May 1, 2016

Chick Nursery and Hardy Fruit Trees

Homemade Chick Nursery
We ordered six Red X day old chicks from TSC that are due to arrive on May 4th.  We bought our current three hens as pullets so these will be our first chicks.  We've been busy building a chick nursery and monitoring the temperature.  We've tried a different design, than the usual heat lamp hanging over a box, as we've heard that this can cause chick loss if not set up properly.  Our chick nursery uses two halogen bulbs to heat underneath the nursery floor.  We've also built a very sturdy lid to keep the cat out.  Now we just need some chicks....waiting for TSC to call us to pick them up.

Planting Vegetable Seeds Indoors

We planted two kinds of heirloom cucumber seeds yesterday, mostly in recycled newspaper pots.  Today we need to make more newspaper pots to plant the broccoli, muskmelon and watermelon seeds.  I set the seed trays up in the sunroom and according to the weather forecast it should be above 0 Celsius from here on out overnight, so I shouldn't have to carry the seedlings inside overnight anymore.

Cold Hardy Fruit Trees

I've been cruising websites to learn about cold hardy fruit trees.  Some fruit trees have just arrived at the local garden nursery.  I bought two plum trees, Brookgold plum and Brookred plum.  These plums trees are listed as zone 3.  The Brookgold is covered in blossoms and the Brookred has a few near the tree trunk.  The two varieties need to be planted together to be able to cross pollinate.  I was concerned that one is labeled as early blooming and the other late blooming but now that I see they both have flowers at the same time, I'm reassured that they should cross pollinate well.

I also came across some dwarf Juliet cherry trees at Canadian Tire labeled as Backyard Bounty brand.  They are rated as zone 3 and don't require cross pollination.  They are only about 1 foot high now and are expected to grow to about 6 foot tall. I've seen mixed reviews on the sweetness of the cherries but they are supposed to be sweet enough for fresh eating.  Last year I bought some gooseberry and current bushes of the same brand and they've all survived through the winter without any problems.  Since these cherry trees are not growing very tall I could fit them in close to the vegetable garden and attempt to make a permaculture guild around them.  But I'm not sure if maybe it would be better to plant them closer to the plum trees.