The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Undependable weather

Putting together a quick hoop

The only thing dependable about the weather this week has been its sheer undependability.  Yes, that's sleet in my hair on a morning that was supposed to be warm and sunny according to Monday's forecast.  I rushed to seed carrots, parsley, lettuce (third planting), and tomatoes (under a quick hoop) before the sleet turned into cold, drenching rains.

Garden scratch protection

Unfortunately, our animals are more dependable than the spring weather.  Lucy hasn't seemed as interested in sitting on our newly seeded beds as she has in past years, but the cats have been busy using the soft ground as a toilet and the chickens have been breaking in to scratch new seedlings out of the soil.  I'm trying an ultra-simple scratch deterrent this year --- just a plastic trellis on each  newly-seeded bed until the plants are up enough to be mulched.  Within a month, our animals will have gotten sick of raising my blood pressure, and I won't have to protect the new beds any longer.

What didn't happen this week was onions, broccoli, and cabbage sets going out into the ground.  I really, really want these seedlings out of the house --- they're already weeks late --- but the forecast low for tonight is 36, which could mean 26 on our north-facing slope, so we'll wait a few more days.  I would like to say next week will be warm and sunny and perfect for transplanting, but those 10-day forecasts are notoriously undependable.

Our chicken waterer keeps our hens in tip-top health, so they have plenty of brain power to spare figuring out how to get into the garden.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I commiserate... We have been having the same kind of cold spring... And I had to order row cover material for the new quick hoops, and it isnt even here yet.... Really wanted to be getting that soil warmed up! The kitchen table is full of seedlings that wont fit in the cold frames, and i did make use of the top of the crate where the new chicks are living- their heat lamp with its rising warmth works like a heating mat for the things that really like warm soil temps. We are still below freezing at night, but just barely, so theres hope of warmer days!

Comment by Deb Fri Apr 5 11:04:27 2013
Cats can be such gross creatures. I'm following your lead and using welded wire as a means to avoid thrusting my hand into surprise almond rocas while trying to seed/plant. Yuk.
Comment by mitsy Sat Apr 6 10:07:54 2013

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