Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Garden Boxes: Finished

Ok, everything's finally done. Well, everything except for the planting...

Yes, it looks a little funky, but that's because I'm using as much leftover or recycled material as I can. 

Here we're ready to add the screen. The screen is vital because we have a big problem with squirrels and raccoons and local cats destroying our garden. Then, of course, there's the occasional chicken...

Finished! But not without casualties. The poor lime tree lost two "almost ready" limes when we moved the pot.

Also, what's this? A soldier beetle?

We had a several of these things hanging out and I let them live, hoping they were beneficial... That's the best picture I could get. I sure do want to get a macro lens for my camera!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Beautiful Day to Visit Coyote Point Museum

We took some time off from gardening and hanging out with our urban chickens to visit a local museum. The kids had a really fun time and the weather was perfect. I took a few shots while we were walking around. We even got to see the new otters at feeding time and we watched as the two new bobcats sorted out just who was in charge during their feeding.

The beautiful spring weather had all sorts of plants in bloom out in the gardens.

In the aviary, this blue heron stood on its favorite rock...

We had arrived a bit early so we spent some time walking around along the bay.

The larger of the two otters (Gunner?) is looking for any left over bits of carrot that might have managed to escape...


Peeked out in the garden this AM and found a couple of interesting things. First, some veggies sprouted:

Next, I noticed something white in the strawberry plant, and (apologies for the blurry photo) look what I found: Four or five blooms:

And then, surprise, I found this (my wife must have picked this up yesterday):

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Garden Reconfiguration Update: Phase Two -- Compost

Hopped out of bed (extra) early this AM to tackle the compost pile. Here's what it looked like before, with the compost bins tucked away on the left behind the picket fence:

There's a pile of old, wet hay there in the middle, and of course a pile of dirt (or mud, really) right where the compost pile is headed. We're moving it because of a couple reasons:

 - The old location was inside the "chicken zone" and so you had to change your shoes to go put stuff in the compost.
 - The compost pile had been there for several years and tree roots had started to find it.

So I had to move the old compost, the mud pile, and the old/wet hay pile before I could even get started. It took a bit longer than I had hoped, but we moved things around. Here's what things looked like when I stopped for the day:

We have two compost bins so we can work on finishing one batch while another gets going. We dumped the finished compost into the boxes to mix in with soil later. With the other batch, we alternated layers of compost and the wet hay. I stuck the compost thermometer in and hope to see some heat generated soon. Fingers crossed on that one. As for the look of the place... The gates will need a little tweaking. We have plans for the far left corner, too. We'll clear it out and build a nice dry place to store the hay bale and other miscellaneous stuff. We need to get a bunch of soil in the boxes and then we'll be ready to go:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Garden Boxes

We put together the next phase of the newly expanded garden this weekend. This new box is 30 sqft (skwifoots) so we have 46 sqft so far, and we'll probably end up at around 50 when we're done.

And the view from the side:

Now that this is done, we can get some dirt in there. A neighbor is interested in going in halfsies on a huge soil run, but if we do that we'll have to wait at least two weeks. We have about 20 or 30 sqft of mostly finished compost we could use to augment, too. Wish we had already started some seeds... Better get on that soon!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Things We Find...

The other day my wife saw this sitting on the sidewalk with a "FREE" sign attached.

We'll use it for a place for a broody hen and/or a brooder if/when we ever get new chicks. It's a rabbit hutch, I believe, but who ever was using it before had added a small perch, so we're thinking we have yet another neighbor with urban chickens. That would make at least 4 families within a 10 house radius.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Some Garden Progress

We started today by tearing apart the boxes and "anti-squirrel" cage we built about 9 years ago.

The trick was that the boxes had really deteriorated and the neighbor's trees' roots had found their way in through the rotted out bottoms. But we wanted to recycle as much as we could, so we gently slid them over and stacked them:

We found a few odd critters, including a blue snail (no picture...) and a salamander (or is that a skink?) and TON of huge pill bugs:



Then we cut the old squirrel cage in half and put that on there. Oh, and we had to dig out a ton of tree roots that had grown up between the cement slabs. The old 2x4 spacers between the slabs had rotted away almost entirely.

Next we'll build a new, slightly different shaped box where the old ones were and also one over to the right of the "new" one. After that, we'll move the compost pile to roughly where that hay pile is now, and then  build a "hay cozy" over where the compost was. I'm sure it makes sense, somehow.