Articles come off my keyboard kind of… scattershot.Â That might not work for everyone.Â That’s okay, there’s a Guided Tour!
So here’s what the coop looks like now. We’re planning improvements, but if I wait till “everything” is “done” then you’ll get pics when I’m dead. So!
The doors into the coop have big vents with two different layers of welded wire. Also four points of security on them… but we’re going to add another. We have The Local Animal Wildlife Highway (creek) running through the backyard, which means raccoons, opossums, deer, foxes, cats, dogs, goats, sheep, rats, mice, voles, moles, and other fun things walking about regularly. So, yeah. Another cane brace. Maybe too.
Alert (AKA Neurovore), Agnes (AKA Bossy), Alice (AKA The Stoner). Alert is crazy aware of possible threats, Agnes is even bossier than I am, and Alice is ANYWHERE THE FOOD IS OH YEAH MUNCHIES MAN!!!!!
And so tired. We spent a long time picking the girls up and finishing off the run and coop, but it’s done, and they’re here, and they’re hilarious and perfect. Agnes is the smartest and boldest. Alice is the sweet, gentle one, I’ve picked her up a bunch. Unnamed will get an A name soon (all chooks we get this year will have names beginning with “A”, next year they’ll be “B”s, and so on). All three are about two months from laying eggs. They haven’t figured out how to use the waterer, but I’m hoping they’ll get the idea today or I’ll have to think of something else.
Fun Fact: I kinda feel like a ‘real’ farmer now. Isn’t that funny?
New chook run! Once it gets above 50 so I can feel my fingers, I’ll put up the rest of the stringers, attach the chain-link fence base at the back and drill holes for the runners for the popdoor to the “back 40″. And yes, that table is standard size for four or five people: that’s a big patio!
Fun Fact: had lunch on the patio yesterday. Doing it again today. LOVE me some picnics, especially where nasty ankle-twisty weed-infested slope used to be.
So the artichoke seedlings have come up. Well, most of them have. The Violetta seeds are sulking; the rest have about a 75-95% germination rate, which I’m told is very good. The process for starting Artichokes is pretty much the same as starting almost any plant from seed, so I’ll go into detail this time ’round.
First I soaked the seeds overnight, then put two to a container in nicely dampened seed starting mix. My seed mix is 2 parts fine peat moss to two parts potting soil to one part homemade compost, sifted well. I did at least three containers of each type, yes they are labeled with duct tape, here you can see the front ranks of the rows:
Here they all are, including a very strange albino cardoon:
Artichokes need to be very warm to sprout, 70 – 85 degrees… but the seedlings don’t need that heat. Some folks thing that colder temps are actually good for them (as is the case for almost all seedlings). So the unsprouted seeds are segregated from the seedlings:
Those that have sprouted are moved off the seedling heat mat and given a big drink of water from the bottom. Once they’re a goodly size, they’ll never be misted from the top again. Bottom watering encourages deep roots and keeps down the mildew/dampening off problems. A good big watering helps them hydrate and prep for their first fertilizing, which will happen tomorrow or the next day with half-strength fish fertilizer.
Those that haven’t sprouted are given a second chance in the new seed-starting tray on the seedling heating mat (next to the traditional Lettuce seedling huge-a-saurus pot). I think the remaining cups will be filled today… not sure with what though. Squash? Poppies? Must ponder.
Fun Fact: I’m pondering whether to grow out that albino cardoon. It might be pretty. It might also be a waste of space. Hm!
I have a new bed! It’s a 20-foot-wide circle (for a new lemon tree) with a 25-foot long, 4-foot wide isthmus come straight off the center of the circle. Yes, I know what it’s shaped like. It will look entirely different when it’s planted with a lemon tree and ninety-million kinds of herbs.
The rest of the bed will be herbs. So let’s figure out what kinds of herbs I want; essential this time of year when garden porn (catalogs) are pouring into my hands.
I use a lot of thyme. I’d like to grow different types of thyme, and only have one kind now. Don’t want the lemon-scented, but everything else — yes please! So many colors and flowers and heights. So I’ll need seeds of that. (And WOW is this an extensive article: http://www.sunlandherbs.com/about/thyme/ )
Basil, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, and parsley are next most commonly used. I mean, what else are ya gonna put in Aglio e Olio, right?
* Thyme: variegated, wooly, silver, bressingham, Doone
Basil: sweet/neapolitan, lettuce-leaf
Savory: winter, summer
Epazote (I lurves me some beans!)
Chives: garlic, regular
This year we’re doing the normal veg plus some of my favorites. When should I start those seeds, and when do they get planted?
All the online sources say the same thing:
Artichokes & Cardoon:
START: takes 2-3 weeks to germinate. Harden off at 8″ tall.
TRANSPLANT: after danger of frost.
GROW: Needs 2 weeks of below-50 degree weather, but absolutely no frost.
BUT WHEN?? When do I need to start those seeds?? Back to the Tried and True Golden Gate Gardening. I love this book. “Start indoors in Dec or Jan, outdoors in a seedbed Feb or March.”
So, yeah. It’s time for me to get crackin!
Fun Fact: All squash, summer and winter and cucumbers, grow to huge sizes and ripen into different colors.Â We eat Summer Squash as immature fruits.