Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Planting Update

If you are interested in joining Eener’s Farm as a CSA member, please see a previous post entitled “Eener’s CSA” written on February 25. As of today there are 10 shares left.

Hi all, thought I’d go ahead and update you on the garden. All of the spuds are in. We planted pretty close to 100 pounds just after Easter. It looks like last year I dug the very first potatoes around the third week in June, so you can probably expect likewise.

We’ve put in 16 pounds of bulb onions also around Easter and they are already a few inches tall. These will be the big globe onions, some of which are great for storing. We just ate our last onion from the 2008 garden a few days ago.

Also on the already-planted-list are seed onions (these will be your green onions or scallions), lettuce, arugula, mustard, beets, pac choi, shallots, spinach, and peas. This week I’m looking to get in the kohlrabi, radishes, leeks and carrots.

In other farm news, I attended the Seward Co-op CSA Fair last Saturday. I met some interesting farmers and farm-shoppers and also signed up a couple of new members.

Our tomato, eggplant and pepper plant starts are looking good. They are all happily living in my canoe which I covered with plastic. During the day they I pull them outside and at night I pull them into the garage.

One of our sheep named Bernice lambed on Easter. She had twins, one boy and one girl (very cute). Bernice is an excellent mother as she dutifully demonstrated to me last week. One morning I went out to the sheep/goat barn as usual to water and feed them. I then continued into the chicken coop which is adjoining the sheep and goat area.

From a window in the chicken coop I noticed that the very high winds we were having that day were about to turn my hoop house into a giant kite. Being that I had planned on planting watermelon in the hoop house I was not terribly taken by the prospect of it blowing into the sheep and goat pasture or possibly on to the road or possibly into the next county. I ran out of the chicken coop and in my haste, neglected to lock the door.

Forest, my one year old, was with me so I got to experience the excitement of trying to run while pushing a stroller though a cow pasture, very aerobic indeed. So we get out there and learn that there's not a lot that one and a half people could do in that situation. The hoop house is something like 10 feet wide, 12 feet long and seven feet high and it's flopping and cracking in the wind. The plastic’s all messed up and one of the pipes is busted.

Luckily my dad randomly showed up at this point and between gusts of wind be were able to take it down accordion style and stow it in my hay mow. There were a few tense moments were I seriously thought I was going to go for something similar to a hot air balloon ride.

So now that we know that the garden is not the best place wind-wise for the hoop house (this is our first year using a hoop house), we have made plans to set it up in our yard where it’ll be sheltered from the wind. It’s good that this happened before I planted the watermelon.

Anyway, back to Bernice the sheep. So after my dad and Forest and I get the hoop house to safety, we hear this big ruckus out in the chicken yard. It turns out that the door I forgot to lock somehow opened (probably in the wind) and Bernice decided to investigate the chicken coop. In our chicken coop there’s this little chicken door designed so that the chickens can walk in and out freely. Well, Bernice managed to worm her way through that and of course her two lambs followed her.

All three of them are in the chicken yard and Bernice must’ve felt that the chickens were threatening her lambs because she started defending. When we found her she actually had a chicken pinned against the ground and was pummeling it with her head.

I shooed her back into the barn as fast as I could but the damage had already been done. There were two injured hens. I tried to nurse them back to health but one died within a day and the other lived for just three days. They most likely both died of internal injuries.

Amazing how fast you can be out two chickens and a hoop house set-up isn’t it? I’m sure it’ll take me longer than 20 minutes (the total time it took for these mishaps to happen) to set up the hoop house in the new spot and locate some replacement hens. Well, could be worse, Bernice could’ve battled with more chickens and the hoop house could’ve blown into the next county.