Sustainable Gardening

With Summer upon us, though you wouldn’t know it today as it is rainy and cool, I am planning for Fall. We increased our garden size this year but had not planted the new section. A voluntary massive pumpkin plant popped up only to be devoured by an army of squash bugs. The other section we covered with plastic to kill the grass then Deacon dug it up and I tilled it by hand. I have since pulled the pumpkin and covered that section with plastic. It is time to plant Fall crops. I finally did just that.

I had been adding compost/mulch materials to the new sections like leaves, straw from the coop and pulled plants and I mixed it all up with the top soil. Rather than buy materials such as dirt and mulch I try to use what we have readily available on our land.

This is the mulch pile from which I draw. I do not have to do anything but go out and get it. The chickens free range and break down the leaves. I often follow close behind as I know they are taking care of the snakes and bugs for me. I have taken several loads from this spot alone.

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There was a section of grass I had let grow up for awhile as it contained lots of wild flowers. I mowed it this week and realized it provided me with some nice hay. I gathered up what I could and put some of it in the garden along the walking paths. Now I have very distinct beds and walkways. I used leaves to mulch the strawberries too.

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Our hens have been laying under some marigolds where they dug out a little nesting spot. It looks quite nice. But I noticed a couple would go in the coop and scratch around but did not seem satisfied. While we have nesting boxes in the coop, they lacked a front “wall”. Deac put one in last weekend and lo and behold! I have gathered many eggs now, often from different boxes. I also lined them with the freshly cut hay I gathered from mowing the other day. Happy Hens.

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The veggies left in the garden that are thriving are tomatoes and okra. But the okra was slowed by the roller coaster temperatures we have experienced. Just when they bounce back from the cool temps, it cools off again.

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This week for Fall I planted corn, beans, cowpeas, carrots and lettuce. I will let you know how it goes. Soon I will plant more lettuce, kale, and broccoli. I am about to take down the rest of the sunflower stalks that have provided a trellis for my cucumbers that the squash bugs have destroyed. Those darn bugs.

The wine grapes and berry vines are doing great!

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I still need to share some before and afters of the place. I am working on it. And I have some wild crafting things to share too.

Peace ‘n Chickens!

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