Saturday, October 22, 2011

Finally! A harvest!

It has been a tough growing season but we finally got a harvest of one of our crops. The weather has been turning colder and we decided it was time to dig up the sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes thrive in hot weather but should be dug up before the first frost. The colder temperatures can damage the tubers. We were pleasantly surprised by what we found.

The picture above is of all of the potatoes that we dug up. It may not look like much but there is enough there for 2-3 meals. Many of them were larger than we anticipated and they don't seem to spread out like white potatoes do. Even though the plants sent out long roots, the tubers were at the base of the plants. Each plant produced around 3-4 potatoes each.

This was one of the largest potatoes. It had gotten so large that it was already slightly uncovered! You can imagine how excited we were over this one! Sweet potatoes proved pretty easy to grow and definitely something we will do again next year. They are definitely a summer plant so if you live somewhere with high heat, this plant should do well. One thing we did learn was that even though it likes heat, the plants did seem like they were beginning to suffer under the intense summer heat we had this year. When the temps climbed above 100 degrees on a regular basis they did not look to happy. We ended up providing them with a little shade so they didn't cook and they seemed to do better.

One thing I had not really considered before this year was selecting plants that can tolerate drought and heat for a summer garden. Many of the plants that we think of for the garden actually prefer cooler weather. This includes, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peppers, peas, etc. When the summer temperatures moved in sooner than expected, the plants definitely suffered and affected our potential harvest. Next year I plan on having three garden plans. A spring garden, a summer garden, and a fall garden. The summer garden will be comprised of plants that can tolerate our hot summers and the drought that doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

These summer plants seem to be a little harder to come across than those that we plant in the spring. As I develop my list I will post it here to hopefully give you all some ideas for your own summer gardens.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Finally! One of the hens has started to lay eggs! She has been laying for a week now and we are hoping the others will begin to lay soon. My youngest was the one to discover the first egg and he was so excited! Now the kids look forward to going out every day to see if we have one yet.

The eggs are a little small but I'm hoping they will get bigger as the chickens get older. Even if they don't, once all of the hens begin to lay we will have plenty of eggs. The chickens are also beginning to develop some interesting personalities.

One of the roosters that we call Big Red is apparently the head rooster. He chases off the other roosters when they try to get frisky with the hens and he does NOT like the geese. If they get to close he will chase them and jump on them trying to pull out their feathers. It's actually quite funny to watch. Of course he doesn't let the fact that they are bigger than him deter him at all. He will often take on all five at once. Of course the funny thing is the geese are scared of him!

One of the funnier things we have observed is that one of the hens looks to my husband as her protector. If he is outside and a rooster is chasing her, she will run to him so the rooster will leave her alone. She also likes to hop up onto the fence when he is there so he can pet her. The funniest thing however, is when he goes out to feed them. They have learned where the food is and what the bucket looks like that we carry it in. When he goes out to feed them she wants him to pick her up so she can eat out of the cup or sit on his lap and eat. Tonight, he was standing up while he was feeding them and since she couldn't sit on his lap she decided to sit on his shoulder instead. Apparently she has decided that she is a pet, not a source of food.

The geese still are not laying eggs but I am not sure when they will start. It will probably be spring before we see them begin to lay eggs. My guess is one day they will come wandering up with some little ones trailing behind. Spring should prove to be very interesting. In the meantime, stay tuned because I'll be putting some pictures up soon of our sweet potato harvest as soon as we dig them up!