The Productive Backyard, Winter to Spring 2009

A place to share garden and outdoor spaces plans and activities.
User avatar
Harriet
Moderator
Posts: 12774
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:48 am
Location: The Carolinas

The Productive Backyard, Winter to Spring 2009

Postby Harriet » Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:42 am

The Productive Backyard

Here’s a space to discuss the chores and pleasant efforts that bring something from the land into your kitchen and home.

Vegetable garden harvests,
Egg gathering,
4-H projects,
Canning/freezing/putting up,
Orchard fruits,
Composting and
Livestock appreciation!

User avatar
Harriet
Moderator
Posts: 12774
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:48 am
Location: The Carolinas

Re: The Productive Backyard, Winter to Spring 2009

Postby Harriet » Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:48 am

An egg! We have our first egg, so are now in production, LOL! So small (they'll get bigger), laid at the corner right by the people-door in a curved-out spot in the straw. So the next boxes are in use - as a place to lay eggs beneath. Hmmm ... ...

I'll be checking the henhouse extra times through these next several very cold days, because ideally you don't want eggs to freeze. (But of course in very cold climes they freeze all the time, it's a fact of life.) Funny the things you realize cold weather calls for. I'm thinking of their plastic inverting waterer, which might be damaged by much handling in very cold temps, or just be cumbersome. Maybe should use a good old-fashioned bucket for a while. I'll have to give water attention several times a day no matter what.

Dh says tomatoes have to be a priority for us this coming year. He and I were both very disappointed to get so few real tomatoes last year. We need to come to grips with the fact that his uncle and his stepdad, who have always given us garden produce, are no longer feeling well enough to make large gardens. We can manage without the squash, but the tomatoes are a must-have. I was very interested in bittersweet's gift of a book last week - she gave us the link I believe - about container gardening. Perhaps that's the way we should go.

If you don't believe in miracles, you're not being realistic.

User avatar
Lisa B.
Member
Posts: 390
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:24 am
Location: Centurion, South Africa

Re: The Productive Backyard, Winter to Spring 2009

Postby Lisa B. » Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:14 pm

Congratulations Harriet, on your first egg.

I love reading your stories about the hens. They cheer up a person no end especially when one is not having a very good day.
“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” ~ Amelia Earhart
“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

User avatar
Harriet
Moderator
Posts: 12774
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:48 am
Location: The Carolinas

Re: The Productive Backyard, Winter to Spring 2009

Postby Harriet » Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:29 pm

Oh, thank you, Lisa! I will admit they cheer me often - I am so happy my kitchen window offers a good view. When they are chipper in the mornings they are so active, hopping and fluttering up and down their runs on a whim.

The eggs are getting larger and more regular/attractive in coloring. We got 4 yesterday, and for the first time dd changed her mind on carrying and took a basket back out to get them. When we see a dark brown one we know the layer is a New Hampshire Red. I think the Buff Orpingtons were first to lay and right now laying most - that will change when the Black Australorps mature completely, as they are egg-laying champs of the heavy breeds. It also could be due to temps - Buffs really are as cold-hardy as the catalogs say. The other two breeds huddle together for the night on the higher roost. The Buffs ignore them and go to the other side of the house where there is a lower roost. In the hot summertime, I'd better pay extra attention to the Buffs.

The 2009 catalog came from the hatchery. I was interested to see they give an opinion on the Disposition of each breed. Several were deemed, "Friendly", but only 2 breeds received the comment, "Affectionate": the Salmon Faverolles (impractical for us because feet are feathered) and our choice of Buff Orpington. I definitely agree. The Buffs are always the first to approach dd10, content to be petted, and accept her completely even when she moves too quickly for the others. I just call all 3 "Alice", but she seems to know them apart.

In the catalog, our Black Australorps have a better disposition comment than our New Hampshire Reds - for me that remains to be seen. The New Hampshires probably deserve the "Usually Quiet" comment - they can be skittish but will calm down and hang out with you for petting. It's the "Docile and Quiet" comment for Black Australorps that I'm not too sure of. They are our dominant hens and will go into flurries of discipline toward the other breeds. So even if they do allow our petting, you can't help but frown at them. I'm thinking the comment refers to them at an older age! I guess if they start laying as much as they are purported to do, they will just about have to calm down to conserve energy.

If you don't believe in miracles, you're not being realistic.

User avatar
Harmony
Member
Posts: 7442
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: Florida

Re: The Productive Backyard, Winter to Spring 2009

Postby Harmony » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:20 pm

Harriet, I do enjoy reading about your chickens and wish we could do that here.

We had decided a few weeks ago to put in some vegetable plants around the house where someday our bushes will go (that's not been accomplished yet). The space is there and the areas cleared and soil enriched. However, DH checked out cauliflower, tomato, cabbage and a couple other plants and found their cost really high. I was disappointed for sure and we have decided to try our luck with seeds next season. Letting this season go by means we will have to start seeds the end of summer/beginning autum.

We are not a farm-ey area so we're stuck with the big box stores for vegetable plants and they're pricey and the choice is limited.

I've been posting in PWYC about all the outdoor work going on over at the old house. If we lived there, I would have done it a little at a time, and maybe waited a couple more weeks to see if anything damaged started to bud. But in order to get some curb appeal back I've done it all now. All has been pruned, got rid of weather damaged, overgrowth, old wood, and shaped as best I could as I went along.

Got rid of a mountain of oak leaves as those trees are done shedding and have budded out new green. I'm hoping the fertilizer I sprinkled around will green things up a bit.

I know I'm way ahead of everybody, 'specially those still shoveling snow. Thought you might like a 'vision' of green gardens to help you get through the last of winter.

User avatar
bittersweet
Member
Posts: 1388
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:59 pm
Location: Central Alberta
Contact:

Re: The Productive Backyard, Winter to Spring 2009

Postby bittersweet » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:50 am

Being one of those still shoveling snow, it's fun to hear about garden work going on. I wonder why veggie starter plants are so pricey down there. We can get them at any garden centre/greenhouse for $3 - 4/six pack. Are there any market gardens in the area that might have a few extras to sell?

There won't be any gardening going on here for at least six weeks or so, and then it'll mostly be spring raking and cleanup, and watching anxiously to see which perennials made it through the winter.
"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year." Ralph Waldo Emerson

User avatar
Harmony
Member
Posts: 7442
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: Florida

Re: The Productive Backyard, Winter to Spring 2009

Postby Harmony » Sat Feb 28, 2009 3:55 pm

Ours are a little more pricey than that, but at $4.00 for 6 that is $1.50 for a head of cabbage or a head of cauliflower. Very little savings in that. Now, tomatoes that would be better since one gets more than 1 tomato off each plant - if the raccoons and bugs don't get to them first.

No nurseries out this way, closest would be a 35 min. ride. Into the more farm area would be at least an hour. Packets of seeds can be had most anywhere. However, the managers of the stores around here haven't figured out that our growing seasons are different than up north. In the fall, I've found veggie seed displays totally gone (that's when we plant, late Sept., Oct.). In the heat of summer, vegetables still growing cook in this sun!

Could be this time we were looking a little late for plants to be still available cheaply. Enjoy that snow!

sedona
Registered
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:58 pm
Location: Rio Grande Valley

Re: The Productive Backyard, Winter to Spring 2009

Postby sedona » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:42 am

How exciting I found this thread!! I am making my first real attempt at plants this year!! I have had a brown thumb in the past, but I've been reading tons and hopefully it will work out! I've got two container tomato plants, a banana pepper plant, strawberrys, and some herbs all growing. I have two little tomatoes and several banana peppers growing happily on the plants! So exciting. We are already having 90 degree temps here, so I've been getting the yard ready for summer here since January, we have spring in december here! LOL

I had chickens and ducks growing up. We had silkies, they were so friendly and fun. I loved gathering the eggs and sitting outside listening to them cluck and what I called purring. Wish I had more space here to get a few! Also loved the cockadoodledooooo's.

User avatar
Harmony
Member
Posts: 7442
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: Florida

Re: The Productive Backyard, Winter to Spring 2009

Postby Harmony » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:27 pm

I hope your plants all grow nicely, Sedona. Nice to have you here.

I did bite the bullet and buy some very tiny tomato plants, some peppers (bell) and some bush beans and broccoli seeds. It is one of the smallest vegetable gardens I've ever planted, and funniest looking since I put them where foundation bushes usually go, but they are in and watered.

DH and I had a disagreement where to plant. I know they need full sun, but sometimes this sun can be too much, especially since I'm getting a late start. So, I put a few of each up the side of the house and the rest in the sunny back.

Yesterday DH dragged a roll of construction wire out of the bushes where he had it and we made tomato cages. I have some nice ones but they've become lost since our move. These will do I hope. We will see if I get at least $12.00 worth of food out of this, plus cost of water, haha! That's what it all cost me.

User avatar
bittersweet
Member
Posts: 1388
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:59 pm
Location: Central Alberta
Contact:

Re: The Productive Backyard, Winter to Spring 2009

Postby bittersweet » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:02 am

I think you divided those numbers the wrong way, Harmony! :oops: 6 plants for $4 would make them about $.65 each...which is a decent savings over buying from the grocery store. Another bonus of growing your own is that you KNOW it's fresh!

It's funny reading about it being "so late in the season", when it was snowing here this morning! I can't wait to get back out in my garden..get things cleaned up and see what survived the winter. Since I lost most of my perennials in the front due to the renovators taking four months to do what should have taken less than four weeks, I'm going to have to replace a bunch of them. That means helping friends with their gardens and taking a few plants home with me...or shopping at the garden centre. Such a tough life! :lol:
"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year." Ralph Waldo Emerson


Return to “Outdoor Spaces and Gardens”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests