As I went out this morning to begin working in the garden I found a new ornament laying on the freshly tilled soil. Now isn't that a happy dog?
the tractor. Frank has always done this before, but his back isn't cooperating right now, so it was time for me to learn. He was right out there with me giving me a lesson, and directions along the way. At one point Frank told me to push down on the accelerator so the tractor would go faster. I realized then that going very slow was just fine for me. It reminded me of learning to drive a car, there were just too many things to pay attention to at once. Most importantly was where the bucket was so I didn't tear anything up with it. Then there was the tiller and the PTO (power take off) raising it not too high and lowering it all the way and when to do each. Next was the obstacles of a large bale of hay, the house, the storage buildings and just stuff. I know to Frank it seemed like I was doing everything in slow motion, and compared to him I was. But you know what? I did it! And now I know I can do it again.
I mentioned the recent freezing weather, right? Our potatoes were looking wonderful.....until a few days ago. I didn't think it had gotten cold enough to kill the vegetation, but it did.
When you look close, though, they are already starting to sprout new leaves, so we should still have plenty of potatoes.
The grass and weeds are happily growing beside the potatoes so it's time to till them and hill the potatoes again. I got the tilling done with the Mantis, but not the hilling, maybe tomorrow.
The beets and onions are growing slowly, but they are growing. I think the late frosts have slowed them down.
The same is true for the peas. I figured we would be picking peas by now, but they are growing very slowly. Some of the plants are bushing out from the ground, like they are starting over. It's interesting, but not productive. I have yet to see one bloom.
In the meantime, I have planted the tomatoes on the other side of the pea trellis, which was my plan all along. I figured the peas would have been producing. I guess now they will have to share the trellis for a while. We will see how that goes.
The carrots are slowly growing alongside this pea/tomato trellis. They are making very slow progress, but are still alive, so that is a plus.
Next to the carrots in this corner area, I planted my pepper seedlings. We are only growing a sweet pepper and jalapenos this summer. I tend to want to grow about six different types of peppers, even though we don't eat near that many. We like pickled jalapenos and eat more of them than anything.
Before I did the planting, I tilled up this area again with my little Mantis tiller. It works very well for small areas that just need to be touched up. It's much faster than hoeing and because of that I can get a lot more done.
I planted cabbage and broccoli, but my seedlings are very, very small. I'm not sure if they will make it or not, we will see. This whole area with beets, onions, cabbage and broccoli will turn into winter squash about July 1st.
We put in the trellises for the green beans in this newly tilled ground. It is very, very rocky soil. I chose to plant green beans here since they are a nitrogen fixing plant and don't really like a very rich soil.
I will bring the 'used' hay from the barn to use as a mulch and add a little fertilizer to this area. As a new back saving measure this year we decided to try putting the t-posts in with the bucket on the tractor.
We need all the back saving ideas we can get these days and this proved to be another one. It didn't get them quite as deep as we would like, but this soil is hard and rocky.
The trellises are up but the beans will have to wait until tomorrow or Monday since I ran out of steam before getting them in the ground.
I tilled around these trellises with the Mantis to try and give the green beans a fighting chance. The rocks are just amazing, but this little tiller will kick them back out of the way or bounce off most of them. It was kind of like an obstacle course, but now it's ready to plant.
I got the okra seeds planted. Don't they look great? Sorry, I couldn't resist. We use these stakes to mark off planted areas until the crop grows large enough to be easily seen, otherwise they will get stepped on or pulled up.
I planted my spinach in the strawberry bed. I have wanted to try this for a couple of years since they are supposed to be good companion plants. This will be interesting to see.
I had hoped to get much more planted today, but time and energy ran out before I got it all done. There is always tomorrow.....I hope. I feel a sense of urgency this year to get our food crops well underway. We want to put up as much as we can against the uncertainty the future holds, so there is much to do. If you don't hear from us quite as often as you have in the past, we haven't forgotten you, we're just busy. We'll keep sharing along the way and hope to continue to learn from your input, it is very appreciated.
We are grateful for the renewal of spring and the hope it brings. May you have a blessed Easter.
Until next time - Fern