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Friday, May 18, 2018

Garden Update: We have Blackberries and Tomatoes!!

Ever since we moved to our property, I have wanted to create a garden of sorts. 
You can read about my original plans here
Once I got chickens however, my ideas changed.
I moved from wanting a flower garden and something just pretty to look at to wanting a more functional farmstead. Don't get me wrong, I still desire is to "look good" but I'm really wanting to embrace the whole till the earth/live of the land... just a little bit...
I can't tell you how happy it makes me to be able to give you an update!
My last update was in 2017, you can read that here
Last year, I had just re-fenced off the chicken pen to create and area for the garden, my original idea was to let the chickens out those back gates so they could free range... there was an old fence between our property and the neighbors so, I just connected on to that and let them out... well long story short there were some areas of the old fence that were low and something had started going over it and taking a couple of my hens last year.... I suspect a fox, so the free range ended until I could get a new fence up.  So I started letting them in the back yard, which was great until they started pooping on the patio... my husband was not having it, and neither was I honestly, it made are patio inhabitable....
We want to re-do our patio this year, so first things first, we had to extend the chicken pen.
They come right out of those double gates and into  secluded section of shady trees and woods.
They seem to like it quite a bit now. We ended up just using t-post and 4ft tall hog wire. Very economical and we got it done in about 2 hours.
So far so good and we have happy hens and a happy Roo!
So now you are pretty much caught up on the situation.
And I feel like it has been forever since I got to work on the run,  I was starting to think I was never going to get my garden. I knew it would be a little bit of money but mostly time and effort. With working 30 hours a week and being 7 months pregnant, I figured it just wasn't going to happen. My husband kept telling me it wasn't a priority right now, but I just wasn't hearing all that jazz... to me it was a priority, something I really longed for. Once I quit my job, I knew it was something I was going to really 
work towards to establish.
I had a lot of supplies on hand, such as these t-posts and some landscape timbers and twine...
So early on Monday morning, I got to work and started driving in these t-posts... 
don't worry, the ground is supper soft, it didn't take much effort.
I knew for my first plantings, I wanted to plant a blackberry vineyard and some tomato plants.
As you can see from the photo, I dug up the fence that separated the yard into two, and we ended up fencing off the old coop, which will eventually become a Silkie and Bunny area.
This layout is much better, for me, the chickens and the eventual future members of our farm crew.
Back to the gardening...
So I did two rows of t-posts and strung twine in between.
To create a trellis for the blackberries to adhere to.
We went to Lowes and got all the plants.
I was so excited to get these darlings in the ground!
One thing I have constantly consumed during my pregnancy is blackberries, 
so I just knew I had to grow my own:)
Next I planted my tomatoes, I actually got these old cages from the field behind us, the people who live next to us just discarded a ton of these at the back of their property so one day, 
I went back there and got a few.... 
I planted two regular, heat tolerant hybrids and two cherry tomatoes.
I plan to cover them in burlap at the base just to make them look a little nicer.
Once all that was planted, I decided I would use all the leftover hay and manure from the coop from over the winter. I did the Deep Layer Method, which is basically just adding new hay or straw every week and not cleaning it out till spring, it's suppose to keep the coop warmer and be better environmentally for the ladies... this was my first year to do it, because you really can't in a small coop. But this fall we made a larger coop, I never posted it, but I will soon...
I really like this method until I realized I would be 7 mos pregnant cleaning it out for spring, that was no fun! I always switch to sand in the summer cause it's cooler, cleaner and easier to manage.
So here is the new coop, it's much bigger measuring at 8x8 ft and it's basically a cross between a hoop coop and traditional design at the base. I'll share a post soon on how we did it. But I love it so much better... a walk in coop is just so much easier on so many levels.
 So her is that whole huge pile I shoveled out one afternoon, and I swore I would never do the deep litter method again, but I think I will, next year I won't be pregnant and it will be easier... and I ended up putting it in between my garden rows for all the nutrients and a bit of ground cover, so it's a win!
I started painting the inside of the coop last fall by hand and really just lost steam and eventually found out I was pregnant shortly after this... plus cooler temps just equals me not wanting to be outside, but i'm hoping we can get the spray rig out and I will spray the whole thing white. Yes, my chickens lay in a chair... they never were quite into boxes and they always shared a next or made their own (to share). So when they hung out in the back yard last year, they started laying on patio chairs, so i thought, I have this old chair, I have a bigger coop... they like chairs... you see where I'm going with this... so ta-da... a nest chair....

Thanks for stopping by guys I so appreciate it!
I will have more for you soon:)


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