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Gardening &

   BirdsNest  Since I am the only one willing to talk about my garden, here goes.
The young man on the tractor came on Sat. afternoon and spent 2.5 hrs tilling the spot, he went over it several times to the instructions of Hagar. Hagar wanted to throw the kid off the tractor and do it himself. The young man did a beautiful job, he even stopped once to ask if I needed help with moving the ducks pen. Since I wasn't sure what I was going to do, I thanked him and said I could manage. It's a really big area now. Our friend that did the first part of the garden called Sunday morning and said she was coming over to work on the garden, Hagar told her to come on. She walked her tiller to the edge of the garden, looked up and said"You got someone else to do it!!" I told her we needed her to get the spots the tractor could not get to and that we just couldn't see her struggle with that large of an area since it would have taken her several days of 3 hour stretches. She was actually relieved. She did the parts we needed done, took maybe 20 minutes. We enjoyed talking to her and her partner, sent them home with chicken eggs, duck eggs, and 3 seedlings for their garden. They are going to share some ghost pepper seeds with us, I am excited! We have 27 asparagus plants up, we got 2.25 inches of rain last night. Beans are up. The only thing I did today was pot up about 75 seedlings( all peppers, both sweet and hot ). Biker Billy jalapeno seeds are starting to pop up. I still have a BUNCH of seedlings to pot. Bought about 1000 3" pots from our friend, he said he doesn't need so many anymore. Now I am in search of 1 gal pots for potting up berry bushes, we have blk raspberry and thornless blackberry that need to be potted up and moved.
April 20 at 20:15 EST .

   11 people like this.

   Flaming Sword  I'm not talking about gardening because I'm now not doing any. We had a KILLER hailstorm this weekend. It lasted about an hour.And it totally destroyed, I mean totally,every little seedling (and some not so little ) that I had. I was hoping to find a few I could trim a bit, but everything was destroyed completely. I now know how farmers must feel to see everything destroyed by freak weather happenings. At least my gardening is by choice and not necessity. Now I have to go out this weekend and see if there are still any nurseries with tomato, pepper plants and the like. It's a bit late here ,I may be out of luck.
April 22 at 16:17 EST .

   BirdsNest  So sorry for your loss of plants FS, it can happen at any time during the season and it is awful. I hate to hear of it. We have a small storm blowing through and I made sure I got plants under cover. We have not set anything out in the garden as yet.
April 22 at 19:20 EST .

   Clipped wings  Birdie, you amaze me. Your energy (during stressful times ) and dedication to gardening is an inspiration. We don't have the ground, equipment or help available to have a decent garden. With our physical condition we are experimenting with a hay bale garden. It's off to a slow start. That is alright since the temps are still fairly cool and very wet here in north AL. We are still in the first steps of conditioning the bales. Tomatoes, squash will be our crop when ready. We love the black krim tomatoes and hope some plants will be available. Have any of you had success/failure/experience with hay bale gardening?
Thursday at 12:02 EST .

   Balogreene  Well, I've been working like a dog lately. Finally finished. But, going on vacation Saturday the 25th. I will start gardening when I come back the first week of May. So glad we have more daylight!
Thursday at 21:10 EST .

   BirdsNest  Balo with the weather today, 45F and windy, you may just be on target for planting your garden in May. Last Saturday and Wednesday we watched people buy tomatoes, peppers, eggplant plants for setting out. Sorry folks, the ground is too cool yet for those, at least around here. We have the van filled with flats of seedlings in various heights. They come out during the day and go in the van at night. We have 8 flats in the house and 3 flats with seeds just starting to come up. Plus the 2 trays we use for starting seeds-I spent a couple of hours yesterday potting basil, peppers,& French Thyme. I still have many more to do, I hope it gets warm enough outside to get them done. I am on my 3rd bag of potting mix in one week. So far no sign of life on the fig trees. I am heartbroken. We drove by the nursery in Va Beach that has nice fig trees.Did not stop. There is no room in the budget for buying fig trees.There are plenty of other things that are high on my list to acquire like black plastic and soaker hoses.
Yesterday at 08:05 EST .

   BirdsNest  We had a really good day Saturday. Went to the tracks, sold a few things, talked with EVERYBODY! and Hagar walked around a bit. We left there at noon, had an errand to do, came home and then went right back out to get some plastic mesh for the chicken pen. Our lookout spotted some in a dumpster and told us to get it, and we did. Then we dug up 17 blueberry shoots and potted them. Had a nice dinner, watched a movie and went to bed around 11:30. Neither of us could get to sleep right away so we talked and giggled like 2 kids for over an hour. Finally I told Hagar to shut up and go to sleep. It was funny. But it was a great day.

Today I potted up some basil seedlings. Started working on taking the cross fence down on the west side of the garden. The farmer that works our back 2 acres is sending a kid on a tractor with a tiller to break up the west side that has grown up into grass and was used for the last 2 years as a run for the chickens. I have a lot of work to do to get it ready for him for Saturday.

I finished the chicken pen today, got the mesh up so the chickens can't get out. Looks lousy but I don't care, all I want is for it to keep them inside.

Removed the straw from the asparagus row, found one little asparagus shoot coming up, hope there will be more.

Tired now, it was another busy day.

I did get 3 rows of beans planted before the rain on Friday night. That was a lot of work but glad to get them done.

Anyone else planting??? Would love to read about anyone's progress.
April 12 at 20:54 EST .

   7 people like this.

   Gerty  Planning on planting garlic this year. Sick of paying almost $1 a head!
April 13 at 18:20 EST .

  2 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Most people plant garlic in the Fall, before the end of Oct. We were at a workshop yesterday(composting ) and the last part of the day we were at a nearby farm where they actually put together a large pile of compost while we watched. The chicken manure pile had a bit of fragrance to it. And the rotting piles of sweet potatoes smelled, well-sweet.
The farmer had just planted an experimental bed of garlic...there was lots of it. I have a few plants that wintered over and they are nice and big, plus I planted 2 heads that sprouted. If you are lucky enough to be able to get local garlic, save some out to plant for the following season. Much of the garlic sold in stores is from China or Mexico, watch for USA grown for eating and planting. Garlic scapes are delicious, but I need more instruction to be able to use them properly.
April 17 at 06:40 EST .

  2 people like this.

   BirdsNest  I have a busy day planned today, still have about half of a large area to clear of weed stalks for tomorrow. The farmer is sending over a kid on a tractor with tiller to break up the ground for us. We are adding a big chunk to the garden this year, still have many seeds to plant to get ready. Hagar has a project to do, hope he feels up to doing it. Tomorrow we go to the tracks for flea marketing, weather will be lovely early so we have to get there early.Like 6 am, lucky for us it is about a mile away.
April 17 at 06:44 EST .

   Alice  Roundup (glyphosate ) is used by most of our neighbors, though at our house we put up with weeds among the grass and think 'meadow'. We mow regularly, so from a distance it looks just about the same as lawns and we have not had complaints, thank God.

Since glyphosate use is more or less ubiquitous in agriculture, I hope Monsanto is right and that it's completely safe to eat non-organic foods since that's what we do. I've considered finding a lab to analyze flour, corn, and meat we buy, but had not really gotten that started.

Apparently a lot other people share my doubts and have done what I have only thought about doing so far, and are requesting independent tests. I hope some of the results will be shared with the rest of us:
April 11 at 16:06 EST .

   8 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Hagar likes to call it "PrairieFication" when we don't get the lawn mowed. He can't ride the mower and I usually try to keep what grass we have beat down with the weed whacker.
April 12 at 20:55 EST .

  3 people like this.

   Alice  Yes, prairie! That actually fits our location much better than meadow, since it's prone to droughts and there's no real forest. And sometimes I'm sorry to mow, because I like the little flowers -- so do bees and butterflies. But there's usually something for them anyway.
April 14 at 11:48 EST .

 1 person like this.

   BirdsNest  Weather all over the place!! Cool one day, hot the next. Lots of foggy mornings and days of periodic rain. Welcome Spring.

Our friend has not been back to till the garden, so I will have to do by hand the section she has already tilled. Just a matter of raking the area and planting the seeds. Checked on the asparagus row we planted last Fall, nothing yet.

I had to put the big chickens in "detention". Chicken tractors. They have had the run of the place since we brought them here and the other day I was putting down plastic on the small garden plot, I was shoveling out a trench to put the plastic end into, they were filling up the trench before I got done. I managed to forge ahead and get those 3 rows done, but they had to be confined before I plant beans. I have half of their pen covered with black mesh, given to us by a friend, but there was not enough to get the whole pen done. It's a big area. The mesh is what the clam farmers use, heavyweight and this was a 1/4" mesh, really nice. They toss it when they are done with it, and our friend grabbed it for us. I gotta call in a favor, the chickens are mad at me for their new digs.

Spent 2 hrs. repotting seedlings to bigger pots. Tomatoes(3 kinds ), marjoram,peppers(hot lemon ),eggplant, French Thyme. 144 pots in all. French Thyme has hairlike stems, thought I would lose my eyesight. I did them first.

Peas,Chard,Escarole,broccoli raab, onions, garlic-all up in the raised beds. We have 2 raised beds that need new framework. I have one ready to plant-carrots.

Did I mention that I got one huegelkulture bed done? Except for the framework, that is. I really like that, it uses an amazing amount of sticks and twigs and rotting tree limbs.

Want to get something else accomplished today, the weather will be nice and no doctor visits for Hagar til the BIG ONE on the 22nd. Several chores on the list, let's see what I manage to do.
April 10 at 07:13 EST .

   12 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Raked the bean rows and am ready to plant, hooray!!!!!!!!!

If I have time, I will plant carrots.
April 10 at 13:37 EST .

 1 person like this.

   Alice  You inspire me. I should get out there before Oven Season gets rolling.
April 14 at 11:50 EST .

  2 people like this.

   MeiDei  I also have a question. We get a styrofoam box with refrigerated medical supplies every few days, I'm wondering can these boxes be used as one time use planters? If so, would they need any special treatment, i.e., liners with drain holes, some surface prep inside or out? They're approx. 12" deep x 16" long x 14" wide and an inch thick - similar to inexpensive coolers. I know you have to use a special paint for foam as most paints dissolve foam. I bet Wrightwinger would be helpful with this question too.
April 1 at 17:51 EST .

   7 people like this.

   MeiDei  Wonderful, thank you WW.
April 1 at 22:53 EST .

  3 people like this.

   MeiDei  OK...where did his post go?
April 2 at 07:47 EST .

  3 people like this.

   Wrightwinger  Where they all go... Away. :-(
April 2 at 08:58 EST .

  2 people like this.

   MeiDei  Storm's post is missing too, she had a question about plants in her flower beds.
April 2 at 11:37 EST .

  3 people like this.

   Flaming Sword  I'm no master gardener, but here's my 2cents about styrofoam. I've seen numerous styro coolers used as planters with nothing more than drain holes punched into the bottom. My mother inlaw grew hundreds of African Violets and taught me how taught me how to propogate them in no time from one leaf.
She used egg cartons, potting mix, kept moist , and 12 babies at a time coming up in no time. She also used styro (egg cartons,coolers or otherwise )chopped up in the bottom of all her flower pots for drainage. She never had enough broken clay pots for this purpose and she had mountains of potted plants. Problems with plain old untreated styrofoam? Not from my experience. I still use it.
April 3 at 20:38 EST .

  2 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Our dear friend stopped by this morning after working a 24 hr EMT shift and brought her tiller to work up the garden. She got half done before we made her stop, go home and get some sleep. It is always great to see her, she is so funny and she absolutely adores Hagar. They get along great, he was teasing her about her "straight" lines in the garden. She did a nice job and her tiller is so tame even I could use it. Hagar's tiller is a mule and no way can I deal with it. She tilled the row for the asparagus in the Fall and used our tiller, she hated it.

I managed to get onions in the ground today. Yesterday and the day before I got raised beds planted with peas. I still have seeds left, maybe if I can get one more bed dug and soil sifted I can plant them. Have chard and beets to plant, radishes. Got some seeds started indoors.

As for the garden I will decide where the tomatoes and peppers will go and get those rows prepared with plastic. I pulled up the plastic from last Spring and it was easy to get up, the ground is lovely underneath, nice and fine. We plan to start with 3 rows of beans, flat,round and french style. Not yet though. Also one row of okra. Lots of other things but I cannot remember them all.
March 26 at 20:14 EST .

   11 people like this.

   Flaming Sword  Your post is making me feel extremely tired
March 26 at 21:50 EST .

  6 people like this.

   BirdsNest  The gardening stuff is a stress reliever for me, it is nice to have some grueling physical work to do. today the wind is screaming and it feels like 26F, so nothing outside today. The seeds are up so we transferred the setup to lights, they have all straightened up. I just spritzed them, some of the rows were dry on top.

Humana forgot to take out for health insurance so Hagar's SS was $259 shy this month-no plastic or soaker hoses or other seeds this month. Oh well.
March 28 at 16:06 EST .

  3 people like this.

   StarFire  All of our raised beds will be fallow this year so we can work on reconditioning the soil. We learned too late last year that the mulch we hauled in was heavily loaded with tree leaves (mostly hickory ) that greatly hinder growth. We might as well have drenched it in round-up.

We’re going to work in a lot of healthy mulch along with fresh compost material. The earthworms are almost over-populated, so we’re relying on them to help. If anyone has additional suggestions, please pass them on.

Meanwhile, we will have to plant in containers this year. At least the fruit trees are budding out. I’m crossing my fingers for my asparagus.

(Have to laugh. My post was blocked for ‘bad words’. I used a perfectly respectable word to describe hindered growth. )
March 22 at 00:38 EST .

   9 people like this.

   BirdsNest  I will have to ask Hagar if he has any thoughts on this...
March 26 at 20:15 EST .

  3 people like this.

   Gerty  Good news from the Mid-Hudson Valley of NYS: there were signs of serious snow-melting today! PTL! Now I can start thinking about what to plant!
March 11 at 19:22 EST .

   14 people like this.

   Balogreene  I love that. Here in Northern VA (NOVA ), it melted away today.Yesterday, we had to take mom to get some skin cancer cells off her face. My sister shoveled the ice away so mom could get into the car. Finally, today, it was 90% gone when I left for work. When I came home it was melted.
March 11 at 22:21 EST .

  8 people like this.

   MeiDei  We here in SE New England even with the thaw have 2'+ snow still covering lawns & gardens. The early bulbs that usually appear about now are in jeopardy I fear. With the water table so high, it doesn't look good for early plantings. On the plus side, no more dangerous icicles, the gutters held, no water seepage from the roof & we never lost power - all blessings.
March 13 at 07:54 EST .

  5 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Snow is all gone here, hooray!!
I worked on a raised bed, getting the soil all sifted, weeds out and today I need to add some Black Kow and level the soil. I wanted to plant peas, but our night time temps for this week are going to be lower than I thought and the peas are not coated with fungicide. Dilemma. I guess I will just cover the bed so the chickens don't re arrange it for me. I saw that my chives are coming back, I had to cover them with sticks to keep the chickens out, they seem to like them.
March 16 at 10:07 EST .

  2 people like this.

   BirdsNest  We had a bit of a nice thing happen at the grocery store yesterday. A sweet lady came up to us and asked if we were planting beans again this year. She got some from us last year and said they were the best, freshest beans she had ever had. She bought some for her patients(clients?? ) and they loved them too. Wow, that was so nice and we spent about 10 minutes talking to her, clogging up the aisles in the store! She said she would look for us this spring and summer. We were just talking yesterday morning about how we used to be anonymous, now we are recognized everywhere.
March 11 at 08:09 EST .

   15 people like this.

   Gerty  You guys deserve the recognition!
March 11 at 19:19 EST .

  7 people like this.

   Balogreene  Great guys, I want to come down sometime and meet you. A ay trip.
March 12 at 21:00 EST .

  6 people like this.

   Flaming Sword  Birdie, In the interest of honesty, I don't think you should post the opinion of only one person. Please send me about 15 pounds of your beans and I will give you a second opinion on their taste, freshness,etc. I will be able to render my opinion quicker if you make it 20-30 lbs. (in case you're are in a hurry )
March 14 at 14:11 EST .

  2 people like this.

   Flaming Sword  Hmm, Birdie didn't buy my line,did she?
March 26 at 21:52 EST .

  4 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Finally some warmer weather.....yesterday it was 58F and sunny so I spent some time in the garden pulling up stakes and dead plants. Part of the plants will be composted, tomatoes which showed signs of blight will be disposed of separately and not used for compost material. I got almost all of the stakes pulled up. Some were still a bit frozen in the ground, those were the ones I pounded in trying to reach China, I think. Anyway, they will have to be pulled up at a later date. I am pleased with what I got done. Tomorrow I will pick up the stakes and sort them. Some broke off and some were shorter to begin with....I used whatever we had lying around last year, I was desperate for stakes. The land next door has piles of stakes, the farmer said to get what we want before they rot in place. This year I have plenty of tying twine for the tomatoes/peppers/eggplants, I won't have to use any substitutes. Some customers from the tracks brought me partial balls of twine, enough to last a couple of seasons. We got some lumber to make another raised bed. It will be used as a guide for digging out the hugelkultur beds, then we will get more lumber to complete those that get dug out. I have to raise up one bed another 4 inches for carrots. Have onion sets to plant and peas to get in the ground real soon. Lots to do.
March 9 at 20:49 EST .

   14 people like this.

   Balogreene  Man, it snowed Thursday, froze Friday, started warming up, til it was 61 on Monday. Today, it was only about 50, and it rained all day. I wouldn't think it was time to plant yet. Glad, you got started anyway.
March 10 at 21:03 EST .

  5 people like this.

   BirdsNest  No not time to plant yet, soon though for peas,potatoes,onions and even some greens. I have so much prep work still to do. I got the dead plants tossed over the fence for burning and all of the stakes gathered up and sorted. Broken ones in one stack, good ones in another stack. Already this morning it is 64F and will rain soon. I have plastic yet to remove from a few rows, but I am not sure if I want the chickens to get in there and scratch around. Soon they will be banished to their yard with high enough netting to keep them inside. They are very strong and can fly right over the 4 ft fence, so we need to make the enclosure so they cannot get out. They can tear up a garden in no time! I have raised beds to dig up and sift the soil to get the weeds out. And get them ready to plant. Thursday's bit of freezing rain caused me a bit of a problem. The door on the van was frozen shut so I climbed over the drivers side and elbowed the door from inside, only I did not think it through before I hit it and I think I bruised my ribs. They hurt, not as much as they did, but getting comfy at night to sleep is a bit of a problem. And sneezing?? Hurts alot.
March 11 at 08:04 EST .

  6 people like this.

   Balogreene  It seems like you could use the Chickens as roto-tiller starters ; )
March 12 at 21:02 EST .

  6 people like this.

   MeiDei  "Start out doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi I think this is Bird's method of operation.
March 13 at 09:09 EST .

  7 people like this.

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