Having decided to do a small CSA next year, the garden pushed its way far up The Giant To-Do List. With winter fast approaching, the barn floor was competing for attention, but a sudden cold snap this week forced us to think on our feet and convert the goat barn so it would be more comfy for the horse and llama, at least temporarily. Once I knew those guys would be ok, the big barn became less pressing and we were able to turn our attention back to the soil.
Yesterday our neighbour John brought us a wonderful gift… 4 tractor buckets of beautiful black cow poop. He dumped it into the garden and then Troy set about redistributing the piles while I wrassled with our tiller and churned the chunky fertilizer into the soil.
Today I planted the garlic I’ve been saving for the garden. I planted 60 cloves, but I need to find more… I could easily grow double that and I’m sure it won’t be enough. I have to go on a hunt, apparently many places have sold out already. Something to keep in mind for next year, I guess.
I also received an exciting package in the mail today – my winter seeds from Incredible Seeds in Lawrencetown. I’ve been intrigued by the idea of a winter garden for some time now. Building a greenhouse was on The Giant To-Do List, but that’s just not going to happen this year. When my September issue of Mother Earth News rolled in I was pleased to find an article on winter gardening in hoop houses. Reading that story, it dawned on me that my portable chicken tractors are very much like hoop houses. Furthermore, once the meat birds are in the freezer, those coops will be vacant till spring. The plan, then, is to drag the coops to the garden, remove the tarps I was using to cover them, as well as the doors, and drape them with thick, clear plastic. I’m starting by planting them with kale, spinach, chard, and lettuce, and I’ll start some leeks inside in a window and transplant them as soon as they’re ready. I’m not expecting much from the lettuce, but even if I only manage to coerce the kale, chard, and spinach to grow, it’s going to be pretty exciting to pick fresh greens in December.
Once this winter garden is planted we can refocus on the big barn -I’d still really like to get Willy and Galina in there before Christmas. The temporary solution came at a good time, though – it turns out the floor in the big barn needs more work (in other words, more money) than expected, and of course at the same time we had to replace the water tank, pay some vet bills, and put a new exhaust on the truck. Major facepalm.
Yup, this is farming in full swing. Somehow things are getting done, and at Christmas when we’re munching fresh kale chips and the horse and llama are enjoying their new stalls, I’m sure I’ll be frantically planning for the next things to stick in the ground. For now, though, I’ve got this going on time and as planned. Might not seem like much, but it’s pretty exciting to me.