It was another glorious, warm day in central Illinois. A good day to plant some early crops that should be able to withstand a little frost. The average last frost date in this area is May 10th so its a good month until I can plant tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans, cucumbers, etc. But, its just the right time to plant potatoes, lettuce, onions, peas and carrots!
So that’s just what I did today.
It was a hard 4 hours of tilling and raking raised rows. I had tilled twice already and I gave some areas another go to loosen up some clods. Plus I had to play catch with my 8 year old several times which was fun, but doesn’t get any work done. So I guess that’s my excuse for not having any pictures. 😉 I’ll try to get some tomorrow but its supposed to rain.
But I did draw up a garden plan using the Gimp image editing app (BTW, its free. I use it to make birthday party invitations for the kids too.). Here’s the plan…
The potatoes where planted similar to the way described in this post on New Life on a Homestead. The only difference was I created a raised row and cut a furrow a few inches deep. I then placed the taters in the furrow and covered them with a shallow layer of dirt. Then I put on a layer of straw. We’ll see how that goes. I also planted 4 spuds in a trash can. As they grow I’ll add sawdust or dirt to the barrel. Hopefully I’ll have a trash can full of taters.
This won’t be my full garden. This one is about 70×30 but I plan to also till up some of the pasture next door so I can have somewhere to plant my corn, cucumbers, and melons.
Well my dad and I got the chicken coop built. I still need to paint it and build on a run. Here are some pictures.
The feeder in that last image was too big so I took it out. Going to hang one on the wall instead.
I’ve got peppers! 30 heirloom peppers have sprouted and are doing well so far. Adding a little heat under them really helped. I have 20 California Wonder, 8 Jalapeno, and 8 Pepperoncini.
8 Red Chillis are still in the oven. They must take a little longer than the others. I did dig around in the pot and found that one has shot down a root so hopefully they will all come up soon as well. 38 peppers is a lot. I expect to transplant only a few of the best looking plants in late May.
I also have 20 heirloom tomatoes started. 10 of the “Delicious” variety and 10 “Henderson’s Crimson Cushion.”
If we have good weather, we’ll have veggies coming out our ears. I might have to erect a vegetable stand or something.
By the way, the chickens are growing…
This seems to be one of the longest winters on record to me. Perhaps its because I’m looking forward to spring so much; to planting the garden, raising some chickens, and putting up a fence around our new pasture.
I hope its not too early, but I have started some peppers in little peat pots. In a couple more weeks I’ll start tomatoes.
And I finally took the plunge and bought 25 chickens at the local Rural King store. 15 “Production Red” and 10 “Brown Leghorn”.
We’ve already had one fatality from what looked like suffocation. They all huddle up under the heat lamp and trample each other for the warmest spot. The deceased must have gotten stuck.
Now that I have chickens I guess this means I better build a coop — quickly.
This winter isn’t even a month old and I’m sick of it. Maybe its because the snow has stuck around too long.
Whatever the cause of my discontent, I am just itching to get started on this year’s to do list. I’m going to get some chickens, so I’ve started designing a chicken coop. I would like to get some cows as well, but before doing that I need to sow some pasture seed in late February. Then I need to put up a fence. And I’m getting an urge to buy some heirloom seeds for the garden already.
I just hope there’s enough money to do all this.
I’ll post my coop design when its finished. Hopefully I can start building it soon. Baby chicks go on sale in March.
Haven’t made a post in a couple of days, but here are some links I wanted to write about today.
U.N. and Obama Back Limits On Free Speech – Simply stunning
US funds dry up for Iran rights watchdog – More kowtowing to the Mullahs
The demise of the dollar – With friends like ours, who needs enemies
Is SNL right that Obama’s accomplished ‘nothing’? – Yeah, I think you just proved them right
Plasma Rocket to Mars in 39 days – Woot! Lets go!
Small backyard chicken coop – I need to build a coop, but these chickens need space. Somebody call PETA!
Back in August, we bought 5 acres adjacent to our original 7 acre plot. Its currently planted in soybeans so I can’t do anything until those are picked, but I’ve written down what I want to do with the land.
- What to do with the land
- plant pasture grasses (white clover, tall fescue, maybe some chickory)
- put up a fence (roughly 1000 feet $$)
- build a chicken coop
- get some chickens (6-8)
- build shelter for cattle
- build feed trough, buy a water tank
- build storage for feed
- put up some gates and fence around trough (way to get cows in/out)
- transport for large cows, like an enclosed tailer (borrow)
- buy some cows
- sell cows for $$ and food
I would also like to plant a small stand of native prairie grasses, but that may have to wait.
We used to raise cows when I was growing up. It was a good source of chores and some extra money for me. Hope I can work it out the same way for my boys.
This plan may take 2 or 3 years depending on the state of my bank account.