Skip to main content

March 2011 - farm update

Its that time of year where everything is growing so fast, I need to give regular updates or I'll get behind!

First the zucchinis are still going, but suffering from blossom end rot, so I've topped them up with lots of gypsum to keep their calcium levels high.  I've also got some lovely little button squash growing, which are great if you just like a small amount of zucchini in your dinner!

little button squash are great if you can't finish an entire zucchini!

The zuchinni patch (+squashes)

My tomatoes have been growing strongly and producing lots of green tomatoes that are taking FOREVER to ripen!  I noticed that one is finally turning red, so I can't wait to make tomato soup!  I have to admit I'm a bit relaxed with the organic gardening when it comes to tomatoes.  I let them go until I see a grub and then I shower them with tomato dust (very non-organic!) because I can't stand to see all my hardwork wasted.  But then I just leave it and see if any more grubs appear, so they've only have one dose this season and I wash them VERY carefully before eating.  The cherry tomato keeps producing fruit with no bug problems, so it is the one to go for if you're strict on organic gardening!  Note that I now use neem oil instead.

Eight strong tomatoes planted in November (I think they're Ox Heart)
Plenty of green tomatoes......
Finally a red one!!
The cherry tomato keeps producing, with no bug worries.
 The poor man's beans is still producing more beans that we can eat!  I've filled a container of cut beans in the freezer and now I'm giving them away to neighbours in exchange for goat's cheese (great exchange aye!).  


The poor man's beans produce more that we can eat!
I'm very excited that my mini capsicum is FINALLY fruiting after a year in the garden!  This is the capsicum equivalent of cherry tomatoes.  When we grew big capsicums they got stung by fruit flies, but not the mini capsicums.  When these get going we should have plenty of capsicums and I store any extras in the freezer to throw into casseroles.


Mini capsicums are the capsicum equivalent of cherry tomatoes.
The last hatch of baby chicks have moved outside, they are fully feathered and the two cockerels look like mini foghorm leghorns!  They are a bit shy, so it was hard to get a good photo of them.

The baby chickens have move outside
And just in time for the next hatch to move into the brooder, we doubled our hatch rate, with 7 out of 48 this time (with a few turkey eggs still to hatch as they take 7 days longer).  They are the cutest before they start getting feathers.  Five of them are leghorns, so we will have to do one more run with the incubator to try and hatch more Rhode Island Reds to replace some of our older hens.

The next clutch of 7 chicks has hatched.
And finally the crazy turkeys!  We have two gobblers and two hens  The gobblers have recently become very aggressive (probably because their hens are now laying eggs), so its time to catch one to eat, but we're a little scared, they are HUGE!  The eggs taste like chicken eggs and are a little larger, they are fertile already, so we should have some more turkeys soon.  They call out to every noise they hear, the steers, the roosters, the dog barking, the whipper snipper starting etc!!  I tried them free range, but they took so long to figure out how to get out of the door of their cage, I was worried they would never get home.  They are also capable of flying over fences, and do so when frightened, which happens easily, so I don't trust them free range.  Also they are too aggressive now.


We were a little worried about Bruce last week as he was sick.  It turns out he had Three Day sickness, which is like a severe man-flu.  He was drooling and couldn't get up, we had to bring him food and water and tell him that he'd be ok.  A few days later he was up and eating again.  What a sook!  Now we just have to wait a few months and he's ready to eat :)

How was your month?  What are you planning for next month?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Making tallow soap

For some reason I've always thought that making soap seemed too hard.  For a start the number of ingredients required was confusing and all the safety warnings about using the alkali put me off.  The worst part for me was that most of the ingredients had to be purchased, and some even imported (palm oil and coconut oil), which never seemed very self-sufficient.  I can definitely see the benefits of using homemade soap instead of mass produced soap (that often contains synthetic fragrance, colour, preservatives, and has had the glycerine removed), but it seemed to me that if I was going to buy all the ingredients I may as well just buy the soap and save myself all the hassle.  For the past several years I have bought homemade soap from various market stalls and websites, and that has suited me just fine.
Then we had the steer butchered at home and I saw just how much excess fat we had to dispose, it was nearly a wheel-barrow full, and that made me think about how we could use that…

Growing and eating chokos (chayotes)

Cooking chokos (not be confused with another post about cooking chooks) has been the subject of a few questions on my blog lately, so here's some more information for you.
Chokos - also known as Chayote, christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, chuchu, Cidra, Guatila, Centinarja, Pipinola, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, güisquil, Labu Siam, Ishkus or Chowchow, Pataste, Tayota, Sayote - is a vine belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with pumpkins, squash and melons, with the botanical name Sechium edule.


The choko contains a large seed, like a mango, but if you pick them small enough it is soft enough to eat.  If you leave the choko for long enough it will sprout from one end and start to grow a vine.  To grow the choko, just plant the sprouted choko and give the vine a structure to climb over.  In summer, the vine will produce tiny flowers that will eventually swell into choko fruit.  The vine doesn't like hot dry weather.  And it doesn&#…