Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Garden is "cooking" along....

The garden is coming alive now as the temperatures are climbing.  We are usually around 78 degrees in the day and still around 37-46 degrees at night.  It is still extremely windy, which we are tired of.

The straw bale section is doing well.  I'm still using heavy plastic sheeting at night until the night temps stay above 45 degrees (the bungee cords on the ground hold the plastic tight along the sides, clothes pins hold the plastic closed).  It's a hassle to open and close the plastic every day, so I hope this is for a short time. 

The straw bales on the ground have been planted with red and yellow peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, broccoli and strawberries.  I'll be adding green onions, soon.  The bale on the raised bed is planted with zucchini, yellow crook-neck squash, butternut squash and pumpkin.  I do have to say that the plants in the straw seem to be growing faster than those I've started in the raised beds before.  I also started the plants 2-3 weeks earlier than they ever could have been just planting in the ground, or the raised beds.  The heat generated from the decomposing straw does seem to affect the plants in a good way.

The trellis system for the straw bales has been modified from what the book suggested.  In the book, you wrap wire up the green "T" posts every 10 inches for the trellis.  I had extra horse fence which we'd used to fence off the garden.  I'll see if this modification works, or not, as the plants grow.  I saw something like this online where cement reinforcing wire grids were used.  The sections were attached to the posts with zip-ties.  I did use them so we'll see how they work, also.  One problem with the fencing used; it's very sharp ends sort-of stick out past the posts and I've already sliced my forehead open when pulling the plastic over the bales at night.   Will definitely need to be careful with this trellis.

An aside on trying to warm our freezing ground water for the straw bales.  Putting water in the red pickle barrel and trying to warm it by the sun, did pretty much nothing.  It wasn't getting warm enough outside?  Red doesn't warm like black might've?  Anyway, I just watered in the fertilizer with the faucet and will use the water somewhere else until the barrel is empty and can be put into the greenhouse.

The chicken coop and run are almost done.  We now have the top completely covered with fencing.  We are starting to get the ground wire down and will go up the sides about 2 feet.  Ziva is still banished from the garden until we can finish the sides, as the chickens are not smart about sticking their heads out the openings where she is sitting. 

We've added a solar night light (at the top of the picture) and mounted the solar panel where it will get the sun, even when the run cover goes on for heat and rain.  I researched the different solar lights available, mostly on Amazon, and found that this one had the better ratings/reviews.  After trying it out, I've got to say the battery lasts extremely long into the night, as a check at 4:00 AM found it still going strong.  It is very bright, though, so I put a black knee-hi stocking over the light and it dulled it quite well.  Now, it should keep the chickens feeling secure, but still let them sleep, when they finally move full-time outside.

So, enough for today.  Tomorrow's exciting doins' next.

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