Monday, June 11, 2012

Moving Outdoors.

Our little chicks and our not so little ducklings were getting a bit cramped in the garage brooder.  The ducklings are oh so very messy with the water and needed more space.  We had a few different ideas as to how to resolve our problem.  Our first thought was to bring the ducklings outside into the small coop with the other 4 chickens.  I loaded the chicks into the crate while keeping the ducklings in the brooder pool.  The 2 minutes that the birds were separated were the loudest moments in chick-duckling history!!!  The birds were so distressed while separated.  I knew they got along but little did I know that they were BFF's!  Once hearing the birds while separated I quickly reunited them and got to thinking of a new plan. I decided that they would be best to all move into the large coop.  Of course they do not need the run of the entire coop and we have yet to order (hopefully tonight) our electric fencing for our run.  Regardless, I did with what we had and made one small purchase.  I got some chicken wire fencing and we used that to create a run and I used some old cardboard boxes to section off a portion of the coop.

Temporary cardboard walls.

          Little Duckling enjoying a cool place.    

Duck, Duck... chicken??

We have already altered the setup to maximize the shade throughout the day.  We also removed the dog crate and put in the pool with water for the ducklings-which they LOVE!!!  I then threw some bird netting over the run simply because the birds are so young and the chicks would be an easy meal for any bird of prey.  So far so good in their new home.  The grass is pretty covered with poop but that was to be expected.  We ordered our electric fencing, 150ft, and it should arrive later this month for us to install.  The older birds will then be introduced to the rest of the flock and they will all have full run of the place.  

Speaking of our older birds, they are doing well.  They are still in our old coop in the back yard and getting bigger by the day.  I bring out snacks regularly for them (apple cores, left over bread, greens, cheese, etc) and they all let me give them some belly scratches... even Mr. Roo Man!

Our pair of Barred Rocks.

The 2 month old flock.... and Winston (our dog) who wants them so badly!

Mr. Roo Man!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Garden Works.

The gardens are a slow work in progress for us here at the new house.  We have now put in 2 flat beds for our squash, zucchini, watermelon and cantaloupe.  

The existing 2 raised beds have both been weeded and planting has been done in both, although neither bed is full.  We are trying out the square foot gardening method for the raised beds.  We are also trying to follow some companion planting.   I put up a small trellis for the eggplants and we have the large trellis for the tomatoes (trellis netting yet to be installed for tomatoes).  So far our carrots are up and I have thinned them out to 16 per square foot.  Our onions (4/spft) are also starting to come up but not ready to be thinned out yet.  I also have some more lettuce shooting up (4/sqft) and the 2 large plants are ready for us to begin the continual harvest.

Our raised beds are old and the wood edging in riddled with ants and we will likely have to reinforce the beds or simply build a new outer edge and allow the current wood to rot.  Because of all the ants I decided to whip up some ant be gone!  Our companion book says to mix up some water with garlic and white pepper; ants hate garlic and white pepper kills them.  I didn't measure out the ratios but simply added 3 crushed garlic cloves to 3 cups water and sprinkled in some white pepper.  I left it to brew on the counter for a few days and then strained it into a spray bottle and began spraying!  It has definitely helped with the ants.  It has not eliminated them but has definitely helped us control their population.  This garlic pepper brew is also good to spray right on your plants (not flowers-bees won't come to pollinate) to keep flies, butterflies and moths away.  I spray it every few days and after rainfall on the plants and around the beds.  

I have also used Diatomaceous Earth around the beds and on the leafy plants.  this kills the bugs by dehydration... but this will also kill helpful bugs so avoid flowers and use with caution.  I only use it where I see significant leaf damage.  I certainly don't want to kill the spiders and bees that are in and around the gardens.      

We have put all but one of our berry bushes in the ground and Aaron even built me a strawberry planter from an idea I found from this pin on pinterest using some pallet wood.  We have bird netting for the berries but have yet to install it.

After planting our raspberry bushes we also discovered this on the side of our backyard fence:

I guess we could have simply taken some clippings from this old bush and transplanted them!

On top of the work around our house we are still members of the CSA Farm.  I have been doing some work out there as well; not as much as I would like but I am trying.  I have weeded one of our beds and did some plating.  I direct sowed some royal burgundy beans-which have sprouted nicely, swiss chard, onions, nasturtiums and plated some squash and zucchini started at home.  I need to get out and weed our second bed which is full of massive thistles!  UGH!!!  What a pain that will be but it is our fault for not getting on top of it sooner.

 It has been so very much work but in the end we will receive a great payoff.  Soon enough we will be eating fresh, home grown, pesticide free fruits and vegetables.  Sounds like a bargain to me!