A furry visitor

This big bugger is why we don’t have hanging bird feeders anymore.

After this picture was taken, a skunk joined it for a while. As I write this, the skunk it still there.

This looks like the big racoon I saw a few nights ago, when I came out to see what critters were snarling out the window. A big racoon made like it was going at me, then backed off, a couple of times, while a much smaller one was at the seeds.

With the storms and winds we’ve been having, we’re not seeing a lot of birds at the feeding station right now. Even the open ground where the seeds are gets filled with water enough to wash the seeds up against the grass.

I’m not seeing the groundhogs very often anymore, either. I think their dens are flooded out, and they’ve moved on. There was the one that dug a den under the mock orange against the house I was seeing more often. I’ve been pushing the dirt back into the hole regularly, and I think I’ve finally won the battle. It hasn’t been re-dug for a few days. Hopefully, that means our garden is safer from them this year!

The Re-Farmer

Food forest: silver buffalo berry

Since planting trees and bushes are more long term than our usual gardening, I decided to start a food forest category.

Including for things that were already here before we moved in, like these Saskatoons. It’s so nice to see them blooming again – though you can very clearly see how high the deer ate the twigs and branches! Hopefully, we’ll have berries this year. Thankfully, these are very flexible, so we should be able to bend them down to harvest them.

We are, however getting a frost advisory tonight. !!! Well, our June 2 last frost date is just an average, after all. It’s supposed to dip to just barely freezing, so most things should be all right.


The 20 out of 30 silver buffalo berry my daughter was able to transplant today!

She does not take progress pictures, though, so I just got a picture at the end of the day.

Even with the holes already dug, it was a huge job. The soil that was removed was so full of roots, rocks, weeds and gravel, she was using garden soil from the remains of the pile we got last year – which is clear across the garden area. After sitting there for a year, it’s full of roots, too, which she picked out as best she could.

She started at the north end of the double rows, next to the highbush cranberry, as the ground is slightly higher there, and the holes were mud rather than filled with pools of water. It didn’t take long before she was having to deal with standing water, though.

Towards the end, I was able to help her out, adding the mulch and watering it just enough to keep it from blowing away. By the end of it, my poor daughter was so knackered, she could barely lift the shovel on its own, never mind with soil in it!

So the remaining 10 silver buffalo berry (I just realized, I’ve been calling them bison berry, because we don’t have buffalo; we have bison. The label says buffalo) will be planted tomorrow. Holes still need to be dug for the sea buckthorn, but there’s just 5 of those. Then there’s the Korean pine, which is going to be planted in the outer yard.

While she did that, I worked on the main garden area and got some decent progress done, too – but that will be my next post.

The Re-Farmer

New cat bed, and Turmeric status

With Nosencrantz insisting in spending her days tucked into an empty shelf behind my nightstand, I decided she should at least have a bed. So last night, I quickly crocheted one for her.

Before I was done, Turmeric was isolated in my room with me, Butterscotch and Nosencrantz for her fast. B & N were not impressed with the company. Turmeric is one of the cats that has been the most aggressive towards them. Particularly towards Nosencrantz. So they were both hiding in their nests, while Turmeric roamed the rest of the room.

Which is why Turmeric got to test out the new bed, first!

It looks so tiny compared to her from this angle. Trust me; it’s large enough for a cat to curl up in! 😀

When the girls did the evening cat stuff (which is when they get wet cat food), Turmeric was tucked into the bathroom until B & N were finished eating.

It was not a good night.

Normally, once the other cats are closed out, so that B & N can at least get some wet cat food, uninterrupted, that’s when they come out and eat, drink, use the litter, and play.

I don’t get a lot of sleep these days.

They couldn’t do that as much, last night. Of course, there was no other food once the bowls with the wet cat food were cleared away. Just water. At least three times during the night, I had actual cat fights happen as Turmeric went after Nosencrantz! Poor thing. Then, when I wasn’t breaking up cat fights, I was fending of Turmeric attention, as she decided the best way to get at Nosencrantz’s cubby hole was by first snuggling my face and licking my nose (because noses are delicious, apparently), then making a dash for the opening behind my night stand.

So adorable and nasty, at the same time!

I finally got some sleep, just in time for my alarm to go off. I had given myself extra time, so I figured I could set my timer for half an hour and still have time to get ready to go.

I think I forgot to hit the start button.

An hour later, I woke up and had to start scrambling! I didn’t have time to do the morning cat stuff, though once I had Turmeric in the carrier, I had enough time to put food out for the outside cats – startling away several deer in the yard – before we left.

Turmeric wasn’t too impressed with being carried, but once in the van, she settled down very quickly.

She even took a bit of a nap.

What a face.

Drop off time was for when the vet clinic opened, and I got there early – though when I checked my phone, the appointment was for a half hour later. I hadn’t needed to rush so much! No matter. They had no problem taking her when they opened.

My daughter usually has been doing this part, since the mask thing because an issue. The restriction is lifted, but there were still signs all over, stating that they were a “health care facility” and required masks.

They had zero issue with my maskless face.

The paperwork was done. The Cat Lady and her new rescue are covering the cost of the spay, while the tattoo is a clinic freebie. The pain meds for afterwards is not covered, but we might still have enough left over from when Beep Beep and Fenrir were done. I checked the bottle when I got home, and I think we’ll pick up more, just in case. The doses are low – especially for such light cats (Turmeric weighed in at just over 5 pounds) – but I’d rather have extra than not enough.

As I write this, she should be out of surgery and recovering. We’re set to pick her up at 3:30, though they’ll call us when she is ready.

Today also happens to be my and my husband’s 34th wedding anniversary. He’s not up to going out for dinner, so I’ll be picking up some pizza on the way home, courtesy of my daughter. We’ll be trying a different place this time. I’ll have enough time to drop off Turmeric and the food, then head out again to pick up our meat order. I just got the invoice this morning, and will be picking up the order this evening.

Now that’s my kind of anniversary gift! 😀

We do get a giggle out of the fact that we’re meeting up in a parking lot to get meat, like it’s some sort of drug deal. 😀

It’s going to be quite a day for running around from town to town! Worth it, though.

The Re-Farmer

Well, that took a lot more work than expected

This morning, I decided to finish my mourning rounds by finally digging out the BBQ, so I could put the new cover on it. I was waiting for a slightly cooler day, when things wouldn’t be melting while I worked.

Though it was still very much a “rubber boot” morning!

This is the cat path from the kibble house to the storage house. The cats made the paths you see on the left with their muddy little feet, while the path veering right goes to the fire pit.

As you can see, there is a low spot right here, filled with snowmelt. I had to slog through it several times while I was working this morning!

With the melt-thaw happening over the last while, the top of the snow has formed a pretty hefty crust. In fact, this morning I spotted our piebald deer through the bathroom window, on the far side of the old kitchen garden, walking on top of the snow. Not only did the snow hold her weight, but when I walked past the area later, I couldn’t even see tracks.

As you can imagine, the ice chipper got a good workout while I was digging, this morning!

I cleared a path along the side of the collapsed tent, removed hard packed snow that was on top of the remains of the canopy, then had to cut away parts of the torn canopy to free the BBQ. Unfortunately, I still had to deal with the piece of tree that had broken the tent in the first place.

That out-of-focus branch tip in the foreground is part of the branch that you see stretching up and out of frame at the top.

I had to break off that branch in pieces to be able to access the back of the BBQ and the other corner of the tent. On the plus side, since the branch was sticking up into the air like that, the pieces are very dry. They’ll be great for the fire pit.

This was the main problem. One of the canopy supports was across the side element on the BBQ. There had actually been a folded up camp chair leaning against it. There’s a little pillow attached, and it actually protected the BBQ. The little bit of scuffing you can see under the canopy support happened just this morning, after I moved the camp chair out.

I couldn’t get that piece off the BBQ. It wouldn’t even break for me, as others did. All it would do is slide back and forth, but there was still too much weight from the canopy remains, and the snow trapped in it, to lift it.

There was a possible solution, though. We had dropped the tent legs as low as they could go, to cover and protect the picnic table and BBQ, making sure it was thoroughly pegged down with the support ropes, to make sure it wouldn’t blow away. What I could do was remove the canopy from the frame as much as possible, then raise the legs up to the first notch.

It took a while – and more digging to reach – but I managed to get three of the legs raised to the next highest position.

Which helped to a certain extent, but that fourth leg by the broken piece of tree would not budge.

I had forgotten just how big it was! The ice chipper is right at the largest end of the piece. Once I figured out where the end was, I could use the ice chipper handle to lever the branch loose, so it was no longer frozen to the ground. It was leaning right against the leg, pushing it over.

As much as I levered and wiggled the whole thing around, it still wouldn’t move off the leg.

There had to be a reason I couldn’t see.

Yup. Here it is.

There was a large branch, hidden in the snow, that I had been trying to roll it against! I stabbed along the length of it with the ice chipper until I found it’s end.

I was not about to dig all that out.

I grabbed a hatchet, instead. I didn’t need to even cut all the way through. Just enough that it would break, and I could finally clear it from the leg.

Which worked, but then I discovered another problem. The leg still wouldn’t move.

I chipped away around it. What you’re looking at is ground level. When the tree fell on the canopy, it drove the leg into the soil. Which is amazing, considering the legs have a flat plate on the bottom, so they can be pegged to the ground. Which they are. So the bottom of that leg, and the base of the part that slides up to raise the height of the tent, are frozen into the ground.

Well, crud.

I ended up having to break as many parts of the canopy frame as I could, to finally be able to clear the BBQ enough to cover it.

Which I finally did!

Then I used some of the heavy blocks of snow that were on the torn canopy to weigh down the bottom edges.

The frame is a mess, but it can’t be removed until the ground thaws out enough.

I like that the new cover for the BBQ has grommets on it. We’ll be able to peg it to the ground in between uses, so the wind won’t tear it off.

The branch pieces were set aside on the snow near the fire pit. Maple will make a nice cooking fire.

Then, since I was there anyhow, I dug a path from the fire pit to the wood pile.

Normally, I’d say we can use the fire pit now, and have ourselves a cookout if we want, but with that big puddle in the path, I think it’ll wait a bit longer. We don’t all have rubber boots.

For now, I’m just happy to have the new cover on the BBQ.

As long as we don’t get any more pieces of tree falling on it, now that there’s no longer the tent frame to protect it!

The Re-Farmer

Murky waters (convoy talk)

With the Emergency Measures (formerly War Measures) Act being invoked by our Prime Dictator, it can be expected that the rhetoric, accusations and false information is going to kick into high gear, to try and convince people that these measures are somehow justified.

Early during the protests, trucks were seen dropping off loads of rocks, and piles of bricks were also found. This is something that happened during previous protests that turned violent, so truckers and their supporters would immediately call the police and stand guard until they arrived, to make sure no instigators would start trouble. It would be no surprise if the same would be done with guns. Our media and Prime Dictator have been working very hard to portray the protesters as violent, and failed time after time, as on the ground, independent video showed how much of a lie that was. They are getting desperate.

The backlash over what T2 has done by invoking the Emergency Measures Act is rippling around the world.

In the “breaking news” category, Ottawa’s Chief of Police, Sloly, has resigned.

Something I wanted to clarify about our Prime Dictator invoking the Emergency Measures Act (EMA).

It is not in effect, even though many are acting as if it is, including banks that are freezing people’s accounts.

Once the EMA is invoked, there is a process that needs to be followed. First, T2 has 7 sitting days to table a motion in Parliament. There are specific conditions that must be met that demonstrate the extreme conditions that justify invoking the EMA. It should be noted that, among the extended definitions of what is exempt from the EMA is protests. It’s not in the Act itself, but is linked with a CSIS definition (that’s Canada’s version of the CIA). None of the conditions required are met, so there is zero justification for invoking the act. In tabling the motion, T2 has to try and prove in Parliament that those conditions are somehow being met.

It then has to be voted on by both the House of Commons and the Senate.

Only after both vote in favour of it, can the invocation of the Act be enforced.

There are two problems with this.

The first is that, by simply invoking the Act, it is being treated as if it is in force. Not just by ordinary citizens on the street, who may not have even known the Act existed until now, but by the media, politicians and even law enforcement. Basically, just like all the other illegal measures, the powers that be simply keep on going as if they have the power and authority to do what they are doing, and people complied. As long as people complied, it became harder for anyone to stand up to the illegal measures.

The other problem is, while T2 does not have a strong Liberal majority in government that will vote his way, the NDP have already stated they will support enforcing the Act. Which means, between the two of them, they would have enough votes to push it through, even if the conditions are not met. The Senate isn’t exactly balancds, either, and it’s possible they would vote to enforce it, too. All the fail safes designed to prevent the Act being abused could … well… fail.

Many provinces, meanwhile, have spoken out against it, but that hasn’t made much difference in the past couple of years. After all, some of those provinces spoke out against the lockdowns and other restrictions, too, saying they would never implement them, only to turn around and do exactly that, after the federal government offered “aid” funding to the provinces – on the condition that they locked down. So they already have a history of untrustworthiness.

One of our mainstream media websites has a daily poll. Today’s question is asking of people agree with T2’s invocation of the EMA. I’ve looked at it a few times this morning and, even as the total of votes rises, the percentages have stayed the same. 19% agree with it. Which is really quite disturbing.

Which is why it’s encouraging to see things like this.

Oh, one more note about the “blockades”. I’ve mentioned this before. They have never been complete blockades. Traffic was delayed, but not completely stopped. For example, lanes were always kept open for emergency vehicles and trucks hauling live animals were allowed through at border crossings with as little delay as possible (they still had to get through customs and the police blockades, too). In cities, people could still get to and from their work and homes. Hospitals were very specifically kept clear.

Hhhmm… back to the “breaking news” thing, just minutes ago, it seems our Prime Dictator walked out of Parliament again, refusing to answer questions about the justification for his invoking the EMA.

What a mess.

From the looks of it, things are just going to get messier.

All of which could have been ended long ago, if our Prime Dictator had wanted it to.

The Re-Farmer

How quickly things change!

Today we have been steadily warming up. When I headed out to do my rounds this morning, it was up to -15C/5F and looking lovely.

Lovely, until I actually stepped outside.

The wind was coming from the south again, which means we were getting the full brunt of it. The wind chill at the time was around -35C/-31F. It actually felt colder, after things had warmed up, than it did when we were at -25C/-13F.

The south winds whip around the corners of the house, blowing snow into the kibble house! I had to knock snow out of all the kibble trays before I could put food in them, then dig out the water bowls. You can see in the photo, the crust that formed on top of the heated water bowl.

Smart Nosencrantz, quickly ate, then went back into the nice warm shelter!

The path to the compost heap is completely gone.

I was going to shovel it out this morning, but the winds were just too severe. Instead, I went to the gate at the driveway. As long as we’re on the inside of the gate, the trees in the old hay yard block most of the winds from the south.

With the snow we’ve been having, it’s been blocking our ability to open the gate all the way. When our angel with the front end loader cleared our driveway, there was less space at the gate because of this, creating a bit of a bottleneck just inside the gate that was slowly closing in, more and more. I was able to clear enough know that we can at least swing the two sides of the gate until they are 90 degrees with the gate posts.

Note how nice and bright it is in the above photo. Wind was the only issue to deal with. I had to go into town later, and of course checked the weather. We were supposed to get snow later, but the weather radar showed clear skies. I kept zooming out to see where this weather system was, but everything was clear. I thought there was something wrong with the data until I zoomed out enough to see some rain heading across towards Florida. !! And yet, when I went online, I was seeing people reporting road conditions on the highways, talking about poor visibility and drifting highways. ???

The call we got about Cabbages came just in time, as I needed to head out before the general store our post office is in closed for the day; they are open only half a day on Wednesdays. We had some packages to pick up there, then I had to go to town to pick up a Purolator delivery at their drop off point, since we are not in their delivery zone.

What a difference a bit of time makes.

Clearly, the weather radar was messed up. It had started to snow by the time I left, and the couple of miles on the main gravel road to the highway was drifting over quite a bit. In the time I spent at the general store to get our packages and some more deer feed, the winds were dying down, but the snow was heavier.

Then there was the drive to town. Yikes! The closer I drove to the lake, the heavier the snowfall, and the worse the visibility. The roads were not icy, though, so it was still okay to drive, if a bit slower.

The parcel I went to pick up, however, wasn’t there. We had gotten a call from Purolator to find out where they should drop the package off; it was either the town we usually go to, East of us, or the town my mother lives on, which is further away. When we told them where to drop it off, they said the package would be there by 11am. When I got there, however, the person working there told me the drivers always come at 2pm!

Well, we certainly weren’t going to come back today, but we do have a week to pick it up, once it arrives.

This place is also a small convenience store that also does takeout. Since I was there anyhow, I splurged and got a bucket of mini donuts. 😀 Happily, I had a small insulated bag in the van to keep them warm for the drive home. So it wasn’t a wasted trip, after all. 😉

As for the drive home, the snow was falling even more heavily, especially in our area.

I’m so glad we’ve got good snow tires.

This is what it was like when I got home, keeping in mind that the camera on my phone automatically clears images up, so I can actually see more in the photo, than I could while taking it!

Then it was gone.

As I write this, the snow has stopped, and I can barely even see branches moving in the trees outside my window. We have warmed up to -8C/18F, and are still expected to reach a high of -3C/27F. Not quite as warm as had been forecast previously, but I’m certainly not complaining!

I’m glad this winter has been so much milder than the last two winters, and certainly thankful for the snow we’re having, that will be such a boon to farmers in the spring. It does make getting around more difficult, though!

The Re-Farmer

Dry Dancers

While watering plants today, I thought it would be a good time to post some pictures of how our Tennessee Dancing Gourds are drying out.

We have been using the big aquarium tank to protect some of our plants from the cats, and the gourds have been drying in there, too. Also to protect them from the cats, who love to play with them!

It’s awkward to water in there, and I didn’t want to accidentally spill water on the gourds, so I took them out and put them in the stack of egg trays I’ve got stored next to the tank. I don’t know why I’m keeping these, as we will NOT be using them to start seeds again. That did not work out at all. However…

… an egg tray turned out to be perfect for holding the gourds!

Here are all the Dancing gourds we were able to harvest for drying. There were many, many more on the vines that were too under developed to harvest.

Like this one was. This immature gourd withered as it dried.

This fully mature gourd shows how they change colour as they dry. It’s almost as dry as my finger tips!

Eventually, all of them are supposed to dry to this tan colour. It’s a bit of a shame, because their green stripes look so pretty!

This one looks like a bit of mold had started as it was drying. From everything I’ve read about drying gourds, this is normal and not a problem. When fully dry, they can be scrubbed and sanded.

Which is going to be a bit more difficult with gourds this tiny!

I moved things around inside the tank to fit the tray. Before, they had been just lying on the bottom, so they took up less space. We’ve got a tiny fan we found in the basement to maintain air circulation in the tank.

You can see one of my daughter’s orchids is going to be blooming again, soon! The one flower that is visible is actually completely dried out from the last time it bloomed.

I need to figure out what to do with all these plants, so we can use the tank to start seeds. Since there is no way to lower the lights, we put boxes under that sheet of insulation on the bottom, to bring the seed starting trays close to the lights. This tank has two light fixtures; the one that originally came with it, which lies flat on the top, and one that has stands on the ends to keep it several inches above the top. That one gets warm, and is one of Saffron’s favourite places to sit (along with the heat vents). 😀 She’s so tiny, it’s not an issue, but we’ve caught her brother, Layendecker, on there, too, and he’s about double her size and triple her weight. It’s weird how Saffron has stayed so tiny – even Turmeric is finally starting to fill out a bit – while Big Rig quickly became larger than their mother, and Layendecker, who was probably the smallest of the litter, is now as big as Cheddar!

But I digress…

One of the reasons my daughter’s orchids are in here is because it’s warmer. In the spring, it’ll be warm enough to hang them in front of a window again, but we’ll be needing the tank to start seeds long before then. One of them is small enough that we could probably keep it in the tank after raising the floor higher, but I am not so sure about the bigger one.

The aloe vera, however, will need to come out. We have all sorts of places we can put them, but Cabbages in particular is absolutely dedicated to digging into the plant pots. We’ve been able to create barriers to protect other plants. With one pot, we had to build a cage around it out of hardware cloth, and sometimes I can hear a cat trying to tear through. Which cat it is, I have never been able to find out, since they run off when I come out to check, but the girls and I have caught Cabbages sitting on top of the cage! I’ve seen Tissue trying to climb the cage, too. That Jade tree would have been destroyed long ago, if we hadn’t put that cage around it! Another Jade tree is so big, it covers its pot and protects itself, but we’ve not been able to create a barrier around these pots that the cat’s haven’t been able to get past, and they’re too big and heavy to hang.



When I put the gourds back in the tank to dry, I kept the wizened one to see what’s inside.

The answer is, nothing! It was so immature, I don’t see any sign of developing seeds.

Cutting it open felt a bit like trying to cut a dry, crispy sponge on the inside. Even the outer shell around the widest part felt like cutting through a brittle, rigid foam. It was practically weightless, too.

I haven’t decided what to do with the dried gourds, but I am thinking of cutting open at least the largest one to harvest the seeds. We do still have seeds from last year, so it would be interesting to compare germination rates.

They are so adorable! I look forward to growing more of them. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Low raised beds: ready for planting

Oh, what a lovely day we’re having today! As I write this, we are at 17C/63F, which is a couple of degrees warmer than forecast. We’ve got beautiful blue skies and sunshine, though it was a bit winder than I would have liked – only because I needed to do some spray painting.

While the girls cleaned the eavestroughs, then brought the pieces of insulation from the barn to put around the based of the house, I started with spraying the sign I’m working on with reflective paint. With a white base, the reflective paint is not visible. Later this evening, I want to try taking a picture of it with flash, which should show me how well it worked. According to the label on the can, it works better with a light coat than with a heavy one, so as long as I got good coverage, it shouldn’t need another coat.

That done, I grabbed the baby chainsaw with the one charged battery (I forgot to switch them in the charger!) and did quick work on the high raised bed. After taking about an inch more off the notch on one side, that was done. I had enough juice left in the battery to start cutting away excess on the top of the end piece, where the next log will rest. I didn’t get very far, though.

Those little jobs out of the way, I got to work on the big job! Topping up the low raised beds, so we’ll have somewhere to plant the garlic when it arrives.

One of the beds wasn’t filled as much as the other, so I started with that one, first. We had soil from the potato bags in the kiddie pool, and there are still 10 bags of fingerling potatoes, so I decided to use it as filler, as it had already been amended with organic material. With all the rain we’ve been having it was very wet and heavy! While filling the wheelbarrow, I could see some nice, fat, happy worms in there, too. 🙂

It filled a couple of wheelbarrow loads, with some soil being left to weigh down the kiddie pool, so it doesn’t blow away. I even found a couple of little potatoes that got missed in the process! After spreading it around evenly, I added another three wheelbarrow loads of the garden soil we bought in the spring. I’m really glad we were able to get two dump truck loads! We’d have been out by now, if we hadn’t, I’m sure.

After the one bed was filled, I brought another three wheelbarrow loads of soil for the second bed, then leveled them both with a garden rake.

Next, I split a 40 pound bag of hardwood pellets between the two beds, and worked them into the soil. One of the things we found with the new garden soil is that, over time, it gets really hard and compact. Since we don’t have any compost or manure to help prevent that, the pellets should do the job.

After working the pellets into the top couple of inches of soil, both beds got thoroughly watered, until the pellets reverted to sawdust. They absorb quite a lot of water in the process.

The sawdust does tend to rise to the top, though, so after they got a solid soak, I worked it back into the top couple of inches again.

They are actually a bit fuller than I had intended. The garlic will get a heavy layer of straw mulch after they are planted, so having it a bit lower would have help keep it from blowing away. The beds will settle, though, plus they will be covered with plastic, before we get snow that stays.

If all works as intended, these beds, with their layers of wood and lighter organic material in them, should require almost no watering, even if we have another summer of drought. If we had a wet summer, they should have good drainage, too.

I do find it kind of funny that I had to get these two beds ready for the garlic, because the other beds we have, in the old garden area, still have things growing in most of them! Not counting the one that’s being converted to a high raised bed right now, the only one that’s completely empty had onions growing in it, so I wouldn’t want to plant another allium in it.

It should be interesting to see how the garlic does in these beds!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: direct sown corn and sunflowers, done!

The crab apple trees near the old garden area are starting to bloom. Not all of them yet, but this one was looking gorgeous, today. 🙂

This morning, after all the garden beds were watered, my older daughter and I got to work on the corn and sunflower blocks. She started by making furrows for the seeds and watering them, then I followed behind to plant.

We managed to get 2 corn blocks done, with radishes planted in between, when we stopped for lunch. It started raining, and for a while I thought we wouldn’t have a chance to finish, but it did get done! Mind you, I was getting rained on while planting the last seeds, but not enough for it to be an issue. 🙂

These are the three types of corn that got planted today. At the far end in the photo, is the Sweetness, then Early Eh, and finally the Montauk, in the foreground.

Because the soil is hardest packed the further north we go, we planted the April Cross Chinese Radish, a Daikon type radish, in the northernmost corn block. The packet had much fewer seeds than I expected, so we were able to include them in only 3 of the 5 rows. There was enough Red Meat Watermelon Radish to interplant with the remaining two blocks of corn. Hopefully, both varieties will help with breaking up the hard soil and, once harvested, will give the corn’s roots more room to grow into. This is really late for radishes to be planted; they can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked, however with their short growing season, it should still work out.

The blocks of 3 rows were for the sunflowers. The Mongolian Giant got planted in the block to the north; with how big they are supposed to get, I figured that would work out better. There aren’t a lot of seeds in the packets, but at 2 ft apart, I did end up filling two rows. There will still be the transplants to include, about a week from now. The 3 row block that’s to the south got the Hopi Black Dye sunflowers. The flags mark the block with the Hopi Black Dye and, not being a giant variety, they were planted 18 inches apart. That filled 2 rows as well. Not a single one of the packet we started indoors has germinated, so there is nothing to transplant. We will have more Mongolian Giant transplants than will fill in the one row left in that block, so we might end up splitting them between the two blocks. I didn’t think ahead, and planted seeds on the northern rows. Any Mongolian Giant transplants could end up shading the Hopi Black Dye – though with zero germination from the first packet, I wouldn’t be surprised if none of these germinated, either. I am at a loss as to why the ones we started indoors completely failed to germinate.

Now that these beds are done, we have some time before we can start transplanting, which should be enough time to get the squash tunnel built, and create more beds for them and the other transplants that need them.

Two weeks from now, if all goes well, all the planting (not counting successive sowing) should be done!

The Re-Farmer