We’re well into spring now, with the rain this week! So far I’ve planted carrots, beans, potatoes, three types of swiss chard, five types of peas, four types of specialty beets and two types of spinach. I’m excited to see what the beets look like when they’re beautifully bunched together. I planted most things last week and then we were all sitting waiting for some moisture.
A big thanks to the folks who came out and helped plant potatoes! It would have taken ages if I were out there on my own.
Yesterday I planted a cover crop of buckwheat, wheat and rye. The rye should keep the weeds suppressed (and hopefully will not become a weed itself), as should the wheat. The buckwheat will add lots of organic matter to the soil when I till it in. I’m also hoping it will be flowering at a time when not many other plants are flowering (mid-late July) so I’ll be able to get some buckwheat honey.
Other recent news: I now have five new bee hives! If all continues to go well I should have plenty of honey for the Terwillegar market this summer.
And there are more birds arriving by the day. So far there is a pair of American Kestrels setting up a summer home in an old woodpecker nest in a dead poplar tree. Some people might dislike standing dead trees, but if it means I get a first hand look at a breeding pair of kestrels out of my cabin’s loft window I’m all for them.
There is also a gang of yellow-bellied sapsuckers claiming the yard as their territory. One male drums all morning on an old chimney pipe (he’s the loudest) and the other drums on the powerpole twenty feet away. They’ve taken turns chasing at least one female, who mews like a sick cat. Between them and all the other birds, the yard is a pretty exciting place to be these days.
The only unwelcome visitors are the mice! I think it was an ideal winter for mice, what with all the snow, and there are more mice out there than I could have imagined possible. One ate all but two of my melons yesterday. Yes, I was growing melons. They were happy little plants but a mouse came along and ate off all their leaves so now they’re just stubs sticking out of the potting soil. I’ll keep the two or three I still have and maybe I’ll start more but probably not because it’s getting a bit late for melons.
The biggest (most intimidating?) news for this week is that I’ll be giving a talk for the South Edmonton Vegetarian & Gardening Club on the weekend about the contents of the Canadian organic standards and what we could ask farmers at farmers markets about how they grow their food. I’m doing it without powerpoint, in a workshop style format, which is a new style of presenting for me so I hope it goes okay!
If you’re planning on coming, please think about what prompts you to buy food from farmer’s markets. Between all of us, I’m sure there are a million reasons, which we will be brainstorming at the beginning of the talk/workshop. You can find more info here.
Wow, I’ve really wanted to see an American kestrel. Their markings seem really stunning. I’m quite certain I saw a pair of Siberian Blue Robins (not Black-Throated Blue Warblers, which would be less exotic). But the bird house they were investigating is occupied by a warbling vireo. I could do a whole blog on birding but that would take up all of my time, there are so many kinds out here.