The sun was beating down HOT this afternoon, so I was out at the coop refreshing the water containers for the chickens, and the duck (kiddie) swimming pool. In the background, you can see the duck pool. The fabric on the fence is shade cloth, to help keep the afternoon/evening sun off of the chicken yard. What you can't see in the photo are the mammoth sunflowers I have planted along the fence line, behind the container plants. As they grow, they will provide even more shade, and will be beautiful too!
While I was there, I thought I would snap some photos to document how the veggies are coming along. This year I decided to grow some veggies in containers, rather than directly in the ground. The soil here leaves much to be desired, and is very VERY shallow. We don't have to dig very deep before we hit rock.
Container planting seems to be working out great! This is one of two containers of cucumbers (for pickling), coming along nicely. The containers allow me to easily use better soil, and allow me to organize the containers as necessary for the size of the plants. When the plants were small, it was easy to set the containers side by side. As the have plants have grown in size, I have spread them out a bit, providing each plant with plenty of "elbow room", and lots of space for good ventilation.
The containers I'm using are wooden apple baskets I picked up at the local farm supply store for only a few dollars each. Many of them were nest boxes at one point, before I installed the antique side by side nest boxes for the girls. When compared to containers of similar size at a garden shop, the apple baskets are much more affordable and so far they work just fine for me. They probably won't last more than a couple of seasons, but at least they're made of something that I can compost back into soil.
We also have a couple of very tall volunteer (seeded themselves) sunflowers near the chicken yard. One of them is MUCH taller than me, and has started showing small yellow flower faces near the top. The other plant isn't quite as tall, and is starting to show signs of a big bloom yet to come. I think it's amazing how they grow.