The Weekly Digs #153

by Becky

This week we had warmer than average temperatures and it made it feel like Spring! We got so much done outside. 

Here’s what we did:

#1 Moved my seedlings out to the caterpillar tunnel

The onions and celery have started to sprout and because the weather was so nice I moved them outside. I will bring them inside when it gets really cold at night. We have an 18 degree low coming up next week and I will bring them inside just in case.

#2 Moved the chickens

I think I mentioned before the chickens were loose in the garden until they started to dig up my garlic. Then we partitioned an area off with an electric fence so they didn’t kill off the garlic or spinach. But after a few weeks, they were grazing the cover crop to the point it was super low and they needed to move.

We put them in another “safe” area of the garden. This will probably be the last move for them in the garden because I will be planting soon and they have a knack for getting out of where they are supposed to be when it matters most.

#3 Started working on our front landscaping

The front area of our house needs help. It got graded last year but has since become a muddy mess. A few weeks ago we planted grass seeds, which haven’t come up yet.

 We started to layer some cardboard to prevent weeds and covered it with compost so we could make some flower beds by the house. It still looks sloppy at this point but I’m hoping to get it in shape during spring.

#4 Prepared rows and Planted 100 berry plants

The last few days of this week were spent on this project. I ordered 75 blackberries, 10 boysenberries, and 15 tayberries. 

I used the BCS tractor with the rotary plow to break through the clay and sod and get some rows formed. Ideally, it’s best to form permanent beds like this long before they get planted in. But it was an impulse order at the end of winter so I wasn’t ready!

Thankfully, with the warm weather, the ground dried out enough we could work it with the tractor. The walk-behind tractor is a good workout. I made four 85 foot rows. I am out of shape from winter and my arms are so sore right now! 

Today we added compost and I planted the 100 berries since they were delivered on Friday. We still need to add mulch.

Our wood chipper we purchased in November finally came in stock so hopefully we’ll get it delivered next week. And get some mulch going onto the plants and in the garden where it needs it.

Berries are all planted. Sorry about the dark picture, it was late when I finished!

I am already feeling behind on planting, etc. but this is quite normal for me, haha. Once the warm weather hits we go from zero to one hundred in time and effort in the garden.

I have no complaints, it’s my favorite place to be and I always feel better when I’m outside 🙂

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PamR March 10, 2022 - 5:25 pm

Moving chickens, I might have an idea that would work for you all. This is what we have done since 2008 and it’s always worked really well:

We have a big population of aerial predators here and this has worked well for us. No birds died from bird netting, either predator or domestic.

Melissa Pechey March 12, 2022 - 4:29 am

Hi Becky, I am in Zone 6B and wondered what you do about the harlequin bugs? I was reading an older blog when you discovered them and I’m hoping you have a solution!
I’m starting to grow again this year, and I’m very new at it. We only planted zucchini, summer squash, peppers and tomatoes. We had some tomatoes (most stayed small and green), and got only a few of the others. I’m researching and trying to learn as much as possible, so glad to stumble across your help!

PamR March 13, 2022 - 1:12 am

I came across this John Kempf lecture from the 2021 Soil Conference. In it he addresses several of the problems you’ve been having. I hope it’s of some use for you:

Can’t have another bug year like last year!

theseasonalhomestead March 13, 2022 - 11:25 pm

Thanks Pam. This is great! I’ll watch it.

Cecilia March 26, 2022 - 8:02 pm

Hello, I’m wondering about letting the chickens walk over my garden… my chickens are wandering all over my garden. I was hoping to use their manure in the garden, but what I was reading says you should let it age a year before putting it in the garden; it also said not to let them wander over the garden since they might spread germs in the ground. In your experience, is that necessary? I let them loose in the garden after being cooped up all winter before researching . 🤦‍♀️ Thank you for your advice! I love your blog!

theseasonalhomestead March 27, 2022 - 4:11 am

Hi Cecilia, I let my chickens in the garden few months before I plant and sometimes even in-between plantings. The manure is “hot” and can hurt plants if put immediately on plants. But to be honest I’ve never had a problem with that. I think that must be true if you add it in large quantities from a chicken coop or something.

The germ thing is really only an issue if you are selling produce or your chickens are sick. You can take heart knowing your garden will probably be more abundant than ever and have less bugs thanks to letting them run in the garden for a bit. I kick my chickens out a couple weeks before I start my serious planting (peas, onions, potatoes). So what you did is just fine!


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