Monday, February 1, 2010

February 1: Do You Know What That Means?

It means it is time to start getting serious about spring planting. We had a mild week in the end of January which brought out the Redbuds up here. That's a tad too early, I thought but at least I haven't seen any Japanese Tulips in bloom. Yet. And sure enough...... we have had two nights now of near freezing temps.

We covered what remains of our citrus orchard and I deeply hope we haven't lost the trees altogether but what is, is and I'll deal with that then. Can't worry about what I don't control.

John bought a "grow system" last month and we have been holding ourselves back to get the seedlings started because we don't want them to be ready to plant before the last frost day (March 15) and because we want to try our luck and hand at staggered planting, we have worked out a calendar of dates to plant another set of the same seeds in three weeks time.

So far we seeded out: 7 varieties of tomatoes, butternut squash (had great success with purchased plants last year in Mandeville. Eager to see what we make of them up here), two types of jalapenos and you know why if you have sampled our sweet/sour jalapenos & two eggplants.

I am curious to see how quickly they germinate and how strong the 3 pods each grow. We will do this again in a few weeks (staggering!) except for probably the eggplants and Cherry 100 tomatoes. Won't need more than 3 plants each of those. Unless of course they were not productive. In that case, I'll either rethink bothering or try it one more time.

At that time as well, we will seed the peppers, squashes, and few other things. Cucumbers and pumpin will go straight into the soil when it gets warmer out there.

And BIG NEWS: John has made an executive decsion on the tractor and will order it this week. Not a moment to spare because we really need to get that back plot tilled under quick if we are going to plant corn and potatoes. And YES!! we are.

We still have waiting to get in the ground asparagus crowns, strawberries and we await three peach trees to be delivered. We have been waiting for the tractor to dig up for the asparagus. The strawberries will go in one of the raised beds in the enclosure. (A lot of waiting, you'll notice. I hear the Army is bit like this as well)

We have friends in England who have recently acquired an allotment in South England. They will be here at the end of the month and I am SO excited to hear what they have planned to grow, besides hops, which I know about already. and this has gotten me crawling around the web in search of information about how they do things "over there".

All About Allotments is a wonderful site to head over to and read up on how Dr George Cook in Liverpool got his a few years back and set about turning his 11 x 27' plot of earth into a full-production slice of heaven. It is INSPIRING. You will not believe the transformation that 4 years and sweat can make but it is the excitement in his voice you hear on the youtube videos that make me, "the first time in my adult life-time" to borrow a phrase, wish for summer! I KNOW. crazy. Me, wanting summer to get here. Go figure.

So yesterday we headed back up to our benefactors of the chickens to scoop horse manure and that was fun. No sooner had I opened the door then a pack of Weimeranners and one Doberman surrounded me to give me the once-over. Twice. Just to make sure. And then since I rubbed them up real good, they didn't leave my side. I am now officially part of the pack.

First, we got a look at all the CHICKENS that have been birthed and the grown ones running around the ranch. They have two roosters that have sorted things out nicely between them and are content to be roommates in the harem.That was silly fun and then M saddled up her young huge horse and worked him. What a magnificent horse he is, too.

As she was quietly doing her thing, we slipped into the stables and got down to business but this brought out the curiousity of a couple of other horses, wondering what we were up to in their rooms. HUGE crazy big horses and SO beautiful. I cannot describe the colors of these two Irish Drafts. One looked like champagne and the other like pewter. And they are awesomely, frighteningly huge. Their jaws looked like cross-sections of beer kegs. And they would not back off. They wanted to sniff me and get all in my face. So scary. I used to RIDE, yer crying out loud. But they are really indimidating.

We managed to fill 5 trash bags with lovely rotted muck and it actually pained me to leave clumps of manure in the fields as we moved out of the pastures. By now the light is dipping and we needed to get back to our coop. So we said our good-byes and last back rubs on the dogs. It would be nice to have a Doberman as sweet as that one.

My luck, I'd get Killer.

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