It's an unseasonably warm weekend, and a long one away from the office for me. We're excited to be getting some things in the ground at last! Our garlic overwintered well, and the chives are ready to be cut anytime now. Other than the lemon balm and oregano though, there's not much green in the garden right now. Dan has been doing a bit of tilling and I'm excited to start the day tomorrow by doing a bit of planting. We've got onion sets for some early green onions and some carrots, beets, radish and lettuce varieties to start. All of these can handle a light frost, since we're sure to have quite a few more, even though the high today was 82. This should put them on pace to be ready by Memorial Day, when we open the stand. Plus I've really been missing fresh greens, so I'm anxious for a nice spring salad! I also couldn't resist picking up some bare root strawberry plants while I was out, so I think we're going to risk the frost and put them in the ground with a nice layer of mulch hay to keep the frost off for the time being. While I'm not going to be planting enough to plan offer them at the stand, if I have enough extras I'm sure they will end up in some delicious jelly or jam for sale.
Another project underway is getting another greenhouse up and operational. Dan's tilled a few times, and once we get a new layer of plastic over it, we'll be able to plant tomatoes, peppers and a few other plants right in the ground for an earlier first harvest. This is new for me, and I'm pretty excited about it.
We hatched 39 chicks last weekend and are hoping for even more coming out of the incubator this week. I love hatching, but I really get excited when we have hens dedicated enough to do it without my help. The mothering instinct has been bred out of many, many chickens, so they literally won't reproduce without human assistance, which to me is sad. However, my golden phoenix hens hatched 12 of their own last year, so when I saw them pooling their eggs into one nest box this spring, I let them go and didn't take the eggs away. A hen will only sit on the eggs when she thinks there is enough to invest her time in, so I let them build up. This evening, there was a broody phoenix hen covering the eggs. She didn't give up last year, so I'm optimistic we'll be seeing some naturally hatched chicks three weeks from now!