When people think of farming, they think of wonderful farmers markets, great produce and friendly people. Very few consider what goes on behind the scenes to get the produce to them.
This week was a hectic once for us with lots of milestones achieved, but it meant that we had to wear the hat of accountant, marketing manager, supervisor and labourer all in one week!
So here is a run down of our mad-cap week…
We got our logo revamped!
Our little mouse needed some inspiration, so we took her to our local graphic design studio and the guys at Avenue de Flaunt came up with some awesome ideas. So bye-bye little blind mouse and hello cute little field mouse. Pity we didn’t have three blind mice to work with!
We started prepping our beds for Winter
The start of Autumn sees us clearing out all our old and tired tomato plants and their trellises. We burn all the dried up plants to reduce fungal disease in future crops, a job that Master 7 truly enjoys (there must be a little pyromaniac in every child as Miss 5 is now wanting to learn how to help with this).
Once the beds are cleared, we add wheel barrow loads of fresh compost straight from one of our compost bins, some ash, trace elements, rock dust, chicken manure and plenty of dried lawn clippings …. then its dig, Dig, DIG!
*Phew, glad its not high Summer*
We started planting our beds for winter crops.
Once all the digging is done, We form up our beds and lay down irrigation pipe. This then gets turned on for a test run and to both moisten and settle the soil before planting.
Where the water drips out is where we plant our new seedlings. All plants can’t stand oxygen at their root zone … this causes them to die back. We always ensure that our new seedlings go into moist ground and then get watered in afterwards as well. This helps settle them into the soil and removes any air holes in the soil surrounding the roots.
This week we planted out…
- Lettuce (red, green and bronze oak leaf; endive; mini cos; red and green coral; red romaine)
- Sorrel (green and red veined)
- Basil (sweet and mini greek)
- Brassicas (broccoli; broccolini; cauliflower; pak choi; red russian kale; tuscan kale)
- Carrots (purple; white; yellow and orange)
- Garlic (Monaro purple; Italian purple; Italian white)
- Herbs (curled and flat leaf parsley; sage; rosemary; thyme; lemon thyme; oregano; garlic chives; nasturtium;
- Onions (red)
We got some new hens delivered to our farm.
We are very strict with bio-security and only source our new breeding stock from eggs which we incubate and grow on ourselves. Our only exception to this is our meat birds, which are grown in a climate controlled and sterile environment then shipped straight to us within 24-48 hours of being born.
Since the devastation of a lot of our breeders due to the local fox population, we have decided to introduce ten new hens to our flock. They have been treated for external and internal parasites so that they do not pass any untoward problems onto our stock. These girls will be placed into their breeding pens shortly.
We started building chicken tractors 3, 4 and 5.
As the breeding season will be coming around soon, we have started to build some new Joel Salatin style chicken tractors. It will start looking like a fleet soon. Can’t wait till they are finished.
We will have one breeding pen each of Plymouth Rock, Araucana and Barnevelder. There will also be a meat bird pen and then a growing pen for all the chicks we hatch older than 6 weeks. Then with our move to our new farm on the horizon, the chicken tractor fleet is set to boom!
We introduced our resident hen to the garden
When our hens go “clucky” (that is they want to sit on and hatch eggs), we schedule their hatch with one of our incubators. That way she can adopt a few extras for us.
Hens are natural Mum’s and they make the funniest noises. Now that her little ones are more than 2 weeks old, they are smart enough to listen o their Mum (mostly) and are at a lower risk of falling down a crack in the ground and dying (yes, this happens).
On the first day out in the garden, the hen only ranged around 3m from the shed she calls home. But once she saw us pulling up the tomato trellises, her curiosity was obvious … and calculated. As soon as we sat down for lunch …. she had called her brood over and was happily showing them how to scratch out bugs and insects from the soil. A few times knocking a chick over in the process due to her enthusiasm.
She makes a different noise for her chicks for different reasons; when intruders approach (like us or the cats), when there is a predator spotted, when there is a nice tidbit of food, when its time for a nap or sleep (yes, chicks sleep during the day just like all babies). It’s quite entertaining to listen to.
Here is a picture of her in the garden near our sweet potato and berry patch.
… then we did some tractor shopping.
We have been on the look out for a small tractor for our new farm for the last few months. Now that the land has settled, we can start looking in earnest as we have somewhere to store it now. 🙂
Checking out tractors is like checking out cars … if you don’t know what you want to begin with, you’ll only be attracted to the new and shiny gadgets.