Gardening in the Blind


Two Beds Down

Well I finally tilled two beds and fully planted it out last weekend.  I have been composting chicken poop on top of my beds for over three months.  I felt it was ready to be integrated in the soil.  Unlike rabbit poop, chicken poop is considered hot and needs to be fully composted before you plant in it as it will burn seedlings otherwise.

Onions, Shallots and Leeks oh my!

So after it was spread evenly on the bed, I tilled the first bed.  Last year this bed contained parsnips and arugula.  This year it is going to be the onion bed.  Leeks, shallots and onions are planted with a variety of carrots as the onions help to hide the smell and prevent the carrot fly.  I have 56 leeks, 13 shallots and 59 onions planted.  Hopefully this will be a start for us to use.  I am in hopes of a great crop of shallots this year – they were extra-large.

Moving to the next bed I tilled it in and decided it was going to be the lettuce bed.  Last year it was tomatoes so this will help keep the soil healthy by planting the greens.   It is housing brussels sprouts, 1/2 bed of arugula and many mixed greens.  I had so many mixed greens in packets that each row I planted was a different mix.  It should be interesting to see how it progresses.  The arugula was coming up after just three days.  If you have been a long-term reader you will already know that we are crazy for the arugula.  I usually plant out a complete bed, though this year I am trying to control myself a little more and plant only 1/2 a bed for right now.  I keep reminding myself that I need moderation.  I have to say, moderation is totally over rated so far.  I am going to be creative in my bucket planting for out front this year and don’t be surprised if arugula is included!

Stay tuned in for the first of the tomato beds.  I have a nice variety planted and will discuss them.  But until then enjoy the picture!



Golden Goodness
March 27, 2012, 6:29 am
Filed under: chickens, Cooking/Canning/Drying

After sometime, my girls have decided to lay eggs again!  I can’t believe how much I missed the eggs this winter.  It has been so long that I forgot how many eggs I get from them.  My neighbors are happy, but more importantly I am!  Nothing says I love you like a fresh egg still warm from the chicken – that with maybe homemade bacon….mmmmm good!



It has been too long
February 21, 2012, 3:29 pm
Filed under: chickens, Garden Planning, Indoor Gardening, pests

soon to be started in a basement near you!

It has been too long since I lasted chatted.  We have been too busy lately.  Between dance classes, rock climbing and the gym we really don’t have much time to do anything else.  I am not so keen on this schedule, but we are trying to train for the Tough Mudder in May.  I have a lot of running to go so I am prepared for it.  I have also started a weekday “Paleo” Diet.  That means no gluten, dairy, grains etc.  It makes me appreciate the garden and miss it even more.  But I am in hopes that with the warm week ahead, the ground will thaw so that I can dig out my parsnips.  My mouth waters just at the thought of eating them!

I am still getting some seeds filtering in that were on back order.  I don’t think that I will ever be disappointed when I open the mailbox and see another package sent to me.  It makes me feel so special.  I bribed my husband to deal with the mice in the basement.  We went to Home Depot and picked three different options for traps.  So far we have only caught one well fed mouse.  Deron is in hopes of more as I promised him a nice manhattan for every dead mouse he had to deal with.  It has proven to be a wonder bribe in the past and continues to be.  The trickiest part is hiding the alcohol so he can not find it!

I have a three day workshop I am taking this weekend for my mid-life crisis of changing my profession.  I am going to try to become a personal trainer.  It should be quite fun.  When I finish the weekend, we are going to celebrate by organizing the basement for planting to start.  Hard to believe that it is already that time again.  I will keep you posted as I plant.  This year I am changing a few things for when to start, I hope to see a better production by doing so.  Only time will tell.

The girls are still not laying.  I just purchased a new feed in hopes that might encourage them.  I really miss my eggs that is for sure!

 



Chicken Time!
January 18, 2012, 6:26 pm
Filed under: animals, chickens

Eating Popcorn for the first time

I gave my chickens popcorn for the first time recently and decided that I needed to post a couple of photos.  It has been too long.  They have all recovered from the sporty bare butts that they loved all summer.  I guess it is just too cold for them.  Something is different though.  I am not getting eggs from them this winter.  It has gotten so bad that I had to break down and purchase a dozen eggs to cook with.  If I heated the coop they would probably lay, but I decided that I would give them time off.  It is not like I am dying for eggs.  I threaten them with chicken soup, but they just turn around and show the tails.  I guess they know that I would never do anything to them.

Allie showing off for me.

They seem to be very happy with the arrangement.  Although, it has become cold for the next couple of days, so I have to lock them in the coop.  Chickens instantly want to go where they can no longer go.  They are like little children with a bit of a fit.  It can’t be that they are spoiled and the parent is to blame.  I promise it is not me!  But they love me dearly when I reopen the coop to explore in the sand…so atleast it doesn’t last long.



A Tale of no Tails
November 7, 2011, 8:19 am
Filed under: animals, chickens

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My chickens were loosing feathers all summer long.  It was like they started and decided that the built-in a.c. was worth it.  I tried everything to get the feathers back.  I gave them more protein.  I checked them for mites and lice.  I dusted them with DE just in case I just didn’t see the mites and lice.  Nothing seemed to work.  Worst of all, anyone who visited suddenly thought I was not taking care of my chickens.  It doesn’t matter that they never had chickens, they were sudden experts.  I hate that look of “You must be killing them”.  I’m not a bad chicken owner, it is just what they were doing.  But as predicted, it took a couple of nights of cold and the feathers started growing back.  I went from seeing no feathers to each looking like they had ants crawling all over them (the feathers were black dots and continued to look just plain weird until they were about 1/2″ long where they started to vaguely look like the feathers they were.)  I am happy to see that they are all getting tail feathers, and not knobs anymore (Although they have a long ways to go before they truly look like tails again).  The above picture is of the tailless flock.

The down side of this is that I have not had eggs for over 2 weeks.  Not a single one.  I don’t miss them when I have a lot, but when I don’t, I all of a sudden need them.  Funny how that works.

So for all the looks from visitors, patience is key – not blaming.

On a slightly different note, I decided it was time I learned how to properly kill a chicken in case I ever had to due to injury.  I chose to volunteer at a farm that I order chickens from (to eat).  I was nervous yet excited about helping out on Misty Brook Farm.  I was afraid I would not be able to handle it.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I told my husband it was either going to make me appreciate what we eat, or I would never eat chicken again.  But either way, I would learn how to do this in order to be responsible for my animals.  While it was not the best day in the world, I am happy that I have learned it and in the process, participated in preparing the chicken I eat instead of just picking it up at a grocery store/farm stand.  I appreciate and understand what has to happen for the meat to land on my plate.  I think that is why my husband and I have reduced the amount tremendously.  I said a little wish for each that crossed my path that day.



Weather and seedlings
June 4, 2011, 8:25 pm
Filed under: animals, chickens, outdoor gardening

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This has been very bizarre weather we are getting here in Massachusetts.  I never thought I would be watching tv to here that I needed to move to the basement immediately.  Lucky for me, I open that basement door and both the cats and dogs go running down.  So, after they went down, I went outside and placed the girls inside which they were not happy with. 
I got downstairs in enough time to save the cheese.  Gus was about to chomp on it!
As chaotic as it was, it was a good exercise for me.
Anyway, my luck appeared as it shifted slightly south, hitting the next town over.  But I did manage to get larger size hail, which was not good. 
I was surprised to find the squash ok.  I thought that would have been the first fatality, but all the squash appeared healthy, as did most of the tomatoes.  What didn’t survive was the swiss chard.  It is not all gone, but a lot of it is.  It could have been much worse!
The picture is full of seedlings that survived the storm.



Fauno….fazzie.
May 22, 2011, 6:28 am
Filed under: animals, chickens

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It seems this week, my suspicions were confirmed.  Fauna is a he.  I have a rooster.  I am trying really hard to rehome so he doesn’t become fried chicken, but atlas I have had to resort to the person I got it from. 
My town has a strict no rooster policy.  I am sad, as he is really lazy, but quite protective of Gertrude.