All winter we weathered the storms, but we kept at the raising and tending too of the animals, namely the chickens and rabbits. However, in winter, there is not much to be done with chickens except keeping up with the water and feedings of the birds. You are not supposed to clean the chicken house in fall in preparation for winter as this could really get the chickens sick and then throughout winter, it is a good chance you could lose your whole flock. So chicken coop cleaning is reserved for spring when the birds are less susceptible to being closed in enough to breed disease from the stirring of the chicken coop mess on the floor.
Rabbits, however, will need to be constantly cleaned up after. We had the rabbits in a house that had a dirt floor, this is great as all the liquid is soaked into the ground leaving all the firm waste to be collected. So all winter we cleaned after the rabbits, taking all their manure to the “garden to be” come spring. Lots of compost was also tossed aside into the garden to be such as morning coffee grounds, tea bags etc. To top it off, this is where we dumped our winter ash from the wood stove. So can you imagine the fertilizing benefits of all mentioned already? Well we were hoping for that as well.
Come time to till that garden plot (this years garden was in virgin soil) we tilled it all in there, spent straw from rabbits and chicken houses included. The soil was black in most places when I planted. Now, June 2nd we are noticing the bounty of our hard work. The garden is growing well, but is there a such thing as TOO WELL?? We planted potatoes in March, our first crop right along side those we planted a bounty of large yellow onion bulbs. The onions seem to be growing at a normal pace, maybe slightly slower than we are used too, but still, doing ok, it seems. However, the potatoes (Yukon Gold and Red organic) are out of control to say the least!
First came the growing spurt, they hit almost 3 feet tall a week ago and then came the hard May rain, and I mean a flood. Well the potatoes as well as all of the garden was just beat down to the dirt. We lost none, and it all bounced back as it was late in the growing season and the rain did not have enough power to hold the strong plants down long. The potato plants, on the other hand, seemed to suffer….or did they? After a week they are still growing although still beat down, they never bounced back up, BUT they kept on growing and now most are over 3 feet tall, IF they stood upright. They are snaked, but still growing and at the tip of the plant they are growing up, towards the sun!
I attempted to straighten them, breaking one and then another, and with the weight of the plants, I decided it was hopeless and that I should just leave nature to see what it could do alone. As I said, they are still growing, at least the above ground plants are. I have yet to see what is taking place underground. One can only hope for a bountiful crop of potatoes. Potatoes, I know, are heavy eaters. That is, they need and use tons of fertilizer. I think we may have that whooped, BUT are they producing potatoes of great size underground? We don’t yet know. I am asking around, have you ever heard of staking up potatoes??
I have never experienced potatoes growing this mad. I can only hope they are doing this well underground. With all the rain Missouri has had this past May you would think a great possibility of Potato famine, but there are no signs, thankfully. Soon we will post pictures of this summer’s garden and if you read the post on the garden all planted in May and seen the barren looking pictures, you will be amazed. So the question remains, have you, ever heard of staking up potatoes???