Garden Notes: Starting Seeds

March 28, 2014

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Last weekend, we pulled one of our shelving units from the basement, gave it a good dusting off, and set it up in our south facing window in the dining room so we could start some seeds. We also bought a full-spectrum light from the store, but I'm hoping the seedlings get enough direct sunlight here that we won't need to set it up.

Among those planted, we have:
-Flowers: marigolds, nasturtiums, and sunflowers
-Herbs: sage and chives (we also have lavender and mint herb starts)
-Arugula
-Peas
-Peppers: cayenne, jalapeno, and poblano
-Tomatoes sent to me from Katrina (SO excited for these!)
-Succulents. My three surviving succulent plants are going crazy, so I'm attempting to propagate.

So far, the arugula, peas, and sunflower seeds have already sprouted. Again, I have to say: It never fails to surprise me when something I plant actually grows. Nature is magic.

Garden Crafts: Painted Rock Garden Markers

March 21, 2014

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Last week, I scavenged the yard for stones. Large, flat, round - smooth enough to paint. It was a fun project and kept me occupied while I wasn't feeling well enough to enjoy the sun. This week, I'm hoping to finally plant some seeds, but first I need to prep my garden. It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm looking forward to using chicken compost for the very first time. If all goes as planned, I won't need to buy another bag of compost ever again. Wouldn't that be nice?

As for my new fruit and veggie markers, I can't wait to put them to use in my garden beds. If you want more details, check out my post on the Evermine blog where I've written a simple tutorial.

Weekend Snapshots: Looking on the Bright Side

March 18, 2014

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On one hand, I was sick all weekend with a bug that had me laid up on the couch with Stephen King, House of Cards, a package of Ricolas, and a box of tissues during some of the most gardening-friendly days we've had all year.

On the other hand...

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...it's hard to be grumpy with all this pretty stuff growing everywhere I look. Happy belated St. Patrick's Day!

Weekend Snapshots

March 10, 2014

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How long does it take for a new (old) home to feel completely your own? In July, we'll have lived here for two fast years. We've changed everything, working nonstop on home improvement project after project, and I still find myself just getting acquainted with the place.

There's that period of time when you move into a new home where your neighbors come by and talk about the people who lived there before you. They make subtle comments about the tree they'd like to see you cut down, or apologize in advance for the noise they know their dog will make (little do they know you'll be matching their noise with your own flock of future backyard chickens). Some neighbors don't come by at all, and you'll probably never speak to them during the duration of your stay despite the fact that you live close enough to pick up on their habits.

Still, I can't help but feel a certain growing familiarity when the remnants of last year's garden, enlivened by the warmth and rain, start poking their heads out of the ground.

Spring Gardening Plans

March 7, 2014

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By this time last year, I was already growing peas on my front porch, and they were just starting to sprout. I also had six garden boxes set up in my backyard for the bulk of our vegetable gardening, but those boxes were removed after the final harvest in fall because our chickens have forced us to rethink our entire garden layout. Basically, I'm starting from scratch. Again.

In some ways, I'm relieved. I really enjoy the process of starting over, especially if something isn't working, and right now our backyard is a mess. There are giant dirt patches where the old garden boxes used to be, and the chickens have scratched and dug at the loose soil so much that we're slowly losing our lawn. I go outside with a rake every weekend to pile it all back in place so the grass underneath doesn't die off, but I'll eventually need to figure out something more permanent.

Is it possible to have chickens AND a nice backyard? I'm determined to make it happen (or at least try).

February Favorites + Monthly Egg Count

March 3, 2014

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February has been a crazy whirlwind of a month. A few weeks ago, I was hired for a new job and I'm really excited about it. Of course, with a new job comes an entirely new routine, and I'm still working out the kinks. I need to remember to carve little nooks out of my day for all of the things that sustain me, like reading, writing, knitting, gardening, playing with the chickens, and, of course, eating nourishing foods. I've failed with meals lately, eating out more often than not, but I'm ready to focus on this aspect of my life again. Plus, now that it's March, I have an entire garden to grow!

February Egg Count:
  • Starbuck: 9
  • Amelia Pond: 17
  • Seven-of-Nine: 18
  • Milly (started 2/23): 6
Total: 50 Eggs

I don't know what's going on with Starbuck, but she's really dropping the ball. First, she's our largest chicken, but she lays the smallest eggs. Second, I'll see one or maybe two eggs from her at most per week. She's the only one of our girls who won't lay in the nest box, so we often find her eggs in strange and unusual places. My worst fear is that she's eating them, but I have no evidence to support that theory, so I think she's just a lazy layer. She's lucky we're so fond of her.

This Month's Favorites: