Tag Archives: fall garden

Harvest Monday

September 16, 2013

This summer, we have been filling the coop with dried grass clippings. I saw a couple of videos of L2Survive‘s about Paul Gautschi’s chicken coop and how he uses wood shavings. He says it takes the smell away and makes an incredibly rich compost. We have a lot of lumber yards in our town so I called one and they said we were more than welcome to come get their wood shavings. Man! The coop smells great now! It’s pretty too 🙂

September 14 13 - 0249Apparently, (at least one of) the chickens like it too because Thursday, at 27.5 weeks, we got our first egg! It was from an Australorp. She gave us another one Friday as well.

egg1It is interesting to see the difference between the first and second egg. My daughter wants to eat them but I am holding off because I just bought 5 dozen at the store :\ and because I like to see how they change. Still only one chicken is laying but it was so exciting – it gives us hope 🙂

September 13 13 - 0195(egg #1 is long, pointed, speckled. egg #2 from same chicken is more rounded and uniform)

So far this chicken has given us an egg each day. I am quite impressed with her. I am looking forward to one day collecting more than one egg a day 🙂

Another exciting harvest was from our second cucumber plant. The first cucumber plant was shaded too much from my daughter’s pole beans. It only produced a couple of cucumbers before it died back. The pole beans were planted back in May, my daughter got her first harvest in July, and they are STILL producing! I was never a fan of pole beans before but I can’t deny how much produce we have gotten in so little space! They have taken over and shaded many crops (cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, etc.). So I replanted a cucumber plant at the beginning of July and got my first cucumber this week 🙂

September 14 13 - 0300Other harvests for the week were exciting as well but were not different from other weeks…a few peas here and there, plenty of beans, tomatoes, and lettuce (harvested every day but only one picture).September 14 13 - 0261

September 10 13 - 0004September 10 13 - 0005I planted some more cabbages, and broccoli this week and I am going to plant some carrots next week.

I realize we are getting to the point where if I continue planting, plants will not reach full maturity before the winter sets in but, if I can keep them alive all winter, they will have a head start in the spring!

In North Carolina, our winters are generally all over the place. It is not odd to have 80 degree days in January or February. Just a couple in a row, mind you, but enough to make the trees blossom (and then later freeze).

When we have warm winter days, I’ll go out into the garden and plant some cool crops. It takes a lot longer to sprout but as soon as spring arrives, they have already gone through the ‘hardening off’ period and they grow really well. We get some early harvests from crops like broccoli, kale, etc. by doing this.

What are you harvesting? Are you planting anything for the fall or is it too late for your region? Head over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what everyone else is harvesting 🙂


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!