weed here and there but nothing like this (picture below).
So, we weed every day. It’s not so bad when you take one section at a time and you have about 3 helpers with you. Then, at night, we cover the weeded area with mulch to keep it weed-free. (Top of photo — where are the plants? It’s all weeds! This bed was covered with fresh horse manure this winter.)(Bottom of photo: weeded and recovered with mulch to keep the weeds at bay.)
We are giving away about 1/3 of our harvests to other families.
Our last set of chicks hatched this past week. Three of four eggs hatched.
However, a snake got in the coop and ate the other egg and two of the chicks 😦 Sad, sad day. We think the snake may have killed one of our older chicks as well (3mo chicks we bought from the store).(You can see the lumps halfway through the snake. That would be two baby chicks 😦 )
The next day, a friend messaged me that she had 2 orphaned chicks and asked if I wanted to see if the newest mama hen would adopt them. So far, so good. They are SO CUTE!
We currently have 16 hens, 2 roosters, and 15 baby chicks.
I think we’re done with broody hens for the year. We are getting about 8 eggs/day from our 13, two-year-old chickens (the 3 mamas are not laying yet). Hopefully, all of the chicks will be ready to start laying when they older hens start to molt later in the summer. I hope to not have to buy eggs from the store ever again!
Another thing that happened this week – the coops got their yearly clean out. It is my least favorite chore but it is wonderful for the garden and I love how the newly-cleaned coop looks (though it is short-lived).(all cleaned out!)
We go to the local lumber yard to pick up free woodshavings.
As I cleaned off the roosting table (where most of the poop is) this winter, I spread it over the sweet potato section. The clean-out this week finished covering that area (just in time for me to plant some sweet potato slips). The rest of the coop shavings covered most of the newly expanded area. Maybe I can plant some fall crops here…? We’ll see.I have purple sweet potato slips being shipped from Sandhill Preservation Center so I may need more room for sweet potatoes before it’s all said and done. We’ll see.
What’s going on in your garden? What are you harvesting? Check out what others are harvesting this week at Daphne’s Dandelions 🙂