Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not babies anymore; fertilizing; first squash

Here is a photo of the first, tiny zucchini squash of the year.  Some folks pick the squash, with blossom, at this stage to cook and eat.  I'm going to wait for the bigger prize.  Squash grow very fast, so unless we have a problem from one of the many insects who feast on squash, I may be harvesting this one this week.    You may note that the squash plant, like the green beans, are too yellow.  I think that the plants here are suffering from the combination of low pH (I have limed the bed, but it has not yet taken full effect) and the use of nitrogen by the soil  microorganisms as they break down all the uncomposted organic matter I added to this bed.  I couldn't apply a second round of blood meal, as the dog liked the smell way too much, and jumped up into and began digging in the bed.  So, to help the plants while this bed becomes more stable, I added about 2 cups of an 8-8-8 fertilizer, scuffed it into the soil, and then watered it well.  I kept the fertilizer away from the very base of the plants to avoid any fertilizer burn.  
Here are the chicklets, not so small any more.  The big fluffy thing is our dog's tail.  Bunnie is the big one, with the bright gold striping.  Lena is the little black one that still looks more like a song bird than a chicken.  Expresso is the striped one with the gray (called blue in chickens) undertone.  Expresso came from the elementary school 4H embryology hatch.  We won't know for a few more weeks who, if anyone, in this bunch is a hen.  I'm getting worried, as combs are starting to show pink, and early coloring in the comb is supposed to be the sign of a rooster.  I'll let you know who crows.