July 13, 2015
We are harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, patty pan squash, zucchini, carrots, beets, lettuce, cucumbers, and a few strawberries here and there.
Some cucumber and watermelon vines are creeping into the strawberry patch and in turn are keeping the groundhog out! 🙂 The raspberries are being stolen by that stinkin’ groundhog we have yet to catch and he ate all of our ripening blackberries. I am thinking of putting fencing around the raspberries…AND I am thinking about putting fencing around the whole garden next year!
Originally, I was planning on planting enough food for us, 3-4 other families, the chickens, and enough to put up for the winter. Because of the lovely animals who found our garden this year and the fact that I am probably working at about 50% energy right now (June was more like 10-30% energy), we are only able to grow enough for 1/2 of the chicken’s food, fresh eating for us, and enough for 2 other families.
For example, instead of 10 gallons of berries frozen, I have 0. I was planning on growing lots of kale, cucumbers, and celery to juice and freeze while in season so I would not have to buy it later. I do not have enough energy for that currently even though we are getting plenty of those things. So, I am letting most of my cucumbers get HUGE and overripe for the chickens. They LOVE them and it really keeps them satisfied on the hot days we’ve been having!
Amazing what you can do when you have some helpers! This is the first year I’ve asked for their help weeding (9yo, 7yo, 6yo, 4yo) and unfortunately for them, they were so helpful, they will be more involved from now on! 🙂 Also, thanks to the BTE method of gardening, as long as we stick with it, there will be no more big weeding weeks, like there have been these past two weeks. The weeds got HUGE because I was out of commission for about 6 weeks. Now, we just need to go out once a week probably and walk the garden for small weeds.
Of course, this does not mean there is nothing to do! This week, we are tying up the rest of the tomatoes, planting another round of cucumbers, beans, squash, melons, and fall broccoli and cabbage, weeding the bricks by our house, weeding the perennial beds by our house, possibly putting netting around the raspberries, and definitely covering our ripening melons with fencing. I hear groundhogs LOVE watermelon and cantaloupes. We have quite a few that are close to being ready to harvest and I do not want to lose them!
I read a couple of weeks ago that chickens need about ½ cup of feed/day. I always thought our chickens could handle less feed but I never knew how much. I didn’t want to feed them too little and lose our egg production but I don’t want to spend money on feed when I don’t have to! So this week, I took the time to measure how much we were giving them daily…about twice as much as they needed!
Considering the fact that half of their run is filled with grass and we give them a HUGE cart-full of weeds and food from the garden each day, they do NOT need that much feed. I feel much better about how much feed we are giving them now. I would still like to cut back more but until I am feeling 100%, I am going to keep everything as is.
We have 12 2yo laying hens, 2 roosters, 3 hens sitting on eggs or with chicks, and 12 chicks (and 5 eggs due to hatch in two weeks). I think some of our older chicks may have started to lay. I found a small egg in with the rest of the larger ones the other day. We’ll see!
What is going on in your garden? Is weeding taking over your life or do you have it under control? Are you preparing for a fall garden? Head over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what other gardeners are harvesting this week.