Category Archives: Chickens

Harvest Monday

October 19, 2015

We harvested more green beans, raspberries, and tomatoes this week. We also harvested more fall green beans, garden peas, and carrots. As we were cleaning up before the first frost of the season, we found some potatoes and a cucumber!Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015

We had our first frost Sunday so Saturday we cleared out all of the tomatoes and beans.Nieto Photography 2015Tomatoes were on either side of this old chicken tractor. Nieto Photography 2015After the tomatoes were cleared out, compost was added. Now the ground is ready for next spring! Nieto Photography 2015The chickens love when we clean out the garden! Nieto Photography 2015(Last of the tomatoes!)

We ate the last of our squash this week. Sad day 😦 I hope one day I will learn how to grow summer and winter squash. It is our favorite and the squash bugs won’t let us get more than a handful of either each year. We cooked the last two butternut squash for our pumpkin baked oatmeal this week and next. After Halloween, pumpkin patches will give away their pumpkins and we will be set for the year (and so will the chickens!). We’ll have to survive for the next couple of weeks 🙂

This upcoming week, we will be harvesting sweet potatoes, putting up more hoop houses, and covering the rest of our fall/winter crops. Busy, busy! Check out what other gardeners are up to at Our Happy Acres.

 

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Harvest Monday

October 12, 2015

First, some pics from last week. Here is the damage to the coop. I will not show you the damage to our flock (you’re welcome). Nieto Photography 2015Raccoons ripped the door clean off!

On a lighter note, we had a more varied harvest this week. We had our normal tomatoes, raspberries, and green beans. We also harvested some carrots, celery, our first peas, and cucumbers this week!Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015This week, we boarded up the coop to keep the raccoons out. Since the chickens did not have a chicken door to go in and out of the run, we opened the big door and let them free range a couple of days. They ate into a watermelon a bit so we went ahead and harvested it. Thankfully, it was very sweet 🙂 It’s nice to get a late watermelon (we aren’t as excited in September when we are eating them every day)!Nieto Photography 2015My husband put up a new wall on the side of the coop and an overhang. For some reason, that side of the coop alone has been rotting over the past three years. Raccoons had already ripped a hole into another part of it previously but were (thankfully) unsuccessful at gaining access.

I put the shingles on the overhang this past week (quite the feat for this 24week pregnant old lady!) and painted the first coat of paint. I am going to paint the second coat on the wall this upcoming week.

I also need to re-cover my brassicas (uncovered because of high winds of Joaquin), plant some more greens and root veggies, harvest, and spread compost this week. I am having the hardest time getting everything done now that we’re doing school again. The kids concentrate better in the morning so that is when we do school but most of my energy is gone by 1pm, when we’re done with school, so gardening as gone by the wayside. 😦

Check out what other gardeners are harvesting at Our Happy Acres 🙂

Harvest Monday & Raccoon Attack

October 5, 2015

*I will post pics tomorrow…computer issues…sorry!*

We are on day 11 of rain. There was one day this week where it was only drizzling part of one morning. On that morning, I planted more carrots, beets, spinach, lettuce and cilantro while the kids harvested beans, tomatoes, and raspberries. I am SOOOOO thankful for the BTE method of gardening because even with all the rain, we are still able to walk around in the garden without sinking one bit (we’re in puddles where there is no mulch).

We blanched and froze the beans, made passata sauce out of the tomatoes, and are putting the raspberries in our smoothies. With all the rain, most of them are too ripe/squishy to eat fresh but taste great in our smoothies 🙂

We uncovered our beds so the covers were not ripped off by the high winds. We’ll have to recover them this week.

On to the raccoons…we woke up yesterday morning to let the chickens out and were met with 8 decapitated chickens. The raccoons ripped off the door frame of the chicken coop where the chickens come out, pulled the door off, and had a treat 😦 We are thankful they did not get more than eight, though all but four of the pullets we hatched out this year were killed.

Of course this happened when my husband was away for work so the kids had to deal with the dead chickens (I am too queasy in that area) and I had to figure out a way to fortify the coop door until he gets home and can fix it properly.

This next week, we will be planting some more, harvesting some more, weeding, and spreading compost…that is, if the rain ever stops 🙂 Check out what other gardeners are up to at Our Happy Acres!

Garden in September, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

September 2, 2015

Beginning of AugustNieto Photography 2015Beginning of SeptemberNieto Photography 2015The most noticeable difference between the beginning of August and the beginning of September is the lack of sunflowers. However, there are many more differences, if you look a bit closer. For one, we have electric fencing all around the garden, to deter the raccoons and groundhogs.

Walking through the garden, to the left, I have more brassica seedlings sizing up under shade cloth. Nieto Photography 2015(planted 2 weeks ago) Nieto Photography 2015(broccoli planted mid-July. may transplant these next week)

To the right, there is the former potato patch with one struggling winter squash. Nieto Photography 2015Further to the right is the former sunflower patch with some leftover watermelon and cantaloupe plants. I need to put some caging over them to protect them from the crows.Nieto Photography 2015Moving on is the former cabbage patch (with some volunteer tomatoes). I have tried planting carrots and peas here. The carrots are going to be replanted but the peas are trying to poke through. I assume it was just too hot for the carrots to sprout but I can’t figure out why the peas did not germinate well. I planted peas elsewhere in the garden that are doing great. This spot has more shade but not an extreme amount and both places have plenty of manure and compost. Conundrum…Nieto Photography 2015Moving along, in the former melon patch, I am planting all of my leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, kale) for the fall. To the left and right of this patch, are my ugly (but still producing) tomato plants.Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015(still getting about a gallon of tomatoes/day)

I have some boxes that are empty right now. I will plant brassicas in half of them and carrots and beets in the other half shortly. To the left of the boxes are the strawberry patches and the raspberry patch. Strawberries are trickling in (they do better in the spring). Nieto Photography 2015The raspberries give us a wonderful treat in the fall! I need to prune all of the raspberry canes that produced this year. I also need to replant ALL of the MANY raspberry shoots that have popped up everywhere! I haven’t decided where I want them though…Nieto Photography 2015(at the top of the photo, outside of the trellises and even outside of the fencing – raspberry shoots everywhere!) Nieto Photography 2015 (We get a nice handful each (all 8 of us) every other day – not too shabby 🙂 ) Nieto Photography 2015(more just starting to form)

To the far right of the boxes is the old potato patch and my daughter’s old garden (she ripped it up at the end of August – she was tired of harvesting so everything was rotting). OH! And the tunnels! Don’t want to forget the tunnels! The former broccoli and kale beds (under tunnels) house beautiful purple beans currently (as well as some melon plants).Nieto Photography 2015Under the tree, there is quite the hodge-podge.Nieto Photography 2015(another round of beans to the left, flowering cilantro to the right, a cucumber plant in front of the tree…and in the bottom of the photo – our fall peas!)

This was a new section. Earlier this summer, we ripped up tarp that was laid here years ago and put down chicken manure and wood shavings from when we cleaned out the coop.  (all of the dark mulch is where the tarp was ripped up)DSC_8441I was not going to plant in it until spring but I was running out of room when it was time to plant more peas/beans so I gave it a shot. Everything is doing well here (the beans to the left were just planted a couple of weeks ago). The peas are ready to be trellised.Nieto Photography 2015At the end of the garden, we have the sweet potato patch (partially eaten) and the (other) former sunflower patch. Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015(sweet potato blooms are a good sign though, right? 🙂 )

I will harvest the sweet potatoes sometime in October, around the first frost. I am not expecting as many sweet potatoes as last year but I will have about 13? or so varieties as compared to last year’s one. We are going to taste test these, decide which ones we want, and will save many for slips for next year.

Trees

The trees seem to be doing well. They are growing every year. The ones in the mulch grow better than the ones in grass. However, still no fruit. I don’t know what I can do to remedy this. I am going to just keep adding compost around the trunks, like I do with the rest of the garden, continue to cover them with mulch as we are able, and be patient. Maybe one day we will not have to buy fruit at the store! (the dream)

Chickens

We actually harvested MORE eggs in August than June or July! I am pretty sure it is because some of our spring-hatched chicks have started laying. I do not see any red combs but there are some eggs that are significantly smaller than the rest (our other hens are 2yo) and our older hens are moulting so that would be the only logical reason we are getting slightly more.

Since the children do such a great job taking care of the baby chicks, I told them I would pay them once their chicks started laying (after taking out the cost of feed). So now, we are keeping up with how many eggs we are collecting each day AND how many small eggs we are collecting. I’m excited for them – we’ve had such a hard time keeping chicks alive (btwn snakes, foxes, other chickens, and bad mamas leaving them out in the rain… 😦 )Nieto Photography 2015As a matter of fact, our latest batch of chicks (and last for this year) is not fairing well either. Of the 5 hatched out, one was killed by other chickens before we got a chance to separate them. This past week, one was taken by a snake, one was found dead in the coop one morning, and the two left are sluggish most of the day. I am not expecting them to make it but don’t know what’s going on! We have lost 1/2 of the chicks we have hatched out this year 😦

The older chickens are doing a great job being our soil manufacturers, though. This is the first year I have been able to cover the whole garden with chicken compost from the run! Exciting 🙂Nieto Photography 2015What does your garden look like that the beginning of September? Are you able to plant a fall/winter garden? What do you use for protection for your plants during the winter? Are you drowning in weeds? Have you given up? Check out backtoedenfilm.com and see how many people around the world are gardening with minimal weeding and watering!

Harvest Monday

August 31, 2015

This week, we harvested the last of our cucumbers, beans, raspberries, strawberries, and tomatoes. They are slowing down a bit – we are only harvesting about 1 gallon a day verses 3 gallons a couple of weeks ago.Nieto Photography 2015Each year, our beans are FULL of holes throughout the beginning and middle of the season. Towards the end, they look beautiful! I guess the mexican bean beetles hibernate early? Anyone know why? I sure am thankful for beautiful beans after a season of mostly unusable ones! 😀 Nieto Photography 2015We get about this many every other day now. Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015I started the week off spreading more compost so I could plant some more seeds. I am done planting summer crops. This week, I planted spinach, lettuce, kale, beets, and carrots for the fall garden. I think next week, I will be able to transplant some brassicas planted under a shade cloth earlier this summer.

We also weeded one day this week (haven’t done that in about a month?) and pulled some watermelon plants. I am pretty sure the electric fence is keeping the groundhogs and raccoons out. However, the crows have become incredibly comfortable in the garden and they are now the ones taking out the watermelon. The deer broke through the fishing wire fencing when I first put it up. It is back up and they have not broken through again HOWEVER, they have found another way through (we did not put deer fence around the whole garden so the wheelbarrow could get through) because they are still munching on the sweet potato leaves.

What are you harvesting? Check out what other gardeners are up to at Daphne’s Dandelions.