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March 12, 2010

Foiled!

I mentioned recently that the weather here has been unseasonably warm (the warmest January on record).  It has been so warm, in fact, that four of my hens decided it was spring and went broody at the end of December, and several others started moulting not long after. 

Of course, I responded to my own instincts (spring fever!) by giving in to the gardening bug that's been whispering in my ear.  Forget working inside.  Who cares that a third of the house doesn't even have flooring yet, we've got to get this year's garden started!


So last weekend we bought a load of composted horse manure from my husband's commuting buddy, borrowing his rototiller at the same time (you can see in the above photo that we've grown a lovely cover crop of wild grasses over the winter, which we are hoping the tiller will help us with). It was going well for a while, but after about an hour, the old belts gave out, and the tines would no longer cut through the soil.
No problem...hubby got some new belts and we were all set to resume this weekend.

That was until we woke up to this yesterday morning:


We've had flurries off and on all week, but it didn't actually stick until yesterday. 

So much for spring.  The chickens were less than thrilled (except for our intrepid Bella, below, who is always first in line to check out something new) and spent most of the day inside the coop.  The half-naked, freshly moulted ones sat huddled and shivering.


I may not be getting outside to play in the dirt anytime soon, but that gardening bug's not going down without a fight.  Most of my seed orders arrived last week, so I've spent the past few days getting a jump on seed starting.


I've got flats of cool weather vegetables on the go, as well as several different kinds of perennial and hardy annual flowers.  I haven't started a lot of flowers from seed in the past (aside from those that I've seeded directly into the garden), but there's no way we can afford to buy enough started plants to fill the space that we have now. 

Hopefully spring will return before too long and I can start putting some of these things into the ground.

6 comments:

Annie said...

I'm itching like crazy to get my garden going too. There isn't much soil here in rocky, muskegy Prince Rupert so we're going to Terrace to buy the soil we need for our beds. We totally planned to go and then we too we hit with snow!

Have you read "One Straw Revolution"? It's an incredibly inspiring book on "natural farming". No tilling, cover crop, direct seeding when you can....

Cheryl said...

Annie - The soil's pretty bad here too, but it's well over $1000 a load for topsoil, so we're trying to build it up instead. We've spent weeks picking rocks and digging out rotten logs - ugh! Hopefully the chicken manure will help!
I haven't read that book, I'll take a look for it at the library.

Annie said...

Oh all the better for reading the book I think. He talks about how soil is best made- using chemicals- depletes the soil (obviously), no chemicals, compost etc- builds it slowly or keeps it even with what you take out with harvest, "natural" or "do nothing farming" (which is actually still work but allows nature to do part of it)- increases the soil and nutrient value every year....

I'm not exactly sure what we're going to have to spend but much less than $1000!! I hate how far away Terrace is (1.5 hours) and I have to put it in my own truck. I sure hope I don't make more than one trip but I might have too.

Michelle said...

It must be on the way...it's supposed to get near 70 here today.

I'm in short sleeves(:

Cheryl said...

Annie, I'm reading a book right now that you might like. It's called "Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades", and it's full of great info for those of us on the west coast. He discusses why a lot of what's in other gardening books doesn't apply here.
Topsoil is expensive for us because of the cost involved with getting it here. At times I'm tempted to bring it home by the trunk load!

Cheryl said...

Michelle - Short sleeves?! I'm jealous! :)

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