Plants, Chickens and Wildlife

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Posted by Annie in gardening, Organic, Outdoors on July 6, 2015

Cherry Tomato Plant

Cherry Tomato Plant

So far my garden isn’t looking too bad this year for someone who knows nothing and I’m fighting the spraying, which seems to be going on constantly. I’ve got three large tomatoes about 20 cherry tomatoes and the promise of more.

Either the deer or the chickens are eating the tops off my pepper plants again this year. That’s what happened last year. I never been able to grow any peppers, heck, I never even had one baby pepper grow last year. I’ve keep them close to the house.

I just have to be smarter than a chicken, right? I am guarding that little pepper with my life. I am determined to get at least one.

Tiny baby Pepper!

Tiny baby Pepper!

Because of the drought, and the aluminum, I have been adding a little Lugol’s Iodine Solution in the rain water I catch. I believe it will help clear toxins out of the soil.

Lugol’s Iodine:  An Important Detoxification Tool

I’ve also been using baking soda, Epson salts, peroxide, and organic sea kelp on my soil, it seems to help. If I have plants that aren’t doing well because of the intense sun, I put them in the green house.  It’s just a tiny little thing but it gives the plants time to heal. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

I’ve been keeping them close to the house and I feed the chicken behind the house.  Most of the chickens have gotten the hint and they really don’t bother the plants at all. We do have a couple that insist on digging in my Aronia shrub, an excellent source of antioxidants.

Wildlife: Plants are browsed by white-tailed deer and rabbits. The fruit are eaten by ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse and prairie chickens.

For pest control I’m growing spearmint, peppermint, oregano, rosemary.  One of my rosemary plants just withered up and died.  It’s a pathetic looking thing.  I haven’t brought myself to toss it out yet.  I feel so bad when one of my plants die.  When they grow and flourish like this spearmint plant, it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Spearmint

Spearmint

Even my Crooked Neck Squash seems to be doing well. Last year they were overran with aphids. I didn’t get to them quick enough and by the time I got rid of them, the squash had stopped growing.  I got frustrated and ripped it up. No sense wasting water on it.

Crooked Neck Squash

Crooked Neck Squash

With the water restrictions, the chemical spraying, and the animals — wild and domestic — it’s amazing I have anything growing at all. Only time will tell, but I have a good feeling this year that my garden will persevere.

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Planting Season

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Posted by Annie in gardening, Organic on May 10, 2014

It’s hard to believe the transformation, and harder still to realize it won’t last long.  What am I talking about?  Everything is alive right now.  The grass (or weeds) is growing, it’s actually green! While we certainly didn’t get a Winter, it’s certain we are in full blown Spring.

English: First blueberries of the season.

Blueberries

We’ve got song birds everywhere — more than I’ve ever noticed in the 10 years I’ve been here. When I go outside at 4:00 a.m. there are already birds singing, and we have lots of baby birds. I love sitting and listening to them. It’s just amazing. I think the difference is that about three months ago I started sprouting seeds for the chickens. They don’t eat all it and I’ve had all sorts of birds come to visit to pick up the slack.

Pollen season hasn’t started yet; at least not the green pollen that covers everything for a month. I noticed the pine trees have sprouted little tiny pine cones, so cute.

I still have far more deer and squirrels hanging around tham I’d like.  I chase them off but they come right back. They all want the chicken feed. Who can blame them?

If you didn’t make it to Mountain People Organics (lovingly called the Farmory) for the FoCuS Plant Starts Festival last Saturday, you really missed out.  I got a swell deal on strawberry plants, 12 plants for $10.  I felt like a thief when I left but oh, so grateful.  The plants are already sprouting several strawberries.  I also picked up a blueberry plant that was heavy with blueberries already. When watering it this morning I noticed blueberries had actually fallen off of it. I ate 2 and gave the bird some.  What a treat!

Be sure to get outside and enjoy the sunny weather before it gets too hot.  Now is a perfect time to visit if you like the outdoors.  🙂 If you stop up for a visit, be sure to dress for the random weather. It still gets chilly at night and we never know from day to day what we will get.  Be prepared.

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Beginning Gardening

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Posted by Annie in gardening, Organic on April 3, 2013

Our government has been seeding the clouds, our sky looks like a checker board square until it all disappears as the clouds take over.  But instead of encouraging rain we’ve been getting hail and snow, we never know what to expect.

English: Jalapeno peppers growing in Summit, N...

Jalapeno peppers

I came home this afternoon to find my elderberry bush clippings were drooping.  I thought for sure they were going to die.  I didn’t know what to do, I know florist use 7-up but I didn’t have any.  I added apple cider vinegar to the water, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. They seemed to have perked right up.  Hopefully, they will be well enough for me to plant tomorrow.

I also plan to plant some jalapeno peppers, from some seed I saved from some organic peppers from the store.  I also bought some green bean seeds and some chives, which I will grow in pots near the house.  Chances are some of it won’t grow, because I don’t have a green thumb, but if I keep trying eventually something has to grow.  Right?

Green common beans on the plant.

Green common beans

I would like to grow more but without a greenhouse, it’s hard at 4,000 feet.  Last year they actually had raised garden spots, you could rent for $30.00 for the year.  Maybe I’ll try that?  I’ll try to find some information about it, the Chamber of Commerce should know.

These chickens are huge.  I can’t believe how fast they grow.  It’s a good thing I bought food in advance, they are really eating.  I let them run around the yard catching bugs, pecking at plants and fertilizing my lawn.  They are so cute.  I’ve got several males though, they are starting to fight a little bit. Fortunately, nothing major yet.  I hope it stays that way.

My cat is pregnant, she will be a year old May 5th, she almost made it.  After she has this litter, we’ll get her fixed.  She looks so funny, I hope she doesn’t have a large litter, but I won’t hold my breath.

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