Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's New At The Farm? 2/11/09

Hard to believe but next Sunday February will be half over; the colder half too. In little more than a month the days will be longer, lots more heat in the sun and little signs of spring will be evident for those who look. Seemed like a short winter. I know it's not quite over yet but it's closer than it was.

I'm spending some time looking through catalogs seeing what new cover crops I'm going to plant this year. So far I'm looking at Austrian Winter Peas, sorghum you can make syrup from, forage kale and a couple of small grains. For legumes I'm looking at Berseem clover, Crown Vetch and perennial alfalfa. And a few crops just for fun; to see what they‘ll do: dry-land rice, safflowers and sunflowers, sugar beets and perhaps a couple of mixes I have going around in my head. We'll see. I'll keep you updated on what I plant and how it turns out.

The seed catalogs are piling up on my desk; each offering the best garden you'll ever have. I've got probably twenty or so catalogs to look through; most will only get a quick look see before I relegate them to the "Save until next year" pile. I've trimmed down where I order from to a couple of seed houses; Johnny's of course being one. In the past I've ordered from Jung's (got a great pear tree there a few years back), Fruit trees from FEDCO (can't beat their selection of Maine hardy trees) and Western Maine Nurseries for my evergreen needs (really nice trees and great customer service).

And of course along with the seed catalogs are the poultry catalogs, although there's not so many of the latter. I suppose I'm a creature of habit when it comes to ordering chickens. Like garden seeds and plants I look for the company with the best reputation and the best customer service. I called a poultry company several years ago to order 50 hens and, after talking to the customer service rep, ordered another 75 or so. The poor old henhouse was bursting at the seams. I ordered from another company last year instead of my usual – got a double shipment plus some added ones for warmth –the seams were really busting then. Guess I'll go back to where I had the best luck; the company I've ordered from for 35 years plus.

And soon will come those catalogs with things that I can't live without in the garden; Garden gnomes, gazing balls and fountains. True, I'm not perfect: I do have a cement turtle, frog and a very realistic statue of ALF in the garden. And a sundial but that about covers it, actually these are all in the flower garden. For the vegetable garden I have a plywood cutout of a man hoeing which I have yet to put out. I think every time I saw it I'd think there's someone watching me from the garden; like hanging a jacket on a branch or a fence post. How many times have I done that and then think there's someone there? Maybe that would work around the farm. I've always threatened to make up card board cutouts of myself and place them strategically around the farm. Hmm......

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