Tag Archives: chickens

Garden in May, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

May 6, 2015

The garden has changed quite a bit in a month!DSC_7737-Edit(beginning of April)Nieto Photography 2015(beginning of May)     A lot more green but the real story is up close.

Peas and CabbagesNieto Photography 2015The first planting of peas never did well. I think it was too early and too wet. This is the second planting (mid-March). It has doubled or tripled in size since last month’s update. Nieto Photography 2015The cabbages are looking good under the covers. ^^^ Green cabbages above. Purple cabbage below. Nieto Photography 2015The third planting of peas are doing well. A little yellow, which is weird because they are planted in aged chicken manure. I’m just going to wait them out. Maybe I won’t need to add any compost tea. Lettuce is growing to the left. They were both planted at the end of March (2nd planting of lettuce). Nieto Photography 20154th and last planting of peas are just starting to come up. Nieto Photography 2015Spinach: First planting (first of March) on left, 2nd planting (mid-March) on right. I have succession planted 5 plantings. I am just starting to harvest the 3rd planting. The 4th planting is just starting to come up. The 5th and last planting was just planted under the shade of the apple tree.Nieto Photography 2015Lettuce: First planting (mid-March) is a little sparse. Some sprouts died in the Easter morning frost. We are just starting to harvest from these. I have made 4 succession plantings so far. The 4th was just planted this week.Nieto Photography 2015Cilantro is a new plant for me this year. We are enjoying nibbling on these Vitamin C treasures. Nieto Photography 2015I also grew some lettuce in the milk jug greenhouses. These are the greenhouse transplants (transplanted in the carrot/beet bed).  Nieto Photography 2015Carrots and Beets:  This is where most of the carrots and beets are planted. Going counter-clockwise, starting at the bottom… The carrots at the bottom were planted first of March. Beets were planted to the left of them but the Easter morning frost killed the beet sprouts.Nieto Photography 2015 First planting of carrots (first of March)Nieto Photography 2015 Moving counter clockwise, here is the second planting of carrots and beets (planted mid-March). Nieto Photography 2015If you keep moving counterclockwise in the first picture, you will see the transplanted lettuce and then from the 12o’clock position to the 9o’clock position are the 4th and 5th carrot and beet plantings.

Potatoes: The first plantings of potatoes are coming up nicely all over the garden. We are still waiting on the second planting (beginning of April).Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015Strawberries: The plants are looking as lush as ever. They are flowering beautifully…Nieto Photography 2015And are starting to set fruit 🙂 Nieto Photography 2015The blueberries are coming along as well. The bees are almost finished pollinating them. SO thankful for the bees!!!Nieto Photography 2015Kale: the transplants are coming along…not as big as I would like but I’m sure as it warms up, their growth will speed up.Nieto Photography 2015Broccoli: doing well under the cover.Nieto Photography 2015Flowers: Some sunflowers, zinnias, and Asters (I think?) are starting to sprout.Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015My tulips, on the other hand, just sit there and tease me. Meanies.Nieto Photography 2015The warm-weather crops I planted have not sprouted yet (summer squash, winter squash, beans, corn, melons) but last week gave them a good soaking and this week is starting a warming trend so hopefully they’re not far behind.

Lastly, the mulch path I made this past winter because of all the mud needs another layer of mulch. How do I know?Nieto Photography 2015 Bermuda grass is coming through like crazy! :\ It’s one of those things that is not high on the list of priorities but at the same time, it needs to be done before it gets too overrun.


Our chicks are getting bigger (both sets)! And more eggs are set to hatch next week 🙂Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015(the 5th chick was under its mama) Nieto Photography 2015(one of the 10 chicks we bought at the tractor-supply store – 2 died this past week because of all the rain and chilly weather 😦 smart chicks didn’t know to go inside the coop to get warm) Nieto Photography 2015Our old biddies (2yrs old with the 1yo rooster) don’t know what to think about all the hulabaloo 😉

That’s what it going on in our Back to Eden Garden at the Beginning of May in Eastern NC, Zone 7b. The plan for May is:

  1. Continue to succession plant carrots, lettuce, beans, summer squash, and winter squash.
  2. Harvest Strawberries.
  3. Continue to harvest spinach and lettuce.
  4. Possibly harvest kale, peas, and carrots?

What does your garden look like at the beginning of May? I am linking up with Green Thumb Thursday today.


2014 Garden Issues, 2015 Solutions (hopefully!)

January 22, 2015

Throughout 2014, I have been keeping a gardening journal. Because of that journal and this blog, I hope I will be able to make some changes in 2015 in order to produce more food for our family and our community. My goal is to give away 20% of all we grow this year (including eggs).

Here are some issues and possible solutions:

CarrotsDSC_6137Issue: trouble sprouting                                                            Possible Solution: DE

Brassicas (kale, cabbage, broccoli)DSC_6003Issue: cabbage worms                                                               Possible Solution: Cover with agribon

Tomatoes & Peppers (most things in the greenhouses)

Issue: nothing grew well in the greenhouses this year        Possible Solution: duct tape them (Greenhouses did well in ’13. The only difference is I did not duct tape them closed in ’14)

Onions, Beets

Issue: they never grew very large                                            Solution? (not sure): plant more 🙂

RaspberriesDSC_5587Issue: Rotted on the ground, ants ate them                          Solution: trellis them


Issues: cantaloupe never grew & want more!                       Solution: plant in full sun, grow more    (I planted cantaloupe at the base of sunflowers (too much shade) and I am growing 9 more types of fruit this year, including two cherry trees and fig trees I ordered this winter.)

Chickens, Eggs, Run

Issues: Lost some chickens                                                       Solution: hatch out more chicks             .            Had to buy eggs from the store                                                 : freeze eggs, new pullets          .           Trouble making sure they had enough grass                          : designing the run differently

We’ll see if these solutions really do solve anything 😉

Today is the official end of our Persephone Days! Planting starts soon!

I am linking up with Simlple Lives Thursday and Green Thumb Thursday. Maybe someone can suggest solutions to my beet and onion issues (not bulbing as big as they should).

Harvest Monday

November 24, 2014

Whew! This week was no joke! Last week, most days were in the 60s or 70s. This week, we made it out of the 40s only one day. A shock to the system, for sure!

Even so, we were able to harvest kaleDSC_5915 and carrots this week (little but still sweet).DSC_6137

After I harvested some carrots, my kids wanted to harvest theirs  as well. They were so proud.DSC_6215

We are harvesting about 5 eggs/day. The chickens are finished moulting and they are so beautiful and fluffy!DSC_6216 DSC_6220 DSC_6222The few days I did brave the outdoors, I covered the strawberry beds for the winter. Paul says to cover them just enough for the leaves to lay down.DSC_6134(halfway done) DSC_6136 In the spring, the old, weak plants will die and decompose while the young, strong plants will push through the mulch. This way

  • you always have healthy strawberry plants
  • no need to thin the strawberry plants
  • and no need to replace them or transplant them (unless you want to, to expand, like I do).

This is the theory I am testing out. He does this every year. I guess I’ll find out in the spring 🙂

This week, I need to cover the brassicas with more cloth or plastic. All of the nights in the 20s this week has really had its toll on them. The broccoli plants may be lost.

Check out what other gardeners are harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions today.

Harvest Monday

November 17, 2014

I had a great idea this summer to have a section of my garden in root vegetables (carrots, beets, onions) surrounded by peas. I made carrot mats and everything. I planted everything at the end of July.

The peas all sprouted and have done well. We have been harvesting for just over a month. I ripped them up this week because the temps are dropping from low 70s to mid-40s next week . I figured there would not be much growing going on. The aphids were doing a number on them anyway. The chickens seemed to take care of that 🙂DSC_6112Most of the peas have been ripped up (root veggies towards the top of the photo).

We harvested and ate the rest of the peas as I was cleaning up the bed.DSC_6111Of the carrots I planted in July, ONE carrot sprouted and all of the beet seeds were dug up by our cat. I planted more carrots and beets a couple of weeks later (more shallow this time) and about half sprouted. Mid-September, I planted more carrots and onions. Only the onions sprouted. I never did figure out what happened (other than the fact that our cat makes it her mission to dig up freshly planted seeds) and I was done planting for the year but I did buy some Diatomaceous Earth for the next time I planted, to deter any slugs or ants (we have TONS of those!).

All of that to say, we harvested that ONE carrot this week 🙂DSC_6080It was super-duper sweet. The sweetest I’ve tasted from the garden. And we’ve eaten carrots after a frost before. Not sure why but I’m thankful!

I weeded and mulched the bed this week. I won’t cover it with manure until I have pulled the root veggies.DSC_6081(picture taken before I pulled all of the peas, of course) DSC_6082(a few carrots) DSC_6083(Look closely! those are not wild onions — I planted them 😉 ) DSC_6084(the beets that survived Emily (our cat) )

We were also able to harvest a bit of lettuce this week.DSC_6110Very tasty as well. Love fall garden food!

I am linking up with Daphne’s Dandelions for Harvest Monday to see what others are harvesting.

Observations in the Garden

November 13, 2014

I grew up in the suburbs; just 20 minutes from downtown Raleigh, NC. Certainly no NYC but country living could not be further from my mind. We never frequented a farmer’s market and the only tractor or cow, pig, etc. I ever saw was at the State Fair.

I moved to the country right before I got married (10 yrs ago) so according to those in my town, I’m a newcomer 🙂 I love all that I am learning, living out here, gardening, raising chickens. I love that the children are learning right along with me. So, if all of this country living is old hat to you, bare with me as I share some things I’ve noticed of late.

Observation #1:

Our first frost hit over a week ago. All of the heat-lovers died: sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers…all except for one. We had a lean-to over the chicken door that fell this winter. My husband just set it up against the fence to get it out of the way. This summer, a tomato plant sprouted there. Because it was blocked by the lean-to roof, the chickens left it alone. I have been so busy digging up sweet potatoes and prepping the garden for next year, I didn’t notice until yesterday — it is still alive!DSC_6075I have read about south-facing walls being warmer than others but our house is set back in the woods so I have never been able to test it out. We unwittingly made our own south-facing wall this year! I wonder how much longer the tomato plant will live. This weekend is getting into the 40s during the day. Now my mind is going crazy with ideas of what to plant here throughout the winter and in the early spring! 😀

Observation #2:

My children LOVE picking flowers and giving them to people. We had a friend over the other day and my daughter brought her a flower, which drew my eye to the bush from which she was picking.DSC_6073This bush is just outside of the chicken run. My eye scanned just past this bush to a bush INSIDE the run:DSC_6072As you can see, the chickens love this bush. They hang out under it quite frequently.

These two bushes were purchased and planted the same winter. They are pruned the same. They are very close to one another:DSC_6074Now, that has me thinking: I am now deciding how many fruit trees we can fit into the run this winter. That is my dream anyway — that I have an orchard where the chickens live, giving back to the trees while the trees protect them from aerial predators.

Another thing that will be done to the trees is that they will be heavily mulched. If you know anything about me or my blog, you know I am really into mulching. Here is an example of the difference mulching can make (there are many, by the way):

Here is an apple tree that has been covered with mulch for two years (and heavily pruned).DSC_6006And 15 feet away, another apple tree. This one was just covered by mulch a few months ago. I suspect it will get healthier as the years go by. DSC_6007These trees were purchased and planted the same day and these pictures were taken the same day (not the same day they were purchased — the same day this week).

What are you learning from your garden? I am linking up with Green Thumb Thursdays to learn even more through other people’s gardens! 🙂