Thursday, April 16, 2015

New chicks, new gate, more spring gardening

 Our new chicks have been with us for a little while now, and are growing quickly.  They're getting feathers, and some are going brown, while others are still white;  we wonder if they'll all be brown when they grow up, or if we'll have some white ones too.  Still, it's hard to distinguish most of them, though the Franklin named the biggest one Chickadee, and I named the brownest one Patches.  We really can't tell who's male and who's female, and we're not entirely sure how many of each there are.  That's ok, though.  I do hope at least half are male though, as I really do want to try raising meat birds.  Plus, we already have ten hens out back!
 Partner's been playing with them and picking them up regularly, to make them friendly around people and accustomed to being picked up, which will help us when they're grown.  He really enjoys them, and they certainly like him the best.  We joke that he's "Mama" and I'm "Not the mama."
 Franklin helped me build this little gate so we can get through the outdoor chicken enclosure;  we've set up chicken wire to divide the garden for them, and it's nice not to have to hop over it get to other parts of the garden.  We used four long willow wands and three pieces of bamboo cane to make this gate, with no nails or staples.
Though it's covered in blossom, I wonder if my new pear tree will set fruit?  Two near neighbors have pear trees but I can't tell if either tree is flowering now, and neither of their trees are in full sun like mine.  I may plant another variety myself this winter, to ensure pollination;  I've been wanting an Asian pear for a while--maybe I can get one.
My window boxes have not been replanted since they originally went up two winters ago.  One has geranium, arugula, and chard;  the other is mainly parsley but also has a calendula.  I'm pleased with that calendula;  it's managed to self seed into the planters below the window box.  When they grow a little bigger, I'll move those seedlings to the garden. 

As far as vegetable gardening goes, I've got lots of trays of seeds and seedlings:  in the house, in the garage, and out on the patio.  I've also already planted out some seedlings into my new kitchen garden:  kale, sorrel, leeks, lupins, salad greens.  I'm hoping for a better harvest this year than last;  I lost the majority of my plants due to slug damage and to an extreme pH change.  By far it was the worst gardening year I've had in my ten years of growing.  Although there's not a lot I can do about slugs, at least the pH has gone back to acceptable growing levels on the affected beds.