Gardening with Guarded Optimism

So far so good in the Food It Yourself garden this year. I hesitate to say things are wonderful, because my pride last year at this time was quickly quashed by woodchucks. Yes, I am still bitter. Woodchucks are terrible people. Fight me.

I ate my first ripe strawberry today, which is about right for the second week of June in New England. There are plenty more coming. We might or might not get a batch of jam this year, but we will certainly enjoy a few smoothies.

We have had a bit of a challenge with twitchy cotton-tailed freeloaders (a.k.a rabbits) nibbling the parsley. I have procured some repellent spray and another six-pack of parsley. I planted the new parsley in the raised bed with my string beans. Then, I put a chickenwire fence around that bed. “They” say rabbits are less inclined to nibble raised beds, but I am no taking a single chance. I want tabbouleh this summer. Additionally, I added more marigolds to the defensive perimeter of both the raised beds and the front yard beds where the remaining parsley plants are trying to recover. Am I the only one who empathizes with Mr. McGregor?

Most of the other plants are developing slowly but surely. Cucumbers, luffa gourds, zucchini, and string beans are all leafing out and looking fine. The sweet corn and tomatoes are loving the warmer days we have had recently. The potatoes are really looking alive.

Not bad for something that would have otherwise ended up in the trash or compost pile!

The most exciting news is that the chicks (I guess they are technically poulettes at this stage) are now outside in the Big Girl Coop. Last weekend, Mr. Food It Yourself and I knew we had to muck out the brood box. We realized, though that the “chicks” were too big to escape through the wire mesh of the run. Mucking out a brood box is not the most fun thing to do. We decided put the new girls outside. Here is the big moment.

Martha Clucker and Madame Ovary have not embraced their younger sisters 100%, but these things take time. We are doing All The Things that are recommended when blending flocks, like maintaining multiple sources of food and water and offering treats. It will all work out in the end. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that we made sure Martha and Madam had their peepers on.

This is an exciting time for gardeners in central New England. Things are growing, changing and evolving over night, it seems. What is happening in your garden? Share in the comments section. I am also looking for a good Hasenpfeffer recipe…(just saying)

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