Homestead Diary Week Ending May 20th

Saturday the forecast was very close to freezing, so I didn’t want to take a chance we’d actually get frost. I had planned on moving the tender trays of plants inside after dinner, but mid-afternoon we actually had snow for a short time so all day the living room looked like this:

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The baby bunnies ventured out of their nest for the first time. We spent part of the afternoon watching some of their antics. The Alchemist captured this picture. The video she took was even cuter, showing the way its little ears were practically vibrating with how strong the wind was.

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After dinner I used blankets to cover the tender annuals we planted in the front of the house and then glass jars as ‘hot caps’ to cover the baby squash and tomatoes in the ground on the side and back of the house.

I have many memories of covering gardens against frost with my Dad, except we mainly used old army surplus blankets.

I have many memories of covering gardens against frost with my Dad, except we mainly used old army surplus blankets.

Hot caps galore.

Hot caps galore.

The extended forecast warms up again and, given how late in May we are now, this should hopefully be the last frost scare. I’m fully expecting to have lost some plants at Homestead Buddy’s place, however, as he is much further from the moderating temperature of Lake Michigan and doesn’t have the urban heat island effect I benefit from as well. That’s why we hold seeds back and don’t plant everything in one go 🙂

Monday I got most of my surviving cucurbit transplants in the ground. Germination is much faster than in the ground this time of year but time will tell if they are healthier than direct seeded crops. I sowed a little more mesclun mix. The mesclun I sowed early in the spring will be ready for a first cutting in a few days. I made the first harvest of anything from the garden, about half a pound of rhubarb stalks.

Tuesday after Beta’s violin lesson I went to my sister’s house. She graciously let me pick a bunch of rhubarb and then take 4 crown divisions to plant. This gives us 7 rhubarb plants which, once established, will give us all the rhubarb we could want and then some. The one I picked from on Monday is probably the only one that will produce for us this year but we’ll see. The leaves on the transplants are a little wilty but rhubarb is hard to kill and should quickly bounce back.

Wednesday we went out to Homestead Buddy’s place for first time in two weeks. We had pretty good germination on the peas, some germination on the green beans. Almost all of the broccoli was happy. The zucchini was starting to sprout and we had two winter squash up. Most of the winter squash came up early and he had two frosts since we’ve been frost free. Oh well, we had a 75% chance of being frost free and getting early growth. I weeded and then seeded a bigger green bean patch.

We spent some time discussing where my bigger garden plot will go. It will be about 4,000 square feet to start, close to water, with potential expansion that doesn’t get in the way of his own expansion plans. We moved his rabbit tractors over to start knocking the grass down and adding fertility to the ground. I’m unsure whether I’ll just turn the ground over the hard way (by hand) or look into borrowing some equipment. I’d like to get it seeded into a cover crop or possibly into some easily weeded crops. Another friend that’s down the road may also give me some garden space, and he and I have talked about having him sell excess produce I have on a consignment-type basis.

The only pictures I took that day were of the kids petting and feeding his rabbits dandelions before we moved the tractors to the new ground.

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Thursday and Friday were busy days, just not in the garden. Mostly I focused on watering. I also moved a few of my kale and flower seedlings out into a sunnier spot to start hardening off before transplanting.

Here’s some pictures to close out the week:

It's pretty typical for mid-year rhubarb to wilt heavily but they quickly send up new growth.

It’s pretty typical for mid-year rhubarb to wilt heavily but they quickly send up new growth.

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Blackberries finally getting some action going.

I'm pretty sure these are flower buds about to open on our raspberries.

I’m pretty sure these are flower buds about to open on our raspberries.

Broccoli quickly increasing in size. Ironically, the best performer this year is a hybrid that I believe has been discontinued.

Broccoli quickly increasing in size. Ironically, the best performer this year is a hybrid that I believe has been discontinued.

Green beans germinating

Green beans germinating

One of the taller peas. I liked this shot with the sun backlighting it.

One of the taller peas. I liked this shot with the sun backlighting it.

Carrots take a long time to germinate, and then a long time in seed leaf stage, but they're finally putting on growth.

Carrots take a long time to germinate, and then a long time in seed leaf stage, but they’re finally putting on growth.

Small patch of mesclun that will be harvestable soon.

Small patch of mesclun that will be harvestable soon.

Nice progress on the strawberries. Hoping we get more critter-bite free ones this year.

Nice progress on the strawberries. Hoping we get more critter-bite free ones this year.

Our Liberty apple is making nice progress. The Mac-Free is also doing well, just a little slower.

Our Liberty apple is making nice progress. The Mac-Free is also doing well, just a little slower.

First true leaf on one of the Costata zucchini. Love this variety. Germinates strongly and has been very hardy in my climate.

First true leaf on one of the Costata zucchini. Love this variety. Germinates strongly and has been very hardy in my climate.

Purchased tomato.

Purchased tomato.

The best of my starts. Sigh.

The best of my starts. Sigh.

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3 Comments on “Homestead Diary Week Ending May 20th”

  1. Lenny lennn says:

    Nice work my brother!!!

  2. Lenny lennn says:

    That looks awesome hard works going to pay off with cheers and smiles and great eats can’t wait to see more


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