Since my garden is currently in Ole Man Winter’s frozen grip, there is not much to report except that now is a good time to get your seeds and supplies ordered for the upcoming gardening season. If you procrastinate, you might not get the seeds you want.
Some of you have asked to see more posting about my chickens, so this is the first of several post that you will see relating to my very spoiled hens. When you first get chickens you will be constantly amused by all of their unique behaviors. One of the more curious chicken activities is dirt bathing. It is a very instinctive behavior and one that is fun to watch.
My Hens Taking a Dirt Bath
You will not see a chicken any happier than when it is taking a dirt bath. It is pure “Chicken Nirvana” I have posted a new YouTube video below of my chickens taking a bath.
Happy New Year!! Sorry for the long time between post. The weather this past December was very cold and snowy in Central Indiana. I was able to get one last small harvest of brussels sprouts before the really cold weather set in. The plants are still in the ground, but have since turned brown and died. The lettuce under the plastic hoop has also stopped growing since it was so cold. The snow finally melted off of the ground about one week ago. I did notice green shoots coming from the November planted top setting onions. Before it got cold, I covered them with a thin layer of shredded tree leaves. I did eat the last of the fall planted cabbage yesterday. It kept very well in the refrigerator for about one month.
I have sad news to report. One of my hens, Ginger, died on December 29th. Ginger developed a breathing problem a week before Christmas and was brought inside to heal. She initially got better, but then started to get worse. She was really laboring to breathe the last few days she was alive. We did all that we could for her. It is was really tough holding her in my arms, knowing that she was probably not going to recover. She was only 1 and 1/2 years old, which is pretty young for a chicken. The other 3 hens are getting along pretty good, but the coop still feels a little empty ……I think four new chicks are coming this spring!!!
Now is the time to organize your leftover seeds and start planning your 2011 garden. I will be ordering needed seeds and supplies before the end of January.
Sorry for the long time between posts. A lot has changed in the garden since the end of October. As of this writing, there is a light dusting of snow on the ground and it is 28 degrees outside (burrrr!!). Needless to say, the fall harvest is nearly complete. About one week ago I finished harvesting the last remaining broccoli heads, some were a little smaller than I like. The first brussels sprouts were also harvested and just in time for Thanksgiving!! I harvested a few more brussels sprouts a couple of days ago, which should wrap up that harvest for another year. The lettuce continues to grow fairly well under the plastic covered hoop, and I was able to harvest quite a bit 2 days ago. I also harvested a few carrots. Although there are not many of them, the few I pulled up were of pretty good size. The last few heads of cabbage have also been harvested. The fall cabbage did very well this year. It has finally rained, so hopefully this year’s drought is a thing of the past. Overall I would rate the fall garden harvest as good, with the broccoli harvest a little below normal. I still have fresh garden cabbage, broccoli, brussels spouts, and lettuce in my refrigerator. Not bad for the first week of December.
The late October garden continues to produce. A nice bit of lettuce, that is growing under the plastic covered hoop, was harvested on October 25th (see pic below). The first 2 heads of fall cauliflower and fall cabbage were harvested on October 28th. A freeze had been predicted for 2 separate mornings recently, but so far it has stayed away from the garden. I did receive some much needed rain last week, but much of Indiana remains in a moderate to severe drought. The weather forecast is for cooler weather next week and maybe the garden will receive some frost/freeze then. I am still harvesting broccoli, although somewhat sporadically, as some of the plants still refuse to push on decent sized heads. I will keep these plants covered with row covers to allow them to mature. The brussels sprouts continue to get a little bigger now that the weather has cooled off a bit. I might start harvesting some within the next few weeks. I finished up harvesting the last of the celery a few days ago and I will be planting the top setting onions bulbs within the next few weeks, after I remove the very large pepper plants. The peppers have nearly stopped growing, so it is time for them to come out. The growing season is fast approaching the end
I harvested the first of the fall broccoli on October 13th(see pic below). I harvested 2 heads from the raised bed, with one more on the way. Both of the heads measured about 8 inches across!! This raised bed has done very well this fall (see second pic below). The 8 cabbage plants also growing in this bed are nearing maturity as well. The cauliflower is just starting to form heads, so I am hopeful that I will have a decent harvest from them. The broccoli growing in the other bed is a little farther behind, but most of these plants have started to form small heads. I think the hot and dry conditions have caused some of these plants to delay forming heads until about one week ago. I am still hopeful that I will see a nice harvest from these before the real cold weather sets in. The brussels sprouts have also struggled due to the weather, but they are now starting to form sprouts. The late planted lettuce is growing well, and I harvested quite a bit of lettuce a few days ago. Harvest also continues on the late planted green beans, and also from the mammoth sized pepper plants (which just keep growing!!) I have also started harvesting green onions from the top sets that were planted around the first week of September. The garden has experienced only one very lite/scattered frost so far, but I am sure more will be coming soon. Happy Fall Gardening.
One of the Two Broccoli Heads Harvested on 10-13-10
My garden received some much needed rain yesterday……HOORAY!!! It was only about 1/3rd of and inch, but some is better than nothing. At least it filled up my rain barrel. The weather has really cooled off in the last few days and now there is a chance for the first fall frost the next few mornings. Harvest has started on the late planted “Derby” bush green beans and oh, WHAT A HARVEST!! Some of the beans are at least 8 inches long (see pictures below). I was really expecting a much smaller harvest due to the dry conditions, but I guess all my watering did the job. Most of the cool season plants are growing okay, but a little slower than I like. I am still hopeful that I will get a decent harvest from the cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli before the really cold weather sets in. The late planted lettuce is progressing nicely and a plastic covered hoop will be going up over them today. I will also be getting out the row covers today in anticipation of frost the next few mornings.
The very dry conditions have really set in now. The garden did receive about 0.25 inches of rain a few days ago. That was the first substantial rain in over a month. Temperatures remain high, with high temperatures two days last week over 94 degrees. Fall has officially arrived, but it is hard to tell right now. Temperatures have at least cooled some today, with highs only in the 70′s predicted today and for the next few days. Despite the heat, the cool season plants are growing fairly well. I have been watering the plants in the raised beds every 5 to 6 days now. The cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli plants are getting to a good size now. One of the three broccoli plants in the raised bed has a very small head forming. The cabbage moths have really started flying around, although I have not seen as many in the last few days. The late planted beans growing in the old corn raised bed are starting to flower and have some small green beans forming. The lettuce seedlings I planted out about three weeks ago are getting bigger now. The Sierra lettuce plants that I was growing for seed have self seeded themselves (see pic below). I am letting some of those seedling grow just to see how they do. The brussels sprouts plants continue to grow taller and the plants were staked about one week ago to keep them from uprooting. I planted some top setting onions about two weeks ago, for green onions, and some are about 4-6 inches high now. Harvest continues on the pepper plants and some have reached five feet tall!! The first fall frost will be here before you know it.
Lettuce Transplants Growing with Some Self Seeded Sierra Seedlings
Green Beans Growing in Old Corn Raised Bed Starting to Mature
Cauliflower Plants Getting Bigger in Old Potato Raised Bed
Cabbage and Broccoli Growing Nicely in Other Old Potato Raised Bed
More Broccoli Growing and Brussels Sprouts Staked in the Background
It is now official, Indianapolis had the driest August on record, with only 0.37 inches of rain recorded. While some areas around the city had more rain, my garden did not. Needless to say, it is dessert dry. The temperatures have also been very hot, with many 90 plus degrees days recorded. Only within the last 2 days has it really cooled off. The broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower seedlings have been suffering along with the hot and dry conditions. I had to shade them a bit, but even with supplemental water, they wilted under the heat. They are doing much better now since it has cooled off. The late planted carrots are not doing well at all. Germination was very poor with maybe 25 percent germination, at best. I have some lettuce seedlings that I will transplanting out into the garden hopefully either today or tomorrow. I will keep them shaded until they get established. The late planted beans continue to be attacked by bean beetles, but within the last week, their numbers seem to have declined a bit. Cabbge worms continue to be a problem, so I have been applying bt to the affected plants. This year’s late summer gardening has proved to be very tough. Sometimes I think I must be crazy trying to garden in this weather!!! Harvest continues on green beans, green and hot banana peppers, a few tomatoes, and some celery.
For those of you who have been considering getting a few egg laying chickens for your backyard, what are you waiting for? With the latest egg recall, it is nice to know that I do not have to worry about where my eggs come from. Check out this nice blog entry on the Urban Chickens Network, Happiness is knowing where your eggs come from.
The weather has been very hot and extremely dry here in Central Indiana for the past 2 weeks. Heavy rain was scattered about, but none fell in my garden Because of the heat, I have delayed planting out the broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower seedlings until today. I cannot wait any longer to get these transplants out into the garden. I will have to water them in well and maybe shade them a bit until they get established. Carrots seeds were planted about one week ago, as well as bush green beans (in the old corn plot). The green beans have germinated (see pic below), but I am still waiting on the carrots. After watering the area really well, I covered the carrot seeds with boards to help keep the soil from drying out. Harvest continues on green and hot banana peppers, celery, tomatoes, and lima beans. I hope to start harvesting more green beans in about another week. The beans are starting to get attacked by bean beetles, so I sprayed them ever so lightly with Sevin insecticide. The Sierra lettuce has started to flower and produce seeds, which I have started to collect (see pic below). I am hopeful that the weather will start to turn a little milder within the next few weeks. Fall will be here before you know it.
The weather here in Central Indiana has been very hot, but at least it has rained enough to keep the garden producing without much supplemental watering. The tomatoes have produced a decent harvest despite the leaf disease. I was able to put up 7 containers of tomato sauce a few days ago. There are still some red tomatoes on the plants and the vines are pushing on new top growth. About half of the corn has been harvested and most of the green beans have been harvested from one of the small plots, with many more beans just starting to mature in other plots. Black heart disease has killed about half of the celery plants (probably due to all of the rain earlier in the growing season). The Fordhook bush limas and the pole limas are ready for harvesting (Yum!!). I am still getting decent side shoot production from the spring planted broccoli. The cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli seedlings are getting bigger and hope to get them planted out into the garden in another week or so (for fall harvest). I hope to get carrot seeds planted in another week also for fall harvest. Harvest also continues on green peppers, hot and mild banana peppers and lettuce. I will be starting seeds of more lettuce today. Even though it is still hot outside, now is the time to start thinking about your fall garden. Happy Summer Gardening!!