Ready, set -> Grow!

Since moving into the house, I’ve been dreaming of a HUGE garden with chickens. After volunteering at a local organic farm last season and reading as many books as I could over winter I was feeling ready. Somehow I was able to convince Q to join in.

Our primary tasks:

  1. Fix Concrete along house, and patio out back
  2. Remove tree blocking southern exposure, and trim back the larger tree in backyard
  3. Order Chickens
  4. Build Indoor seedling grow station (plant seeds)
  5. Build baby chick brooder (say hello to our new family members)
  6. Build Chicken coop/run
  7. Build 10 raised garden beds (create planting plan)
  8. Build retaining wall (attempt to level yard for kids)
  9. Plant/transplant everything and start growing/working on the plants.

I feel like I might be going to fast with all my excitement.  Below are a few images of each step, and beyond the images are more thoughts.

  1. Fix Concrete.
    • This wasn’t a must have for the garden, but it made sense to get it done before any landscaping started.
  2. Remove the tree blocking southern exposure, and trim back the larger tree in backyard
    • The tree in the side yard (southern exposure) was the easiest of the two to take down at only 5 years old and made the side yard feel much larger and our neighbors closer. The larger tree in the backyard also made a huge difference and now will allow some sunlight to the future chicken coop site.
  3. Order Chickens
    • This was the fun part. However, after all the thought going into ordering certain breeds, we ended up picking them up at Rural King for about a third the cost then mail-ordering them. The draw back, we didn’t get the exact breeds I’d researched, but the kids did get their silkies and easter eggers.
  4. Build Indoor seedling grow station (plant seeds)
    • We managed to spend about $100 to build a a grow station for about 100 transplants. More then we needed, but next year I don’t think I’ll set it up in our room.
  5. Build baby chick brooder (say hello to our new family members)
    • After researching the breeds, and figuring at some point one of the silkies will get broody as an adult hen, I hoped to make the chick brooder double. So I order a pre-fab hutch. After several weeks in the basement I think it works just fine with a few adjustments.
  6. Build Chicken coop/run
    • We belabored this step ALOT. It was hard to  out-source the coop build, but with all that we had on our plate it made the most sense. So after scouring craigslist, we found what we wanted. Once the chicks were ready to go out doors Q built an amazing attached run with a dutch door.
  7. Build 10 raised garden beds (create planting plan)
    • I played around with a couple designs for this space, and finally decided 10 boxes perpendicular to the sidewalk would be the best option for how much I wanted to grow. So we started to build!
  8. Build retaining wall (attempt to level yard for kids)
    • The yard was continuing to sink in the center  of the side yard.So as I cut back the flower bed, I attempted to level out the divet and re-seed the grass. Once I was done the elevation difference was about 12″. So I built a retaining wall and Q pounded in the rebar. (Having never done anything like this, it didn’t come out perfect, but good enough.)
  9. Plant/transplant everything and start growing/working on the plants.
    • This unfortunately wasn’t as simple as it sounds. I lost several broccoli, cauliflower, and tomato transplants  due to some highly unexpected temperature changes. I’ve also learned that transplant corn is a bad idea despite what the internet says,and many other lessons like what a soldier beetle is. However we are currently growing: Sweet corn, cauliflower, lettuce mix, russian kale, potatoes, brussel sprouts, black beans, 2 kinds of heirloom green beans, 3 kinds of heirloom cucumbers, Italian heirloom cantaloupe, baby watermelon, 6 kinds a heirloom tomatoes, huckleberries, golden ground cherries, purple tomatillo, dill, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, cumin, sage, butternut squash, raspberries, blackberries, endive, bib lettuce, sweet peas, popcorn, eggplant, carrots, beets, leeks, chives, grapes, fennel, and sweet peppers.

Wish us luck!

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