Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I think this is a first:  I am ahead with my garden!!  

I know!!!  It's exciting!!  Usually, spring comes along and I am positively frantic, rushing from one project to another, working, dealing with family obligations, etc, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.  It's a miracle if the potatoes go into the ground before May, even though our ideal planting time is when the daffodils are blooming.  It's a celestial event, the planets are aligned, and Jupiter is in the 7th house (whatever the heck that means), if I manage to get the garden planted before mid-June. 

After last year's fiasco of a garden-  lack of rain, late planting, and just plain rushing for other things - we had almost nothing to put up.  Oh, and losing three chest freezers full of produce during a power outage/heat wave didn't help matters much.  I had to buy canned tomatoes for the first time in years.  Never again, I say!!  I mean, really, those things from the store are not only expensive, but tasteless.  What the heck is that red mush in the can?   It doesn't even smell like tomatoes!

Our pantry is in desperate need of re-stocking.  The freezers, well, after that mess with the power outage, the freezers will be for things that are to be eaten in short order, and not for longer storage.  Everything will either be canned or dehydrated.

So...life happens...and things change....and here we are.  Little Sis is nearly grown, so I have decided to devote the next few years to just having fun, traveling, enjoying time with her before she heads off to college, and getting our homestead back on track.  I've cut back on other obligations, prioritized, and damned if I am not ahead on my garden!!

The potatoes are in the ground, all 75 lbs of seed!  I planted 25 lbs each of Red Pontiac, Red Chieftain,  and Yukon Gold.  I have onion seeds planted, and am hoping to run out today for some onion sets.  And did I mention the daffodils have not even bloomed yet?? Yes, I am that far ahead! Can I get a WOOT WOOT!!!

We had discussed purchasing a tiller for the section of garden that is no longer black plastic.  But, being a skinflint cheapskate, I just couldn't part with that kind of money.  And, really, I didn't think it would make things any easier.  We've never used a tiller on the garden here at our homestead.  All that vibration, gas fumes, and hard pan didn't sound very appealing. Instead, we used a tractor....a chicken tractor.  

This is a chicken tractor.  The bottom is open to allow the chickens to scratch and peck the soil.
We moved the chicken tractor, and the guinea tractor, around the garden area all winter long.  This is what we were left with...

My handy, dandy garden fork.  

 I used the garden fork to turn over the soil.  It really didn't take much effort, and was certainly quieter than a tiller.

This is what the freshly turned soil looked like.  You can see one of my free range gals helping out.  BTW, she's in a tractor now so that she doesn't help herself to freshly sprouted seedlings in the garden.

I moved the chicken tractor back over the freshly turned soil.  The chickens picked out the weeds and bugs, and fluffed up the soil nicely.

See how fine the soil looks as I slide the chicken tractor over?


The guineas didn't care much for the freshly turned soil.
Mostly, they pranced around and gave me dirty looks, as if to say, "Do I look like a chicken to you??"
They do love the fluffed soil for dust baths, though.  And they did a great job over the winter of tearing up the weeds.
You may look at this and think "wow, that's a lot of work!"  but really, it wasn't.  The soil turned easily with the fork.  Besides, I need a little exercise to get back in shape for that beach trip Little Sis and I are taking later this month!


Carolyn said...

We've used a chicken tractor along the ground, but even those pecking, scratching, dust bathing biddies aren't a match for our clay and rock filled soil :(

Good to hear you're ahead of the gardening game! Now lets all say a prayer, light an incense stick and do a pagan naked dance for some RAIN this year!!

Country Wife said...

Wooohooo for naked pagan dancing!! ;)

Kim said...

I am so far behind with my garden, this year we are getting so much rain! Not complaining though with the drought we had last year, the price of hay over doubled hopefully this year prices will be back to normal....but I need to get my garden in... :)