05 May 2013


Well, I have been gardening as hard as I can, these last two weeks. I am limited by not being able to stay on my feet very long, as my ankle and hip hurt too much. I do small increments of standing, with lots of work from a chair, or the ground. (I have a chair that does NOT rudely sink itself in the ground and tip me over into the blackberries.) Today, worked outside until temps hit 77, decided it was time for cold coffee at B&B. This week looks good for gardening. No rain for the next week. Garden has these things up, already: Fava Beans, snow peas, snap peas, shelling peas, MORE shelling peas, kale, turnips, mustard greens, podding radishes, beets, transplants of cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard. Seeds of several dills, borage, more beets, carrots, flowers have all been planted, also. Leeks, elephant garlic are awaiting planting out. Comfrey being harvested for the chickens. Did take a look at the dwarf box hedge, and had D give it a haircut. Considering that the hedge was four inches high, when I planted it, the fact that it now needed to be trimmed back to two feet tall, makes me think it  is doing well. I just need it to be denser, to keep the chickens out, a bit more effectively. Am on XP 4 of new chicken cage designs, this year. Don't have ANY wood to work with, so am trying to work with wire fencing of various kinds. Big White Dog landing protectively on cage during a night alarm doesn't help wire cage status much. I am trying a variation of a chunnel, on the outside of the Mandala garden. My mandala garden is fifty two feet across, which means a fairly large perimeter, where weeds keep planting themselves and throwing seeds over the box hedge, into the growing area. I figure that if I get the entire perimeter enclosed in a chunnel about 2 1/2 feet wide, I would have room for 40 chickens, at the density beyond which I do not go. Don't want to keep that many, right now, but am doing the chunnel in increments, with hatches in between sections. (No more than 1 bird per four square feet, please. And that is only if they are being moved around, onto new ground every day.) A couple of notes about fencing for chickens. If the cage is not much taller than the chickens, you can throw your weeds directly on top of the wire, and the chickens will pick at the dirt and greens of the weeds, without the weeds getting a chance to root again, in the soil. Also, with the welded wire that has a mesh size of 2" by 4", the birds can peck at weeds much more easily than if you use chicken wire, which has a much smaller hole size. They can munch on comfrey, also. They CAN also stick their heads out of the wire, to do a little direct harvesting of their own, so be aware of their reach. Are you frightened of comfrey? Well, I don't think you need to be so scared of it taking over the neighborhood. I've had comfrey in the ground for 16 years, and it has not even filled in as much where I give it permission to do so. The clump gets bigger, but it doesn't sneak around and come up elsewhere, which is what I don't like. I suspect that the people who have trouble with comfrey are the people who try to get rid of it by rototilling it. That just spreads the roots around, and give you lots more of it. Also, I cut the clumps down as soon as they start thinking about flowering, and either feed it to the chickens, or use it as mulch around other plants. At that stage of growth, you mostly have leaves, and you can get 6 or 7 cuttings off of a clump, per year. Comfrey is supposed to be very good for compost heaps. I don't do a regular compost heap, as I've got the chickens to dispose of so much stuff.I did get a few new chicks at the feed store. 1 Buff Cochin, 1 Black Australorp, 4 Ameraucana of differing colors. I would really LOVE geese, again, but they are VERY expensive.>Have gotten to have my granddaughter, E, and her best buddy, L over to my house a bit, lately. Turn 'em loose with water and containers to play with, and all is good. 4 1/2 and 5 years old, SO easy to entertain, sometimes. (BIG grin). Results of water play:
Things in bloom at home: apple trees, forget-me-nots, overwintering kale, the last of the daffodils, woods hyacinths. 


  1. Yay for gardening!

    I looked up the Keen Newport water shoes we talked about and they are available at both REI and at Cabelas... If you have an REI card, I'd go there, as you will get the rebate, but if not, Cabelas is closer to you



  2. Will check them out at Cabelas...need an excuse to go look at knives there, anyhow. (grin).