Monday, May 17, 2010

Garden, Shrooms, & Turkeys

As is typical for this time of year things in the garden have already gotten away from me. I can't resist trying new plants (especially tomatoes) and I always find myself trying to find room in the garden for the seeds I've started. For the past couple of years I've been using a soil blocker to create little soil cubes for seed starting. The first blocker I bought was the 2" model which is perfect for almost everything. Later I purchased a 1/2" mini-blocker for starting flower seed.

So far in the garden I have tomatoes (about a dozen different varieties), garlic, 3 kinds of corn, 4 kinds of potatoes, various cabbages, carrots, onions, brussel sprouts, broccoli, zucchini, cukes, lettuces, beans, sunflowers, PEANUTS, peas, asparagus, and various herbs. This is my first year trying peanuts. I bought seed peanuts through another member of SSE ( and planted them. All are up and running.

The fruit trees are doing well this year. I bought 10 M-7 rootstocks from and I'm going to grow them out for a year and then graft different varieties of apples onto them. My plan is to bud graft 4 different apples onto each rootstock and then espalier them onto a trellis system. I have 5 rootstocks in the ground and 5 in 'pots'. I hope to get the rootstocks in the pots started and then donate them to my son's Montessori school's garden.

The shiitake mushrooms logs are beginning to fruit. I've been collecting the shrooms and drying them for family and friends. So far I haven't gotten any of the oyster or lion's mane mushrooms I plugged last year. That's ok. Shiitake are good, meaty mushrooms and go great in salads, stir fry, and as a meat substitute. Mmmm good.

The turkeys are laying pretty well. Right now we have a clutch of seven eggs in the pasture shelter that we hope our Naragansett hen will soon begin to set on. Last year she hatched 5 poults but only one of those survived to adulthood. We'll see. Both of our hens co-mothered the poults and the Tom (Albuquerque) was an excellent father. I watched him many times very gently handing freshly plucked grass clippings to his poults. He obviously dwarfed them in size but he was very careful to step around them when they wandered underneath him.

Enjoy and good gardening.

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