Tomato towers, chicken RIP, and bees

Tomato cages

Tomato cages

Yay! I arrived home today to find a giant package from Gardener’s Supply Company. I could easily spend way too much at Gardener’s so I try to focus my purchases on “infrastructure” items that should last many seasons. Out of the package I unloaded the six tomato towers that I ordered.  I’m glad these arrived when they did because the tomatoes are starting to grow much faster now and it would be problematic to try to put the cages over the tomatoes once they are too big. These cages are quite popular and were back-ordered (I had to wait three weeks to get them), but they are here now and all set up. Yay!

Tomato blossom

Tomato blossom

The tomato cages are going over tomatoes planted in a raised bed in the greenhouse.  Tomatoes need warmth and they’ll get that in the greenhouse.  They look quite happy, growing quickly now, and are starting to blossom.  The rapid growth does bring up on area where I keep having problems: tomato pruning. Here’s a general Fine Gardening video about why to prune and how and a second that covers early pruning specifically. I’m going to try to stay on top of this this year!

Orchard mason bee house, May 9

Orchard mason bee house, May 9

Orchard mason bee house, May 17
Orchard mason bee house, May 17

In just a bit over a week, the orchard mason bees have filled many more of the egg tubes.  I believe these will be completely full in the next few weeks. 

On to other critters.  We had a chicken die this week.  The poor thing became wobbly and couldn’t walk.  We researched what type of disease it could be, but weren’t sure what we were dealing with.  I had Derek reluctantly ready to put the poor girl out of her misery (he even sharpened a hatchet), but we decided in the end to take her to a vet to see if we should be worried about the rest of the flock.  The vet said she had a bacterial infection that caused liver failure. So far, the other chickens appear to be OK.  One thing we’ve decided, though, is to set up a second coop/run for the chickens so that we can rotate them from one area to another and give them fresh ground. We’re going to set up the second coop and run in the goat pasture in the next few weeks.  I’d love to be able to let them completely roam free in the pasture, but we would definitely risk chicken death via predator by doing that. I suppose I can set up a lawn chair in the pasture and let them roam while I keep guard over them while reading a book.
Happy gardening!
PS: I harvested the first few alpine strawberries yesterday. Yum.


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5 Responses to Tomato towers, chicken RIP, and bees

  1. kitsapfg says:

    Having a reason to sit in a lawn chair, read a book, and soak up some sun – sounds pretty sweet to me! Sorry you lost the one chicken. Aren’t the Gardener’s Supply tomato cages nice? I love all of mine ( and I have quite a few!).

  2. Lisa says:

    wow! your site looks great!! I used to check it quite regularly but then life got in the way and my blog reading dropped off. I’ll have to get back into the habit! You have been a busy bee with all your projects and posting. I am way totally beyond jealous of your greenhouse. A girl can dream. I will have one someday, rest assured. Until then, my planties will just have to brave the elements and be behind yours! I am jealous of the tomato towers too…I think I’m going to stake mine again this year, as it worked much better than any regular cages I’ve ever used, but the towers seem like they’d be perfect. I’m excited to see how you do with them. OK, I gotta get back to work, so I can’t catch up on all your posts now, but thanks for stopping into Lisa Has Chickens and saying hi. It is nice to hear from you. As for the the pumpkins in the strawbales… I’m just making this up as I go, based loosely on various things I’ve read. Your guess is as good as mine with the soil on top. Plus, if you are not direct-seeding (I didn’t read all the way through, but I think I caught a glimpse of pumpkin starts in seed trays), then you don’t need any soil on the straw, so I’m sure you’re good. It will be fun to compare results come late summer/early fall!


  3. Laura, I agree! Doesn’t sound too bad at all!

    Lisa, looks like I forgot to post the picture of the pumpkin plants in the straw bales. They are indeed started plants, not seeds, so hopefully it will work out without the extra soil. I’ll let you know how the tomato towers work out. Laura, from, says they are great and she should know!

  4. Nancy says:

    The chair solution is a great idea to keep most predators away, but forget the book…the chichis are so fun to watch and interact with you won’t get much reading done!

  5. sustainableeats says:

    Tomato tower envy!

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