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April 12, 2012

Khaki Campbell Ducklings

A bit of an update: they have grown and are becoming beautiful birds. I had to give away nine of them, but kept three ducks, a male and two females.

Chaki Campbell ducks

Here's new addition to the homestead: Khaki Campbell ducklings. This breed is supposed to be the best layer of all domestic ducks. But laying eggs is far down the road for them. For now they are just cute bundles of joy. In this video they are three days old.

April 9, 2012

What can we plant in April in Florida

In April we are getting close to be done with the cool weather season crop and are getting ready for the warm weather harvest; so all in all, April is a very fruitful month. My garden is in full bloom and glory, although in need of daily watering: the weather has been unusually hot and dry.

My favorite grape tomatoes are about my height now and are covered with blooms and tomatoes:

Cucumbers (Sumter) love climbing and producing some nice cukes, but need daily watering:

Squash survived the borer attack with the help of aluminum foil and is ready to start showing some nice fruit as well.

And of course, some sun flowers for the faithful chickens:

But back to the original question: what can we plant in April? It would be seriously stretching it to start even warm weather vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, from seed now. It will be simply too hot for them to survive and produce in the dog heat of June and July. You could still seed some beans now (I like Kentucky Wonder), as well as cow peas, okra, and plant sweet potato slips.

If I was just starting a brand new garden now, knowing what I know now, I would concentrate on building the soil. If you are in that situation, just get yourself a few containers of tomatoes and peppers from the box store and keep them in some dappled shade - for the feeling of accomplishment of your gardening efforts. But to prepare for the fall season planting, start getting as much plant material as you can get and build your compost piles. I like a two-box method: you pile plant material in the first box until it gets about waist high, then water it about twice a week and turn when you can, and in about a month or so transfer the whole pile into the second box.

The original pile will be greatly diminished by breaking down, so the contents of the second box will be much smaller than the original. Keep filling the first box. Once again, when it gets to be waist high, empty the second box into the garden, and transfer the contents of the first box to the second one. And so on, ad infinitum. This is hard work, but very rewarding in the quality of your garden soil.

April 7, 2012

Yet another update on flaxseed and barley - getting close to harvest!

I knew that flax flowers in a beautiful baby blue, but have never seen it in real life. Now it is my chance to enjoy that beauty:

These pictures were taken about two weeks ago, and every day there are more and more flowers in the bed of flax. After the flower is fallen, which is about one day, a tiny mother forms, probably filled with seeds. I cannot wait till harvest, to get my own flax seed, for the next year's planting, as well as adding it to the salads.

Barley is going into seed (food!) as well. Most of the stalks have seed heads now. I tried to thresh a couple, but they were not ready yet. I have to be patient. Judging from the pictures of wheat harvesting, the whole crop should be yellow by harvest, seed heads and the plants themselves. So, for now, I will keep them watered, and my impatience in check.


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