Instant Fall Garden

Last year I started this blog to journal my experience with a fall garden. This year after all my fall seedlings were eaten up with “little i don’t know whats”, I pretty much gave up…not just pretty much, I totally gave up, and let my hoop house die out…stopped watering…stopped weeding…stopped caring…

So the other day I had a little revival and finally went over and cleaned up the hoop house, and to my surprise there were a few scraggly half dried up tomato plants and one pepper plant still hanging on…

before

I watered all the beds deeply, and if anyone has ever mixed up totally dry dirt with water, you know that you have to mix and mix and mix, and the water has a hard time penetrating. I let it all sit over night and get well absorbed…

My girls picked up some cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, chard, mustard, bok choy and Brussels sprouts plants at the nursery and VOILA! …

after

Instant Fall Garden…For some reason I feel like I’m cheating…

So twice this year I resorted to the nursery for all ready grown plants after my seedlings were eaten up and in the spring when a very late unusual freeze killed all my tomato plants.

fall garden

Now I’m going to dust everything with DE… 🙂

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Follow Up on “My Mistake…or Not?”

Thanks to all of you for all the wonderful encouragement you gave me… I appreciate you all so much!!!

A week has gone by and things are settling down here a bit. There is a lot more work for me to do, and I just ran out of layer feed, but we are getting more today through the coop pick-up that comes once a month, so perfect timing.

I’m feeling a little sorry for the quarantined hens…even though they are looking so much better, they are cooped up, and I know they just can’t wait to get out and be free again. It is hard for me to get good photos right now, but here are a few BEFORE pics…

hens

The white one now looks white, and there is a bit of a sheen coming to her feathers. When she arrived she was Oklahoma dirt orange. : )

The dark one to the right is the one that is missing a lot of feathers, and the coppery brown to the left is the nicest looking and I’m thinking may be an Easter egger. I’ve been getting 2 green eggs a day, so they could be from this one and one that is a little darker than her, but not visible in the picture.

An Easter egger? What do  you think?

hens2

This is a closer shot of the dark one with the missing feathers…

hens3

This next one looks like a mix of some kind…

hens5

I have sprinkled DE all over the coop and on the hens.  I put a fresh layer of pine shavings over the whole floor. They totally mess up their water and their feeder and get it so dirty that I’m thinking it has something to do with being cooped up like they are.

The little Ameraucana chicks love having all the grass to eat in their new temporary dog house converted to coop and run. I’ve been moving their run around every other day and I can’t believe how excited they get when there is new grass and clover. They are growing so rapidly now.

Ameraucana

I love the gray color in some of these chicks…

Ameraucana2

So far, so good…no sick hens or chicks that I can see, but we are only one week into this…

Working Before the Storm

I just love this website… Old World Garden Farms. I have been learning so much from them, such as putting in a spring cover crop. “Unheard of” was the attitude of the feed store owner to my husband when he asked about rye grass for a spring cover crop. He didn’t have any so we went ahead and bought clover, and I sowed it into my new pumpkin bed today. I’m excited to see how this works!

Today Old World Garden Farms had a wonderful article about Cutting Back, Dividing and Preparing Ornamental Grasses For Spring. The following picture shows the ornamental grasses behind their patio…just gorgeous and totally inspiring!

fall-ornamental-grasses

One of my sons was into landscaping a couple of years ago and planted some grasses and leftover plants from a job in our backyard still in the pots so he could use them for other jobs someday. He has moved away now and these ornamental grasses have been growing in the same pots sunk in the ground for years.  What I did today:  cut back the ornamental grasses, pulled them out of the pots, divided them and replanted them. These pictures are not pretty, but we are going to see how they progressively look better as I work on them this year.

grasses

I divided 3 plants into 6…Here is what it looks like from a distance…

grasses 2 copy

For years we have talked about putting a gazebo up…now I’m definitely inspired to do just that. So this is the “before” pic. 🙂 Hopefully my “after” pic will look as pretty as Old World Garden Farms.

I also worked over  in the greenhouse. Spread compost in all the beds and then put DE over all the veggies. It was 90 degrees in the greenhouse and 60 outside, but we are expecting a storm…rain tomorrow and maybe snow the next day. I say “bring it on”! We need all the moisture we can get.

Sarah used some spinach and pansies from the greenhouse to decorate the tomato salad that she served this evening with lentil soup and rice.

salad

We’ve been buying hydroponic tomatoes from Urban Agrarian. I like supporting these guys. They are located down at the old OKC Farmer’s Market.

Another project in the making is turning our backyard into a fruit and vegetable garden. Here is what it looks like today…another “before” pic…

backyard copy

Pretty boring…Anna and I have big plans. 🙂

OK, now for the weekly update on the grow lights…

grow lights

Looking good…So, how’s your garden coming along?

It’s Been a Good Day

Got a lot done today, actually yesterday now…completely cleaned up the chicken coops. Put new organic feed in the feeders and water with a little Bragg’s Apple Cider vinegar in the water…Chickens are happy and doing fine. We are getting 3 to 4 eggs a day.

chickens

I hauled two loads of pine shavings and chicken poop up to the compost pile. This is what our compost looks like…Wild isn’t it???

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This is my husband’s menagerie of compost bins…He really knows how to make excellent compost! The tallest bins are old pickle barrels and then there are two black trash cans, all of which have holes punched in them for aeration and then we inherited the round one from the neighbor next door. He fills them with veggie scraps, grass clippings, manure, and hay and rolls them around. It goes a little slower in winter when it is cold…

The old dried up asparagus ferns needed cutting so I did that and also raked out the leaves from the bed…Can’t wait until we have fresh asparagus!

asparagus1

Inside the greenhouse, I weeded all the beds and picked a couple of handfuls of kale, and handful of spinach and then watered…I just don’t think the Brussels sprouts are ever going to produce…I think that perhaps the best thing to do next year is start them inside the air conditioned house under grow lights in the summer and then maybe they will have a head start in the fall when it’s not so hot. Starting a fall garden when it is 100 degrees outside is impossible, I think.

greenhouse

I transplanted some red lettuce that overwintered outside into the parsley patch… Our parsley has finally thinned itself out. There are not too many plants left.

red lettuce

I already noticed some of those little moths that were a problem last fall. So I need to go back and give everything a good dusting of DE.

Inside the house we set up the grow lights…

grow lights

This was just a 4 foot fluorescent shop light that costs about $18 at Lowe’s plus two 48″ plant and aquarium bulbs that were about $10 a piece. I will be making up another tray of seeds…

Went out to buy some blueberries and found these at Lowe’s for $10 a piece…

blueberries

Got all this done yesterday and it snowed today…Yay! We have so much need for moisture here and this is really the first good snowfall all winter!

snow

A little side trip…on our way to get blueberries we went to Cafe Evoke…Yum!

cafe

And to Sprouts where we saw the cutest recycled bags…Anyone remember this???    It will really tell your age…; )

photo

For those of you too young to know Dick and Jane. They were the little characters in our first grade reading books back in the 50s.

Signing off again with one of my blurry photos. I can’t figure out why my camera does this…but I like these artsy blurs…

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Chickens Devour Scorpions?

Last year we not only had scorpions in our mailbox, but I caught 4 or 5 on sticky traps inside our house. I can’t tell you how elated I was to read this article from Natural News that stated “chickens devour scorpions“. It absolutely jumped out of the page at me!!! I’m just loving these sweet little creatures more and more…the chickens, I mean…

In case your wonderful courageous and daring chickens get stung by a scorpion, there is some great advice over at Chicken Scratch Ranch. It’s good to know that they may be down for a few days, but will recover.  Scorpions in our area of the country are about as harmful as wasps. They are not deadly, but they sure look like they could be.

Speaking of devouring, my hens love…love…love scraps of leftover meat and fat!

Feeding 1

They get so excited when I bring the white tray down filled with their favorite treat that they can’t run fast enough to greet me…

Feeding2

And every time I put the tray down the Barred Rock gets in it…

Feeding3

She’s the only one who does this…all the others stand around and look at each other…I can just hear them saying…” How rude!”

feeding

Mara is usually the first one to take care of this…look at her expression…she is the one on the right…

Feeding4

Mara is getting ready to peck  and  the Barred Rock gets pecked out of the tray and far away from them all…

Feeding5

She goes into a corner and pouts…seriously!

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But I can’t say she doesn’t deserve it. They wouldn’t even let her up on the roost that night…poor hen-pecked thing…I wonder if she learned her lesson?

Back to the article at Natural News…he recommends using Oregano Oil instead of antibiotics to keep your flock healthy. If you are interested you can read the article  at Natural News .

And as far as using natural supplements…I have not used medicated food with my chicks, but I did put colloidal silver in their water for several weeks when I first got them and I also sprinkle DE in the coops every so often. Another natural thing I have done is put a little Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar in their water occasionally.  Scratch and Peck Feeds has a great article about the uses of vinegar.

Until next time…

October in the Garden

It’s October 1st and this is what is happening in the garden…

Pumpkins…

This pumpkin vine is trailing along the side of the greenhouse next to the asparagus ferns. I love the way this looks…

A little further a way you can even see what is growing inside the greenhouse.

Inside the kale is about 8-10 inches high. I’ve been thinning it and I think it needs more thinning and of course it is covered with DE to try and get rid of the cabbage worms.

A Brussels sprout plant …

A bok choy plant…

Inside the greenhouse from a distance…

We have some volunteer tomato plants that I put in a pot. Maybe they’ll make it maybe not???

Outside we planted cabbages and cauliflower…

We’ve had some good rain the past couple of days. Here is a picture of my yellow home-made sticky trap and those are some Spotted Cucumber Beetles.

The fact is though that they all didn’t just land there by themselves. Maybe 3 did. I took the stick and waved it around until they stuck on there.

This vine is taking off and has wrapped around the purple bean plant…I think these are some baby zucchini…

These gorgeous peaches are from Idaho and were bought at the farmer’s market…just had to share how beautiful they are and they taste wonderful too.

That’s my update for now…

Guess Whose Coming to Dinner?

This morning as my daughters were leaving for work, they called me to come outside and take a look. Down in the pasture by the volleyball court stood a menagerie of deer and wild turkey… I grabbed my camera…

And of course they began to run the closer I got…

I counted 8 deer and 15 wild turkey. I can’t imagine what these critters could do to my garden. Deer can jump almost any fence and the turkey can fly over it.

I harvested the last carrots, and sprinkled some more DE on the kale and lettuce…

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Deer and wild turkey for dinner anyone??? I wonder when bow season begins?