tomato duck

Note to self

There is no such thing as too many cherry tomatoes.

Further note:

one 8x4 foot bed takes up to eight 1.5 CF bags to fill (depending on how much finished compost I have to supplement with). Further, it takes up to three bags of mulch, although that could be gotten free if I would get off my mountainous anxiety molehill and find the place to pick it up.

At $6.97 per bag of organic soil, plus $2.85 per bag of organic mulch, and a further cost of  three cedar fence boards at $3.89 each, that means that, when I don't have items here to help (saved fence boards, finished compost, free bark mulch), and presuming I don't need peat (at $1.86 each, so far only used with blueberry bushes), each 8X4 foot bed costs me $75.98 to put in, or, with tax: $82.35.

This is not insignificant, and buying each bit on a separate trip over the coarse of the month so as not to see the total in one place does not change that. $82.35 is still 1/10th of your monthly income.

Naughty Gail, no tomato for you today...ok, tomorrow, since you already ate three off the vine today.
tomato duck

So sad not to have pictures

I have to find the software before my camera can attempt to upload photos to this temp laptop, so this is a pathetically picture free entry, which is why I've been delaying it.

I really hate talking gardening without inundating you with pretties.

Maybe I can come back and add the pictures later and it will look like a real entry. ;)

Lucy has been spotted multiple times in the neighborhood. If there were some way to catch her I would, but alas.

The chicks are grown enough to be in the pen now, but so tiny compared to Top Chicken, who is still my most reliable layer despite being a year older than anyone else in there. The bantams, Fluffy Buffy, Tiger, Nana, and Raven, are adorable in their difference, and absolutely frightened of everything except people. Rooster is huge, but has not yet crowed, so we'll see. Rooster thinks sie is a duck; plays in water and walks on the female ducks. Little Red thinks that Rooster is the bestest thing EVER. They are inseparable, they even sleep together. 0.o

The ducks need their own entry, because watching multiple marriage, fowl style, is just hysterical.

The tomatoes are doing well. I've gotten four large tomatoes off the Patio tomato, the Roma has a ton of fruit on it, several of which are starting to ripen, and the various heirloom tomatoes are looking good. I have baby tomato plants doing fairly well in my kitchen window, taken from the...thing...the little branch that tries to grow that you pull off...I forget what that is; I've been putting the ones from the heirloom varieties in seed starter mix and seeing how many want to become new plants. 8 so far are looking good. No idea whether they are Mr Stripey, Homestead, of Black Krim though, because I don't label things sufficiently. ;P

I think I have proven the fact of companion planting. One bed has two tomatoes, a Black Krim and a Homestead (I have four Homesteads, two Black Krims). Those two tomatoes are INSANELY tall. I've had to tie up the cages, because the plants were tipping over the cages and crushing the other bedding plants. Why are those two so tall and such a darker green then their compatriots? I strongly suspect it is because there are two basil plants and a tansy in that bed. Tansy to keep away insects, Basil to make nightshade happy. There will be more basil here soon. Oh, no! Don't throw me in that brier patch! Anything but that! (A reference the current generation of children will not get-along with clapping to save fairies).

The peppers are doing well. I've harvested several banana peppers already, and have lots of bells on the plants getting big. The beans have a few *tiny* little beans growing out of previous blossoms, 4 or 5 that I noticed today. I'm still harvesting some arugula, though it does keep blooming in the heat so it is a bit more tart than usual. Fortunately I like that.

The blueberries are suffering. .The rain barrels are empty now, so they are getting hose water. They do not like it ("or it gets the hose again" just floated through my head). Our water is EXTREMELY alkaline. :( Various suggestions and internet searching has me now putting the hose water into an empty rain barrel to about half full, letting it sit for 48 hours, then dumping in a bottle of apple cider vinegar just before I water via soaker hose. That seems to be helping a bit, as they have some tiny new leaves coming in again. ~whew~ May be able to save them yet.

The squash and zucchini and the volunteer plants have TONS of blossoms all over them. I really hope things get fertilized so we can see what the volunteers are. :P

The potato plants are finally starting to peek up a bit. I have some more to throw in and then it is time to cover them again. :P

Mental note for for future: Do not plant anything next to the chicken pen that you aren't growing to feed *to* the chickens. It just does not work.

Other problem seems to be spider mites and some sort of tiny white mites which are attacking the tomatoes and *decimating* the marigolds. I have made up a garlic and pepper tea, and we'll see if that helps. ~crosses fingers~

Strawberries are doing well, though now that the tomatoes are high they are very much shaded. :)  Okra is just sad. Like a lot sad and very tiny. And the beans by the back are being eaten by something...I suspect something that roams the night since I've now had several mornings of "huh, I now have one less plant than I had before, how annoying is THAT!?!".

We bought mallard deritive ducklings at Easter. Yes, that was dumb. Dang they are fun though. It has yet to be determined whether they will go straight to the freezer at adult weight, get their wings clipped and go loose in the yard, or have a ramp built and be encouraged to enjoy the creek while still considering our yard for nommy treats.

They really are fabulously fun. We have the play yard set up and a casserole dish has been temporarily made into a pond so we can sit in with them and laugh at how ridiculous they are.  Looks to be a Mallard (Jane the Strange-Peaches duck), a Peking (Sunny, Monkey's) and a...something that looks like it is a mix of both, with pink AND black on both bill and feet. That would be Peepers, my duck. Monkey likes to hunt pillbugs so that Peaches can hand feed the ducklings. I prefer to sit until a fly lands on me then lean slowly forward until the mallard, Jane the Strange, notices... she eats the fly right off me. I find this amazingly satisfying for some reason.

The whole thing strikes me as odd...like adopting a kitten when you don't want a cat. At least we can eat them when they get bigger though. Try that with a kitten and you get in all sorts of trouble. ("If you're so evil: Eat. This. Kitten!")

The lack of rain has been hard on just about everything. I do not enjoy living in the Sims game.

rosebud;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!
tomato duck

It's not like staking vampires

But it is pretty darn satisfying.

My tomatoes (all but the two that insist on being short, and the one in the hanging pot) are now contained in cages.

I half convinced Monkey, while at the feed store, that tomato cages are to keep tomatoes from running away. hee hee

We played with chicks while we were there. The Americaunas have the funniest puffy cheeks as babies! ;P Too cute.

Blooms on the squash and/or zucchini. About to have blossoms on some volunteers. blossoms on just about all the tomatoes. TIny green tomatoes on about half of them. The beans are doing that "I think I grew a bit last night! Did I? Did I grow!?!?" thing....the pest guy was here today but did his best to work with my random garden bits, we'll know in the next week if the precautions he took were enough. The okra is slow to start, but I suspect that is the repeated cool weather we've been having.

No sign of the potatoes. :( I fail at potatoes this year.

oh well. Since that is one of the few things i *can* get organic and not in plastic at the store, I"m not sweating it. (too much).

Pics later. Lunch now.
can i eat it

F(e)asting Report

Not bad, really, for so early in the season. Thank heaven for poultry though. :P

Best flavor today: mint squared/sweet herb tea (it was better after steeping and cooling, I've been drinking it constantly today)

Thing most missed: cheese!!!!!
more, plus picsCollapse )

For those who would also like to eat petals, I recommend this site as a good beginning. I like their chart and reference it often. :)
can i eat it

Not yet 9am

and I've learned several important things from this first F(e)asting day:

1) mint tea, when made with fresh peppermint and orange mint, is very strong...even when flavored with half as much sweet herb as mint.

2) one should not wander outside in one's slippers...no matter how tired and ill one is...for they shall collect many things from the ground which will not be persuaded to stay outside by any silly doormat.

3) I do like eggs with basil, but I do really prefer my eggs- no matter what herb I put in them- to have cheese. :( Must. find way. to barter for cheese.
dark beauty

Friday F(e)asting

A friend of mine, errantember, is also a suburban permaculturist. He recently started a routine wherein on the first of each month he only eats food he has grown himself or bartered for something he has grown. It helps keep him aware, and motivated.

I have to admit, knowing you will be spending a hungry hungry day on the first if you don't attend the yard would be fabulous motivation.

I've decided to somewhat modify it for myself and start the same thing.

From now on, Fridays at my house will not feature any pre-packaged food, and the first of each month those over the age of 14 won't find food in my home that wasn't grown here or bartered for something grown here. Anyone under age 14 will be given the option to participate or not.

This Friday is the first of the month, and the first 1st after the Spring Equinox/Ostara/Holi...so that seems an appropriate day to start.

eep.
tomato duck

Update: Big Event

Quick update, then I'm back out into the yard. :)

Yesterday was Big Event. For those not in Aggieland, Big Event happens every March, and those of us who sign up get four hours (ish) of help from a group of volunteer Aggies. I've participated a half a dozen years now, twice as a student, four times as a member of the community, and it has always been a good experience.

This year, I got 8 girls from a Christian Sorority, all of whom were enchanted by my poultry and impressed with our efforts to grow produce. They swept off the gutters, helped me gather about a tree's worth of branches and sticks from around the yard, and took all the wire down from the old chicken pen, salvaging what they could. They also raked up leaves and placed them near the current pen for me, and organized as many bricks etc as they could find so that they are easy for me to re-use. :) I let them go early cuz they had worked so hard I ran out of things to do that weren't obviously adding on things to my job order (which is a no-no).

Later in the afternoon, the rental neighbors had someone over finally taking the big limb off the tree (it cracked during the ice storm and has been laying on their roof since). I went over as they were finishing up and asked if anyone needed cold drinks...fetched water, and as I handed the last one to the one who seemed in charge (he got to drive the heavy equipment) admitted I had an ulterior motive...what would he charge to take this small ugly tree down in my front yard?

He did it for free! :)

sweeeeet

Between that, and finding a pile of old fence boards on the side of the road, I feel pretty darn happy. Karma even gave me a chance to give back when two teens fundraising for a trip to DC came by that evening...I gave them my tip money.

Happy day.