Friday, March 16, 2012

Chickens, Herbs, and Lettuce!

This is the time of year when I'm just itching to get in the garden. All the rain that we have had lately has been a little frustrating, but I know God has the weather in His control and will allow me to get the garden in when He's ready!

I've been pretty limited on what I can do in the garden because of the weather, but I have still been able to get some of my beds cleaned out. The easy way.

As you can see, I'm not the one doing the work. I draft my chickens to do that job!

Daddy made me this chicken run that fits exactly over my raised beds. They do a great job cleaning the beds out, and give it a little extra fertilizer! Not enough to burn the plants, but enough to add a little nutrients.

I have never successfully grown carrots before, so I thought I'd try again. As you can see, at least the greens look pretty! I can't say if there are any carrots under there, but we'll see in a month or so!

This is my herb nursery bed. I'm rooting some rosemary and peppermint, as well as some green onions.

Here is a glimpse of the feathered friends I have around here. They went on a laying strike several weeks ago, and it took a lot of coaxing to convince them to lay eggs again. They now have free access to lay pellets and corn, and I have a light that is timed to come on so they get 16 hours of light a day.

It worked!

As I've always said, harvest is the very best part of gardening, and I was able to harvest our first lettuce. It was SO yummy! You may think lettuce from the store tastes good, but when you get to taste it fresh from the garden, you find a new definition for "good"!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Of Mustards and Radishes / Veggies to Plant in March (in Louisiana)

I did not get the opportunity to plant as many winter veggies as I would have liked, but the Lord did allow me to get some in, and this week we were able to harvest the first.

Mustard greens are some of my dad’s favorite greens, so I always try to plant as many as I can.

I like to plant them thickly, and then when they are the perfect size for harvesting the tender baby greens, I thin them to the desired spacing.

I harvested half of this row this week, and plan to harvest the other half next week.
I was just thinking how, when you allow the greens to grow close together, they can never grow to the size and healthy vigor that they can. It is when they are thinned so they can stand alone that they grow the most to become beautiful large plants we enjoy to see and harvest.
I find it very much like our life in Christ. It is wonderful to have brothers and sisters in Christ that we can grow together with, but it is during the times when we stand alone that our largest and strongest growth in Christ occurs. I wonder why then we also tend to get so upset when these times come? Where is our faith? Our faith that is to be like the “grain of a mustard seed”?

Though I enjoy eating mustard greens, I must admit cleaning them is not a favorite chore of mine. My mom was kind enough to say that since I picked them, my sisters could clean them. But because of the recent rainfall, the greens were especially dirty. I happened to see some ½ x 1-inch wire lying next to the garden, so I rigged up a large “colander” to rinse most of the dirt off the greens before I brought them inside. It worked pretty well!

As always, it is so exciting to eat the first fruits of the garden. I harvested four large bowls of greens which wound up being about 5 quarts cooked down. A very yummy harvest!

I was also very excited to harvest two quarts of radishes. Several of us really enjoy the cool and crisp “crunch” of a good radish, and the Lord has blessed us with several so far this year.

Veggies to Plant in March in Louisiana:
I know that not everyone who reads this lives in Louisiana, but I know for me, it helps to have a list of things I can plant for the month. If I have it at the beginning of the month, it really helps me to plan and know what my goals are for the rest of the month.
(Plant after the last frost, or plant and protect in case of frost)
Lima Beans
Snap Beans
Southern Peas
Summer Squash
Swiss Chard
Winter Squash

*Plant transplants
**Plant the whole fruit with the sprouted end in the dirt 3 inches deep