I've received several requests for an update on the garden, so I took some time this evening to snap some photos.
I said in a post on Friday that I was going to spend some time working in the garden over the weekend, and guess what! I did!
So, here ya go! A garden update for you!
Here's the big picture. You can see all of the new beds we built, and the 2x2 stakes that Alan added to the corner of every raised bed. LOVE THEM! They make it possible to wrap the beds with deer netting to deter the chickens, cats, dogs, armadillo, and whatever else wanders through the yard OUT of the beds. The beds are wrapped with the netting now, and you can hardly see it in the photos! Like the blue and silver tarp on the chicken yard? Yeah, we do too. But it kept the rain from blowing in under the roof all winter and not once did it get muddy in the covered yard, so we put up with it's beauty. Soon, I'll remove the tarp and replace it with a sun shade. That way the breeze can get through, but the harsh afternoon sunlight gets blocked.
The aluminum tub I grew lavender in last year will be the herb garden this year. (Which reminds me, I need to update the 2011 garden map!) The lavender didn't make it through the winter, so I pulled out the dead twigs and planted basil, dill, chives, and some spearmint. Then the roosters promptly jumped in and kicked about the top 2" of dirt out -- and I'm guessing most of the seeds, too. So I put what dirt I could back into the tub and added a wire cucumber trellis from last year to the top of the dirt to keep the roosters out. Little buggers! The wooden produce basket has what's left of my mint plant from last year. It was growing on the other side of the garden in a similar basket, and it was growing GREAT! ...until the roosters decided they needed to scratch around in the basket for bugs, kick all the dirt off of the mint plant, and destroy the basket. I saved what I could of the plant and replanted it in this basket, and surrounded it with a little wire fence. And it got a healthy drink of duck pond tea! How's that for a summertime beverage!?
Things are moving along at the front of the coop. Both of the large raised beds will be tomato plant beds. I was going to plant sweet peppers in the front bed, but decided to plant the peppers on the other side of the garden, to make room for more tomato plants! I think what I might do, before I plant anything in the front bed, is add another row of 2x6 boards (and more SOIL) to increase the depth of the bed. Right now it's the shallowest of all the new beds at only 6" deep, and I'd like a few more inches of dirt if I'm going to put tomatoes there. You can see what tomatoes I do have planted in the second bed. You can also see the flower bed along the front of the chicken house -- I've got lots of flowers coming up in that bed! There's a hummingbird feeder hanging there that has at least 1 hummer feeding from it. There's a narrow bed along the chicken yard where I've got gourds and sunflowers and a few cucumbers seeded. They will grow up nicely on the fence and provide OODLES of shade during the hot summer afternoons. At the corner of the chicken yard is where I've got a few more sunflowers and more chives, and where another humming bird feeder hangs (when it's not being washed).
This is a portion of the LONG bed that runs the full length of the 30' chicken yard. I dug it deep this year and added lots of compost from the farm. I edged the entire bed with a 2' wire fence to keep the roosters out of this bed. There are a few cucumber plants stuck in this bed, along with more gourds (several variety), sunflowers, strawflowers, zinnia, and California poppies. There might be other things too, but that's what I can remember. Oh! And at the VERY end of the chicken yard, I planted three raspberry canes, where they have room to make lots of new canes!
I'm amazed at how big the tomato plants are already! The larger plants were planted last week, and the smaller two (which you can't really see at the bottom of the photo) I planted this evening right before dinner. Soon we'll be adding some trellising to support the plants as they grow.
I planted the sweet pepper plants over the weekend. I picked these plants up at the store, not trusting the seeds I saved from last year's garden. They weren't heirloom, and I just didn't want to be left with no peppers this year if the plants I grow from them don't produce any peppers! So I bought 2 Big Berthas, 2 Orange Bell, 2 Sweet Red Bell, and 1 Yellow Bell. Next to the Yellow Bell, I planted the ONLY Chocolate Pepper plant that sprouted from the seeds I bought last fall.
FINALLY, the seeds I planted in the other raised beds sprouted! I think these are the black zucchini. Or maybe the 8-Ball zucchini... I can't remember off hand which bed this photo is of! Ha! At least I know what's planted in each bed, and when they start producing fruit, it will really be obvious! I can't wait for these to get a little bigger so I can add some good farm mulch around them! And it looks like I might even need to thin them out a little! In other beds, the beans are coming up, cucumbers, more squash, patty pan, and even more zucchini! The strawberry bed isn't showing ANY activity at all... but I've got another 15 or so plants to add to finish out the bed. Hopefully we get at least a few of them to grow!
Finally, not really a GARDEN update, but an update just the same. Remember the gorgeous little chick Alan brought me last month -- the one that had really heavy "eye liner"? She's growing up so big! Still no idea what breed she really is -- I haven't taken time to research it. Maybe an easter egger... dunno. She doesn't really have the right comb for an easter egger... Anyway, as always, I'm hoping she's a SHE! She doesn't display any rooster behaviors, and really just wants to either be held, or sit on my shoulder. My money's on her being a SHE ... but then again, I'm not really a betting girl.