Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Helllllooo Spring!

The day that I've been waiting several months for finally arrived.  Planting day!  And could the weather on Saturday have been any nicer?  My seeds arrived in the mail 2 weeks ago, and the greenhouse I ordered came last week.  The last thing I needed was some time and a nice day and that is what I got.

The first thing I did was move some soil around.  To the chickies' delight, that meant digging through the compost pile, exposing tons of slimy, delicious worms.  Apparently a mixture of straw, wood shavings, newspaper, and chicken crap is a magical concoction that is paradise for worms.  We're constantly adding to it, but the worms have no problem keeping up.  We've been adding to it for about 10 months now, it really showed.  Underneath the thick layer of new stuff, was a nice pile of black, decomposed, beautiful chicken manure fertilizer.  Awesome.  We added a couple bucketfuls into each bed and turned most of the large planting area.  Well, Shawn did anyway.

Straight into the ground went the potatoes, peas, and kale seeds.  I made my own potting soil by mixing some of the fresh compost, soil from the beds, and a tiny bit of organic fertilizer I had left from last year.  I don't actually know what makes a good potting soil, I just made it up.  Into several 4 inch pots went kabocha squash and zucchini.  In the quad pots I planted broccoli and heirloom tomatoes, and into the pear discs went some sweet peppers and artichokes.  I also planted a half a flat of onions and some carrots.  These are all resting in our newly acquired mini-greenhouse.

Cute, huh?  I feel a bit guilty for buying this brand-new and not looking for something used or even making one myself, but we had a gift certificate to amazon.com from our trip to a coinstar machine, so I treated myself.  Thinking about making one myself, though I know I could have figured it out, just made me feel really tired for some reason.  Sometimes I get burned out of being creative, I guess.

Another thing we had to do was chicken-proof the beds.  We've come to find that those little ladies can really do a number on the yard.  Their big clawed dinosaur feet can destroy a lot of ground and they'll eat almost anything green too.  We've also found, however, that chickens can be really stupid.  They have no sense of what their bodies can do, and will not venture into any space that isn't bigger than the width of their bodies.  We found this out several weeks ago, when Shawn went to go tuck them in for the night.  It was already dark out, so he expected them to be up on their roost.  What he found were three frightened-looking ladies stuck out in the darkness in their run, unable to get into their coop.  The little door was open, but not wide enough to let them through.  Even though they could stick their heads in, they had no concept of just pushing their way through, which kept them stuck outside.  Silly, right?

We had some old fencing... but not quite enough.
 Anyway, we used this knowledge and created a makeshift fence out of sticks that we had leftover from when we trimmed the apple tree.  After the ladies were through clearing out the beds of slugs and earwigs, we just stuck the random sticks in the ground close enough together so that the spaces were skinnier than they were, and voila!  Chicken proof.  It looks hilarious, but it was free and it works.  I think it looks kinda good too.  I didn't think chicken-proofing would be so easy.
A little bit of pink string to hold it together...

The side bed where the sunchokes and potatoes are planted.
I still have a lot more planting to do, which is most definitely not a problem.  Next up, some lettuce and carrots, maybe the cucumbers... who knows?  This is very exciting.  Homesteading for real!


  1. the greenhouse picture with one of your chickies is so cute! i would love to plant a veggie garden this year....if you have some time to help a sistah out, i'd really apprecaite it!

  2. It could have been fun to make one of those greenhouses but you're right, that would have been exhausting for the brain after a full day of planting and chicken proofing. Plus, that thing is so cute! I love your space!


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