Hubris and Humility in the Garden

After my lame summer growing, I kicked it into high gear for the fall garden. I started my seedlings early, I got the beds composted and ready. I was on top of my game this year! Finally!

In September, I happily planted my garlic in the ground. Earliest ever! I planted my greens! Beat my record for planting by a whole month!

This would be the BEST. FALL. GARDEN. in the history of my fall gardens!

But then, it went south. I can just tell you that just when you think you have gardening all figured out, it is gonna throw you a curveball.

The garlic I ordered struggled to root. The turnips and some of my rutabaga never germinated. My carrot seeds laughed in defiance; they mostly failed to germinate at all. Then it was time to plant the seedlings that I had loved on since August.

Something was way wrong.

It took several days, but then it hit me: I had started my seeds in Miracle Gro potting soil. That’s all the store had. On top of that, because I forgot I had used Miracle Gro soil, I had been fertilizing, too! UGHHHHHHHHHHH. Talk about a root killer! So that was the issue with my indoor seeds! Too much love. Never plant seeds in MG potting soil. Just don’t. Use a seed starting mix with no fertilizer. I found some at another store and loaded up. The oldie made a newbie mistake.

As far as my carrot seeds, after doing research, I found that they lose germination quickly if not kept cool/frozen, and mine had sat out for about a year. The turnip seed was six years old and who knows how well I had stored it? The rutabaga? Also old seed. The garlic? Not sure. But I have a story about that.

I asked the seed company on Facebook if this particular garlic took longer to root. I usually only do the grocery store garlic, which I believe is the variety California Early White. For whatever reason, the Sicilian Artichoke garlic just seemed to not want to put out roots. So as I said in another post, I dug up the cloves, took them inside and replanted them in a seedling mix. This brought more success, but still some struggled to root. So fairly immediately the company replied to me on my Facebook post, and asked how I had planted it and what my soil was like. I replied, and then just a few minutes later they said that they would send me replacement bulbs. This was completely unexpected but very much appreciated because not many companies stand behind their products like that. So for that reason, I will very much recommend using Willhite Seed out of Poolville, Texas for your seed needs. Before you ask, yes, they do sell non-GMO seed. I have had no other issues with the other seed products I have bought from them.

Back to my failures:

The seedlings that I did plant outside are slowly making it. Probably because now they are in good compost and not sitting in a chemical/salt-laden cesspool. After a couple of nights under a plastic cover, they have really begun to thrive. Especially the carrot seeds; I’ll remember that for this spring! The turnips never came up: Old seed. The rutabagas did start coming up after the plastic cover was in place. The garlic is now coming in. The grocery store garlic came up easily and I planted it all over the yard, in various beds. I mean, can you EVER have enough garlic?

The garden is looking better, despite my “help”. Plants are amazingly resilient.

Update: Most of the transplants have made it. LESSON LEARNED!

I don’t have a pic of the garden right now, but here’s some adorable metal plant stakes that my “big sister” got me for my birthday!

Home is Where the Quiet Is/Chicken Tractors

So the other day, we left the farm to go work on our old house (my Mamaw’s house) in town.  We just had it re-painted and it looks wonderful, but we had to do the yard, since it was littered with painter’s trash and the beds looked really unkempt.

After about 10 minutes of working, I became annoyed at the honking horns, squealing tires, and thumping music.  I looked at Jason and said, “Can we go home yet?”.  I guess he thought I was kidding because he just chuckled.  So I pouted a little bit and worked for about an hour or so more.  Cars zoomed by, people were honking, and I grew increasingly irritated. 

Living in the country has that effect on you when you come into town.  People have the tendency to annoy the living daylights out of you, no matter how small the annoyance may actually  be. 

 I asked Jason again if we could go home yet, and he shook his head no.  Like a 2 year old, I stuck out my bottom lip, folded my arms, and sulked.  Finally, FINALLY, we were done, and I couldn’t WAIT to get back to my farm.  As soon as we turned in the drive, I felt a feeling of peace and tranquility wash over me.  I don’t need to be on medication for stress…I just need to go home! Every morning when I wake up and look outside, it’s like a dream that has come true.  Even the sky seems more blue here, and that’s the truth.  People don’t need drugs to stay sane, they just need some space.  That’s my theory, anyway.

OK, part two of this blog.  Apparently a lot of people get directed to my blog by looking up “chicken tractor”.  Lol.  Well, here’s ours:

Jason built the whole thing out of recycled wood, wheels, and hinges.  It’s small, but would work well for 2-3 adult hens if you don’t free range, OR you can use it as a portable coop for lots of chickens.  Right now, it holds about 20 small chickens at night.

More on tractors later!