My husband and I have such a deep-rooted yearning for farming and working the land that it seemed everywhere we drove we were saying, "OH, that's the perfect spot for a house-and the chicken farm would be over there!" Or, "A house needs to be plopped down right there! And the goats would go there!" Yes, even the desolate, dusty, lonely areas of Wyoming were looking pretty good to us.
|10 points if you can "name that chicken's tail!"|
I must tell you that gardening in my small urban backyard with 4 very content chickens roaming during free-range time and the husband pulling weeds behind me, ranks right up there as the most content evening a girl could have (lookout all you party people)! The chickens provide us with endless entertainment during our evenings in the backyard. I looked up at one point to see my husband working on preparing spots in the yard to re-seed. I also saw that George, the alpha hen, was following him around hoping that he would PLEASE just drop some of those seeds he was carrying around in that bag! George was being so stealthy that my husband didn't even notice her watching his every move! Then there was THIS moment when we stopped for a break.....
They were all scratching some seed that was thrown down, but that short guy with the tall red hat was VERRRRYY suspicious. Each one of them kept a different eyeball on that thing the entire time! (But seriously y'all, the Garden Gnome has become a great chicken deterrent when put in pots! Don't believe me, then try it yourself! He just gives 'em the evil eye and they steer clear of the Hostas for now).
After we were done gnoming-around, we got back to working. It feels so good to have learned a little bit more each year about how to have a more productive garden-even if it is a small space in a small backyard. I learned the first year that I could plant more than once after Spring (no joke)! I can plant carrots every 2 weeks to have a continual harvest throughout the season. I learned that there are different crops for each season that I can try. I learned that there are some good producing, easy growing crops for Colorado, such as: Carrots, Beans (bush types that support themselves nicely in rows-or the pole kind for climbing), Radishes, Beets,Turnips, Chives/Green Onions, Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions, Peas, and lots more. I have also learned that I don't really need a ruler and precision seed-droppings to have a successful garden. As previously posted in How it all started-the raised vegetable garden, I use the Square-foot gardening method. I have gotten so much harvest out of a small amount of space that I am sold on this technique. I don't have to do much weeding at all, haven't had any pest concerns and everything has grown like crazy! PLUS, with chickens around, I don't need to do ANY hand mixing of the dirt when preparing the ground for new crop plantings. I pulled some cucumber plants so that I could plant my purple carrots. After pulling the old plants, I placed some compost on top of the dirt and WAITED. I didn't have to wait more than about 10 seconds.....
Red and George made short work of mixing up a great area for my purple carrots-and I didn't even break a sweat! They did the same for my spinach and lettuce area later. Did I mention I love these chickens??
With my seeds planted for fall crops and 2 of the 4 'girls' laying eggs, I am loving my backyard garden. I never thought my brown-thumbed-self would be gardening her heart out in the backyard and loving every minute of it! I encourage everyone to start growing at least one thing of their own for food. No yard? Grow 'em in pots! You might even want to get you one of them-thar Garden Gnomes too..........................................yeah, it's kind-of growing on me!