First Crop Out, First Crops in

March 23, 2010


garlic chivesThis weekend we took advantage of the fine weather, which began in the middle of last week with the arrival of Carl “Bringer of Spring” Bear,  to get some work done. To make room in the beds, we divided and potted some garlic chive plants. Garlic chive plants prolifically reseed if their flowers aren’t chopped off, so they had gotten a little out of hand. We spread some of our garlic chive wealth at church the next day, selling some plants for an average of $0.83 a piece. We probably could have made more if Kristin was doing the selling rather than me. I’d much rather grow the crops than market them. Luckily, Kristin would rather market than tend to the crops.

tape measure across soilIn addition to taking some things out of the garden, we put our first crops in. After amending the soil with an inch of compost, we planted the first of this season’s six successive spinach crops. We also planted what we planned to be our only crop of shallots, though we have many extra shallot sets (I’m not sure if “sets” is the right word.) so we may try to squeeze some in elsewhere.

rolled up chicken wireTo protect the new crops from woodchucks and other creatures, we removed the old temporary fencing erected within the garden last summer and began repairing the permanent fence around the garden’s perimeter. It’s a little slow going, but we should have another two weeks or so before the first delicious morsels sprout up.

Indoors we started the third of six broccoli plantings, the only pepper planting (two bell varieties and one hot variety), the first of nine Bibb lettuce plantings, and the first of nine mesclun (mixed leaf lettuce) plantings. Normally we sow seeds in vermiculite and later pick the best sprouts out to go in potting soil in six-packs. However, for the pepper plantings, we planted several seeds into peat pots of potting soil. We will snip back all but the biggest sprout once the tallest sprout is 2 to 3 inches tall; then we will put the peat pot directly in the garden. The procedure with the peat pot will enable the pepper plant to yield a peck of pickled peppers which Peter can then pick. Now we just need to find a guy named Peter.

Caleb bent over part of chicken coop frameOn the livestock front, we are currently building a draggable chicken coop inspired by the one we saw at the Myers-Benner homestead and designed with help from specifications contained in Gail Damerow’s Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens .  We are making sure to follow the old adage: “Measure twice, cut once…screw, un-screw, measure again, cut again, screw.”  The somewhat warped wood we obtained from Lowe’s takes a bit of getting used to for amateur carpenters.  We’re going to have to check to see that there will still be a supply of laying hens available by the time we’re finished so we don’t wind up with a chickenless decorative sculpture.

On the way back from getting supplies for the chicken coop in the old farm truck, Matt and Whitney had a harrowing experience.  They noticed that the truck, an Izuzu Pup (pronounced “poop”) from the 1980’s, was pulling a little to the left.  When they got out to check the wheels, they noticed that the brake disks were glowing orange, indicating that the brake disks where approximately 1800°F (1255 K, or “very hot”).  Matt tapped on the brake pedal a few times to unjam what were presumably stuck brakes and down shifted instead of using the brakes on the rest of the way home.  They made it home safely, but we’ll definitely need to get those brakes checked out.

Next on the docket: finish the coop; continue fixing the fence; and plant onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and leeks.


I believe this would be a great premise for a reality show! Christians, getting along, not voting anyone off, and sowing seeds. I would watch!

Mark Schoenhals — March 23, 2010