Garden and Rabbits

Garden and rabbits (and ducks), garden and rabbits (and ducks) … it’s never ending or so it seems.  I worked my tail off yesterday both prepping rows (really only got one prepped to plant in) and making seed blocks and starting seeds.  I think I started about ten trays of 40 seed blocks.  My some standards, that’s not many plants, but for this person, it is a ton … more than I’ve ever started.

I am attempting to follow Planting by the Signs and garden by the phases of the moon and zodiac signs and plant on fertile days.  Yesterday, August 11 was a fertile day in the dark moon phase so it is best for below ground crops so I planted lots of beets and carrots (but also some kale, fennel (perhaps too late but I plan to keep it under row cover) and chard; the next two days August 12 through 14 are so-called “killing days” and no planting should be done.  No problem, I’ll work on getting rows ready to plant the seedlings in. August 15 brings in the light moon and the 15th and 16th are good days to plant flowering crops.  I do not have any crops that flower to plant, but I will go ahead and plant more chard and some of the seeds I bought for the rabbits.

Right now, the seedlings are in the greenhouse, but I plan to move them over to the rabbit area in the shade so they have a better chance of germinating.  It’s still hot for cool weather crops to germinate. I was going to put them on the picnic table under the pine treat near the garden area, but the cats like to lay on the picnic table and if I put seed trays on their favorite laying spot, I’d just give them a soft cushion to lay on.  Hopefully in the rabbit area, no one will bother them. Over there, I’ll likely to remember to water them because I am over there several times a day caring for the rabbits and ducks.

It is still really dry here.  We’ve had a few rain showers, but not enough to amount to anything.  I planted a row of carrots that I’ll need to irrigate every day until they germinate. The row was horribly hard to break up! It’s dry and there were huge, rock-hard soil clumps.  I dragged out the tiller and ran it through the row and made a real mess. I managed to get it in good enough shape to sow carrots, but it is not great.  I’ll take more care with the others.  I have the next row worked up with my broadfork and it has a lot of soil clumps in it so I am going to pull the irrigation hose over it, let it irrigate when I do the carrots and cover it with a light layer of rabbit manure mulch.  That ought to soften it enough so I can work it. That’s the beauty of planting seedlings vs. seeds as the beds do not need to be quite as smooth.

In thinking about it, it would be better to leave the vegetation in a row and not pull it up until I am ready to prep the row.  Then the ground will be softer and easier to work with. Leaving it fallow (like this row had been) contributes to the soil clumps.  No wonder why most of the soil in the United States is in poor condition.  It is constantly tilled and tilled and tilled. It is a lot of work using a broadfork to loosen soil, but it is so much better on the soil. Think of the work-out I’m getting! It will be interesting to see how the carrots do.  I was able to loosen the soil to most of the length of the broadfork tines (which I believe are 16 inches).  That should give the carrots plenty of room to grow. I planted all of the carrot seed that I had and ordered more yesterday.  I ordered Napoli which is a good carrot for over-wintering (covering the carrots with a bed of straw to protect them from frost).

Starting plants as seedlings allows me to give them extra care so they’ll be strong enough to withstand what has become a very hostile gardening environment due to the drought and bugs! Everything will go under row cover until it cools off to protect them from the damned bugs.

I discovered an interesting green: minutina, also known as Buckshorn Plantain.  It is considered a salad green and can be grown in an unheated greenhouse. I purchased some seed to see how it does here.

Time to go and milk the goats.  We are going to have to switch our milking schedule a bit, especially in the evening, so I can milk before I eat supper.  All the bending over that I do during the milking process after eating supper kills me! The past few nights it has made me nauseous.

Until later …