Thursday, October 21, 2010

Garden/ Chicken Update - October 21, 2010

We finally got some rain, after 9 weeks with no measurable rainfall. The ground was so dusty that we could barely walk outside some days, with all the dust flying around. The ground, and my garden are enjoying the deep drink of rainwater provided earlier this week.

The little fall garden is really beginning to feed us more substantially (finally!!) and I could not be more happy. Our greens have reached the baby stage so we have been enjoying some nice "gourmet" salad mix with our meals and even as meals. I don't weigh the "harvests" but I have taken pictures of a few of them. Our mix includes mesclun (a few green and red leaf lettuces), romain, parsley and kale. The spinach is still too small - only about 4 true leaves and not many plants - so we are not harvesting it yet. The above photo is pretty representative of a harvest and we are able to pick this much a few times a week. This amount will make 3-4 side salads or two or so meals.

This week, I planted some more mesclun and spinach. The spinach plants that have been growing for several weeks are still so small, and most of the seeds did not germinate yet plus two of my chickens got out a few weeks ago and ate half of the mesclun seedlings. Having a staggered planting will be nice, so I guess things have worked out for the best, in that regard. I am hoping that we can keep all beasts from eating, squashing or digging up the garden so that we can continue to enjoy it in the coming months.

The hens are laying pretty well (except for today when they laid a grand total of ZERO eggs - weird). So far this month, they have laid 113 eggs and we have been able to use almost half for ourselves (we enjoy eggs, plus we bake a lot) and have been able to share the rest with our family and neighbors. I've really enjoyed that part of having laying hens. It is nice to have something our land has produced to be able to share with our "community".

We are getting ready to add compost to a new bed that we will use for herbs and tomatoes, plus probably a few caning berry plants (blackberries, maybe) in the spring. I'd like to get the parsley transferred there before it gets cold here. If I can get to that next week, then that will free up another 4 square feet of garden for more spinach. I also still need to plant the sprouted potatoes and garlic. We have a micro climate (where that new bed is going) that is significantly warmer than the rest of our place and gets lots of sunlight, too. The potatoes will be in containers in that area, so I think they will grow well into winter and produce a small harvest. Not a lot, but home grown potatoes are so worth the effort :)

I have a question for all my gardening friends. How often do you add compost or fertilizer to your garden? I've been adding compost (made with leaves, garden plants, grass clippings, kitchen waste, chicken and rabbit droppings, wood shavings and hay) about once every 2 months or so. Is this often enough or am I depleting the soil? Any advice?


Alea said...

Wow that is a lot of eggs! My fall garden is doing quite well - we'll see how it does after our first freeze next week.

I might be a very bad gardener, but I only add compost before I do a new planting.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty bad about adding fertilizer as well. I always add a nice handful of rabbit poo before planting and I try to do two doses of seaweed fertilizer about twice in the growing season. Sometimes I'll side dress with more rabbit poo, just depends on how it looks as it's growing.

The Book Lady Online said...


I know that is what is recommended in the Square Foot Gardening Book, and is what I was doing, but my poor little garden looked anemic. I think maybe I just needed to add more because things kept eating my poor seedlings and that was depleting the soil.


I may try side dressing with rabbit poo or compost a few times this fall/ winter to see if that helps any.

Thanks y'all :)