Tag Archives: tractor

Harvest Monday and Garden Chores

March 16, 2015

This past week turned out to be really nice (it was supposed to rain most of the week). We are harvesting eggs AND our kale made it through the winter! We are harvesting lightly but really, we are super excited about the kale sprouts that will be coming up soon! YUM!Nieto Photography 2015We are also seeing some sprouts in the greenhouses!Nieto Photography 2015some kale… Nieto Photography 2015some purple cabbage…

We also have broccoli, lettuce, onions, and even one tomato (or ground cherry?) sprouting!

If you have been following our journey from the beginning, you will recall before we knew about Paul Gautschi and Back to Eden, we covered our garden with tarps to keep the bermuda grass out (nothing else worked). We would cut through the tarp to plant. All around our blueberry plants and around our raised beds is mulch on top of tarp.

As we continue to expand the garden, we put down newspaper/cardboard and then mulch. We eventually want to expand the garden to the fence line (on the other sides of the pruned trees)…Nieto Photography 2015 and all the way down the hill. Nieto Photography 2015That is our burn pile. with all of our prunings. We tried to burn it this week…Nieto Photography 2015but everything was too wet so we basically burned the grass…we’ll try to burn the wood if it ever dries out here. I am looking forward to being able to add the wonderful minerals from the wood ash to the garden.

Back to expanding. 🙂 We typically will expand a section or two each year, as we collect cardboard. This takes the whole family, one wagon load of mulch at a time, as we are without machinery.

In the meantime, I am increasing our planting area within the garden by ripping up sections of tarp and covering the bare ground with mulch. The mulch will have all summer to break down and it will be ready to be planted in next spring or maybe this fall (depending on how strapped I am for space).

Here is a section of tarp, ripped up.Nieto Photography 2015Even being covered in tarp for 3 years, there were sprouts of green (from where the tarp was thin) that needed to be covered up with newspaper. Nieto Photography 2015Here it is mostly covered. Nieto Photography 2015Notice in the foreground (to the right) is another of different-colored mulch — that was a section I did a couple days before I took these pictures. In the foreground (to the left) is where we planted corn this summer (for perspective). Nieto Photography 2015Later in the spring, when I’m busy getting seeds and transplants into the ground, I won’t have time to do any garden expansion. Might as well spend these nice days (before planting time) doing something productive outside!

SOOOO, Garden Chores I Accomplished This Week:

  • Pulled up tarp and covered with mulch (two areas)
  • Weeded the whole garden in an hour (yay BTE!)
  • Staked the raspberry plants (last year they drooped and ants had a field day!)
  • Moved the tractor
  • Set up low tunnesls for brassicas

Raspberries staked:Nieto Photography 2015Tractor moved from here (where the cabbages and kale were):Nieto Photography 2015(Left side of pic where tractor was…Right side of pic where tractor is) Nieto Photography 2015Ready for planting! Last spring, peas were planted here. During the summer, sweet potatoes. I am planning on planting tomatoes and ground cherries outside of it so they can climb up the sides and shade-tolerant crops inside. Nieto Photography 2015And finally, setting up my low tunnels for brassicas:

I followed the tutorial from Mother of a Hubbard. I LOVE her blog. SO informative regarding fall/winter gardening! We do not have a stud bar so I used a piece from our broken down trampoline 😉Nieto Photography 2015As you can see, I marked 12″ with a sharpie so I would know when to stop driving it into the ground. I used a post driver to do so. I used 10′ PVC pipes we had left over from making chicken tunnels. Nieto Photography 2015The holes are 5′ feet apart and the hoops are spaced 5′ apart. So here I have a 5’x10′ bed. I could have spaced the holes 6′ apart but I am growing broccoli in here so I wanted the hoops higher. They are 3′ high. If I end up with more transplants than room, I can always add another hoop.

I made another low tunnel the next day for kale. I have such issues growing brassicas because of the cabbage worms. I am going to be proactive this year and cover everything from the start! Also, now that I see how easy it is to make low tunnels, hopefully my 2015/16 winter garden will be hoppin’! 😀

Are you ready to get out into the garden? I know this was a long post but frankly, I’m happy about it — I was sick of the ‘only harvesting eggs’…’too cold to do anything’ posts 😉

Check out what other gardeners are doing at Daphne’s Dandelions today!


Garden in September, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

September 4, 2014

Eastern NC, Zone 7b.

Overview pics of the garden and a short description of changes from the previous month…

Garden at the beginning of June (Potatoes are coming up nicely, tomatoes are planted, corn is coming up, blueberries are ripening, peas are being harvested.) _DSF9171-EditGarden at the beginning of July (More potatoes sprouted, blueberry bushes are much larger, tomatoes, corn, and sunflowers are thriving, and sweet potatoes are coming along nicely.)

DSC_4679-EditGarden at the beginning of August (Potatoes have all but died back, watermelon is sprawling, sunflowers have bloomed, corn is down.)

Untitled_Paaanorama1-2Garden at the beginning of September (Potatoes are gone, new patch is made and covered, sweet potatoes are thriving, sunflowers are gone, tomatoes are looking bare.)Untitled_Panorama1Per usual, I’ll start from the bottom of the photo and work my way up to the top:

The kale, cabbage, and celery under the shade cloth is doing really well.Nieto Family - August 16 14 - 0028 Nieto Family - August 16 14 - 0027Nieto Family - August 16 14 - 0026 DSC_5372I am planning on transplanting most of these tomorrow into the chicken tractor so they can get more sun. The potato patch is covered with chicken compost for the winter. I am thinking it will be the corn patch next year. It is partially shaded most of the day but the potatoes did fine with this so I am thinking the corn may as well?

Next to this year’s potato patch is a new section of garden where I think I will plant potatoes next year.DSC_5373

Next to that is the tomato/pepper/watermelon patch. The watermelons are finally ready for harvest. They have all been incredibly tasty so far. DSC_5379The pepper plants, per usual, are healthy-looking but do not produce an incredible amount of peppers. I don’t know what I can do to remedy that situation…other than plant more plants every year, which I plan to do.

The tomatoes actually seem to be bouncing back from all of their issues. I was going to rip them out and plant a bunch of brassicas in place of them; but now that they’re bouncing back, I am waiting on that…DSC_5378(still very heavily pruned but the new growth does not seem to be succumbing to any fungus)

The sweet potato patch looks great! We’ll see how they turn out in October, when it’s time to harvest.DSC_5380(top of photo: expanded the skinny strawberry patch)

If you remember, the corn patch was turned into a pea/carrot patch. The plan was to have pea border the patch (2′ border) with roots in the middle. I would harvest and rip out the peas before I had to do anything with the roots. I thought it was a good plan 😉

Only problem? Most of the carrots did not sprout and those that did have died off already. I assume it was just too hot. I am hoping to get the whole thing reseeded by the end of the week. We’ll see.DSC_5381(the peas are coming up nicely — bare spots are where cucumber & butternut squash plants were previously)

Up next is more sweet potato patch (seen in top right of the previous photo) and at the end my three oldest planted carrots and onions. They are partially shaded so they are doing better than my plantings of root veggies so far.

In the blueberry patch is our growing raspberry patch. Excuse the photo — storm was coming & I was holding a baby so this was as good as the pic was going to get. Look closely though, you can see quite a few raspberries ripening:)DSC_5382

The sunflowers were harvested and I ripped up the spent cucumber vines. Next on the list is to plant more brassicas, lettuce, and spinach in this area. (top of the photo is yet another sweet potato patch)DSC_5384Past the sunflower boxes is a box in which I have spinach sprouting (the box with the screen on it).DSC_5385 I also planted spinach in the potato patch but I had to remove the shade cloth (didn’t have enough) so all of it died 😦 I hope to plant more by mid-September.

To the left of this section are strawberry patches and to the right (bottom to top) are carrots, the last succession planting of beans, yet another sweet potato patch, volunteer tomatoes, and the chicken tractor, where broccoli and cabbage are planted.DSC_5388Past that is where we expanded the garden with cardboard and mulch a couple of weeks ago.

Welp, that’s it! Summer crops are finishing up and I am trying my hardest to get all of the fall crops planted so we can continue harvesting throughout the fall and winter. Most gardens (and gardeners) are SPENT by August. Because my garden is covered in mulch, my garden is still looking great (no weeds)! Praise the Lord for the Back to Eden Film! 🙂

I am linking up with Green Thumb Thursday to see what other gardeners are up to 🙂

Mid-February Update

February 24, 2014

All of you bloggers who diligently post each week, come lovely or not so lovely weather, one day I will join you. Until then, when it snows and I cannot do anything in the garden, I am less likely to post, hence my silence last week.

Nieto Family - February 13 14 - 0422 Nieto Family - February 13 14 - 0426(up close of the milk jug greenhouses)

This past week, however, we were in the 60s many days! Such is life in North Carolina, snow one week, spring weather the next.

Some things accomplished this week:

  • We were able to cover the rest of the garden and blueberry patch with mulch (where chickens had made holes or rain had washed it away).
  • Planted the rest of my warm-weather seeds in greenhouses.
  • Planted some carrots, lettuce, and kale in the ground (I read they sprout in weather as low as 32 degrees (our lows this week) so we will see)
  • Put out some tunnels and the tractor so the chickens could graze on some grass, since it is starting to grow again.
  • Picked up a load of horse manure and spread it (a dusting) around the garden.

Katys Blog(1)Potato patch and tomato/pepper patch on far left, not in the picture. Blueberry bushes lined in back.

*All sections that are lighter are those with horse manure. It also helps distinguish planting areas from pathways.

Back row (L to R): sweet potato patch, raised beds will have a variety of crops (broccoli, cabbage, snaps, celery, onions, beets, sunflowers, and melons, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, beans), strawberry patch

Front (L to R): 3 sister’s garden (corn, cucs/spaghetti squash, beans), next long bed will have peas and then snaps & celery, final section around 2 apple trees will have a variety of crops

Section around apple trees: We put cardboard down last summer and LOTS of mulch to suppress the weeds. I noticed this winter as I was digging out some weeds around the tree base that the soil under the mulch is fluffy so I decided to attempt to make this new garden area this year.

The plan is to plant crops that like partial shade on the North side of the apple tree and heat loving crops on the South and West side of the tree. I am planning on planting things such as melons, cucumbers (lots of room to ‘roam’), onions on the border, lettuce, kale, carrots, broccoli, and carrots.

You can see a row has already been made and we planted lettuce, carrots and kale. The issue right away with this spot is how much mulch needs to be moved out of the way before we plant. We added MANY inches in order to suppress weeds. I am cautiously excited about being able to grow crops in that area 🙂

Nieto Family - February 19 14 - 0333I would have preferred to spread the manure in the fall so it had all winter to break down but it just did not work out that way. Now, all of the garden patches/boxes/areas are covered in mulch and manure!

The next dilemma was: what to do with the poop and wood shavings when I clean out the coop? I watched the Back to Eden Film again this week (I like to do that every once in a while for fun and because I tend to learn something new each time) and got the idea to put the coop cleanings in the chicken run so it could break down some more. The goal is — the next time I put manure on the garden (next fall), I will just use what is in the run and it will be fine, beautiful compost, as Paul’s is (shown in the film).

Even though I have plenty of greenhouses, people keep giving me milk jugs (I am NOT complaining!) so I think I will go ahead and plant some spring seeds in the last batch of greenhouses so they will get a little jump start and we will get to eat greens SOONER! Lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, mmmmm 🙂

We finally finished all of our winter chores by mid-February! Not to shabby 🙂 Now, the only thing that needs to be done in the garden is planting seeds! And, of course harvesting 🙂 That will come soon enough. Right now, we are still getting 3-6 eggs/day. I am hoping the chickens will start ramping up production soon!

The only other thing we want to work on the next time we have energy (this week wore us out!) is expanding the mulched area out to our other fruit trees. The bermuda grass is relentless so even a large circle around each tree with mulch does basically nothing. The only thing that even pretends to keep the bermuda grass away is to cover EVERYTHING with newspaper, cardboard, or plastic tarps and then mulch (and even then some bermuda grass finds its way in — craziness!)

We are collecting a lot of cardboard right now so whenever the mood hits, we can work on expanding. Pictures to come!

Are you harvesting anything or are you still under a couple feet of snow? Check out what everyone else is doing at Daphne’s Dandelions 🙂

Another Garden/Chicken Update

April 5, 2013

My last update was only a week ago but there is much to post about. It will only get busier around here as the weather warms up and the chicks continue to grow!

The first week of March, I planted garlic and potatoes. The garlic has emerged but the potatoes have not 😦 I bought the potato seed locally, waited until the ground was 50 degrees (45 degrees is recommended), and planted them in composted chicken manure. We also put horse manure on top so that whenever it rains, they will get some compost tea for fertilization. We have been having quite a bit of rain so I would not be surprised if they have not come up because they are rotten. I think I will give them a little longer before I dig to see what’s going on.

March 31 13 - 0390(garlic emerging around Peach Tree)

We received our Christmas present from my brother and sister-in-law (raspberries!) and planted those in horse manure this week by our blueberry bushes. It is not likely we will get raspberries this year but hopefully next year we will!

March 30 13 - 0097(Row where we planted 10 raspberry plants. The other bare plants you are seeing are blueberry bushes and if you look REALLY closely, you can see a Peach Tree blooming to the left)

I also planted some peas (OLD seed) and carrots a couple of weeks ago and this week as well. It takes a while for carrots to come up so I am still hopeful for them. I will post pics if anything ever sprouts 🙂 I think I’m going to plant some more carrots today.

The chicks continue to grow. They are 4 weeks now and are flying all over the coop. I was just told our March weather this year was typical of our average January temperatures in years past. Craziness. So, the chicks still have a heat lamp on them at night in the coop.

April 03 13 - 0114

We are working little by little on the tractor. We put the chicks in whenever it is nice enough outside so they can get used to it. We basically only lack a ramp to the nesting boxes before they can go in the tractor daily.

April 03 13 - 0005 April 03 13 - 0022 March 31 13 - 0262

We also put a window in the coop (there is ventilation at the top but we felt they needed more light) that the kids raise & lower every day.

March 30 13 - 0078 March 31 13 - 0246

The only thing we lack with the coop, really, are stairs…

Then, of course, we are going to get started on the run…and we are thinking about getting a dog to help keep the birds safe and to warn our children if there is anything in the coop when they go check for eggs…so we need to go check the pounds for a puppy with some type of guardian dog in him/her…just like making gravy…it never ends…

Oh, the Peach, Pear, and Apple trees are starting to bloom also! It looks really pretty…so of course I forgot to take a picture [meh]…the blueberry bushes are thinking about it…

March 31 13 - 0410

That is what has been happening over the past week outside.  As far as inside, I am trying two new things that I have never tried before. Update coming soon. I have ‘jumped into’ so many things lately that I am kind of on a roll! Support me when I crash & burn, mmm’kay? 😉

March Review (Budget, Garden, Chickens)

March 28, 2013

How did you do this month, budgeting? A long month is always hard when it comes to money.

Still juicing! Will it ever end? Idk but one day, when our diet gets back to ‘normal’ (hopefully a new normal in which we only eat healthy food – even desserts!), maybe our budget will as well.

Still going over the budget in the area of groceries but we are also limiting car use so that has helped even out the budget a bit. We still went over for the month (BOO!) –  $50 over, which is worse than last month but all I can do it not give up!

I’ll just keep trying. Right now, these are the foods we are making instead of buying: jelly, bread, beans (instead of buying canned), coleslaw, pizza crust, sloppy joe buns. We are growing and eating kale, spinach, lettuce, and some broccoli from the garden.

March 26 2013 - 0029I make as much as possible on bread baking day so I do not have to have all of the equipment out as often. I freeze the bread and it tastes fresh (but not as squishy, which is great when slicing) out of the freezer! The wrinkled ones were the last ones of the day. They were forgotten about and rose for too long. They are still uniform on the inside, the tops are just not as smooth.

February 24 13 - 0116(This was a month ago, so everything is bigger. There is not much lettuce left, as we have been eating it up!)

Last week I sowed carrots and peas and planted more summer crops in our milk jugs. I have not done an update on them because of the 15 or so jugs I have outside, only one has any sprouts. It seems like such a wonderful idea and it is not costing me anything so I will stick with it this year but it does not seem to be working…we’ll see…and I will give an update when I have final thoughts on them 🙂

Hopefully the weather will turn warmer soon so we will be able to enjoy peas, carrots, more greens (they really take off when the weather warms), etc., which will help our budget.

Eggs are still a number of months away but, again, if it warms up a bit, the chicks are just about big enough to spend some time outside each day, which means they can clear more grass and weeds in order to expand our garden more.We are finishing up our tractor to keep them safe from the hawks around here.

March 20 2013 - 0089

In the meantime, they are growing more and more!

orpington3 weeks old. Feathers are coming in (all but one bird who has no feathers on his back…odd…)

flying chickenThey have made it up to the third rung (which leads to the roost).

connor with birdMy 2yo LOVES going to see the chicks 2-3x/day. He is great with them!

How is it almost April and we are still holding our breath for Spring? We live in North Carolina for goodness sakes!

oh my goodness! i forgot to link back to Simple Lives Thursday! Sorry ladies!