Tag Archives: growing

Mr Tomato Head

Look at that tomato.  Eggs (normal and Silkie) are there for size context.  It’s very large.  A Persimmon.  They are so good.  The surprise of the year.  I was expecting a normal-large tomato, not one tomato the size of a loaf of bread!  Meaty, and delicious.  When the hens get a bucket of scraps, they pick out the orange persimmon bits first.

In the tomato fermenting pots, the process is rolling right along.  Look at that scum of mold – perfect.Outside, the morning glories have come, vining up with the volunteer tomatoes.  It seems late, but they objected to the early spring when I planted them.  The rest of the garden is turning senescent and ugly, but the morning glories are beautiful in the mess.

Cold nights

Proper frost.  Not the first.  We got a squash-killing frost Sep 30.

Chicken water

The outdoor sunflowers are finished.  They didn’t tip over like the GH sunnies, growing strong stems from living outside.  I spread them out on top of the wood stove (hmm, it’s cold and I could stand to start a fire but now I can’t), because if I spread them out on the floor again, then…Dum dum dadum. Here come(s) the mice!(bride).I experimented with ripping the backs off the heads, since there’s kind of a hollow stem and air pocket.  My theory is that less organic matter to get soft and mouldy means faster drying seeds. My entire take of homegrown sunflower seeds this year will be approximately one day’s wild bird ration.  I feed the birds 7 bags of black oil seeds in the winter.  That’s a fair chunk of Saskatchewan sunflower field.  I want to get good at growing them – lots of them, but so far am bad at it.  I love the fractal quality of the seed heads.  Magical.

OMG, peanuts!  They look like real little peanuts.  I couldn’t wait to open them.  Inside they’re jammed in like peas, the pod is soft and wet, and they taste not much like a peanut.  They taste like a raw bean.  Fun preliminary success with the experiment of the year.  I think they’ll be much happier in the greenhouse next year.

I think this cold spell might have put paid to the fruit flies too (calloo, callay!).

Guinea growth

The guineas are growing up.  There’s fourteen left – two disappeared along the way.  They’re still running along usually like one school of fish behind one hen, but sometimes they break into a couple of groups, and even get caught alone.  Then there is shrieking, when they look up and realize everyone’s gone.  I’m alone!

They’re SO fast, and they can fly quite well.  They’re starting to make their transition from brown stripes to black and white dots, but they still have the bright orange feet.

They’re also lost their “chick immunity”, and can and will get pecked for being rude, especially by the layer hens.  One of the guinea cocks seemed to be being a real jerk, chasing and attacking the chicks all the time.  But I have a theory that that’s a developmental strategy, like play fighting or wrestling, that he’s teaching them the art of escaping attack (try catching one).  Especially since the hen is right there letting him do it.

In the morning the group fills the feed platter, literally.  They eat, get full quickly, and then depart.  I give them a chance and then let the chickens out.  Through the day the guineas spend their time quite far afield (or awoods), sauntering through chicken land at times for a snack.

The adult flock escorts the chick flock less.  One hen has resumed her partnership with a cock and the two of them travel together independently.  The other pair and the bachelor accompany the chicks.

Hey, I wouldn’t mind getting here for some food.

 

 

Moving the Oinkers

The first thing you´ll notice is how they´ve grown!  The pigs got BIG, just like that.  Just, one day, they couldn´t be called pig-lets anymore.

They still enjoy a good sprint, they´re just…big.  Growing fast.

We´ve been shifting them along with their sheep/chicken fence.

It´s very gratifying to see them start rummaging joyously in whatever´s new and green.  It won´t be green for long.

It was hot day, so I couldn´t cut them off from their latest wallow.  I put a loop in the fence to contain their latest dig.  We´ll just have to accept that they´re going to dig a crater at every stop.

This one is quite large.  Quite deep.  Almost square.  The perfect size for one pig.

A little bit awkward to climb out of.

Until another pig comes along.

 

Can I get in there now?

Surprisingly, they both kind of fit.

This is just before they had a big fight, one with no winner, that looked like two water balloons trying to escape from a taco shell.  There isn´t room to wrestle in the wallow.

On the other side of the fence, the chickens wasted no time moving  in where the pigs had been, checking out the pig pallet.

Playing queen of the haystack.

And doing some wallowing of their own.

Experiments of the year: sweet potatoes and cucamelons

What fun is gardening without some wacky experiments?

  1. Sweet potatoes.

I got six vines from Vesey’s, which arrived in rather pathetic condition (the packaging disclaimed wretched looking vines as “normal” and claimed they would perk up.  To be fair, they did.  Five of them made it).  Since they supposedly like under-watering, I left them mostly alone after initial establishment, although the underwatering got a little extreme in this terribly dry summer.  The vines were small, but had lovely purpley-green leaves.

I dug ’em up in September.  No idea what to expect.

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Vine 1 – Uhoh.  Off to a bad start.

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Vine 2 – Oh, that’s more like it.

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Vine 3 – That’s actually a real sized potato.

Unfortunately, there were no more potatoes still in the ground from these vines.  One vine = one potato.  NOT an impressive yield.  No efficiency points for area:productivity.  That’s the gamble with experiments.

But they made one very tasty meal.

2.  Cucamelons

These took off in the greenhouse.  Three vines swarmed up their strings and headed across the cross-ties, producing loads of these weird little grape-sized melons.

cucamelons-intro2Aptly named!  It tastes like a cucumber, or a melon, or is it a cucumber?  Totally bizarre combination of tastes.  If you’re like me, you probably haven’t had cucumber and melon in the same bite before.  Crunchy skin, like a cuke.

I have no pictures of my own because the guineas in the greenhouse enjoyed many more than I did.  This pic is from James Wong, who waxes more enthusiastic about the cucamelon than I do.

I’ll grow them again next year, though; they grow so easily, and I’ll try to find more to do with them.

Pig smiles

One of the pigs mudded himself up in an almost exact half mud, half clean split.  Brown/pink.

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Outside the pig palace

 

 

The pigs are growing slowly but steadily.  They are thick and strong enough now to be a little scary, and I don’t go in their pen anymore.  If I do I get enthusiastically leaned on and greeted with a vigorous head rub, which I’m afraid any day now will knock me over.

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They’re always into a good neck scratching or behind-the-ears rub, though.

 

 

 

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Oooooh, favorite…they enjoy this with closed-eyes stillness, just like a dog.