Tag Archives: harvest

Harvest Monday

May 12, 2014

This week started off with more strawberry picking! 🙂 Yum! My back was not a fan though. I think we’ve had our fill of strawberry shortcake for awhile…well, I say we have. I know my kids could have it every night!

Because of the storms last week, the mulch guys had about three more loads to bring us this week. The smell of freshly chipped tree is HEAVENLY!

Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0503In the Garden

I planted some more bush beans, flowers, and spaghetti squash and we started putting up trellises for our climbing beans.Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0483

We’ll make the trellises taller as needed…

More things are sprouting!

  • Sunflowers
  • CornNieto Family - May 10 14 - 0467(look really closely! the corn is in the middle. i hope it is able to grow! i may take out a bean plant or two to give it a fighting chance)
  • Squash, Cucumbers, Melons (all look the same when they are seedlings)Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0447
  • Flowers

Chicks and another Broody Hen!

We put the 6 week old chicks with the rest of the chickens and it went really smoothly! They are getting BIG! Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0517(They are seven weeks old and do not compare at all to the other chicks we ordered when they were 7 weeks old. These are HUGE! Amazing what a difference it makes when chicks are raised with their mamas, on pasture from the very beginning!)

Another selling point to getting them out of the dog crate is that we have another broody hen! 😀 Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0553(Unfortunately, hers is the only nesting box that did not get cleaned out so it is all poopy 😦 But there was no moving her — she made sure of that!)

I was waiting to clean out the coop and add more wood shavings whenever we stopped putting the dog crate in and out every night. Wood shavings were getting pushed all around by doing that so it really was pointless to add more shavings.

So, the day after we moved the chicks in with everyone, moved the dog crate out, and right before a friend brought over more fertilized eggs, I went ahead and cleaned out the coop and added more wood shavings. I did not do a deep cleaning…just scraped the poop off of the roosting table and out of the nesting boxes, and added a lot more wood shavings.Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0554(Now all of the nesting boxes (save the one where the broody hen is) are nice and clean)

As before, I dumped all of the cleanings into the run. The flies had gotten pretty bad in the coop since it had been so long since I had cleaned it. The chickens enjoyed scratching through the ‘cleanings’, eating fly larvae, etc. after I dumped it into the run. I do not like doing it, but I sure do like the look and smell of a newly-cleaned chicken coop! And all of that aged poop, wood shavings, grass clippings, and chicken scraps make a great addition to the garden!

The last time we had a broody hen, we had issues with other hens taking over her box, trying to eat her eggs, etc. We decided the problem was that we did not have enough nesting boxes so after the chicks hatched, we added 4 more. We hope that will take care of that and we will not have any problems with this broody hen. My daughter is excited that we will get new chicks just a few days after her birthday! 🙂

She has done a good job staying on her nest…so well in fact, we have been unable to count her eggs. The day after our unpleasant surprise (see below), she was finally off of her nesting box, getting some water and we noticed 4 eggs missing! This same sort of thing happened with the other broody hen before (3 eggs went missing). I have no clue what happened to the eggs…either time. My husband mentioned that since the coop door could have been open the whole day prior, anything could have happened to them. She now has 8 eggs under her and it has been less than a week. As always, we’ll just have to wait and see…

(Unpleasant) Surprise

We decided to take a day beach trip and a trip to the Aquarium as a last hoorah before the baby comes. It was a wonderful day! We came home and…the coop door was WIDE open :\

We are always trying to teach the children responsibility. The oldest child is the only one who has picked up on it thus far…but we continue to try! My husband told child #2 (6.5yo) to give the chickens some food and guess who didn’t bother closing the coop correctly?

SO, when we got home, some of my corn was scratched up, my sweet potato slip growing area was dug up, some place where I planted spinach and tomatoes…the largest area to be nearly ruined was my potato patch…specifically, the beautiful blue potatoes!

If you recall, after we plant them, we cover them with 8″ of mulch. Chickens LOVE a pile of mulch! So, they dug up that patch really well! 😦 I tried to recover everything with mulch. I only saw one potato sprout completely eaten; most were just uncovered and moved around. I was very sad to see the destruction but it could have been MUCH, MUCH, MUCH worse so at the same time, I was very thankful that it was only as bad as it was.


I have never bought starts. I have always been able to start my own tomatoes and last year was able to start my own peppers. This year, very few of my greenhouses did well. Other than our unusually snowy, never-ending winter, I did fail to seal the greenhouses with duct tape. I did not think it would make much of a difference but I am making a note to do so next year.

I decided to go ahead and buy some tomato and pepper starts this year as I still do not have any respectable-looking tomato or pepper plants growing yet. My daughter’s birthday is coming up and she asked her grandparents for some tomato starts for her birthday. So, at the end of the week, we picked up some cherry tomatoes, brandywine, roma, and some early girl tomatoes to get our tomato patch started. We will pick up some peppers and more tomatoes this week. I am not used to spending this much on the garden (I generally spend money on seeds but nothing else) but it’s either this or no tomatoes this year and I do realize all of the tomatoes we will get from our starts will more than pay for themselves in the long run so I will just grin and bear it and next year, try to grow some more! 🙂

Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0497(my daughter’s tomato plant) Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0461(A volunteer tomato I discovered in the corn patch (was the tomato patch last year)! It will be transplanted when it gets older 🙂 ) Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0443(Early Girl, Brandywine, Roma Tomato Starts)


We’re down to about 14 eggs/day. We have two hens not laying (new mama & broody) but production has gone down more than I expected. I would not be surprised if we found a nesting place somewhere in the near future…

I am hoping next week, I will be able to share our first harvest of kale, lettuce, and/or spinach. Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0480(Pinto beans to the left, then kale, and carrots to the right)

Then again, even more than that, I would love to share next week that we’ve ‘harvested’ our own baby 😉 That is not up to me, though. We’ll just see what the Lord has in store…

Check out what everyone else has going on in their gardens around the world at Daphne’s Dandelions 🙂


The Weather Is Warmer So Things Are Getting DONE!

March 31, 2014

We had some more below freezing nights and days in the 30s but I am hoping we are done with those days!


We allowed the chicks to do some monitored free-ranging once the temps rose above freezing. They are so cute!

Nieto Family - March 27 14 - 0068 1547951_717975918253260_1950278981_o


There was a tree trimming company last week at a neighbor’s house so we invited them to dump the mulch at our house.


(load #1 of 6 or so)

They stayed in the area for a whole week. We now have about as much mulch as we did when Asplundh came two years ago. I am using the new mulch on areas that we want to suppress grass-growth and saving the old, decomposed mulch for planting areas. IMG_8459(You can see the newer mulch in the foreground. We’re just trying to cover more grass — less places to mow. Only a little got done that day because it was so windy and because I’m so stinkin’ pregnant!)

The edges of the garden are the worst for creeping grass so my husband is trying to nip that in the bud by putting chicken tunnel around the majority of the garden. The chickens are loving it and are doing a wonderful job. The only problem is, they are eating grass faster than it is growing right now, since we are still at the beginning of spring.


(Tunnel goes all around the garden area. You can see the raised mulch area – potato patch – and beyond that are all of the blueberry bushes, which you cannot see yet because they are still bare right now)


My mom ordered strawberries for me for Christmas this past year. They came in this week and as soon as the weather warmed (to about 60), I planted them. I had already prepared a strawberry patch this past fall with chicken & horse manure and wood chips. I measured it and thought I could fit 90 plants. She ordered 50 so I went ahead and planted spinach and lettuce on the border of the patch. Not surprisingly, I must have measured incorrectly or something because only about 40 strawberry plants fit in my strawberry patch 😉 No worries. I planted the rest close by. I plan on expanding every year anyway.

Nieto Family - March 27 14 - 0015 Nieto Family - March 27 14 - 0008


(25 of the plants — look at those beautiful roots!)

Nieto Family - March 27 14 - 0011 (I found some cow compost in the shed when I cleaned it out last month so I mixed that compost with some of our chicken compost from out of the run for a planting medium for the strawberry plants.) (It is really difficult to see the baby plants right now so here is a close-up of one of them.)Nieto Family - March 27 14 - 0399

The weekend was warmer but extremely windy and rainy so I planted here and there when I could. Along with my strawberry plants, I was able to get all of my peas planted, some beets, and some onions.

My 6th child/third trimester body can only do so much at once. I find that after only an hour of planting, I am worn out! Just pitiful! With all that needs to be planted, I’ll have to just go out when I can and stick with it until everything is planted…especially since we are at a later start than normal because of our long winter this year.

So from now until…? I will be planting, little by little and when I am not planting, I will be weeding. There are not many weeds, thanks to the mulch. However, two types are relentless: bermuda grass and wild onion 😛 I’ve gotta say though, pulling weeds in the mulch is a whole different ball game than pulling in dirt. It is easier, it does not need to be done as frequently…comparatively, it is wonderful! If you have not yet, go check out the Back to Eden Film!

I am still nervous (because of my impatience) about the lack of sprouts in my greenhouses but I looked over my posts from last year and saw that it was not until mid/late April of 2013 that I started getting sprouts in my greenhouses. That is also when my potato plants started to come up. I am so thankful to have this blog, if for no other reason than to keep myself in check 😉

I haven’t spoken much of harvests because, though that is the goal (hence the planting), I have yet to have any plant harvests this year. We are still harvesting eggs daily and are extremely thankful for those! Check out what everyone else is doing at Daphne’s Dandelions today 🙂

Harvest Monday

March 10, 2014

Yet another week of crazy weather – sleet, ice, rain, and 65 degree weather! I was unable to do much in the garden this week until the weekend.


Nothing from the celery yet. Some seeds are starting to sprout though:


DSC_3953Onions (first time sprouting my own onions…could have planted more/greenhouse)

DSC_3952 Flowers (these are red sunflowers – sprouts look purple – but foxglove & yellow sunflowers are sprouting as well)

This week is supposed to be much warmer so hopefully, there will be many more to follow.

Garden Chores

I spent the weekend expanding mulch to the driveway. I have found that a garden, whether a raised bed or a BTE garden, surrounded by grass (especially bermuda grass) will quickly become overwhelmed by said grass. So, we try to have our gardening area surrounded by quite a bit of mulch to

  1. Deter the grass and
  2. Prepare new ground for expanding the garden in years to come.

DSC_3948My husband’s work moved offices recently. Those big moving boxes are AWESOME when it comes to covering a lot of area! Hopefully we can find more of those huge boxes soon! 🙂

DSC_3955Finished Product. Looks great! Still a lot more area to cover!


Still just harvesting eggs. Fifteen a day! We are very excited about this. We caught the chickens eating eggs a week ago but now we check 3 times a day and the problem has seemed to resolve itself. yay 🙂

The broody hen is still sitting. One week down, two more to go!

Some weird happenings

  • Every once in a while, we’ll find a few of her eggs (marked by an X) in other nesting boxes!
  • Also, we started with 10 eggs and now just have 7. We have no clue what happened to them. Our nesting boxes do not have backs to them and since some of her eggs have been kicked out of her nesting boxes a few times (in the front), I would not doubt it if we found them later behind the nesting boxes. I don’t want to move the nesting boxes now because I do not want to disturb her. We have looked and have not seen them but I don’t know where else the eggs could have gone!

Are you harvesting anything green? I cannot wait until that day comes! Check out what others are doing in their gardens at Daphne’s Dandelions.

Harvest Monday

July 1, 2013

Little by little, we’re harvesting more and more each week. This week, I harvested a LARGE bowl of blueberries (I can get one of these every 3 days or so). I froze this batch – it was a gallon bag full.

blueberries large blues plan(I had two full pans like this. Once frozen, I slide them into a gallon freezer bag.)

I harvested lettuce every other day for meals.

lettuceI harvested green beans every other day for meals (as a side dish (steamed) and once in a veggie pot pie). I harvested carrots once for lunch (we are finishing up a large 2lb bag from the grocery store then we’ll be eating more carrots from the garden).

all 3 carrots(we love being surprised by the sizes and shapes of each carrot we pull 🙂 )

I harvested some potatoes to put in a pasta salad (with potatoes, apples, raisins, chickpeas, garden peas, pasta & mayo) and to roast with bean burgers we’re having this week.

potsI am harvesting about 1/2 a week’s worth of kale. I stopped planting seeds when my winter plants bolted but the spring-planted kale is still going strong! Note to self – DON’T stop planting!!!

kaleI stopped planting lettuce for about a month as well (stupid! stupid!). I started planting it again but we’ll have a lull in garden lettuce for a time, I think.

Another item I ‘harvested was an apple.

apple(I am assuming it was a/some bird(s)? What do you think?)

I am pleased with how much I have been able to harvest from the garden this year compared to last year and I am already planning for next year. Oh, and I just realized, I need to already start planting for the fall garden. It snuck up on me – I am not prepared! I’ll try to figure out what to plant and where it all goes this week or next 🙂

Are you already planting for the fall/winter? What are you planting? Are there parts of your garden you let rest? I’m trying how to figure out how to do that…

I’m linking to Daphne’s Dandelions for Harvest Monday today. Check it out! 🙂

Harvest Monday

June 24, 2013

I keep saying kale is done but it keeps producing! No complaining here! Because food is best fresh picked, however, I am still getting the hang of remembering to take pictures after I harvest and before I eat. This week, kale was picked and promptly used (juiced).

I picked lettuce, and handful of blueberries, and snaps (green beans) just about every day this week for supper. I remembered to take a picture one of those days 😉

harvest lechuga blueberriesI was weeding the other day and accidentally pulled a carrot.

carrot(result of stripping the pea plants and pulling weeds)

We have never been able to grow carrots before but the seed was getting old so I just threw some in this year. Even though we have clay soil, the BTE method of gardening is supposed to condition/fertilize your soil every time it rains (which has been A LOT this year so far) so it was a good experiment. After I pulled one accidental carrot, I let the kids pull one each and we ate them for lunch the next day. Apparently I forgot to take a pic but this was the typical size – we were just thinning). I was nervous for taste but they tasted pretty good! Yay for the carrot experiment! The next day, my husband went out and bought some more carrot seed for me 🙂

We went away for the weekend and when we got back, we got a much larger blueberry harvest than normal. The interesting thing is, the blueberries are cracking this year. They are so large, they look like a bunch of grapes! The three things that are different this year than in years past is

  1. There was no late spring frost to kill some of the berries so there are more on each bush.
  2. I pruned the bushes HEAVILY this winter, which means all of their energy went into producing more berries.
  3. It has rained A LOT more this winter and spring than normal.

bluesI assume the cracking is from the rain. It does not affect taste at all – just a curious sight to see…

I am linking to Harvest Monday over at Daphne’s Dandelions. Check out what other people are harvesting – go be inspired 🙂