Monday, September 24, 2007

So far behind, it hurts...

Well, falling way behind in the blog world. Not sure anybody actually ever reads this, so probably it doesn't matter much, but I lose track if I don't write down what's going on.

The Three Sisters Garden. Ought to be called the "Three Sisters Failure." We had a dry period, and my corn was severely stunted (I didn't know that a lack of water would cause stunting, the corn did and does look really healthy, just super-short). And then I planted the squash and the pole beans at the same time. Apparently that's a mistake, it's supposed to be corn, then squash, then beans.

So what I have is a really huge, beautifully green, super-mess that is growing out of control.

Since it's been raining like crazy, the corn has crown another foot or so in the last couple of weeks, but I still don't think I'm actually going to see much in the way of corn at all. And I'm having some serious doubts about the squash. OTOH, I could end up with a LOT of green beans. Which of the three, are the ones I like the least, go figure.

I harvested compost at the end of last month, got enough to fill a 50 gallon rubbish bin, and then harvested again today, got about half as much. So composting is starting to work out for me. I think it's the addition of the chicken manure that's finally kicking in.

The chickens are fine, though I need to build up more coop space. They've gotten pretty big, and they eat a lot. No eggs yet, but they're just hitting 4 months old next week. So that's fine. Definitely gotta build up some more coop space soon though. And I answered a question I'd had: yep, chickens definitely eat slugs. They'll gobble down any and all bugs: I've fed them slugs, worms, and black soldier fly larvae. All of it went fast. I'd like to set up some more efficient way to feed them the worms and BSF larvae that I have growing in my worm bins. Picking the bugs out by hand and tossing them in seems tedious.

My bell pepper plants have taken a real beating, as many of the fruit were stung by some sort of fly. The worms in the fruit seriously degrade the quality. Right now the plants aren't doing anything. I need to throw some more fertilizer on them to see if I can boost them up again.

Basil's growing, onions are growing, tomatillos are growing really well, the couple of kale plants I have are doing well, the peanuts look really good.

In the other bin, well, I had a whole bunch of decorative sunflowers spring up. Wonderful. Well, at least they're pretty.

My faux earthbox is doing ok, though probably I need to fertilize it some. The mesclun I planted in it is growing, but isn't looking as happy and shiny as it ought to.

Taro is growing fine.

A couple of other experiments of note. The first is I'm growing amaranth, which is a "dual use" plant, in that the leaves can be eaten as greens, and the seeds are very similar to grain. It's high protein, and pretty complete. I've read that the type I'm growing can produce up to a pound of seeds per plant. I'd like to see if between the seeds and the bugs I can produce all my own chicken feed.

The other experiment is growing stuff upside down. I'm using used plastic milk jugs, cut the bottoms out, stick the stem of the plant through the spout, wire it up and hang it. I'm trying tomatoes and tomatillos. Fingers crossed.

Haven't gotten anywhere with building the new fish pond. Disappointing, but I just don't have time. All the materials are lined up, but... The couple of tilapia and the guppies I have left in the stock tank are doing pretty well though, and the taro growing in there seem to be doing fine.

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