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Jun 11, 2012

Planting & Chicken-Proofing The Veggie Garden, Integrating Chicks to Flock, Food Swap Network

Planting & Chicken-Proofing The Veggie Garden-
With all the wild ups and downs of the weather, 50's one day, then 80's two days later, I'm glad I waited to plant. With the 65 mph winds last week, my veggie garden probably would have been flattened. Dave and I spent several hours yesterday planting, spreading compost and moving a few shrubs to new locations to save them. Next year I hope to start more veggies from seed, but this year I bought most as starts- 9 tomatoes (lots of heirloom), 3 peppers, 2 kind of cukes (trying pickling ones for the 1st time), and an eggplant. I started some peas and green onions from seed. Then there are the little basils I started from seed. I split them up yesterday into pots! Holy basil, Batman, that's a LOT of basil. We love it... I know I have more room to plant after we get the sun room down this week, will try some beans and more eggplants...
I knew I had to chicken-proof my seeds and cukes or they'd get uprooted, like last year. Scanning the yard for ideas, I came up with my 2 "seed/plant" protectors-

Over my green onion seeds, an inverted plant tray from my veggie purchase, staked down. Will let water and light thru, but no more scratchy-scratchy!

 I had a really small section of fencing left, and bingo, another protector for me peas! Staked down as well. So far today no problems!

Then Dave and I made, and added, 3 scrap fencing rings around the cukes, secured, all done. They look a bit like tomato cages-

I also had to chicken-proof my veggie tags too, as last year they got buried. Since we had scrap conduit for tomato stakes, I thought DUCT TAPE! Trimmed and taped, and up where I can see them. I like to track what grows well-

Ditto the peppers with leftover bamboo stakes

My new "Apricot Sprite" Agastache (hyssop is the common name) that I'm planting by the veggie garden. The aroma is amazing, like lemony mint. The hummingbirds and other pollinators love the stuff! Great for really hot, dry areas-

We had to re-plant some ground cover around our little backyard pond, as the chickens dug most of it up last year. Bad girls! I just need to get some pond plants now. We got all the pond components for $20.00 at a yard sale 2 years ago. I LOVE the sound of running water on a hot day. It should look a lot nicer when it grows in...

My garden bench, cleaned off finally, still hanging in there after all these years. I just cover the top with plastic every winter-

 Integrating Chicks to Flock-
It's always great getting new babies until you have to integrate them into a really small flock. I had the 2 new girls outside for a while, in their own space, but next to the 2 big girls. Then I had the 4 free ranging together, and Ellie (the big barred rock) was pretty aggressive, I had to gently smack her a few times with a small mop. After several days things calmed down. They all went into the garden together, smaller space, not too bad, a little charging, but no contact. Friday I left the door open between the sun room (it's coming down this week) and the main coop. Pretty good again. Saturday night, I just left the door open. The babies slept in the doorway, big girls seem fine finally. Now I can relax!  I think they all worked it out :)  Cool diagram above, huh?

From Food Swap Network

Food Swap Network- I had never heard of this before, but what a great idea! Food Swap Network There isn't one in Boise, but I might start one, since I have the summer off. Has anyone tried this???

Here's my little living room table I put seasonal things on. See my little rehabbed, thrift store lighthouse on the right? I painted the upper tube navy and added a silicone bulb. I think it came out cute! I do miss the ocean, sigh...


Candy C. said...

Heidi at My Simple Country Living
did a post a week or so ago about a Food Swap that she attended in her area, she LOVED it!
I only ever grow pickling cukes, they taste just like salad cukes when added to a salad, double duty! :)
I'm glad your chickens worked everything out and, yes, that IS a cute diagram!
Everything in your garden looks great and I do like how you chicken proofed!

nancy said...

Thanks, I LOVE lemon cukes, I'm hoping to harvest them this year. Bugs got em last year :(

ecogrrl said...

We have an email list group in my Woodlawntoolbox neighborhood called Foodlawn for bartering - it's great and super easy to start!

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

You have some great ideas here. I grow my veggies in the front so it has been easier to keep the chickens out. I do like the food swap idea. Have not heard of this yet.

Margo said...

Those garden stakes are a great idea - but my seed envelopes are paper and I think they would disintengrate in the rain.

I had no idea it was so much work to keep chickens out of a garden. We'd like to get chickens when our city zoning changes (fingers crossed), so it's useful to see what that might be like.

nancy said...

Hi Margo- You could write the names on scrap milk jug, metal, etc.? I find the chickens do some minimal damage (check the garden every day) and have to put a little soil back by the roots. The main damage they do is to seeds, smaller roots- like cukes. They dislodged mine last year, died in the heat. So the trellis should fix that :) They make up for it with AMAZING soil and eggs, no bugs!

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