Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Of Cabbages and Chicks......

No, not a cabbage. A chick playing King of the Brooder.  After watching today's chick flick, can you
tell me if this is a little cockerel or a pullet?

cabbages in the cold frame (sounds like that could be the name of a rock band) I have the used bubble wrap as an extra insulator, since my cold frames aren't set into the ground and have a few air gaps around the edges. 
 Today, I planted 43 pots of cabbage seeds in seed pots, and put them in the cold frame.  Seems fitting on St. Patty's Day to be planting cabbages. Even better, this is one day of the year, we will have some meat, because St. Patty's Day without Corned Beef and Cabbage is just... wrong..... I was able to get a lovely small corned brisket, grass fed and organic, and just brined, no nitrates or other nasties.... It sure smells good in the kitchen right now.....

But I digress.... I selected 4 varieties of cabbage.  They are all open pollinated, meaning they will produce seeds that are genetically like the parents, unlike hybrids. I want to save seeds from year to year, so must stick with open pollinated varieties.
I selected:
Copenhagen Market, and relatively fast grower and good for storage. Medium size round heads. (15)
Frigga Green Savoy -  a pretty quick grower also. I like Savoy cabbage. It is beautiful in the garden too. (8)
Red Acres - an early red cabbage, medium size, good for storage. (12)
Cuor di Bue Grosso- these are new for me.. a conical shaped head, very sweet, good for fresh eating. (8)

I will be planting more, and will also do a direct seed in the garden later in the year.
Temperature inside the cold frame, even on a dark cloudy day and me lifting the lids to work  And even with it getting down into the 20's at night. .
 No need to worry much about these seeds, as the above photo demonstrates. The beauty of the cold frame is that it jumps the season by at least a month, maybe more like 6-8 weeks, by it's solar effect.  Much like the inside of your car gets warm, even in winter, on sunny days, the cold frame absorbs the solar rays and warms up nice and toasty.

Very dirty sap trays
And now that the fun task is over, I will have to see what I can do with these trays that we will use for boiling the sap.  I got some scrubbin' to do!!!!

Today is Day 7 of the Chick Flick... I talk about how to tell the gender of your little chicks.  At this stage, when they are beginning to put out a few tiny pin feathers, there is a very simple, and surprisingly accurate, way to tell what sex they are. So, if you hatch out chicks at home, either in an incubator, or under a broody hen, here's how you can tell what you've got. You just have to wait about 10 days after hatching.
Day 7 Chick Flicks
Sap today :  First buckets totaled about 3  gallons. I will do another check late in the day. Temps are in the 40's, cloudy and gray!

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