Archive for backyard chickens

Garden Planting

So. The chickens now have a little yard. I bought this fencing at our local Home Depot. I am not sure I like it. It doesn’t close easily. It is difficult to align with the connectors on each side. Also, Rylan cannot get it closed and so I can’t really send him out there to feed the chickens. That’s not going to work, for sure. Quite obviously, I am going to have to do something different. Bummer. On the bright side, the chickens love it! They love it so much, that they have started flying over it to get out. So, I did go purchase some netting to put over it, not realizing that doves are flying down to get the bird seed that isn’t eaten. The birds are now getting caught in the netting several times a day, which is then driving the dogs insane. All of them. Which is driving me insane!!! And having to go out and get the birds out of the netting all day, is completely too much. So, something will have to be done! (I have an idea of what, but I don’t want to have to do it.)

I have been saving this topiary form in the garden shed for almost 9 years. I had 2 of them in our previous home, covered in creeping fig in our front yard by the front door. One day, after we had moved, the new owner, who were friends of ours, had them pulled out and was throwing them away. These things are hard to find, and since she is not a gardener of any sort, she just plain didn’t want them. So, I snagged them from her. YAY for me. I really don’t know where the other one went… This one looks nice right her in front of the little chicken coop. Love it! Can’t wait for the creeping fig to grow in.

My great grandma lived in a little trailer near my grandma’s house. Along the side of her trailer she had a lot of mint planted, and every time we would go and visit her, I would pick some and chew on it. Funny the things you remember. So, this spot is perfect for some mint filling in the space. If I can keep the dogs off of it. Hence, the little fence.

2 New Plum Trees, Santa Rosa & Satsuma Varieties

We also planted in a couple of new plum trees, into the same hole. Everything I have read about plum trees says that the Santa Rosa Plum is self fruiting, but that it bears more fruit if there is another variety nearby. So, since I have seen this to be the case with the previous plum tree & I had until LAST summer… We now have 2 new little trees, emphasis on the little.

Cat's Claw Vine

Trumpet Creeper Vine, Madam Galen Variety

Saturday was a full day. My son and I planted 6 new vines in the garden to cut on the reflective heat that the block fencing adds to the already stifling temperatures in the summer. We put in 4 cat’s claw vines to cover the back wall and 2 trumpet creeper vines, the Madam Galen variety, which is supposed to have beautiful flowers all summer, and is quite a vigorous vine. I was discussing this with the gardener up at Harper’s Nursery. All of the online information I have read about this vine indicates that it’s roots are a giant nuisance, sending out shoots everywhere and that it’s almost impossible to remove. The gardener at the nursery was saying that that may be true in moist climates, but here in Arizona, with our very dry conditions, and clay soil, the root systems just do not act in that way. They then showed me a mature plant of it that they have at the back of their nursery, which climbs up a telephone pole every year. He told me that every other year or so, the city comes out and has them cut the vine down to the ground, and it climbs back up with no problem whatsoever. This is the kind of vine I need on the fence surrounding the garden. I had cat’s claw until last summer, when the watering system broke and I lost everything. Even the cat’s claw died, which is rumored to never die, no matter what. I know it doesn’t look like much here in the picture, but it is dormant in the winter, meaning it loses all it’s leaves, and looks dead, even though it’s not.

Asparagus

The asparagus are a little behind this year. This picture is a little blurry, but this is the first little shoot. YAY! It looks like I need to add some soil to cover the crowns a little better.

Lettuce, Spinach, Broccoli, Cabbage

The lettuces are doing ok. Hopefully it won’t get too warm. I may need to move these over by the fountain area, where is a little cooler. We shall see.

Garden Gnome

My daughter begged for this little garden gnome a couple of years ago. At the time, I thought he was kind of ugly, but as his paint has faded, his attraction for me has grown! 🙂 I do think he is quite cute here, don’t you?

 

Peach Tree in bloom

The peach and apple trees are blooming. I just love the deep pink on this peach tree. It really is beautiful.

Well, that’s it from my little organic Arizona garden!! Happy planting!

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Spring Gardening

Over the past few weeks, I have been steadily working at cleaning up the garden area and getting it back to  being plantable. Last summer, I had the unfortunate experience of having my watering system fail, which caused me to lose my plum tree, my grape vines, and the cat’s claw that was surrounding the garden to cool off the area, from the cinder block fence. Of course, I also lost everything in my garden, pretty much. It was all in all, a very disappointing summer/fall/winter. I haven’t really been able to get out there and work on it until now.
Luckily, I have been able to devote some time to working in the garden, and the weather has been so amazing it has made it even enjoyable. I still have some dead grass that needs removal, as well as the dead grapevines that are not showing signs of life. 

I have had to keep my little chickens kind of cooped up for a bit, since there are some new starts in the garden that I would really like to keep, and not sacrifice to their stomachs. They really need a little run, so I do have some plans to fence in the little area to the right of the chicken coop for them to have some added space, but where they won’t cause trouble with my plants. I think that will make them happy.
Although it isn’t very visible in the above picture, I did manage to get my favorite flower planted. Yes, tulips can grow in Arizona. When I was a little girl, living in Yuma, our teacher asked us to draw our favorite flower. My mom had planted some tulips that year, and that is what I drew. Actually, I think that might have been the only year she planted them. Even so, I remember my teacher telling me that you can’t grow tulips in Arizona. I argued with her that you could and I know that she did not believe me. It is possible though. If you want to start the bulbs yourself, you need to keep the bulbs in the crisper section of your refrigerator for 6 weeks to fool them into thinking that it’s a cold winter, and then put them out. Or you can cheat, and buy them already semi sprouted from the garden center, like I did. Either way, they are truly beautiful, and still my favorite. If only the dogs didn’t like to tromp through them, they would look so much better!

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Some Awesome Pics

So, a couple of days ago, I was over at my friend, Jeannine’s house & she asked if I wanted to see a project her son, Devon, had finished this summer. His project was to make his little brothers & sisters a playhouse. He had come over at one point to borrow a certain saw to cut an angle for the eaves, so I had known about it. I have to admit, it is pretty great!
He even made the stained wood floors look uneven to look like they are old! There are old strap hinges for the door with an automatic closing spring installed on it. I love that he has it up on a few blocks so that it won’t have water damage either. The roof is galvanized tin & apparently they love it, because it is christened inside with their names in chalk on one wall! I think he did an amazing job. What do you think?

The following pic is one of their chicken coop that he built last year. I especially like the watering system they have. I don’t have one nearly as nice, and I have plans to install one like it in my coop for my little birdies.
As you can see, on the left of the picture, outside the chicken coop, is a 5 gallon bucket. What you cannot see, is that it has a lid with a screw top cover so you can easily fill with water, or put a frozen water bottle in there to keep the water cold. We all know that chickens do not like their water too hot, and here in Arizona, it definitely is HOT. Anyway, on the side of the bucket, near the bottom Devon drilled a hole large enough to insert a PVC pipe into it. The point that the PVC goes into the bucket is then sealed with a plumbing putty, or water tight glue. The PVC pipe then has an elbow attached to another longer piece of PVC pipe about 2 1/2 feet long with an end on it. This piece is the piece with 3 nipples on it. These the chickens go up and peck. As they peck, water comes out. No more shavings or dirt in the water! YAY! I love it! One thing they did say they would do a little different is to raise the bucket up higher to increase the water pressure as it comes out.
This is the link to purchase the nipples online. My friend Jeannine bought them at Farmtek.

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