Here we are nearing the end of May. I've got newly hatched chicks, hens sitting on eggs, hens are laying about 12 eggs a day, baby rabbits being born...and a garden to plant. I've been letting the chickens out trying to coerce them into tilling up my raised garden beds for me. But they also tilled up my planters and the driveway and whatever else they can dig up. I wanted to get my planters by the doorstep done so I seeded them and covered them with bird netting. Hopefully I can remove it without any interference once the plants get bigger.
The chickens did do a decent job of tilling the garden beds for me. But I quickly realized that before I could plant, I'd need to put up a fence. Not only would they be in it, so was the cat and the dog. I bought some 1x3 8' strapping and had the guys cut them in half for me. When I got them home my husband cut points on one end of each board (except for two), so I could drive them in the ground. I decided to fence them both in together so I'd only have one gate to build and use less fencing. After I had them all in the ground I just took a roll of chicken wire and wrapped it the whole way around, stapling it as I went. I bought four corner braces and screwed together a couple boards to make the frame for my gate, attached to the last post with small hinges. And I used a hook and eye for a latch. Done. And it didn't take me veryingn at all and was relatively inexpensive. (Less than $40)
This year I rotated my crops. Planting the pumpkins where I usually do the tomatoes, and vice versa. I cut back a little bit, hoping I'd have more luck with crops if I had less to focus on. Last year I grew about 3 cucumbers. Which was probably plenty for me, but not worth the space they took up. Also, I decided on just two varieties of pumpkins this year instead of trying 4. I chose to forgo the jack-o-lantern pumpkins and the Dill's Atlantic Giant. I've only planted white and blue this year. My friend is planting regular pumpkins and we've decided on a trade when the time comes for harvesting. I also chose not to do peppers or corn this year. Never had much luck with either, so why waste my time? I did however plant both black and cherry tomatoes this year, along with spinach, borage, carrots, and I bought some green onion and garlic bulbs to try my hand at.
I also scaled back on flower seeds. No need to waste my time and money on things I can't get to grow. I actually bought an echinacea plant yesterday, because I've tried for years to get them to grow.
I must mention that I did not start any of these plants in the house. I direct seeded everything this year. With all the extra animals and working on different projects I just don't have the time or space to plant inside and then try to acclimatize them outside before planting. I think a small greenhouse is in my future plans.
Oh, and you should see the blossoms on my apple tree this year! Hoping to actually get some apples!
We've had a lot of snow lately. Still calling for more. It's very cold, the chickens are hardly laying and all the poop is frozen. The first day that it hits above 0 degrees, I have to get out there and start scraping. I normally put everything in the green bin and haul it out to the road. I can't get the green bin anywhere near the buildings out back. I'm thinking about getting an old wheelbarrow tray and filling it up and just dragging it on top of the snow and dumping it into my gardens. Chicken manure is great. I wish that I could get the chickens in the garden to till it all in for me, but, too much snow. Rabbit manure is also excellent for gardens. It's what they call a "cold" manure". It doesn't need to dry out like cow manure.
Next step, getting the tray. I know there's one at work, now hopefully I can get it cheap. Now if only I could learn the dog to pull the full tray, that would be great.
Update: I tried the wheelbarrow tray thing and it was a pain in the ass. I finally bought a Muck Bucket. I just fill it up and carry it out the the green bin. I love it. Got it at Home Hardware