Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Country Garden Showcase #25

Hello Friends!
It's been a HOT week over here in sunny Southern California.  It's 92 degrees outside right now and it's after 6pm. Yikes!   This is not normal for our little mountain valley in June.  Needless to say, I have not been doing too much outside these past few warm days.

In the garden...
I did finally take the time to perform a soil test on a few suspect boxes that I amended this spring with some  purchased compost.  My suspicion was correct.  There's a problem.  The boxes in question have a pH of around 8.0.  That's way too hot.  I felt this was my problem, but now I know for sure.  This is a good lesson for me.  I will never again amend without soil testing BEFORE planting into the bed AND I will pay better attention to compost/existing soil ratios.  Ugh.  Anyway, I have a few choices to make now.  I can either add a soil acidifier that will take a few months to bring the pH down or I can dilute the pH by adding some new soil with lower pH.  I need those beds planted yesterday so I am adding new soil and I'll pH test again before I plant into the beds.  My Master Gardener instructor also advised me to leach 3x before planting into any new composted soil so I'll be doing that too...

In the chicken coop...
My hens are growing so fast and their getting BIG.  Two of my little gals actually got their legs hung up in between bars on the roost this week and are limping.  I have looked them over and felt their legs up and down.  There appear not to be any broken bones, but they're limping about a fair bit for now.  I have them separated from the rest of the group, and they're eating and digesting well.  I hope they get better soon.  I'm very fond of them all.

In the apiary...
Well, this week I was blessed with help from several friends.  We performed multiple hive inspections.  There are queens in each hive, but I do have one problem.  My italian hive seems to have a new queen.  This is the hive that swarmed at two months old.  I recaptured the half that left and reintroduced them to the mother hive a few weeks later, after I observed that all of the swarm cells had hatched and I could not find a new queen.  The queen I found this week looks like my new world carniolan or nwc/russian cross queen, NOT the old golden italian queen.  She is laying brood nicely and has the hive calm.  

Now, I have to figure out who she is...  is she one of the progeny I saw in those queen cells that somehow successfully mated and returned to the hive?  or maybe she's the nwc marked queen that I bought to replace the old queen two months ago, and she lost her bright yellow marker?  or is she the nwc/russian cross queen that came with the russian bee packege that flew away and had to be replaced the week they arrived???  Please look at her picture and tell me what you think happened here?

Well, I am pretty happy that my kefir grains are still alive.  It's been two weeks and I haven't killed them yet. I adapted a southern biscuit recipe to use whole wheat flour and kefir and the hubby loves them.  Smile!  Even my sick chicks have been enjoying a little kefir mixed into their crumbles at night.  I read in a few chicken books that probiotics like kefir are very good for them when they're under stress or injured.  It seems to have helped perk them up too.  They're still limping, but now they're up moving around to eat, eating much better, and drinking water regularly.

just because...
My wildflowers are starting to bloom all over the yard.  These are some of my favorite hollyhocks.  They are so hearty and they come back year after year.  I left lots of wild mustards blooming too for the honeybees to enjoy.   That's all for now.
What have YOU been working on in your garden lately???
This week I am linking up to share this post on the Homestead Barn Hop!


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about the chicks! I thought one of ours was injured too but it turns out she likes dust baths, all the time! Strange little chick.

    The holly hocks look super! I like those and glads but never had good luck with the holly hocks. I must have planted them in the wrong place.

    Hope you get the PH down. I'm on vacation so haven't done much yet. Looking forward to reading everyone's posts.

  2. I so enjoyed this and every post. You have been very busy, try not to get too hot out there.