Tag Archives: eggs

Garden in July, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

July 2, 2015

I know I’m not the only one who is wondering how it is the beginning of July already. Craziness.

Beginning of JuneNieto Photography 2015Beginning of JulyNieto Photography 2015It did not rain here in Eastern NC for about a month. I also did not water. The temps were also in the 90s/100s most of the month.

The potatoes (and possibly the corn) are the only plants that suffered from the lack of water. That and the fact that I put my 6yo in charge of bug duty (6yos just aren’t as diligent as adults – imagine that), they all died back without producing much at all. Oh well, there’s always next year.Nieto Photography 2015The section above was also planted in a new BTE section, so that did not help. Nieto Photography 2015This section of potatoes that are dying off but are not dead yet were planted in a higher section, getting less rain, which is interesting – I would not think they would have done better. However, this area is a 2nd year BTE section so…

The old potato patch was planted in peas and salad greens. The peas have been ripped up and all that is left in that section right now are greens that are going to seed. Those will go to the chickens and this section, which is shaded most of the day, will house my fall and winter seedlings, if ever I get the energy to plant them.Nieto Photography 2015At the beginning of June, the cabbages were sizing up and I had not seen any cabbage moths so I uncovered them. BIG mistake. The cabbages, broccoli, and kale are now all ruined. Lesson.Learned.Nieto Photography 2015Some are still decent. Nieto Photography 2015Most are not. Nieto Photography 2015Check out all those cabbage worms. The ruined brassicas are being fed to the chickens each day. Between these and the weeds, which grew like crazy once we did start getting rain about a week ago, the chickens are getting enough food from the garden, they do not need any chicken feed. I still give them some because…I don’t know…I’m a slave to those spoiled egg makers. 😛

Last year I stopped giving them feed AND forgot to give them enough food from the garden some days and they did an early molt. Since I do not have enough energy (though I am getting more) to make sure they get garden food every day, we feed them chicken feed as well. One day, one day…

Speaking of weeds…The children spent May weeding all of the sections where I put fresh horse manure (NEVER.AGAIN.). Most of June, nothing was weeded because I did not have the energy to even tell the kids where to weed. At the end of June, it started raining a lot so the weeds have really been vigorous!

We have gone out there every day this week and weeded until we fill the garden cart, then we dump it for the chickens. This equates about 3 buckets per person. By doing this, we have gotten about 2/3 of the garden weeded in about a week. Very impressive! Now we need Daddy to haul mulch for us so the weeds won’t come back!

Anywho, on to more pictures 🙂 Here is the carrot/beet patch, turned into melon/summer squash patch. Most of the carrots and beets have been pulled, while the melons are sprawling and the squash plants are producing baby squash. Nieto Photography 2015I would LOVE a cattle panel to be able to grow the melons on but we don’t have a truck to transport it from the store to here so… 😛 Maybe one day we can bribe someone to do that for us. It would save SO much room! It is amazing how much watermelon plants spread! Check out the watermelon vine below. ONE seed and it is already spreading into my sweet potato patch!Nieto Photography 2015This section has tomatoes on the right, patty pan, zucchini, and spaghetti squash in the middle (along with a holey cabbage), and lots of weeds in the background (those were actually pulled this morning).

Nieto Photography 2015We are seeing some watermelon fruit, so that’s always fun 🙂 Nieto Photography 2015We are also seeing some fruit on our butternut squash.Nieto Photography 2015Whenever I plant seeds or seedlings, I NEVER leave enough room! It always seems like such a waste of space to space them out properly when they’re little! Then, in the middle of the summer, I regret such foolishness 😛 Like when it comes time to harvest cucumbers…

Nieto Photography 2015What else? Let’s see…our tomatoes are sizing up…The onions look like they will be ready to harvest soon (some are popping out of the ground).Nieto Photography 2015My first year of planting flowers and I have no regrets! I love seeing all the pretty colors 🙂Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015The sweet potatoes are starting to spread.Nieto Photography 2015 I need to plant the rest of the slips that are growing in the pots before it is too late. Nieto Photography 2015I also should be getting my late season potatoes soon from Sand Hill Preservation.

Lastly, on my garden list, is my corn, pole beans, and sunflowers. In years past, I have planted corn by itself (knocked down by storm) and corn with pole beans (less knocked down by storm but still some). Last year, I planted sunflowers for the first time and I noticed they never got knocked down by storms. So this year, I thought I would plant my corn with sunflowers! I thought it was genius. Not so much.

  1. The sunflowers grew faster than the corn and beans and subsequently shaded them.
  2. Someone told me (after I planted) that beans do not do well with sunflowers.

These beans were ones I grew and saved seed from last year. Now, they are not producing at all. Sad. The corn is pitiful. I don’t think we’ll get even an ear. Nothing I can do about it now except make a big, bold note about it in my gardening journal and learn for next year! (six year old stood next to the corn for reference)Nieto Photography 2015The section above has never had manure on it and was only covered in woodchips two years ago. That could have something to do with the stunted growth as well. Nieto Photography 2015However, this section never had manure in it and was covered less than a year ago. The corn is even more pitiful here but the sunflowers (same variety) are outshining those in the previous patch. Amazing how microclimates work! Nieto Photography 2015If you have been reading my other posts, you know we have had a critter issue this summer like no other. Our strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries were mostly taken from us. Very sad. I was not able to freeze any and normally I freeze 10 gallons easy. My next thought goes to the melons — I need to figure out something before they ripen and are stolen from us as well. Suggestions?


We are still hatching out chicks. Another hen went broody this week. Our first Australorp. Previously, we’ve only had Orpingtons go broody.

We had at least 3 chicks hatch out last week but something got into the dog crate, ate two of them and 2 eggs and got out somehow. I assume a snake but we don’t know how it got in (the last time a snake got in, the door was off the crate – this time it was on) and I don’t know why it would eat 2 chicks and 2 eggs but leave one chick (though I’m thankful).

Also, because of miscommunication, the door to the coop was left off one night and a mama hen and her two chicks were taken away by something 😦 This mama originally hatched out 4 chicks but left 2 out in the rain one day so they died. They were in a caged-in area in the coop so thankfully, whatever got them, could not get to the other chickens roosting in the coop.

Although we are upset about the deaths, we are thankful no more chickens or chicks have died because of whatever they were getting into before we moved the run.

With all of the broody hens (5 in total) and eggs put under them (25), we were able to collect 185 eggs in the month of June (about 6 eggs/day). It is interesting to see how few eggs we are getting compared to last year (our hens’ first year laying). Last year we were getting about 1egg/hen/day. This year we are getting about 1egg/hen/2days. The eggs are bigger but still…

As I type this month’s garden update, it seems sad that many things are not doing well. However, other summers when I have had morning sickness, I was unable to do a garden AT.ALL. So the fact that I am able to do what I can is a blessing.

This month I need to:

  • Continue to weed and mulch the garden
  • Plant the fall/winter seeds
  • Plant the rest of the sweet potato slips
  • Figure out a way to keep critters out so we will have some fruit (melons) from the garden in August and September

I will try to continue to succession plant but my energy level is just not there yet. Last month, I was not able to do anything in the garden. This week, I have been able to work for about an hour in the garden. When I get all of my energy back in September, watch out! But until then, I just have to go at this slow, baby-growin’ pace. Such is life 🙂

How is your garden growing? Any tips you would like to throw my way?

I am linking up with FarmHopFriday today


Garden in June, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

June 4, 2015

I have been looking forward to this post for a couple of weeks now. There is SO much to share – beware: this is a LONG post with LOTS of pictures 😀

Beginning of MayNieto Photography 2015

Beginning of JuneNieto Photography 2015Loving all the green! At first glance, the peas that I was worried about (yellow) greened up on their own, the peas surpassed the cabbage hoops, the fruit bushes and trees have really filled out! A lot more green altogether. Love it! 🙂

As always, I’ll start from the front of the picture and work my way to the back:

Shaded Patch…quite the hodgepodge. This is shaded most of the day. It is more of an experimental area than anything.Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015Lettuce Nieto Photography 2015Peas Nieto Photography 2015Beans Nieto Photography 2015More lettuce (maybe if I harvest them small (rather than heads), they won’t be as bitter?) Nieto Photography 2015Pretty pitiful patch of spinach Nieto Photography 2015another sowing of lettuce Nieto Photography 2015Kale Nieto Photography 2015and some carrots

Corn, Sunflowers, Beans, and Melons (Patch #1)Nieto Photography 2015the section by the driveway is doing much better (see pic below) Nieto Photography 2015(green and beautiful above, yellow and pitiful below – same patch) Nieto Photography 2015I threw some chicken manure on the yellow corn. This week has been really rainy so I am hoping all of the compost tea will help with the color and growth.

Peas and CabbagesNieto Photography 2015We are harvesting LARGE amounts of peas every other day.Nieto Photography 2015Cabbages are not ready to be harvested but they are sizing up nicely. I am going to uncover them and see if they are healthy enough to withstand ‘the elements’ (ie. bugs). Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015Here is a recently weeded and mulched section. So pretty 🙂 Nieto Photography 2015Potatoes. Doing well. Flowering more than in past years. I assume that means they are healthy. I can’t wait to harvest them but I am trying to be patient 🙂

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Carrot and Beet bed: I just realized I don’t have a picture for that bed! We are harvesting carrots and beets now. YUM! I’ll post pics on Harvest Monday, for sure 🙂 I planted a row of melons where we have ripped up lettuces. A friend is giving us a cattle panel so the hope is they will climb that and not overtake our garden. We’ll see.

Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Ground CherriesNieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015These are the smaller of the tomatoes. The larger ones are setting fruit but I found horn worm droppings on them yesterday so I’m going to have to keep my eye out! Nieto Photography 2015Our summer and winter squash seem to be doing well (though I’ve already found 4 squash bugs – HATE those things!!!). The cucumber plant in the pic above actually has baby cucs on it now 🙂Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015

The ground cherries have always had holes in them but continue to grow. I do not know the culprit but I assume they are okay for now?

Onions and Celery. Between our larger tomatoes, we have onions and celery growing.

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Raspberries are starting to ripen. We have been able to harvest about 7 in June so far 🙂

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Crops planted in the ‘new’ raspberry bed: I had some extra room in the raspberry bed so I planted some kale, beans, lettuce, and carrots.

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Blueberries: bushes are LOADED! Just waiting for them to ripen! We typically get our first harvest mid/late June.Nieto Photography 2015

Broccoli: nothing is heading up but I’ve never had such healthy broccoli!Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015

Strawberries: the plants eaten down are starting to bounce back.Nieto Photography 2015Looking healthy! See the fencing falling down to the right of the picture? I didn’t notice and that night, something got in there and ate most of the berries 😦 The fence is back up and hopefully the strawberries are, once again, protected. Nieto Photography 2015

More Corn, Beans, and Sunflowers: much healthier than the patch by the house.Nieto Photography 2015Greener, and growing bigger, faster. Nieto Photography 2015There are quite a few crops I am missing…more sunflowers and zinnias, kale, sweet potatoes, more tomatoes, more onions, more spinach…I am planting every couple of weeks but one sprout looks like another so I spared you 🙂

Chickens & Eggs

We harvested 223 eggs in May. Down 50 from April. We currently have 2 mamas with their babies and another broody sitting on eggs. I thought we were done with broodies; and frankly, I was ready. Then another one decided she was ready to be a mama.

Thinking long term, we need to keep hatching chicks in order to feed our family and others. Right now, with our 16 hens (12 layers), we are getting about 6 eggs a day. That is barely enough to feed our family. I would like to get enough eggs to feed other families as well. In order to do that, we need to keep hatching them out (do you hear me rationalizing?)!

What is going on in your garden? I am linking up with Green Thumb Thursday today.

Harvest Monday

May 11, 2015


We’re still harvesting spinachNieto Photography 2015lettuce, and cilantro…more and more each day 🙂

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We have enough for a big salad of some sort every night now. Our spring season is so short, we NEVER tire of these greens and are sad to see them bolt. The first planting of spinach is already starting to show signs of bolting (pointy leaves). Sad news. However, I have found that if I harvest in the morning, everything is much sweeter. If I wait until the afternoon, the lettuce is bitter.

This is the last of the sweet potato harvest : (

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I baked these for the baby. She eats 1/2 of a sweet potato each day. So for 1/2 a month, we have no potatoes. Now, if I were a good homesteader, that would be it. But I’m not…not yet. So for 1/2 a month or so, I will be buying potatoes from the grocery store :\

The sweet potatoes I buried in pots have started producing slips! 🙂

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Another exciting thing to happen this week: strawberries started turning from this…Nieto Photography 2015to thisNieto Photography 2015My parents came to visit for Mother’s Day so we went ahead and picked our first strawberry, just for them. I knew they weren’t quite ripe but I’ve never been known for my patience so…yeah, it was not ready to be picked. oh well. Lesson learned 🙂 It sure is pretty though.

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Some pea harvests seem to be in our future 🙂

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We finished painting the coop this week so it is finally DONE.

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Behind our house is starting to look like a jungle so we are letting the chickens take care of that. They don’t mind 😉

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All of that greenery has now been turned into ‘Run #4’

Our egg count for April was down from March and is down for this month as well. The reason? More and more broody hens= less eggs laid! Broody #1 (aka Cute) has 5 chicks. Nieto Photography 2015Broody #2 (aka Jealous) just hatched out 4 chicks. We gave her 5 to sit on. One died (didn’t quite get out of the egg). I am very pleased with the success rate this year! We finally have a good rooster (we’ve been through a few). First pic is the 8yo transferring a chick that had hatched a few days early.

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This pic was right after we transferred her to the dog crate (the eggs started hatching 2 days earlier than expected).10460293_934443089939874_2468228464457102282_n and Broody #3 (aka Little Red Hen) is due at the end of May. And to think, we bought 10 chicks from the feed store in March because I was afraid none of our hens were going to go broody. Well, as I said before, I’ve never been known for my patience 😉

We moved Cute and her baby chicks in with the ‘big’ chicks this weekend so we could move Jealous into a dog crate in time for her eggs to hatch safely. She is a good mama; I’ll give her that! She attacked the ‘big chicks’ any time they came close to her babies. She wouldn’t let them in the coop at night though. We put netting in the cage to keep them apart. Crisis averted…for now.

We have a friend who had a mama hen eat the chicks of another mama hen so we think we need to keep ours separate until the chicks get larger. Now to figure out where to put everyone! We have 3 mamas with babies and ‘big chicks’. That means 4 places to sleep and 4 runs…We have not figured it all out yet – I’ll keep you posted with pics when we do. Of course, I want to do it without spending money at all – now to get my husband on board with that idea 😉

Finally this week, my husband tried to pull up all of the poison ivy in the blueberry patch. If you remember, before we started gardening BTE style, we covered everything with tarps in order to keep weeds away. This is what it looked like after ripping up all of the poison ivy and tarps.

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The kids cleaned up all the tarps and I wondered if we needed to worry about them being exposed but my husband says all that was in the tarps was the roots so they would be fine. The 8yo is now covered in poison ivy. Fun times. I would say, ‘At least we got rid of it’ but you know how poison ivy is. There seems to be no ‘getting rid of it’ – it just keeps coming back year after year.

We’re applying peppermint everywhere except her eye. We’re putting tea tree oil there. I’ve heard doing this consistently should get rid of it in about 4 days. Here’s hoping!

What’s going on in your garden? What are you harvesting? I am linking up with Daphne’s Danelions today. Check out what other gardeners are up to.

Harvest Monday

March 2, 2015

January Total — 61
February Total — 220

It’s amazing what more daylight does. I can’t wait to see what happens in March! I hope I will be reporting some chicks. I have been checking whether or not our eggs are fertile as I cook them. We have 2 roosters for 18 hens and only half (or less) of our eggs have been fertile (bulls-eye). I don’t understand what’s going on.

I was able to clean out the coop and spread it on the future sweet potato patch the day before we got more snow this week. The day before the snowfall, it got up to 45 degrees and you would have thought it was 60! We were outside all afternoon, soaking up the sun!

We got 6″ of snow the next day. We are now in mud.Nieto Photography 2015(5yo eating snow. Pruned blueberry bushes all around)

I know I am not alone, looking forward to spring (greens)!

It looks like we may be out of 20 and 30 degree days. I am hoping to plant some seeds this week (and cover them). Once I start planting, I need to revamp the chicken run — can’t let the chickens free range when there are seeds/plants in the ground!

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

Harvest Monday

February 16, 2015

Halfway through the month and we have gotten over 100 eggs (last month, we got 60 total)! What a blessing 🙂DSC_6216I finished pruning all of our trees and bushes this week. There is still so much to do but that was a big chore I am glad is over.

Whenever the weather warms up again (lows in the teens, highs in the 20s & 30s this week), I am planning on planting some more greenhouses and even planting some seeds in the ground (covered)!

Until then I wait…and make lists 😉 What are you doing while you wait? If you want to see some real harvests, head over to Daphne’s Dandelions 🙂