Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Blackberry Winter, Warm Weather to Follow

Blackberry winter is here, that means the blackberries are blooming and I am cold.  There is just a chill in the air, no need for fire in the wood stove but a jacket is a welcome wrap for me.

Garden is growing, onions are developing seed heads, garlic scapes are showing up on all of the plants.  Time for me to go out to the garden and pick these.  I would enjoy harvesting large heads of garlic and onions so all of the seed heads need to be removed, the plant just can't make seeds and provide a harvest of large fruits.  I save the larger cloves of garlic to plant and planting the scapes takes about 3 years to make a sizable head of garlic.  I buy onion sets in the fall and spring, this year I also purchased plants in the spring.

There are butter beans, snaps, black-eyes peas, sugar snap peas, yard long beans and Austrian winter peas growing at this time.  The Austrian winter peas were planted in the fall, they made it through the cold winter, some in the tunnel and others in the garden bed. During the winter we used the pea shoots in our salads, delightful taste of spring in the the salads.  Now I am waiting for them to fruit, I have been enjoying the blooms in the garden. Later in the day I found a few pea pods and with the number of blooms there will be more coming.

The tunnel cover came off this week, and I am ready for the squash plants to cover the tunnel again this summer.  This will give protection from the sun for the crops in the tunnel.  I will be planting things under the tunnel which appreciate a little protection from the sun.

There was a time when my garden was not started until May 15th and this year there is already so much  progress.  Now some of the squash plants are 6 inches tall or more with tiny zukes just waiting for the bloom to come.

I tried the aluminum pie tin with cucumber slices in it.  My results so far, are no cabbage worms, I would like not having to spray my cabbage with bt, I have been looking for a way to get around this for years.  I put 2 slices of cukes in the pie tin and place under the cabbage plants.  I have some aluminum coasters from the 60's which we were going to recycle but now they are going to be recycled in the garden for holding cuke slices.  So far this has worked for me.  I really have only been doing this for about 3 weeks, I will let you know how things progress through out the summer.

We are trying to take the goats out to munch the woods daily, I was hoping we could let them free range but they seem to know where everything is that I would prefer they stay out of.  So the end result is I must walk with them when they are free ranging.  They seem not to care to go to the same area on a daily basis, this means I get to explore more of our woods.  This is a win, win for me but during this time of the year I feel I have loss a precious hour of time to work in the garden.  I will adjust as I so enjoy my time with the ladies.

Another large tree went into the wood rack this week, we also found some good wood felled by the winter storms and this was add to the rack.  There is still a lot of wood needed but we have a good supply to start the winter with, finding the dead trees and wood on the forest floor makes it easier for us, as the drying time is less.

The girls have been busy turning the compost and I am bringing it to the garden to start another new bed.  This week, I gave them one of the last of our squash from last year's garden and they ate all of the seeds.  I am finding in the compost lots of  seed coming up.  I do trash most of these as I am not sure what they are.  I thought they ate the bulk of the seeds but now I think they eat a few, everything seems to be cleaned up after they have a pumpkin, squash or cantaloupe but maybe they plant a few seeds in the compost.

Flowers are blooming, birds are setting on their nest, butterflies are dancing on the flowers and spring seems to be everywhere.  The sage is blooming and I will be picking some to dry.  I must start working the herb garden again, I miss not having the wonderful herbs  I can grow. This spring I did start a number of plants from seed and I am hoping to add more with cuttings.

The lettuce is a favorite of the ducks and I have planted some extra for them, however, the goats did manage to get into the lettuce bed this week.  The ducks spend their evenings out working in the woods and I had them come in last night with the blackest peaks, you would have thought they had black peaks.  Mother Duck is molting, her new feathers are so pretty and white, I am hoping after the molt maybe, just maybe she will begin to lay to a regular basis.  If not. no problem, she is my girl.

Things are moving forward, now that maybe all of the different little winters are over we can begin to look forward to the rainy seasons.  A rainy day may give us a chance to sit down, relax and enjoy the fruits of our labor.  We do enjoy something from our garden on a regular basis !!!