This morning it is windy and chilly, but with Market coming up, and the veggies popping for harvest, there is quite a bit to do. In a minute, I will wrap up because my thin South Texas blood says it is cold, and venture into the garden. First, I will walk the boxes and rows and look for major issues. Lately, this has mostly been caterpillar and insect damage. Next, I will haul in the harvest bins and start picking. Because the tomatoes have gone nuts and pulled up their own cages, I end up crawling around on hands and knees to get to the fruit, so I save them til last. I pick beans, peppers, cut greens, cut herbs, harvest cucumbers. As I work I squish the caterpillars I see and clean out dead stuff.
Cutting back the greens not only gives me a harvest, but allows me to check for critters hiding in the leaves and also keeps the plants healthy and holds off the bolt that signals the end of harvest. I will keep the leaves too damaged to take to market and either use them here at home or add them to the compost heap. When the chickens get old enough they will eat a lot of these.
Pest control is a real struggle. What I can't pick off the leaves I try and hit with a blast from the hose. Most pests won't bother to hang on, but they are still there. I have boards set around the area where a lot of bugs will gather at night and I check these a couple times a day and squish what I find. I am hopeful that when "the girls" are bigger they can help with some of this, too.
I drag everything harvested inside and start washing and sorting. A lot will go in the fridge or, like the tomatoes and herbs for drying, get set out in cool darkness in the pantry. NEVER put tomatoes in the fridge! It ruins their flavor and they go bad faster.
Now it's time to clean out the chicken brooder - a 100 gallon aquarium set up in the hall bath. Although the girls spend most of the day outside, they haven't fully fledged yet and need the controlled temps of the brooder. Because it is too cold this morning for the coop, I take them out and set them in the bath tub where they practice flapping around and jumping on the edge. Every once in a while I have to stop what I am doing and put one back in.
Once their brooder is clean, back in they go with fresh water and food and it'son to the blog or the gardening journal. I try and make notes on everything I do so I can have a record of successes and failures. It is a long, busy day because by the time I finish with all of this it is generally time to do it all again for the evening!
Ahhh, the joys of chicken love! We are trying to socialize the girls so they are easier to move around and just because it is so fun! Hanging out with the chickens is better than a movie!
Here are some pics of the new chicken tractor/coop and the girls with Brac.
After fighting of the flea beetle infestation, we got the white-fly horde and then caterpillars. It has been busy trying to keep everything healthy.
But as you can see, it's going well. I have turnip greens and green beans as well as jalapenos and serranos. The herbs are thriving and I have way more mint, parsley, and cilantro than I need. The basil is coming back from the drought and the bugs and will shortly join the others in healthy production!