A few years ago my sister and her friend went to camp a came home with a box full of Monarch caterpillars. We raised them in a large tub covered with bug net, filling it up with fresh milkweed everyday until they formed dozens of chrysalises (I had to look that one up, thought it might my chrysali but it’s not) and finally turned into a whole flock of monarch butterflies. We released them all after their wings has hardened and let me you, being surrounded by a swarm of dozens of fluttering monarchs is beyond words. The tub worked but since you had to remove the top it got tricky once they started pupating. [Read more...]
With the calender quickly turning to August you might think you’re out of time for new plantings. But with a few quick crops you can fill in those empty garden spaces and your dinner plate before the season winds down.
I’ve been digging up our severely overgrown garden beds. So far I’ve managed to overhaul 3 of the 4*16 foot beds (the last one is 3/4 full of garlic). Considering they were all filled with waist high weeds it was quite an undertaking! I spent a lot of time picking out rocks, roots and hard clumps of clay before I decided to make a soil screener.
When we moved in we were lucky enough to get a giant rhubarb patch, 5-ish grape vines and two mulberry trees. I was really excited about the first two, not so much with the mulberries. All I could think was “I guess I’ve got something to chase a weasel around…” After living with the two trees for a few summers I can confidently say they’ve won me over.
As it turns out the two trees are worth a lot more than their place in nursery rhymes suggest. Unfortunately they also have a few negatives, but in the long run I think they’re totally forgivable. Since we didn’t plant the trees I don’t know what type they are but I do know we get tons of purple/black fruit each summer.
A trip to Tractor Supply to price check for our big spring project. We’re raising 50 meat birds this year and plan on building 2 cattle panel chicken tractors to raise the birds in the orchard. They will hopefully hold meaties in the spring and fall and be used as breeding pens in the summer so we can hatch out our own light brahmas, red laced blue wyandottes and orpingtons without crossbreeding. They will also provide shelter for the muscovies when they do their thing and provide me with dozens and dozens of ducklings. The other benefit will be not mowing the orchard nearly as often, the birds will keep the grass down, eat bugs and fertilize the soil. [Read more...]