Sunday, February 3, 2013

# Vertical garden # hydroponics garden, # gardening with chickens, # composting with chickens

We have SPROUT sign! The self watering window  boxes I put in a couple of weeks ago have born fruit.  Ok ...not fruit.... but definitely lettuce, chives,cilantro and chamomile.  I'm still waiting for the basil to pop up. Jimmy thinks its a temperature issue.  If they haven't sprouted by  this coming Tuesday,  I'm going to pick up one of those  heat mats to go under them.  Jimmy showed me  a nice window sill sized version at our favorite, locally owned, hydroponics store.  We were at the hydroponics store because Jimmy  converted one of the  self watering window boxes into a hydroponics   planter.  This should be interesting to  vertical garden upstairs, in the kitchen, with soil and natural light vs his hydroponics garden,  with  grow lights, downstairs in his man cave.   If either attempt is successful we should have a nice selection of vegetables all year around! 
Now we go outside! Chickens and gardening!  What a great combo.  They have already cleaned out and turned over what will be  the 2013 potato bed.   They have feasted on the weeds  and delighted in the snails and beetles. They have also been diligent about Jimmys  strawberry  bed.  When we first moved in we couldn't keep up with weeding that bed.  The girls have done a fine job of aerating and  de-weeding while leaving the strawberry plants in place.  They have treated the herb garden the same way.  While I don't expect a miracle, considering how snail infested this place was when we moved in...I cant complain about their effort.  They even uncovered a previously  existing  bed that was so overgrown that I had no idea it was there.  I have had them working around the base of the pear tree for the last couple of weeks.  To direct their labors, all I need to do is throw some scratch in the area I want them to work in.  Once they get the ground broken they keep coming back on their own to  dig for chicken treasure.  They have also created a  nice compost pile that  will be great for soil amendment.  I will be using it in the potato bed  and where ever we put the tomatoes. 
I'm hoping they will help with the next project which is a special bed for decomposing all the cardboard we have in the barn.  I'm also considering making a worm bin to help with  the cardboard and  excess paper-y things.  I don't really like to  think about the barn. Its a chaotic mess in there that needs to be  cleaned and organised...blechh!
So... we are standing on the edge of readiness... According to  Puxatawny Phil, spring will be here early this year.  I'm ok with that.... I'm ready for something besides dreary and dark and cold and rainy. 

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