Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Garden Has Begun Again

Well it is time to being again. I, oops it was Juan, has located some good black dirt for the garden. Juan and I went with my 4X8 trailer and got a load. While using the tractor to transport the dirt from the trailer out by the road into the backyard I had a pin hole open in one of the tractors hydraulic fittings. By the time I moved the last load I must have lost a gallon of hydraulic oil. The whole plan was to take the top portion of the garden’s mostly compost and mix it with the new dirt. OK, that was a good idea which had a hidden benefit. The sugar cane compost was in very hard clumps which got broken up almost to the bottom of the raised bed. Also added with the dirt was a large amount of wood shavings which will help with the tilth of the garden.

Heaped the dirt high and it is now heating up to further break down the clumps and kill the weeds.
 So now seeds are being started with anticipation of bumper corps of bell peppers and awesome tomatoes. Of course there will be other peppers along with maybe one okra plant and right now lettuce. Also there will be lots of garlic planted all-round the edge and some marigolds for some natural pest control. There will be other veggies planted just to get used to how to grow them in Costa Rica.
 Now for something that will be a challenge for some of you, Caroline has potatoes growing in 5 gallon plastic buckets, not 1 bucket but 3 and they are doing extremely well.

I think the bucket on the right was first.
 Of course we’ll post how much she gets from her buckets O’ potatoes. We haven’t peeked so we have no idea just how many or how big they will be. She started them in the compost and added lots of wood shavings plus chicken droppings and some compost each time the plants grew about 6”. The buckets were started at different times so we’ll be able to see if that makes any difference. I’ll see if she starts another bucket for the summer season.
 So that sort of brings you up to date with the garden.

Here (near) are the 2 egg chicks that Henrietta hatched, she should hatch 3 more on the 22nd.
A sad note sort of, the turkeys are gone. They were just too much for our small backyard. One thing to weigh when trying something like raising turkeys is that tom eats a lot of food for what he does. The hen eats well too so to justify a tom you would need to have something like 6 to 8 hens then he pays his way. I don’t know the breakeven point on the feed verses the numbers of turkeys raised but it would be way more than we could raise here. They have been replaced with meat chickens, 6 of them raised by our ever faithful silkie hen, she took to them as they were her own and raised them till they were able to take care of themselves (they were day old chicks when hers started hatching, we just added them under her). They are growing like weeds, good food and free range will give us some fine good meat, no bird full of medications or antibiotics.

Here are a few of the meat chicks and one of the guineas.
  Henrietta started laying eggs some time back and decided to start setting on the 1st of the month, we just happened to have 3 more of Juan’s good hen eggs that were put under Henrietta the same day she started setting. We’re hoping this time we’ll get a nice rooster for the flock so we can raise our own replacement egg hens from the egg hens we have. We will pick one of the egg hens and put her in the brood pen at night so we can collect her egg each day. As soon as she lays her egg each day she will be let out to free range.
Anyway, this brings you fairly well up to date on the ol’ garden and such. This coming week I’ll be doing things around the garden area to make it ready for the new plants. Cleaning up the area from all the rains we’ve had so when those new plants are ready for transplanting the garden will be ready for them. I’m planning on at least a bi-weekly update for the garden.
Take care and happy gardening.