Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Trying to decide how many raspberry plants

to put in and if I should start a new strawberry patch. I have the strawberries in the garden patch now but I really could use that space for other things. But it is nice having it all in the electric fence and protected. I haven't been able to figure it out. I cut some sod last year for raspberry canes down in the front of the property. I already have a row of blueberry plants (30) that I planted last year. It will take another 2 years or more for them to produce (I ordered 2 or 3 year old canes).

I am getting hives! yeehah! A family that we know recently moved into town and they have hives I can have! I asked if I could pay for them and he said no but he is willing to accept eggs and some jam. Woohoo! The current plan is one hive in the front with the fruit tree and blueberries and one in the back. Maybe both should be in front that way I can keep an eye on the kids and what they are doing with the bees. In back they won't be bothered by a mower. Still have to figure that one out. Having the hives down front means really good pollination and therefore lots of fruit.

I am thinking about grapes. My kids haven't had much homemade grape jam/jelly so they don't have a love of it like strawberry. Grammie? Got any extra around there we can try out on all the kids?

On the chicken front the boys think they want to go into the egg business. They are going to start with eggs and then move out to pasture-raised broilers. The current plan is to add another 30-50 chickens in the spring. The current flock will be left alone to lay eggs all summer. Come fall, they are all going to be slaughtered. We will have stewing hens for ourselves and possibly for sale. Depends. We really like chicken pot pie and I could see my family saying, "NO! we want all this chicken for ourselves!" 30 would get us through a year at one every other week. The roosters we ate earlier this year were so much better than a store bought. It is really hard to describe how much better they were. Maybe it had to do with all the bugs they ate!

All the seeds are here. I have to clean out the utility room so we can start the germination! That starts next week or the week after. I found at a garage sale last year a mini greenhouse with grow lights. We'll see how it works. The boys are already on warning that all their camping gear is going to have to go to the attic in the next day or two.

The garden plan is done. I am working on making sure I have planned everything we want to can. Normally I do that first but the seed catalogs got to me! I have to order 4 two way hoes for the kids to keep up with the weeds this year but we are mostly ready for gardening to begin. The big guys are actually going to get their gardening merit badge this summer. (If you're doing the work you might as well get the badge right?) They each have their own assigned garden beds that I have not amended the soil so they are starting from scratch. The only boost they will have is that they are actually the cold frames we built last fall. They will have better germination because the soil isn't as cold as the rest of the garden. Maybe next year I will get to try them out. Maybe I should make them break sod for their own spot....hmmm, have to think about that one. Because I could add some compost and peat moss right now and start lettuce for the family to eat.

And I am doing all this thinking when the snow is slowly drifting down. But I find I have to do the thinking when there is no green because I have to DO when there is green!

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The days are so different. Instead of mess and homeschool teaching I have a DH working from home and quiet until 2:54 when #6 (who is 10)...