Red Wicket Market Farm is a small farm 25 minutes from downtown Columbus, Ohio, near Slate Run Metropark. Breeding Black Copper and Blue Copper Marans to the Standard of Perfection.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The seeds have germinated... and toys for goats

The tomato seeds I planted last week jumped up! I thought that I'd have to wait a bit, and that my germination rate would be low because I was using last years' seeds, so I sowed them pretty thickly.

I needn't have worried.

Yay, tomaotes!

I think I had close to 100% germination on tomatoes. My eggplants (also last years' seed) are just breaking though. Malvia is up. But no sign of peppers, herbs, or any other flowers. Waiting for germination is really difficult for me!

Now that the plants are up, I have the lights turned on. You can't really see from the photo, but the bulbs are perhaps 1" away from the plants. The closer you put the lights, the less leggy your seedlings will be. There is also a small fan blowing on the seedlings. The fan keeps air circulating so that my seedling don't fall prey to "damping off," which is a disease caused by several different kinds of fungi that cause seedling stems to rot just above the soil surface. The blowing air also moves the seedlings about, which causes stronger, thicker stems. If you don't have a fan, you should pet your seedlings every time you walk near them to get the same effect. Just brush your hand lightly over them.

C'mon, peppers!
Besides waiting for seeds to sprout, we're also waiting for chicks to hatch. One of our young hens REALLY wanted to sit on eggs this spring. This is called "going broody," and she'd referred to as a "broody hen." When hens go broody, a hormonal change causes them to stop laying eggs and want to sit on eggs instead. They flatten themselves in the nest box and don't get up for days. There is also a very particular look in their eyes--it mostly says "Back off Buster, or I'll GET you!"

Some hens will go broody and then get up halfway through, killing the eggs. This girl proved herself to me by sitting in the nest box for five straight days without moving, so I gave in and gave her some eggs to hatch. I only gave her four eggs--a white one, a blue one, a brown one and a green one--since this is her first clutch. Her babies are due to hatch on 3-26-13. We also have a clutch of eggs in the incubator, due to hatch on Easter. Waiting for chicks to hatch is just as bad as waiting for seeds to sprout! :) I did cheat, though. I just stopped at the feed store and couldn't resist 12 fluffy little Easter Egger chickies. They're so cute, with their fluffy cheeks.

On the way to the feed store, I saw some giant spools with the word FREE painted on them. You know, the spools that electrical wire comes on? With help from the nice guys that work for the electical co-op, we loaded one spool on the back of the truck. I'm sure you're wondering what I want to do with a giant spool...

It's a goat toy!

Have a great week, everyone!