I finally post again
You can’t take the gloomy weather any more
Your 4 year old draws a “list” of things she wants to grow in the garden
You have an itch to drive to Ladner (otherwise never happens! HA!).
So… it’s almost time for me to go to Westcoast Seeds and pick up the year’s seeds! I didn’t get a good garden in last year, let alone do any seed saving. I also doubt that many of my seeds in storage will still be viable given their age, but here’s what I have:
- Romaine lettuce
- sugar snap peas
- mesclun mix
- winter savory herbs
- Green hubbard squash
- brussel sprouts
I don’t need to plant the parsley or chives, but I might try out everything else. I definitely want more salad greens, beets and squash this year. I need to be very careful when transplanting though – that’s why my garden was minimal last year, everything got eaten to the roots as soon as I planted it. We were renovating and I didn’t have the time to a) cloche or otherwise protect individual plants from slugs and b) do daily checks to get rid of pests and to water properly. This year my only other project is the chicken coop, so we should be able to really get into the garden. In general I want to prioritise the back yard, and get it safe for the kids to play so they can be out there while I garden.
I did do some big work over the winter, clearing a HUGE space. We now have a permanent parking spot for our Trillium 1300 trailer – my best purchase EVER! I’m going to pack it and the kids up this August and tramp all over BC. Well, the fun parts of BC at least :). We also built a fence! YAY! So I’m putting a bed out in front of the fence in the alley and planting blackberries in it. That will help with security and of course the berries will be nice – what’s left after they get picked by others that is. I’m realistic if nothing else. I also cleared and levelled an area that I planted with grass for the kids. It’s not perfect yet but it’s on its way. Things that are left to do:
- build coop (right now I have a space cleared and levelled, and foundation blocks are almost all in)
- Move raspberries
- clear out northeast side of yard (where the raspberries were) and move/build beds to put in for all the veggies – this will be a better layout and is a result of putting in the spot for the trailer.
- clear mint out of large planter and make that planter only berries (add more blueberry plants). It will have gooseberries, blueberries and strawberries. I’ll make a mint only planter of some kind, although it really kept the carrot flies off my carrots.
- build trellises (I found tons of perfect wood for this when going through the woodpile for the coop) for tomatoes, cucumbers and squash.
- Get rid of the last wood pile (s)
I don’t have any vacation time planned until the end of June/beginning of July that I can spend on the big projects, so I’m really going to have to push on the weekends. The coop is a priority, along with starting seeds. I think I could get all the beds moved and built in one weekend though, there’s not too much work in it. I’m not sure when the best time to move the raspberries are though – I wanted to do it last fall but wasn’t ready. I’m hoping that March would work. Any suggestions about that are more than welcome.
Next year I plan to get rid of the big lean-to we have out there full of building supplies, as well as any other piles we have of siding etc. We should be done with that stuff by then. This will mean I’ll have the perfect area to put in an orchard. It’s a long chain link fence running north south. I think I should be able to fit at least 6-8 espaliered trees along it. That will help with privacy, the ugliness and of course provide us with apples and pears. Soooooo exciting! Just not something for this year.
So, back to seeds! I’ll need plenty of tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, some more kale (big favourite of mine), beans, peppers etc. I’m excited but also don’t have lot of money so I’m going to have to be careful not to buy too much. I don’t think my asparagus crown made it, but I guess I’ll find out soon. I was really hoping it would :(
I’ll keep you well updated on the coop progress though – I’ve been planning this thing for 3 years! I’ve changed my mind about the design, it’s now going to be very similar to a garden shed, with a pitched roof. It will be 6 feet wide by 10 feet long. The coop itself will be 5X6, and the run will be under the roof and 5X6 as well. The coop will be up off the ground so that the total run space is actually the 6X10, 60 square feet being plenty for 4 chickens. I found a GREAT deal on hardware cloth, 100 feet for $73 . $60 would have bought me 20 feet at home depot. Very excited about that. So anyway, I plan to hang planters off the south wall to grow lettuce etc and get the most use from the space. The north side will have the nesting boxes for easy egg collecting access. The east side will have a huge window that swings open to help with cleaning, as well as the pop door and ramp for the chickens. The west side butts up against the fence. There will be vents under the peaks of the roof eaves as well as a hardware clothed window above the nesting boxes for ventilation. The run is covered, as I mentioned, and will have a human-sized screened and hardware-clothed door on the east end. The sides of the run and the apron will be in hardware cloth to prevent predators from killing the chickens.
The exciting news is that both my daughter’s preschool and my son’s kindergarten are interested in hatching eggs. That means that they’ll get to learn about incubating eggs and looking after the chicks. I will also be helping the preschool get a coop so they can keep 4 of the chickens there to have as pets, and to provide eggs for their snacks. I will get to keep 4 chickens too, out of the 2 classes worth of batches. So, I need to learn more about that whole process, and get my coop built fast so I’m ready for them. Should be interesting! And slightly stressful… I’m going to read my Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens in preparation.
So, with the weekend almost upon us my big project is to work on the coop (finish foundation and apron) and build the alley raised bed and fill it with soil. I also plan to get my seeds this weekend, since we’re going to IKEA in Richmond anyway. Wish me luck!