Monday, May 5, 2014

Growing Fast

One of the first things I learned about gardening is that plants will increase growth significantly as temperatures rise. I saw this first hand a little in San Diego during the "heat" of the summer but with the non-existent weather there it wasn't as apparent as it is here.

The temperatures in Elgin have been in the mid to high 80s during the day, and in the 60s at night regularly over the last couple weeks and I am absolutely amazed at how quickly the plants are growing. Now I've learned that there is a threshold and at some point the plants will get too hot to set fruit. Timing has become more relevant than it ever was before.

Last year we didn't even move in until May 2nd and didn't get around to planting anything until late May or early June . Our results were dismal. It got so hot that we were unable to function outside the comfort of air conditioning and the plants didn't want to perform either. I hope we'll be slightly more acclimated this year. And I hope we'll be eating a lot of food from the garden.

Gidget isn't looking forward to summer. She plans to spend a lot of time in her box.

We haven't perfected the timing yet but we are certainly doing better this year than last.

The tomatoes look good and are setting fruit. I gave them an inch of compost today. 

And while we're talking about rapid growth, our chicks are getting huge. We're planning to move them to the big chick house this weekend. They will be a month old on the 6th of May.
May 1, 2014 - 30 days
Farmer D worked all weekend long on the chicken house with awesome results! We've got one heck of a unique and functional chicken coop happening. We cleaned out an old shed that was packed with all sorts of stuff the last folks left behind. Then we insulated the interior framing and Farmer D cut and hung old plywood for interior walls. The last folks left a lot of plywood that was painted up as signage.

Walls insulated and plywood hung. 

The chickens have some interesting reading. 

My favorite part is the little chicken door and ladder that Farmer D built.

We're going to split the interior into two parts because it's a lot of space for 7 chickens. It will make it easier and less expensive for us and the chickens will still have plenty of room. Then we will fence an outdoor run to protect the chickens from predators while they're outside. It will have two sections that we'll alternate.

Other than that there isn't much to tell you about. We've been watering regularly, spreading compost, spraying worm tea, harvesting mulberries which are delicious, thinning seedlings, weeding and planning. We're always planning.

We have carrots, potatoes, peas, tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans, pumpkins, watermelon, sunflowers and more in various stages.

We will do more planting over the next week or so but only certain crops like beans, chard, pepper plants, zinnias, sunflowers and a couple others. Then it will be all about maintenance. We will be able to set up the automatic watering system soon because we won't have so many different stages of plants growing on.

It's incredible how quickly our spring is passing while so many other gardeners around the country are still frozen or barely thawed.  The Travis County Planting Schedule has been a huge tool for me this season.

Gidget is almost happy about her chickens but remains skeptical about our plans for her garden.

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