Goin’s Ons

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit! Happy first day of the month and a Happy May Day to you all. We are officially halfway between spring and summer and here on the farm, that means planting time. Our hard frosts have ended in Mountain Ranch about two weeks earlier than usual. That may be because of a change in elevation, but I suspect it has much more to do with our mild and dry winter season this year.

In any case, I am oh so happy to be finishing up our first hügelkultur bed and should be planting our starts this evening or tomorrow. First we have to pick up some tall fencing before I will trust any plants outdoors with the droves of deer around.

Hügelkultur beds are certainly not for the faint of heart. We priced some fill-dirt locally and decided that regular ol’ dirt is ridiculously expensive. $50 a yard? Ugh… I think not. Prices like that make me miss the free horse manure compost at the stables around the corner from where we used to live. Then again, carting free compost home from over an hour away isn’t very economical either.

So we decided to save the dirt from the hole we made digging the bed out and then found a random mound of dirt in the garden area and leveled that off using the dirt for the hügelkultur as well.

The whole trick of hügelkultur beds is to use nice, big logs and then a layer of dirt at least one foot thick on top. It can be a pain to find that much dirt, especially if you didn’t feel like digging a massive hole several feet deep in your yard, but it is worth the extra effort to have a hügelkultur that grows well.

I will share pictures once we have our last layer of icky goat straw on top. I am hoping that the straw will hold everything together and help the soil retain moisture. Mostly, it looks like a heap of dirt in the middle of our front yard, but I can assure you that this was a big project. All of our center beds will be the same size as our first bed, about 15 feet long by 4 feet wide and a little over 3 feet tall. We also dug out the initial bed about 1 foot deep.

This month I also hope to get an enclosure, of sorts, set up for turkeys and get those suckers ordered. My general idea is to build a small hoop house using the thick-gauge wire fencing I already have. Then, after I butcher the turkeys in the fall, I can cover the hoop house with plastic and use it for a mini-greenhouse in the winter. That’s the plan anyway…

Any turkey breed recommendations? I’m going for a heritage breed.

9 thoughts on “Goin’s Ons

  1. I have grown Standard Bronze and Narragansett. They really need a full year to make a good size but they’re tasty. This year I have barn yard run mix of Bourbon Reds, Narragansett and SBs. The breeder said they will grow bigger faster than the purebreds. We’ll see. They were hatched in early March so I’m giving them as much time before Thanksgiving as I can. Last year I also did 5 Broad Breasted Bronze. They grow large fast, 23 pound hens and 38 pound toms dressed, and don’t have the flavor of the heritage but they are better than anything from a CAFO.

  2. Ooh, I love the idea of hoop house for turkeys in the summer and then a greenhouse in the winter…I’m definitely going to be using that in the future!

  3. I am really enjoying my Royal Palms. They are friendly. They are slower to mature, though, so wouldn’t be ready for Thanksgiving or Christmas if you are just getting around to ordering them now. More like Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s. Whatever you look at, if you want them for the holidays, make sure they are faster to mature.

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