Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My Greenhouse is Overrun

When you first start seeds it's common to use flats with 72 or 90 cells. Cells are each little pot that's molded in the plastic. I use 72's because they give just a little more space for root development before I transplant to 4 inch pots. As you can imagine, 10 trays of 72 cells doesn't take up much space, perhaps 12x18 inches each. But once you transplant to 4 inch pots you suddenly have only 18 pots taking up the same space, and when you transplant to a gallon pot well you can only fit 2. My shelf is currently completely covered in flats and it's time to transplant. So herein lies my dilemma. What on earth to do with all these plants!?!

Running out of space to work. May 2015
Currently I have a dozen or so Amish Paste tomatoes ready to go into 1 gallon pots, I've got maybe 48 beefsteak tomatoes ready for larger pots or the garden, lettuce coming out the wazoo so I've been making salad and I started using it as an understorey in the gallon tomato pots (it'll shade the soil and then you can pick it when the tomato needs more room),  and I have a couple hundred tomato seedlings that are now ready for their 4 inch pots which is the bulk of my space problem. I do have some plastic stackable shelving in the bunk room off the barn so I'll probably have to layer those o the shelf to provide a little more room for the next couple of weeks until we're ready to begin selling our lovely little tomatoes. And thank goodness I didn't start them all at once or I'd really be pooched. I've got other tomatoes that won't need potting up for a couple more weeks. I know you can buy them in the stores right now but really the weather is still too cold for them so it's better to wait for warmer nighttime temperatures.

Another part of the problem is our hi-jumpin' lambs. Steve spent a good portion of the weekend fixing up all the fencing and they're still getting out. Bright orange electric wire may be the way to go. Once I know I can keep the animals out of my garden, I can put in my roses, herbs, sweet potatoes, cucumbers and greenhouse tomatoes and that will give me a lot more space. And if the turkeys move out, well then I'll be able to walk around again! lol  I'm thinking of actually just planting some sweet potato vines and tomatoes directly on top of the turkey poop once the little critters have moved out. The shavings and poop will compost and provide nitrogen, but the composting process does take nitrogen out of the soil initially so I'd need a good buffer of soil and small plants who won't need the nitrogen for several weeks. It's a good use of the space too. We'll see, I may yet put meat chicks in there too. Oh one thing to note. If you ever do this remember that chicks and chickens can give a nasty disease to turkeys (it's called Blackhead and you can guess why) so our rule is always that turkeys get the clean space first, and chicks follow. Never the other way round.  Yes, sometimes we'll put a chick or two in with day old turkeys to teach them how to eat, and yes, our older turkeys do live with some hens and a roo but they're older and free ranging anyways. I'll keep my turkey poults separate in their own tractor if I can. I have hens and turkeys sitting on eggs as we speak, let's see if they manage to hatch anything this year. Last year was a bit of a bust thanks to our gay turkey problem, lol.

It's an overcast morning, cool and damp so it's actually perfect weather to be in the greenhouse. It's still warmer than outside plus it's dry and not overly hot yet. Being in there some days at 120 f. is just plain awful so I try and work in the early mornings and evenings. I am not a hot weather person. 70's is my idea of perfect weather, afterall I come from a wet and cool island (Britain). One of my grandfathers serves in the desert in North Africa during WWII and told me some amazing stories about the weather, people and insect life there.

Ok, back to the greenhouse I go now that I've had a break for a nice cup of rooibos chai tea and a piece of toast. I rubbed up against the lemongrass in my greenhouse and the smell was making me hungry.  I figure I can get some more potting done and then if the weather has warmed and dried a bit I'll hang out some washing on the line and get the kitchen ship shape again. We had a great weekend visiting a new friend (Hi Michelle!) and just generally carrying on as well as working here at the farm. It's Wednesday now so I only have today and tomorrow to get things done before the kids are home for yet another long weekend. I think it's the schools way of breaking us in gently for summer when we'll have them home all the time.'s raining again. Maybe I'll start with the kitchen :)

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