Saturday, 27 April 2013
The greens that I overwintered (accidentally) have miraculously come back to life! I am ABSOLUTELY going to do that this fall - ON PURPOSE! What a good jump start on Spring picking... won't be long before I can eat from these plants :) The tiny seedlings below are lettuces that were seeded 2 weeks ago but due to the COLD nights, they really haven't taken off yet.
The tomatoes have all been seeded with the exception of a few more varieties. All are heirlooms that we've either tried before and loved or come highly recommended by others.
Below are my irrigation buckets :) Yup, that's snow melting in there! The greenhouse heats up really well during the day, so I place full buckets of snow inside when I open it up in the morning. By late afternoon/evening, they are all melted and ready for me to irrigate with. All that nutritive water from snow melt is GOOD for the soil.
I've also been walking the land every day to discover what it's trying to tell me. Can you see the faint horizontal line running across the dead looking grass (about 2/3 of the way up the picture)? That is a debris deposit that was left following the snow melt. The bold angled vertical line is from when we had to trench to bury a new phone line in the late fall.
In the next picture, you can see 2 other lines of debris that meet to form a Y intersection. This "meeting" of debris shows me where the water runs down to collect in a low lying area of our property.
Here's the long view... all those debris trails show me EXACTLY where the water likes to flow and as you can see, it collects in this one area and in another area a little closer to the house.
Instead of having the water run off and sit unproductively upon the grass, we plan to dig a pond in the low area to collect and store this water in a manner that will enhance the biodiversity on our land and provide water all summer for the future trees and gardens that will surround the pond. I'm really excited about this project and I'm busy working on my design project to plan for the installation.
In other news, Jacques (our French Copper Maran rooster) is a very busy fellow these days...
With the garden now mostly free of snow cover, he spends his days escorting his "harem" out and about so they can find the tasty morsels in the mulch and soil. Because of the hen's increased insect/worm intake, their yolks are a vibrant orange once again.
Jacques is a very protective roo! He "cock-a-doodle-doos" constantly when we are close to his ladies lest we get any ideas of taking over his territory... such a funny boy. Isn't he handsome? In spite of all that bravado, he is really very docile and has never charged at us. For a rooster, he's very friendly :)
Thought I'd quickly update you on the state of the coop. The level of bedding is now nearly up to the roosts! I've layered straw, wood chips, alfalfa, shredded paper & shredded cardboard in various thicknesses depending on what I had on hand with the intention of alternating texture as much as possible (like the rough, looser texture of alfalfa before the application of fine textured wood chips and shredded paper). The coop does NOT smell like ammonia in spite of the chickens being housed in here all winter! We do have good ventilation to keep the moisture levels in check (important for poultry) and the action of the chickens scratching and pecking through the bedding has aerated it enough to mix the layers a bit, preventing (we hope) compaction. The other added benefit of this deep bedding method, is that the FREE heat generated as it composts. This has kept our chickens toasty warm all winter. We have NOT ONCE needed to turn on the heat lamp in spite of a long cold winter.
Soon, it will be time to shovel this all out to let it fully compost and mature. Because most of the material is fine, it's much easier to scoop out then previous years where I only used straw (which matted together something fierce!). I don't plan to use this bedding in the garden until at least Fall, perhaps next Spring. I'll keep you updated on it's journey into soil :)