Planting veggie garden

Jenn and I spent most of today planting the veggie garden.

We got 3 yards (i.e. 81 cubic feet, or 2.3 cubic meters) of 3-way mix soil (basically topsoil, compost, and other stuff) delivered to top up the veggie beds. Here’s Rory sniffing the pile while on rounds a few days ago, to give a feel for the size:

Rory by pile of soil

So my first task was to shovel that dirt into the beds:

Shoveling dirt

Dumping the dirt:

Dumping dirt

Meanwhile, Jenn was planting:

Cart and plants

Here’s the whole veggie garden, with everything planted:

Whole veggie garden

In the front-left bed, we have tomatoes and salsa ingredients:

Veggie bed

In the front-right bed, we have lettuce and kale (for us and chickens):

Veggie bed

The potato planters have seed potatoes; the boards and more dirt will be added as they grow up, resulting in many layers of spuds:

Potato planters

In the back-left bed we have zucchini, pumpkins, watermelons, and decorative gourds:

Veggie bed

In the back-right bed, we have onions and corn:

Veggie bed

Inside the berry cage, we have a couple of Hood strawberry plants (and will add more to this bed later):

Veggie bed

(Existing) blueberries:

Veggie bed

The first of a few hops plants:

Veggie bed

Huckleberries hiding behind the existing gooseberries and currants:

Veggie bed

Ever-bearing strawberries (these were existing from last year):

Veggie bed

Yet more snow

We got a couple more inches of snow this morning.

Beehives and trees with snow:

Beehives with snow

Berry cage with snow:

Berry cage with snow

The shallow (foreground) end of the pond is frozen, but the deep (back) half is liquid:

Half frozen pond

The back lawn covered with snow, with the brown gazebo in the distance, and the old chicken coop on the right:

Gazebo & coop with snow

The flag is snagged on a branch, with a little snow on it:

Flag with snow

Chickens in the snow

The snow is melting, helped by the rain. It was fun while it lasted, but I’m ready for it to go.

Our chickens would prefer no snow too; they don’t like walking in it.

Here are a bunch of photos of the chickens in the snow, from yesterday and today:

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Berry cage: finished!

This post has been waiting for a few days to be published, since the blog has been busy with snow photos this week. Hence the lack of snow in these pictures. With the snow on the ground this week, it’s almost hard to remember what the place was like without snow!

I have now completed the berry cage project.

The last step was to replace the old fencing wire with the new, narrower gauge stuff.

So I started by removing the old wire:

Fence wire

I left the nails that were holding the old wire, so I could reuse them to attach the new wire:

Fence without wire

Here’s the berry cage portion of the fence without any wire:

Fence without wire

I could then add the bottom course of new welded wire. I also kept the second layer chicken wire at the bottom, which is to keep smaller animals like rabbits out of the garden:

Adding wire

Attaching the wire:

Adding wire

The bottom course completed. The wire curves out onto the ground, anchored by rocks, to avoid any gap at the bottom:

Adding wire

A close-up of the wire and nails after adding the second course:

Closeup

The door area, with the completed fence:

Door

The completed berry cage fence:

Finished berry cage

It is always very satisfying to complete a project. On to the next one!

First snow of 2019

Although much of the country has had lots of snow this winter, we haven’t had any… until now. Yesterday morning we had a brief dusting of snow, then overnight we got about three inches, with a forecast of more throughout the day.

Naturally, I took a bunch of photos while on my morning rounds.

Here’s the brown gazebo and trees covered in snow:

Snow on brown gazebo

The pond wasn’t frozen, yet anyway:

Snow on the banks of the pond

The flowerbeds, with the pond deck on the left, the brown gazebo in the distance, and the veggie garden on the right:

Flowerbeds under snow

The chicken coop:

Chicken coop with snow

As usual, the bird netting on the roof of the chicken run collapsed under the weight of the snow. I plan to replace that with welded wire, like the berry cage, but was hoping to defer it; now I guess I need to either repair the netting, or do the wire after all:

Chicken run

The welded wire on the berry cage held up just fine:

Berry cage with snow

The beehives:

Beehives with snow

The cat house, somewhat sheltered by the trees:

Cat house with snow

Berry cage: roof wire

Over the weekend I did a bit more work on the berry cage project: installing the welded wire on the roof. That will keep birds from flying into that area of the veggie garden.

Some of the chickens couldn’t resist perching on a ladder:

Chicken on a ladder

Measuring out the wire on the ground:

Measuring wire

I rolled up the wire again to take it up to the roof:

Wire

Having it rolled up also enabled me to nail the right edge at the same time as the left edge of the previous row:

Wire

A partially-installed row from below:

Wire from below

Completed, from above:

Wire done from above

Completed, from below:

Wire done from below

And from the other side:

Wire done from below

Next up, removing the old wire from the fence walls, and replacing with the narrower gauge stuff.

Gate between chicken run & veggie garden

This past weekend I built a doorway and gate to make it easier to go between the veggie garden and the chicken run. Something I do a lot, especially in summer, when giving the chickens treats of kale, tomatoes, etc grown in our garden.

Here’s the new doorway, built by adding the new left pole and top plate, cutting away the fencing, and cutting out the horizontal rails:

I also moved the grazing box in the chicken run, to clear a path by the door. The chickens love having direct access to the grass, which will probably be all scratched away in a matter of days. I’ll seed new grass in the new box position in spring:

Building the gate frame; the fourth and last one:

Door hardware installation:

The completed gate, closed:

And open:

I added a hook & eye to hold the gate open during winter:

I also permanently closed the small holes through the fence that the chickens were using to access the veggie garden, so now they go through this doorway.

That concludes building the gates for the veggie garden and berry cage. Next up: replacing the old fencing wire around the berry cage.

Chickens in the veggie garden: a week later

The last couple of posts have been about the chickens, but here’s one more! (Back to cats tomorrow, of course.)

Our chickens are really enjoying being in the veggie garden. It’s funny how they come running when I walk past each day, during my morning rounds:

Compare the veggie garden now with how it was just five days ago, to see what a flock of chickens can do to vegetation. That’s why we don’t free-range them around the property!

Merida coming to say hi:

Camilla:

Kiwi:

Domino:

Three chickens on the potato planters:

A bunch by the new berry cage fence:

Merida:

Flo:

Mo: