When I went to Boston a week ago today, I had every intention of continuing to write regular posts, but between a hotel with limited wi-fi access and a weekend of wedding-related activities (and my 30th birthday!), not nearly as much got done on the blog as needed. This time of year always feels a little breathless, as the first truly hot summer days descend in a haze of weeding, home reorganization and preparation for canning. Throw in a wedding to prepare for and host, and everything that used to feel normal about my days has pretty much evaporated. That said, I wouldn’t want anything else at this point.
In the garden, things have finally started progressing at a rate that I’m excited to discuss. This year, we’ve been plagued by a super slow growing season and the fear that not one of
our seventy-something tomato plants would make it. Apparently, our problem was soil temperature because as that has climbed over the last nine days, so have our plants! I think one of the things I struggle most with on this blog is adequately cataloging our failure and my fear of failure, as putting it in words somehow makes it seem that much more eminent. So in that vein: I’m worried about the peppers, which have been plagued by flea beetles all season. We’ve been hitting them up regularly with a mixture of garlic, hot sauce, Dr. Bronner’s natural soap and water, and we’re hoping to see some progress, but it has been SLOW. We’ve also really struggled with flea beetles in our cucumbers and have had to replace some of the plants (a complete repeat of last year). We’ve planted nasturtiums with them to try to cut back on cucumber beetles, and – cross your fingers – we haven’t seen any yet! What do you do to protect delicate pepper and cucumber plants, and how do you keep the dreaded flea beetle away?
And in the coop? Chicks! Our hatch yielded 21 of the healthiest, most active chicks we’ve ever had. So healthy, in fact, that after six days in the back bedroom nursery, they had to be moved out to the coop.
This year, rather than constructing our modified coop brooder out of cardboard, I used some scrap wood from our earlier coops and the clear panels from an old cold frame that blew apart in a storm last year. I’ve slowly begun to expose them to a bit more light and sun from outside (keeping a careful eye on drafts).
Rather than keeping a thermometer in the coop with the little ones, we’ve been monitoring their activity and adjusting accordingly. Right now, we have one lower and one higher lamp and lots of space for them to move around in, and we’ve only begun to see the first hints of flight!