Harvest Monday

September 2, 2013

This week, I harvested one cantaloupe, two cucumbers, many pole and snap beans, one bell pepper, a few peas and some tomatoes.

August 28 13 - 0001 August 28 13 - 0008 August 29 13 - 0024 August 30 13 - 0021 My tomato plants are starting to look pretty ragged. The tomatoes that are unripened look great but as soon as they start to ripen, a brown caterpillar is eating holes all through them. Yuck. Friday, I cleaned up the garden & picked many bugs, hoping to be able to harvest more tomatoes a bit longer.

August 29 13 - 0013(Before pruning the tomatoes and getting rid of some un-producing cantaloupe vines)

August 31 13 - 0014

(after…I may have pruned too much but I guess we’ll see!)

A new thing I am harvesting again is lettuce! and Spinach!August 30 13 - 0022I needed to thin the lettuce and went ahead and picked all of the baby spinach. It is enough for a meal and a half. We ate most of it one night with shredded apple on top (the kids’ favorite) and the other night, we just ate it raw with other fresh veggies (pepper, peas, and cucumber).

Eating these things from the garden means

  • NOT buying them from the store (we eat A LOT of salads)
  • eating organic produce (there are no organic lettuce options in our small town)

And I always LOVE growing a fall garden. This is my third year gardening year round and the fall garden is by far my favorite – way more laid back than a summer garden or even a spring garden, what with all the seed starting, and we are able to eat some of our favorite produce during this season 🙂

Lastly, we STILL have not collected a single egg 😦 Just a recap, I have 8 Buff Orpington Hens, 1 Buff Orpington Rooster, 10 Black Australorp Hens, and 1 Barred Rock Hen (Bantam, I think). They are 26 weeks old today. From 7am until it gets dark, each bird has 15 sq.ft (300 sq. ft total) of grassy area to roam, eat, sleep, etc. They have access to their coop (with 6 nesting boxes). Periodically, we allow them to go into the run, which is a large wooded area with plenty of room for shade and dust baths. We keep them out of the run for the most part right now for two reasons:

  1. We have not clipped their wings and they fly out (where foxes get them).
  2. They have not laid any eggs and there are plenty of places to hide eggs there…we want them to ‘know’ where the proper place to lay is first.

Let’s talk about what they look like:

August 29 13 - 0022I have about 3 Australorps and 1 Orpington whose combs and wattles are growing larger and redder but the rest look like the Orpington in the picture: very fat and healthy looking but barely any comb and the comb they do have is pale. If they were younger, I would say these are healthy signs that they are going to lay soon. (The ones with red combs are allowing the rooster to ‘mount’ them as well.) But as they are already 26 weeks, I am wondering if something could be wrong? Or maybe the only thing that’s wrong is how impatient I am 😉 Any chicken people, PLEASE give me your thoughts! 🙂

How are your gardens growing? Check out what everyone else is harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions!


6 thoughts on “Harvest Monday

  1. Shawn Ann

    It has been such a long time since I raised chickens. I wish I had some advice for you! But I think it is great that you have them! I hope to someday when we have a place for them. The garden looks great!

  2. Nancy Davis

    That is a great looking cantaloupe! Your lettuce and spinach looks good too. I have a little patch of each I am eating from but realized today I need to get more started!! Sorry you are still not getting any eggs. Nancy

  3. Kendra

    The first year we raised chickens it seemed to take forever for them to start laying. We had a flock of buff orpingtons also and I think they were almost 6 months old before we got our first egg. I used to do the counting of weeks as well, and I just think that the dual purpose birds like the buffs just take a little longer to mature than the birds bred for laying.


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