It started very early… much earlier than a Saturday should ever have to. It required lots of running kids from here to here. There was a trip through the farmer’s market. Then the completing of the chicken run. Then the transition of the little chicks side of the coop. And tilling the garden one more time. As well as getting the tomatoes and peppers in the ground. Then we still had to make dinner. And me, still sporting a healthy case of jet lag! Boy am I bushed!
The weather this morning was truly lovely. Perfect for a trip to the Beaverton Farmer’s Market (http://www.beavertonfarmersmarket.org/
) – where we were fortunate enough to find the “tomato guy” we prefer to buy heirloom tomato plants from. We were so relieved to learn that we’d made it just in time – this was his last week to be at the market – and his supply was dwindling before our eyes. We decided on I don’t know how many varieties – but 33 plants in all. Some cherry tomatoes, some plum, some roma, some mid-sized, and a few of the huge type. We’re trying some varieties we’ve not tried in the past – it should be interesting to see how things come out. One thing we’re making a point of doing this year is marking the trellis
with the plant identification, rather than the ground. After we got everything composted last year we couldn’t find the identification any more!
One of the things that is painfully obvious about our little girls is that they just are not as socialized as the big girls are. There are several reasons for that. One, the brooder they were in was a 36″ square box – it was nearly impossible for the kids and I to reach in there and actually get a chick to hold! Also, with the big girls – they came home during Spring Break; with the little girls school and myriad activities were in full swing. And also significantly, I was gone for 16 days during their early life – leaving them home alone a lot of the time. We’re working hard on trying to get them more accustomed to being handled and hanging out with humans to some extent.
We realized yesterday, too, that the big girls will begin laying some time around mid-July, if they’re typical. The little girls not until closer to September. That means they’ll be eating different types of food once the big girls start laying. (We’ve learned that they get layer food – a richer in calcium form of feed – once they reach the laying miletone. If you give layer feed too early, they can become egg-bound.) So we decided that we’d just turn the storage portion of the coop into a little chick half of the coop until they’re all old enough (i.e., all laying) to be joined as a complete flock. Above is a peek at the new configuration – having the box out of there and the few storage items elsewhere gives them quite a bit more room. We think they like it!
These are dark pictures – there were threatening clouds hanging overhead and it was getting later – but we had to get pictures of the newly planted tomatoes. I can hardly wait the 52 days until the first ones start to be ready to eat!
We’ve had people ask us many times, “You planted HOW MANY tomato plants?” Yes, thirty-three – I know, it seems like a lot. But for me, I often feel like it’s maybe not enough. You see, I have a lot of food allergies and intolerances. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that if I eat a tomato that is purchased commercially or is served at a restaurant – I will end up having a blistered mouth. If I pick a ripe tomato from my garden – I can eat them until the cows come home – no reaction whatsoever. So – we plant a LOT of tomatoes and eat lots as well as make tomato sauce, etc. and can up a storm come time to harvest.
Won’t be long until the whole garden is planted. Hooray!