Seeds and weeds aplenty!
Spring is a busy time on the farm, here's a quick summary about what we've been up to:
And finally, here is a video of 4 of the baby chicks that have hatched. The first of the chicks hatched on Cinco de Mayo. We have 5 hens sitting on eggs right now so we should have many more soon!
Thanks all y'all!
Sue & Mike
Soft Shell Eggs
Soft shell eggs can occur in younger chickens or if the chickens don't get enough calcium. The egg shell doesn't form as it is developed and the hen lays the egg with a soft, leather like outer casing. We found 3 of them when egg production started increasing this spring. We increased the amount of oyster shells we put out for them and since then we haven't had any more soft shells.
Oyster Pastures, Cannibalism and Captain Tom's
Sustainable farming is all about using what you have on the farm. Currently there are no oysters grazing our pastures. We could consider starting an oyster farm but that seems a bit excessive. We have heard of folks feeding egg shells back to their chickens. That seems a bit like cannibalism, not sure we're ready to take that step! Finally, we could talk to the Captain Tom's Seafood Restaurant down the road to see if they would donate their oyster shells. Of course we would need to consider the time and effort it would take to crush the shells. We only went through 5 pounds in the first 6 months and despite the increase in consumption right now, we might be buying shells for a while, especially at $10 for a 50 pound bag!
This week we're introducing a new section to the the Ekoze blog. Like the best Gumbo, the Gumboze section will have a little bit of everything, a farm-fact, a story about Sue or Mike or just something random. We promise it will always be entertaining, so check back often!
Have a great week y'all!
Sue & Mike
" Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia - fear of long words. Who ever came up with this word has no fear of irony!
The 200 heirloom tomato plants outgrew their soil pots this week so it was time to transplant them into larger pots. We haven't perfected making larger soil pots yet (they tend to fall apart when we move them) so we used biodegradable peat pots. We were hoping to use coir pots (made of coconut husks) because they are a more sustainable product but they were sold out everywhere. We'll order them early next season.
We started the transplant at 1 PM and finished around 8 PM. This included set-up time, preparing the organic potting soil, cleaning up and a one hour break when our local irrigation expert came by to talk to us.
When it comes time to transplant, the root system is very established in the 2.5 inch soil pots. Using soil pots minimizes any stress and damage to the roots during transplant. Once we get going we have a pretty good system:
We both carried the trays back into the mudroom which is acting as our greenhouse for the second year in a row. Space is becoming a problem, especially after the transplant. We fit 24 soil pots in each tray, but only 8 peat pots. Also the tomatoes are a foot or more tall, so we have to remove some of the shelves to give them space to grow. We're gonna need a bigger greenhouse!
If you're interested in purchasing one of the heirloom tomato plants you've read about here, please visit Our Plants page for more information. The biodegradable peat pots can be planted directly in the ground making transplanting it to your garden quick and easy.
Happy Friday the 13th - 13 is a lucky number for both of us!
Sue & Mike