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Broccoli transplants in reserve

Cabbage seedlingPure joy is gently uprooting clods of sunlit earth housing young broccoli and cabbage seedlings, then watering them into new beds while the flock scratches through the compost pile next door.  I could almost taste the crisply sweet broccoli heads as I worked, and it was tough to make myself stop when the requisite 50 plants (plus 7 cabbages) were in the ground.

Another couple dozen sets still grace the quick hoop, but I want to keep them in reserve to replace any seedlings that die in the next week.  I've learned the hard way that transplants are magnets for cut worms (I always lose a few plants, but never enough to bother making each seedling a protective collar), cat damage, and freak killing frostsBroccoli seedlingsThis year I waited a couple of extra days until the 10 day weather forecast had lows all above freezing, but you just can't trust the spring weather not to throw a monkey wrench in the works for fun.

After I replace any dead seedlings next week, the rest of my crucifer babies will be looking for a home.  Joey, Mom, this is your chance to add some crunch to your spring garden!  I may also tuck a few extras into the hugelkultur donuts beyond the canopy of my fruit trees and perhaps even transplant a few into the soon-to-be vacated chicken pasture.  After all, I learned last year that broccoli leaves are one of our chickens' favorite foods.

Our chicken waterer works with chicks from day 1.

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