It has been a busy last few months preparing for the growing season and for 4-H projects at the county fair. Spring is in full swing. Below is a glimpse of some of the activity.
At the beginning of March, the chicks that the boys will show at the fair arrived in the mail from the hatchery. They are now about 2 1/2 months old and at the growth stage they boys’ refer to as “high schoolers.” They will be full grown at about 5 months of age when they will be shown at the county fair.
Recently, the hens are laying eggs of all sizes. The chicks that Sam’s class hatched this fall are starting to lay eggs. Hens are about 4-5 months old when they are full grown and ready to naturally start laying an egg about every 24-26 hours. The small size that the young hens are laying is a pee-wee egg. The larger eggs pictured are from our older hens that are about 1 1/2 yearss old.
At the end of April, the boys bought 3 pigs which they plan to show at the county fair this summer when the pigs have reached their market weight. Pigs are full grown in about 5-6 months when they will weigh approximately 260-280 pounds. After the boys pigs arrived, the local veterinarian visited to check on pig health and discuss the pig’s healthcare with the boys. Farmers work hand in hand with their local veterinarians to provide the best quality care for their animals.
We collected soil samples from each of our field areas. Steve made a soil probe collector which would dig down a couple of inches into the field to collect a sample of the soil. We collected 5-6 soil samples from different areas of each field. Labeled the bag and brought the soil samples to our local farm co-op to be tested to evaluate soil health and help us to know what nutrients we should apply to the soil to help grow healthier plants.
The rhubarb is growing like crazy. Our rhubarb was transplanted from the farm my dad grew up on. The Harner Brothers are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on the family farm near Tracy by their great-great grandparents after immigrating from Norway and transplanted to our home near Northfield.
Last fall, we planted rye grass as a cover crop to provide “green manure” and “feed” our soil with good nutrients. As soon as it warmed up the rye grass began to grow again – just like grass in many lawns. The cover crop has grown well. We are interested in how it will improve soil health and in turn, once tilled into the fields it is currently growing in – how it will help improve soil health which will grow healthy plants and vegetables.
During the boys’ spring break, we spent a day doing agriculture in the classroom visits with students in St. Paul. It was a great day, and we are grateful for coworkers and the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom for their help.