I recently learned about a powerful tool for improving our gardening and beekeeping abilities. It’s called Phenology, and it’s a method of predicting 1) when to plant crop seeds, 2) when the bees will bring in nectar, 3) what kind of nectar they’ll be bringing in (i.e. what kind of honey it will be), 4) when to start controlling detrimental insects, 5) when weeds will emerge, and 6) many more things!
It utilizes temperature as a predictor because plant growth and insect emergence depend on temperature. “Growing degree-days” (GDD) are used as the predictive measure, and by knowing the GDD for your area on a [...]
Continue reading Awesome Predictive Tool – Phenology
For the past two years, we’ve used the “Lazy Bed Method” for growing potatoes; and been relatively satisfied with the results. The potatoes were very simple to plant and maintenance was non-existent - just lift the potatoes when the growing season is over; however, the potato quality seemed to suffer somewhat from being grown above ground – insects nibbled on a few, some rotted, yield seemed a bit low, etc. So this year, I decided to modify the method just a bit, and the potatoes turned out great! I think we’ve got a method now that produces great potatoes with very little work [...]
Continue reading Growing Potatoes: The Lazy Bed Method “IMPROVED”
Broody Buckeye Hen – Sitting For 10 Days & Counting
As of yesterday, our broody Buckeye hen has diligently been sitting on 15 eggs - for 10 days. She gets out of her nest box only to eat, drink, and relieve herself; and has only once signalled a desire to leave the broody box (see Building A Broody Box). We let her out and she took a quick dust bath in the pasture; and then climbed right back into the broody box and back onto the nest. So far, she’s exhibiting all the behaviors of an excellent mother hen, and we couldn’t be [...]
Continue reading Candling Broodies Eggs
Previously, watermelon has not done particularly well in our garden – generally the growing season’s over before the watermelon are ripe. However, this year I used the old heirloom variety called Crimson Sweet, and we’ve been happily eating watermelon for several weeks.
Crimson Sweet is described as an AAS winner (1964) that’s crisp and sweet; has medium-red flesh and mild flavor; and is a very popular, old heirloom. The packet says the variety takes 85 days to mature. I started the seeds indoors; hardened the transplants off, and then planted them in the garden after all chance of frost was over.
They vines [...]
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Thirteen Weeks Old
I picked up one of the chicks last night, and did a double take. She was a lot heavier than I expected – those sneaky little girls are growing up!
We don’t know exactly how old they are (they were a surprise with the new coop), but think about thirteen weeks. We got them at five weeks, and first kept them in an old Eglu while we painted the coop interior. At eight weeks, we slowly transitioned from the medicated starter feed they were being fed to non-medicated grower feed, and didn’t observe any problems.
At nine weeks, they moved [...]
Continue reading Growing Pullets