This is the view from the window in my office. Each March for one week I get a beautiful view. It is my favorite work week that I look forward to each year. It also means it is time to go fishing!
Two Thursdays ago the 1000 strawberries I ordered and the 10 blackberry plants I ordered arrived. It then proceeded to rain until the following Sunday. I was able to get the blackberries in the ground on that Saturday despite the rain. I potted the strawberries until it dries up and I also have time to get to them. That time will apparently be Saturday morning. I might plant all of these at my grandfather in-laws and community garden as my tiller needs to have a tune up before I can get it going this year.
I will be very disappointed if I don't get some strawberries planted at our house because it will be difficult to get to the other locations with the hectic schedule of work and sports we have. I do miss two years ago when we were getting 7 clamshells full of strawberries a day for a month.
The strawberries we ordered were the Honeyoe variety. We came to this because my grandfather in-law has grown these in the past and been happy with them. The Chandler variety everyone recommends was somewhat disappointing two years ago. I believe the excessive rain affected the flavor of these and made some soggy.
For the blackberries I got the Prime Ark Liberty plants which is the first thornless primocane variety per what I have read online. I am excited about trying a primocane variety which gives you a summer and fall crop. I am assuming this will be like the raspberries I have. In various You Tube videos I have seen there have been people recommending the thorny primocane blackberries over the thornless varieties. I think this could be the best of both worlds. There was a premium for these versus the traditional thornless, but I thought it was a good enough deal for 10 of these. Hopefully next year we will be back to our 2013 levels of blackberries or better.
I bought all the strawberries and blackberries from Simmons Plant Farm in Arkansas. www.simmonsplantfarm.com is the website. I highly recommend them for all your plant needs. If you are ordering strawberries by quantities larger than what is on the website you might want to ask to see if there are discounts.
Everything has started to bud out and things are getting beautiful around the garden. The family also got me two Fall Gold Raspberry plants for my birthday which I planted. I am looking forward to seeing the difference between the Anne Raspberries and the Fall Gold Raspberries.
The past two weekends we have went to Tractor Supply and they have had baby chicks. Last weekend we first went to the Tractor Supply in Gallatin while my wife shopped at a nearby store. They had Australorp hens and Khaki Campbell ducks. The kids of course wanted to get chickens or ducks, but there was no way I wanted 6 of one type of chicken. We looked at the types on the card by the chicken area and picked out our favorites. We narrowed it down to about 10 types: Barred Rocks, Buff Brahma, Ameracauna, Russian Orloff (Luke's favorite), Cukoo Maran, Silkies, Andalusian, Dominique, Speckled Sussex, and Silver Laced Wyandotte. We left to pick up Kacy and decided to check out the Tractor Supply in Hendersonville.
Before walking in I shook hands and agreed that unless they had any of the breeds we liked we would not buy any. They had Amber pullets, Australorps, Cornish Cross and what appeared to be New Hampshire Red. I kept telling the kids no, but in the end I googled what an Amber pullet was. It appears to be a cross between a Rhode Island Red and Red Island White and supposedly a great egg layer. So we got 4 of those and the New Hampshire Red and an Australorp.
We went back again this Sunday to kill some time and see what they had. They ended up having Bantam chickens of several different varieties. The kids continued to want more, but there was no way I was going to buy six more. There were some Silkies in there, but there were two types that caught our eye. Kacy loved the small brown ones with a stripe on their back. They were cute and looked like a chipmunk to me. I really liked the ones with a yellow head, but had white and black barring at the wings. The kids asked if they could ask the workers if they could just buy two since we bought 6 last week. The worker indicated no that the license with the State only allows them to sell a minimum of 6 and even after you walked out and came right back in you would have to buy 6.
After talking to a young couple for awhile they decided to buy some. I told them if they would get eight that I would pay for all of them if they gave us the two we liked. They agreed so now we have a couple of bantams. It appears that I picked a Silver Laced Sebright. I am not sure what the chipmunk is yet.
We put them in with our other chicks and after a few minutes of getting acquainted they all seem to be getting along fine. It is painfully obvious we can not go back to Tractor Supply until May. I am going to have to build a bigger coop too. We also promised Luke a Easter Egger and a a Buff Brahma for his birthday (and an Orloff if we can find it). We could need to move!
Erich is an avid gardener who has his own home garden consisting of annual vegetable crops and as many perennial fruit plants he can possibly plant, runs a church sponsored community garden, tends his chickens and a rabbit, enjoys experimenting with growing techniques and living more sustainably.