Not a whole lot going on in the gardens to date, but, I thought I'd give y'all a peak at what's popping so far. This weekend is a big planting weekend for me. It's still a little before our frost date of May 15th here, but, Mother's Day weekend has been when most of my warm season veg gets put in.
Above are my peas just starting to poke their heads through the earth to reach for the trellis. On the right hand side I will plant cucumbers for pickling. While both of these grow, I will continue to sow lettuce underneath them. The lettuce will receive morning sun for the most part and then will be shaded by the growing vines in the hot afternoon sun. I'm hoping this will allow me to extend my lettuce season, especially since it's the largest amount of a vegetable that we eat.
Here I have some transplanted Flashy Troutback and Five Star mix lettuce. They will be fully ready to harvest in another couple of weeks. In the meantime, I am harvesting some lettuce still in the peat pots I started indoors in my lettuce table experiment.
Bloomsdale spinach transplants. They are struggling, but, still holding their own. I've never had great success with spinach which is a crying shame because it's also a big favorite here in our household.
The onions and shallots are doing just grand. Here I've planted Stuttgarter yellow, Red Baron red (duh!), and a french shallot whose name I can't recall at the moment.
I've also planted Bandit leeks which are limping along, turnips, beets, cabbage, broccoli, two new varieties of strawberries, and my utmost favorite carrots in the world - Nantes. They are all doing just fine. I just need to get straw down in the beds to help mulch all of it.
Two of my white rocks are getting quite bald on the tops of their heads near the combs. I've noticed a lot of fighting between the hens lately, but, I'm not quite sure why. I know the hens constantly need to remind each other of the "pecking" order, but, these girls are just over a year old and I'd figured they would have established this by now with the occasional quarrel.
I did a little online research and it seems that a vitamin deficiency could be the cause as well as boredom. I've also seen that crowded conditions could cause extreme picking on one another.
I have to rule out crowding, because the hens have plenty of room, plus, I do get them out in the yard to free range as much as possible.
So, this keeps bringing me back to the first two possibilities - vitamin deficiency and/or boredom.
Here's were I would like some help from the more experienced chicken crowd - that is, if you would like to pitch in and give some!
How in the world can you tell if a chicken is lacking a certain vitamin? The feed I'm giving them is supposedly balanced, plus they get all the good table scraps, grass, bugs, and whatever they can scratch up to eat. I'm also mixing in ground oyster shell to help with calcium levels.
So, what do y'all think? Vitamins or boredom? I'd love to figure this out so they stop trying to cannibalize each other.. I'm saving that for me in a couple of years :-)