Thursday, June 4, 2009

Garden & Hen Progress

I was hoping that my garden would be a little more 'in balance' this year, being the second year and all. But, I guess it takes longer. I have bazillions of bugs. And I don't mean the good kind. 

Here is damage done to a Portuguese Pole Bean that I planted. The seedling had wilted, so I picked it, and what did I find? A wireworm. Commonly found in gardens that were formally grass. That would be mine. There is not a whole lot to be done about them, except to pick them out when you see them. 
I also have these black bugs -- flea beetles I think. They eat holes in everything. They particularly love my potato plants, my tomato seedlings, my eggplant seedlings, my cucumber seedlings . . . . yep, pretty much anything that's in my garden. They can apparently be discouraged by soapy water spray. I don't know, it hasn't been that successful. 

I also have tons of tiny (a little smaller than the head of a pin) orange hopping bugs that suck the life out of leaves and seedling stems. Does anyone know what these are?  
Well, speaking of potato plants, here is one of my infamous potato towers. As you can see, I've had to put composted leaves, grass clippings, straw, a little compost around the plant stems several times already. You are supposed to do this every time the plant stems are about six inches or so above the compost. Well, it seems that as soon as you compost, they shoot up another six inches. I have to admit, it's a bit labor intensive. Mainly because my compost piles are still a little lacking since I'm only 1 1/2 years into this journey. Let's just hope I'm growing potatoes in these things! I have a total of 17 of these towers scattered around my back yard. I will be either the coolest gardener on the block, or the laughing stock of my neighborhood and my husbands family. 
My strawberries are starting to ripen. If only we could get several warm sunny days in a row.
Please, enough cold rainy days already.
My lettuce, that I planted in mid-March are about ready and are very happy.
We have been eating salad every night because the lettuce that was growing in my cold frames exploded into gigantic heads of spring lettuce. Lovely. 

It doesn't seem that our salad intake will slow up any time soon. But that's a good thing. It's great to be harvesting from my garden so early. I finally let my 2nd year asparagus flower. It was sad to stop picking, but I can see that in the next few years we will have plenty.
Here are the rows of carrots I planted in mid-March. 
Still small, but coming along and so much happier since they aren't being attacked by rabbits. 
Last week I planted a third row in between these two rows.
My sweet peas -- also planted mid-March -- are flowering!
It won't be long now. Towards the end of March I planted another row (behind this one in the picture), so we will get two 'batches' of peas. These will be great in our salads!
And our baby hens, how are they doing, you ask? Well, they are splendid. We had several families over last weekend so we out-placed our chicks to their very solid hen house out back. They're thrilled.

Here is one of our Rhode Island Reds.
Three Barred Rocks and a Rhode Island Red.
One New Hampshire Red (on the left) and Two Rhode Island Reds.
Don't they look comfy?
It's been a little chillier than usual here, so on those nights we've had two heat lamps going to keep them warm. In the beginning -- directly under the heat lamp -- the temperature should read 95 degrees. Then each week as they get more of their feathers the temperature can decrease by 5 degrees. Now we are down to 85 degrees. 


Kristi said...

This year has been the year of the bad bug. The previous two years were great, but this year they seem to have exploded in population. My Potato towers were attacked by caterpillars. One tower survived and recovered. All of the foliage died back on the other two, so I went ahead and dug them out. There were still a bunch a perfect baby potatos, so it wasn't a total loss. I am going to wait until the end of June or July and replant them along with some more towers. I've read that you can also cover the vines with leaves as well. Again I have never done this through an entire gardening in October or November I'll know for sure what works and what doesn't!

Your garden looks great. Don't you just love your chickens? I find chickens so entertaining!

Michelle said...

Your blog really makes me want to run away from the city and out into the country!!

Despite your buggy problems, your garden looks fabulous, and I love chickens!

GE is me said...

Sandy, check w/U-mass or another larger college- I'm pretty sure w/URI U can send your bug(s) into them & it takes them a little while to get back to U, but they'll tell U what it is & how to get rid of it.
We are going strawberry picking next week. YUM!

Tanya said...

I think I have flea beetles too. Do they look like teeny-tiny black flies? But they never fly anywhere they just sit around on my tomato plants, and potatoes. So far the tomato leaves still look pretty good, but the potatoes have holes.