Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fava beans are up!

They are here! Our first fava bean sprouts.

It seemed a bit of touch and go with a few sprouts appearing each day for almost 2 weeks, but all of a sudden.. boom! Bean sprouts!

They look healthy and consistent!

The rows are not necessarily straight... But hey... Perfect rows aren't everything!

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Quick Update on things for April

Sorry, no pictures on this post. Quite honestly... we have been a bit too busy to keep up with reporting on things.  So here is a quick update:

1. The fave beans are sprouted, reasonably well. Not as good as hoped, but not bad. The week of warmer rains might bring a few more to the surface... hopefully.

2. We did manage to get the entire main garden tilled this week, just in time for the rain. As always, the plan is to till as soon as dry enough, then let it sit through a warm rain (at least not cold) to sprout initial weed set, then a light till when it dries again and plant.  We have the first tilling done, now waiting for the rain, sprouting, retilling and planting. For the curious, the main garden this year is right at 1 1/2 acres in size.

3. We have 2 more areas hoping to get planted before summer, the old goat pen and the present pig pen. Those two are well fertilized and ready to go. But, the goat pen is much too muddy yet and the pig pen is.. well.. housing pigs yet! Plus the pigs totally tore down one side of fencing, held up by a pallet, so that must be replaced.

4. There are 2 more potential areas to plant this year... one has been housing horses for several years, and the other is the original winter garden spot. both should grow well.

5. The goats are almost all into milk now, ready for the season.  It has meant some serious restructuring of the barn to accommodate the bulk of the herd all at once, but it is slowly coming together.

6. We did manage to get the milking barn rebuilt, cleaned up from the winter, and useable again.

7. The new chicken flock is doing well, we ended up with right at 150 young birds that look healthy and happy. They will be coming out of the brooders this week and into their first job of fertilizing one garden area.

8. The new guinea fowl arrive this week, which means we will be retiring the old flocks to start anew, providing some excellent meat and organs for sale.

9. We have tested last year's home made "feed" of dehydrated zuchinni and greens. It stored exceptionally well! opening the buckets after 6 months revealed perfectly dry, aromatic, well preserved vegetables! The chickens were the first recipients of this marvelous free feed and they love it as long as it is ground a bit into smaller chunks. And their eggs... WHOA! the best eggs we have ever produced! Thick orange yolks, well developed whites, perfect aroma and a beautiful soft flavor. These are , in my humble opinion, the best eggs I have ever seen! And that is without the bug barn in operation, just zuchinni and greens! It looks like the experiment is a smashing success!

10. This week with the rains we hope to spend time finishing the barn insides and getting the chickens moved into their spring positions. Then it's office work! We have lots of paperwork to do to support the new may announcements!

I think that's about it for now. Please forgive us for not keeping up with emails this week, the pleasant weather break meant some long days, and enough hours in the sun to build a nice sunburn! The rains means that things will settle a bit and we can get back on top of things.

Thanks for all your support!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spring is here! Fava Beans in the Ground!

Spring has finally arrived and we are busy getting seed into the ground for this year's animal feed harvests.  Yes it is a tad early, but some plants are fine germinating in the cooler weather. This includes the new trial crop for 2017, FAVA BEANS!

The beans are a good 1/2 to 3/4 inch across, sometimes as much as an inch! That is the largest bean I have ever seen!

Here is a pile of beans spilled out on the grass

We are trying heriloom fava beans to use as animal feed. They are very starchy beans that grow in HUGE pods with HUGE beans! The nutritional stats look good, and the weather profile looks acceptable for an early spring planting.

So this week we planted 6 rows of 60 yards each in fava beans. There are no drip lines yet,  which is unique for our system. But the weather should see some nice bouts of rain yet, enough to sprout these seeds, so we literally just tilled up the driest spot available and put seeds in. If the rain doesn't materialize over the weekend, then we will install drip lines.

These beans are too large to fit any of the hand push automatic seeders, so we needed another way to avoid the planting backache. The answer? a 3/4 inch PVC pipe! I held the pipe at one end, placed the bottom where I wanted the seed, and dropped one down. It would land in a small impression, and Hunter would come along to bury and compress them. This was quite efficient! Occasionally the beans would not fit, but not too often. Usually they slid right down with a song and a thud.

Our homemade fava bean planter. Just a piece of 3/4 inch pipe. Drop one at the top as you walk down the row and it is easy to space them out without bending over. 

Then just follow along and bury each one by hand.
We managed to turn a 60 yard by 120 yard patch of pasture into a garden, with 6 60 yard rows of fava beans planted, all in one day. We just finished as the sun set.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sheep and grass

The sheep had same quality time with green grass over the weekend! The ground is finally drying out enough for them to graze without mud puddles.

This patch will soon become the first spring garden as soon as it can be tilled, so why waste the grass?  We will let the sheep consume it until it's time to till and plant.

posted from Bloggeroid