It has been a LONG time since I last posted. Life has been busy (and difficult). I've worked at 5 different jobs since last fall...trying to find that long term career has been more difficult than I ever imagined. I spent the spring semester teaching introductory biology at a community college, which was a blast. However, once May rolled around, I found myself unemployed yet again. That said, the last week and a half since the semester ended has been fantastic!
I got my lettuce and other salad greens planted.
I grew my first ever pullable lettuce plug. For someone with an horticultural background, this is a BIG DEAL!
I've been able to spend all day, every day, in my garden. I've transformed my raised bed garden into a (hopefully) more productive linear bed layout with a drip tape irrigation system. I bought an irrigation kit from www.dripirrigation.com and added a few extra components to customize it to the size of my garden.
The drip-tape system was incredibly easy to install, I didn't even need the instructions once I got the filter and backflow preventer hooked up to my spigot. After last year's drought-like conditions, this is going to be a huge timesaver (and plantsaver). All I have to do is turn on the spigot for about 45 minutes each morning and walk away. The hardest part is remembering to turn the water off again!
My chickens have been enjoying some valuable mommy-and-me time. I've been letting them out into the yard all day every day (except for the day when a giant husky tried to eat them). They are still enclosed in a makeshift fence, so they aren't completely free-ranging (which is illegal in my city, by the way).
I haven't been able to harvest much from the garden yet. However, the perennial herbs and rhubarb have already been quite productive. I made a rhubarb syrup using 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 4 cups chopped rhubarb. I simmered it for about 20 minutes and strained the syrup from the pulp. I imagine the pulp would make great fruit leather, but I didn't want to haul out my giant dehydrator just for one sheet. So far I've used the syrup to make rhubarb soda, which is pretty tasty.
My front tulips, daffodils, and other bulbs were really pretty this spring despite the harsh drought conditions of 2012. After the tough summer last year, I was pretty sure that my bulbs wouldn't do much this spring, but I was wrong. My grape hyacinths were particularly nice this year. I brought these bulbs from my parents house to my new digs four years ago. They have multiplied quite a bit!