Monday, April 23, 2007


Living in hope actually paid off this time. In this case, a sacrifice of cole crops yielded a rich harvest of ideas for improvements.

By daylight, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the sheep had not eaten the onions, garlic, etc. to the ground. Instead, they concentrated mainly on certain weeds in the garden: bromegrass and dock. Since these are such horrors in the garden that they are listed as "Pinwheel Farm Noxious Weeds" in the Pinwheel Farm Environmental Policies, I was better able to take in stride the destruction of some of what coles crops (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) were still limping along after the terribly cold weather last week. One of the "community gardeners" at the farm sustained some damage to cole crops as well.

I did learn that the Lexan rowcovers, in addition to protecting the cole crops and lettuce from freezing, protect against rabbits and sheep. So do floating row covers jurry-rigged from old "sheer" window curtains. I'll plan to cover all cole crops in the future, because the adversities they've faced so far will almost certainly be followed by onslaughts of cabbage butterflies with their hungry caterpillars, and harlequin bugs in colorful hords

Cole crops tend to do well as fall crops in this region, and by then maybe we'll have all the "bugs" worked out of gates, row covers, etc. So this will motivate me to try fall cole crops for a change.

It also motivates me to try growing related crops (kale/collards/rape) especially as spring and fall forage for the sheep, since I remember them making a beeline for the cole crops during garden raids in previous years.

I fixed an additional gate in the barn, to provide "secondary containment" against incursions from that direction.

Finally, I set up an Electronet portable electric fence in part of the garden so that they can graze on the brome and dock in those areas until I have time to mulch them for tomatoes, pleasing their palates and helping control weeds at the same time.

It all adds up pretty well, considering the odds.

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