This morning I had the opportunity to take a walk around the farm without anyone else around and see all the little changes that have been happening lately. We have quite a few ongoing projects at the moment that have been progressing nicely…
We seem to have improved our salad-growing capacity now that the salads are grown in a more sheltered environment. Up here on the mountain we get strong winds that can shred the leaves of even the most hardy plants.
We also learned the importance of succession planting: for us that means making sure we have a constant supply of baby salads to replace the ones we are eating. Its very tempting to plant all your seeds at once, but actually it is more efficient to raise twenty seedlings a fortnight and spread them out amongst the larger plants they will eventually replace.
After a slow start due to mice eating up half our seedlings, we have managed to fight back against the rodents by various means, including homemade pepper spray, and now our brassicas are starting to look like food. In the veggie garden right now we have 65 broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages on the way and looking promising. At this point a bit of rain would be very welcome, as we have had a dry winter so far.
Many, if not most, of our vegetables are grown in hugel mounds. Resembling hairy lumps, they have a central core of old logs that store water and nutrients for the plants.
On top of the logs are layers of leaves, weeds, compost, and most importantly absolutely loads of goat manure. The original hugel mounds we made way back in 2018 are now looking spectacular with a variety of plants growing in them, including the majestic artichokes that are providing a lot of shade and shelter to the plants beneath.
Other, newer, hugel mounds are also very productive but don’t look quite as spectacular as the original mounds do, and that’s because they haven’t built up the same amount of compost underneath the layers, so they cant support as wide a variety of plants yet. They probably haven’t had as much chance to soak up and store water inside the core, as they do look a bit drier – but given time they will catch up and look just as green and lush.
The Chicken Houses
We enjoy their eggs but we also enjoy their company, and this week we made lots of progress on the chicken house building project. The goal was to increase the amount of housing so that we could keep more birds and to upgrade the current housing so that humans could fit inside and interact with them more.
Our current volunteers Megan and Isaac have more than doubled the size of the current chicken house, and raised the roof to allow for humans to fit inside too!
The new chicken house is taking shape and we are looking forward to getting more birds and giving them this awesome custom-built home. My favourite part is the little nesting boxes with the sloped roof, I can’t wait to see them in there having a great time!
Midnight and Coffee, the first of this year’s baby goats, are doing great. I see them every morning when I am doing the milking, but rarely do I have the time or the energy at 7am to play leapfrog with two rambunctious baby goats. It is lovely to see them growing fatter and fatter now that they are supplementing their diets with hay and olive leaves. Their coats are shiny and soft and they are both still small enough that you can pick them up for a cuddle and rub your face in their soft little necks.