First corn harvest today!
Just learned today that you only get one corn cob per corn stalk! That’s a total rip-off!
Good thing fresh corn tastes 10x better than canned corn. It makes it almost worth all the space + resources it’s taking up.
The corn that Hercules trampled or ate is gone, and that’s disappointing. Three weeks of growth–gone. Time is so valuable in late spring. Everything is getting started, and so many things are time sensitive. If we don’t get the corn going now, we can’t just replant it in late July. There won’t be enough time for the corn to mature before the first frost comes.
I replanted several bare spots in the corn row today, then watered the corn with something called Pee Tea or Poop Smoothie. It’s rabbit poop + pee and hay mixed with water. It smells like the bowels of Hades, especially after sitting in a yard cart for a few days, but it’s supposed to be hecka good for plants.
Hopefully that’ll give the corn a jump start and a strong dose of nutrients. I’m hoping it’ll catch up with the other corn within the next three weeks.
And in other sad seedling news, most of the Boston Pickling Cucumber seeds that sprouted in soil blocks last week were mowed down by slugs last night. I had the soil blocks in shallow plastic containers on the ground. Josh suggested propping them up tonight, so slugs couldn’t get to them. I’m going to try that. It’s not fun to have cute little seedlings eaten. Josh expressed sympathy, and I know he meant it because he knows how it feels to have cute seedlings mowed down, and to lose valuable time. It’s frustrating.
After our duck trampled the half-dozen corn seedlings on our last row while circling the chicken tractor, I decided to move the chicken tractor far, far away from the garden. It’s under the grape vines now.
My brain must live in a Disney fantasy farm world, where all plants and animals and hoomans live together in musical bliss.
That’s never been the case on our farm.
Free-range chickens rip up plant starts. Sheep devour kale plants in one bite. Escapee ducks flatten teeny seedlings. Chickens kill bunnies. Bunnies mow down freshly planted herbs.
Yesterday Josh said that he could live without the animals. He would much rather just have the garden.
Yeah, I understand why he said that. The garden is a special place for Josh. And I absolutely adore our garden, too. However…I also love the variety, spontaneity, chaos, and personality that the animals bring to our farm. We don’t binge watch TV, and could care even less about the big screen. But if you were to count up the hours that our family spends watching the animals, you might say we have an addiction.
We’ve loved watching the rabbits + bunnies, sheep + lambs, ducks + ducklings, chickens + chicks. It’s adorable! And if I keep learning and observing, it will be more than just adorable. It will be beneficial.
One of my goals is to better manage our menagerie–to use the strengths of each animal to improve our garden, our pasture, our farm and our lives. We can use the animals to enrich the soil, reduce destructive pests, heat up our compost, enliven the land, and eliminate weeds.
But for now, we’re kicking the duck out of the garden.
Half of my first row of corn is now gone, thanks to a duck. 🙁
Forgot to mention… Today I filled in Josh’s sweet corn row with a few seeds to replace the ones that didn’t germinate. I also planted 30 (2×15) red dent corn seeds. The variety is “bloody butcher”. Eww.
I also rerouted the soaker hose to fill the length of the row that has the squash, eggplant, red dent corn, and greens.
Not sure if I’ve articulated this yet, but I’m very pleased with how our garden is growing this spring. I feel like, with the exception of the peas, we’re ahead in every way. Josh decreased the pH over the winter with sulfur, we put loads of aged horse manure on the entire garden, our plants are getting regular watering through our new watering system that Josh installed, and every plant is looking great, with minor exceptions (you know who you are)!
We’ve already started harvesting the tatsoi and the streaky red and green lettuce. The beets are a few weeks away from being harvested. The herbs are being used every day. The next thing we’re waiting for is the peas. We have gorgeous ruby red strawberries that were using to feed the slugs… And we need to figure that out. How do I get the slugs to not eat my berries??
Soon we’ll be moving the chickens back into the garden to dig up slugs and weeds in the garden paths between the rows.
The first row of corn is up, and I planted the second row today. The potatoes are up, too. Instead of thinning the tatsoi, I tried transplanting every other plant to give them enough space. We’ll see how they handle it.
With the tractor running again, I was finally able to do some grooming on the driveway (I had to wait for rain, too, to loosen things up and keep the dust down). While I was using the tractor, it suddenly died. It turned out to be a buildup of deposit on the rotor in the distributor. A little sandpaper took care of it.
I forgot to mention, the bees died over the winter (probably from mites). Alden got a new nuc a couple weeks ago. Yesterday, he added a second brood box and two supers back onto the stack. We hope we can figure out how to help the bees survive the winter. We sprayed for mites last year, but apparently it wasn’t effective.
Heather planted red Pontiac potatoes in the east end of row #2 a few days ago.
I planted the first of four rows of corn today. The seeds soaked for almost a week before I got a chance to plant them.
Heather planted Jerusalem artichokes along the southeast fence line of the pasture in March. They’re about a foot tall now.
An idea just occurred to me this week. Actually it is more than an idea. It’s a dream! A destiny! An obsession.
We must grow grain in 2021.
I don’t mean an acre of rye–I mean a modest 10×10 patch of sorghum, a couple rows of corn and a corner of quinoa. I want to harvest enough sorghum to fill a quart Mason jar. I want to have enough dried corn to make a sweaty, dirty stack of red corn tortillas. I want enough quinoa to help me figure out if it was worth it for just one meal to say “We actually grew this, harvested it, did the chaff + winnow thing, then ate it next to a pile of sauteed kale and braised rabbit.” (P.S. I don’t know what braised means. I just said it to sound fancy.)
We’ve been harvesting corn for about a week now. We probably could’ve started even a bit earlier.
Slugs decimated my beans, so I replanted most of the row today. I also planted a few additional corn seeds to replace ones that got eaten by slugs.
Heather brought home another rabbit today, so we have one buck and two does. This one might be pregnant.
We planted the rest of the garden today:
- Row 1: transplanted two tomato plants
- Row 2: seeded bush beans
- Row 3: transplanted 2 tomato plants
- Row 4: seeded corn, transplanted delicata squash, two watermelon plants, and pickling cucumbers
Grant transplanted a bunch of chives along the north wall of the carport.