The peas that I direct-seeded have caught up with the transplanted ones, and they’re healthier. Today I planted an Early Girl tomato plant that I got at the Ag Fest, and 10 blue lake bush beans. The soil on my garden row dries out quickly and can absorb a lot of water.
Heather planted a few Oregon sugar pod peas on her row and transplanted two tomato plants of unknown variety from the Ag Fest.
In the back corner of the property, one of our douglas fir trees got mowed down. It was the one that wasn’t doing well anyway. We planted another one in its place that we got at the Ag Fest. We also planted two lodge pine trees that we got at the Ag Fest, and we mulched the trees with wood chips.
I transplanted some plants that Heather started. From the end in: kale (dwarf blue curled), chard (mixed colors Swiss), spinach (Bloomsdale), lettuce (cutting mix), lettuce (unknown–the label faded), and marigolds (petite orange). Some of the starts were waterlogged and others were dry, so we’ll see how they do.
I turned my garden row a second time with the pitchfork. I decided to remove the chunks of sod that I had turned over the first time I worked on the row. I was afraid the grass would keep growing if I didn’t. By leaving it there for the past month, I think it created a good environment for the microbiome to transfer to the manure and wood chips that I added. I saw a lot of worms, so that’s a good sign.
We also mulched between the rows and over garden area that will remain fallow this year but be cultivated into two more rows next year.
Today I planted outside! Josh is stuck inside doing taxes, so I feel kind of guilty. I know he’d rather be outside with me. If he has time today after taxes, I’ll go outside and help with his projects.
I got the radish seeds in the ground. I also planted the pea seedlings that I started indoors back on February 22, 2019.
For the radishes, I took a 2×2 square of ground, turned it over a few times, mixed in some wood chips, scattered the seeds, and lightly tilled them under.
The pea seedlings went into the hugelkultur bed on the south side.
Today I started reading a book called Natural Sheep Care by Pat Colby. Chapter 6, titled Land Management, is a rich resource, and will be a foundational part of our sheep farming venture.
Colby says “[Land management] is the single most important item in any farming enterprise, be it fine-wool sheep breeding, meat sheep, dairying or stud breeding. Land management is the difference between ultimate success or failure. All disciplines demand land in very good condition mineral-wise. Without all the minerals being available in the right quantities, the microbes, mycorrhizae and other occupants of the soil cannot do their work to make it a living, breathing food factory which will nurture all who live off it.”
Today I picked up three free chickens from a lady who needed to rehome them. She said they all have been laying throughout the winter. Within an hour of us putting then in the pasture they had sneaked through the cattle panels and were browsing the side yard. It took some chasing to get them back in the pasture. Grant locked them in their coop overnight (without the chicken that Payne family gave us) to get them used to their new home.
Today I finished my first hügelkultur mound. It’s 3 feet by 12 feet. I created it by digging a hole six inches deep. Then, I lined it with birch logs from a tree that we had to take down when we lived at our Crater Lane house. I added smaller logs and branches as the next layer. Next, I filled in the gaps between the wood with wood chips we received from various Chip Drop dumps. Finally, I used the first that I initially removed as the topping. Much of the sod that I dug up in th beginning was used on the bottom of the mound to prevent erosion.
This weekend I planted seeds indoors that I plan to transplant in a month. They’re sitting on the window bench in our dining room. Spinach, Swiss chard, kale, peas, and marigolds. I used cardboard egg cartons, seedling soil mix, and some plastic containers. I purchased all the seed packets at the Dollar Tree for 4/$1.
We worked on building the trail today by spreading wood chips. We also put up fencing around the fruit trees that we planted a few weeks ago to insure against deer. I pruned the pear tree today. I probably removed about 30%, which is more than you should for a pear tree. It might cause the tree to grow over-vigorously this year. But there were a lot of branches growing downward, across the center of the tree, or crowded.
We also dumped about three tractor buckets of wood chips on Heather’s hügelkultur garden row.
The boy lamb looked quite a bit better the day after his first shot five days ago. However, he has continued to run a fever of 104, and he has been lethargic compared to his sister. She is very empathetic and spends a lot of time with him. This morning we gave him his second (and final) antibiotic shot. A few hours later, he was already looking better. But we don’t know if it will last.
Yesterday, we noticed the little boy lamb was limping. We checked the leg, and there was no injury. We learned that infections usually affect sheep in the legs first. We called a vet. He checked the lamb’s temperature, and it was 104. He gave it an antibiotic shot. The vet visit was $250. We need to give it another shot in five days.