Homestead Diary Week Ending May 6th

I haven’t kept very good track of everything done this week. Saturday was International Tabletop Day so we spent most of the day playing board games. Sunday Alpha and Beta made their First Communion. Tuesday I spent all day shopping for a second car (we found one). Late in the day Tuesday and most of Wednesday everyone besides me in the house was down with a stomach bug.

Most of what I’ve been doing is tending seedlings. Tomatoes, lettuce, kale, zucchini, cucumbers, cosmos, yarrow, chives, basil. I’m probably forgetting something. My tomatoes look only so-so this year, not sure why, but everything else seems good.

Monday we got out to Homestead Buddy’s place. I planted Waltham Butternut and Sweet Meat – Oregon Homestead in the massive hay pile I’ve shared about in a previous post. I held back enough seed of both that I can completely reseed in two weeks if there’s a frost or poor germination. I also planted peas, cucumber, some broccoli starts I’d saved, a bit of zucchini, and a small row of beans.

I did the best I could in getting some of the perennial weeds out of beds we’d prepared already, especially crabgrass and burdock.

The tarps we’d put down to smother the very grassy area hadn’t done much, as they were more transparent than we’d thought, and there wasn’t a lot of sun to insolate the soil with. It’s not the most regenerative practice, but we elected to spade the grass under and then retarp with thicker tarps. We’ll roll back the tarps as we plant new sections.

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The broccoli I transplanted. I was worried I'd used pots that were too big but the roots held the soil together nicely without being bound up. These plants should do well.

The broccoli I transplanted. I was worried I’d used pots that were too big but the roots held the soil together nicely without being bound up. These plants should do well.

A shot of the thicker tarps.

A shot of the thicker tarps.

A cross fence that has a little bendable 'gate' to the right that keeps the chickens out this time of year but will allow them in as desired.

A cross fence that has a little bendable ‘gate’ to the right that keeps the chickens out this time of year but will allow them in as desired.

A few more pictures from my homestead on Tuesday:

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Some of those cucumbers sprouted in under 48 hours.

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First asparagus spotted! I was wondering when they’d start to show up. Hopefully the crowns make a good return from last year. I’ll probably not harvest at all this year and give them one more season to establish.

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Liberty apple breaking bud, the last of the perennials to wake up.

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Cherry blossom about to open.

Thursday the kids helped me plant some green beans and zucchini. These should bear right around when we get back from our trip Baltimore at the end of June. I’ve got a few more beds I will plant this coming week then I’ll save the rest for succession plantings. I also got the rest of the soaker hoses laid out. My plan was originally based on a mixture of 75, 50, and 25 foot hoses but Lee Valley was selling very high quality (double wall thickness) soakers in 50 foot lengths so I made the best of the layout. I made irrigation staples out of bulk 9 gauge wire. Rain has been consistent enough that I haven’t tested any of them out yet.

Friday it got up into the 80s for only the second time this year. I was beat after working in the garden most of the afternoon so I didn’t get to finish writing the post or taking any more pictures. I pulled the mulch off of the off-site garden I lost, reseeded it to grass, and carefully spread mulch over most of the beds that I’d seeded before we had the wood chips. Couple more to go still. The kids helped a lot with spreading it though it is awkward having three people fit around a wheelbarrow in my narrow paths.

I took these pictures on Saturday morning and they will give you an idea of how this week closed out. I think I will go back to using the dSLR for pictures next week, just reducing the megapixels on the camera side. (The only reason I haven’t been using the SLR is because of the labor involved in optimizing the file size for my storage allowance on WordPress.) The phone is convenient but the camera isn’t the best since the lens cover has cracks in it.

Green beans planted 3 rows to the bed with mulch hilled up. Squirrels have already been digging away.

Green beans planted 3 rows to the bed with mulch hilled up. Squirrels have already been digging away.

One of the happier broccoli plants.

One of the happier broccoli plants.

Raspberries putting on growth very quickly.

Raspberries putting on growth very quickly.

Lots of tomatoes! Lost some to damping off, will probably start trying to get some in the ground next week even though many are quite small.

Lots of tomatoes! Lost some to damping off, will probably start trying to get some in the ground next week even though many are quite small.

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Losing most of my cucurbit seedlings to damping off. So much for that experiment.

Losing most of my cucurbit seedlings to damping off. So much for that experiment.

If you look REALLY closely you can see baby carrots. I found one on Friday that was starting to put on its first set of true leaves but couldn't find it again to take a picture.

If you look REALLY closely you can see baby carrots. I found one on Friday that was starting to put on its first set of true leaves but couldn’t find it again to take a picture.

Our most establish rhubarb really putting on growth. I'll be more careful about harvesting this year as it should be even better established given its age.

Our most established rhubarb really putting on growth. I’ll be more careful about harvesting this year as it should be even better established given its age.

One of MANY strawberries happily in bloom.

One of MANY strawberries happily in bloom.

Some of the peas we mulched. The compost I used in the raised beds holds water very well if it is covered but dries out very fast if it is exposed to sun. Still have two small beds to cover up.

Some of the peas we mulched. The compost I used in the raised beds holds water very well if it is covered but dries out very fast if it is exposed to sun. Still have two small beds to cover up.

Liberty apple pushing out growth after being at buds just a few days ago (picture above).

Liberty apple pushing out growth after being at buds just a few days ago (picture above).

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