We had a semi-sunny, semi-cloudy, strangely humid, and only a few sprinkles of rain weekend! It honestly felt like a cloudy day in Hawaii. Poor B's allergies flared up horribly, as did my neighbor's. But, it was a nice weekend, which means: Things got done!
We went to Saturday market on Saturday and I got a few seedlings. With the weather, I've not been able to start certain plants. Luckily, the market as VERY well-priced seedlings.
Here are two of my pumpkins (specifically the type that is good in pies):
Then, on Sunday, I saw a Craigslist ad for someone giving away some of their tomatillo and tomato seedlings. I jumped at the chance, and walked away with 15 plants. Here are the 7-8 tomato seedlings (black prince and roma -- good for sauces!):
My bigger hens' pen was MUCKY and it smelled. So, I took some thin branches I had and covered the mud in them. This is really letting the mud dry better, as the hens aren't traipsing through the muck. AND, they are staying much drier. I also cleaned out their coop and put a lot of straw in there (no coffee chaff available until Monday, and it needed to be cleaned). They have been playing in the straw very happily. But, I still faced the SMELL. A mucky chicken pen does not smell great, even if you have tried very hard to keep their area clean. SO, I took a spray bottle of apple cider vinegar. It does not hurt the hens, AND it totally cut the smell!
On Sunday, I went to go check out a craigslist ad for a nice patio set. While we had the fallback plan of the wooden chairs, metal patio sets just hold up more nicely. AND, we found a set that was a very nice set, but for a bargain price-- I could not do the wood chair project for this much. It's a six-chair set, and the chairs have nice high-end cushions (which I've removed and put on the deck). We will need to scrub and paint the chairs (yay rustoleum!), but it will look SO nice when we are done. Here are two of the chairs, stacked:
And, the HUGE nice table. We had to get a Home Depot truck to transport all of it, but it was well worth the effort (and the value for our buck!). This will all go under the pergola.
Saturday, I weeded around my onion, lettuce, basil, and spinach beds. It needed it, badly. Then, I went and got a few tubs of free mulch from the city, which I spread around the beds. Hopefully, the weeds will not come back with a vengeance. That's the thing about this weather; the plants like it. That's great for the plants I want to grow, and, unfortunately, great for the plants I don't want to grow also....
My mesclun mix lettuce has really taken off, and it's getting to the point where I need to pick the big leaves tonight!
My spinach has also grown, to the point where I need to harvest another bucket of the stuff, blanch it, and freeze it. Don't worry, I've been eating it raw too.
I also mounded up my broccoli. The plants were a little spindly at their bases, and this was solved by adding dirt to support the plants. Some plants even got dirt built up a bit around their bases. Not only does this add new nutrients to the bed, but it also helps support the plants.
I planted a few more of my other Saturday market plants. Here are my two eggplants. They were put over by my peas.
And, my eight tomatillos and two lemon cucumber plants. The left-hand row (5 plants) has purple tomatillos, the middle row (3 plants) has green tomatillos, and the right row (2 plants) has the two lemon cucumbers. The cucumbers will have a trellis up and over to the next bed. I will need a few more cucumber plants. The tomatillos were free! THank goodness, because my seedlings have languished in the weather we've had.
This weekend, I was also SO EXCITED to see PEAS!! Do you see it there, in the middle of the photo? All my peas (all 3 types) are blooming, which means I'm gradually seeing baby peas. It is very difficult to not just eat them, as peas are edible from the moment they show up. But, the bigger they get, the better. YUMM (I did eat one...).
On Saturday, I also took away most of the weeds from the soon-to-be tomato bed area. On Friday, I got 7 cubic yards of aged manure delivered. Aged manure is ok for your plants since it's been aged (fresh manure can be caustic to your plants). We decided to go for it since the manure for the tomatoes will be mixed with some old dirt from the previous tenant's garden (which is why this area is so lumpy). That soil needed replenishing, so the manure will help. I began to spread it out here, but then other projects called me away.
Meanwhile, in the far backyard, the other hens are getting big. I'm pondering various introduction schemes to get them and the red birds to live harmoniously. I REALLY only want 2-3 birds back here, for space and raccoon reasons. I spotted a raccoon mama and two babies this weekend nearby, and I don't want the hens to be a raccoon snack. Yes, the coop is secure, but raccoons are mean, nasty suckers. IF something bad does happen, I'd prefer there only be a few hens back here.
The big project on Friday was the back field. It doesnt' look too big, but it's actually about 25'x40'. I weeded the area and then put black plastic on the weeds around the perimeter. That will help for weed control. Then, on the interior side of the black plastic, I plan on digging holes for some straight branches (we're using them as posts), which will then have wire or netting attached to them. That way, the area will be enclosed.
After the fencing, the next step is to add to the soil. The soil back here is not too shabby, but we're going to add in some of the manure. No raised beds back here. We'll add the manure in rows, that way we can immediately plant. This area will be used by my neighbor and me for our sprawling winter squashes and melons. Those types of plants need to go in asap, so hopefully, this project will get finished this week. It has to, since I NEED to work on my tomato beds (and get the 7 yards of soil off of my front driveway).
I just took this shot to show what overwhelming weeds we have in the back lot. This is the path to the backyard little hens. Those weeds are 5-6' tall. SUPPOSEDLY the landlord will send someone out with a weed wacker. We're hoping. It's kind of frustrating. We don't want to buy special tools like a lawnmower or weedwacker when we may not need said tools at our next house... but we also hate the weeds, and it really limits how much we can use this area. Hm. It also gives cats a place to hide. I'm really thinking about investing in a weed wacker.
Here are the backyard hens. You can see exactly where their coop has been; look where all the grass is nice and short!
In other news, I added some coffee to my raspberries about 2 weeks back. This is the coffee side....
And this side had no coffee added. Can you see a difference? Maybe I'm just imagining it.
For the time being, it will be much of the same thing. Get rid of weeds. Add mulch. Put in plants, protect the area from cats. But, the yard looks so nice. I really cannot wait to start eating the produce as it comes in. Just please, Oregon, more sun!
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