Overall, we've managed to make some real progress toward supplementing our lives with some home grown food. The hens were a success from day one. This year's garden was more successful than last year's, for sure. We started earlier and got some spring crops, then we had a long summer with some decent harvests followed by a late crop of more lettuce and chard.
On top of that, we finally saw the pomegranate produce actual fruit!
The lime and lemon trees (in pots) are finally both producing with the lime tree going crazy with really great limes.
There's been talk of expanding the garden a bit in the spring. Right now it's just talk, but I'd love to double the garden space!
On the minus side, we lost Brussels sprouts, lettuce, spinach, and a ton of tomatoes to bugs and mice and squirrels. We caught something like seven mice ourselves and we know that the neighbors to one side of us caught at least that many rats and several mice. The folks behind our house got several rats. They suggested that maybe the rats/mice population explosion was due to our chicken feed. We pointed out that we keep everything sealed up tightly. Of course they have five large bird feeders in their back yard dropping seeds all over the ground... The final answer, I'm sure, is a mixture of several things.
I read that the extra wet winter last year led to a bumper crop of rodents. Also, we know that some of the pests had discovered our compost pile and garden. So between the extra rain leading to extra food, and the compost/bird seed/etc., it's no wonder the place went crazy with rodents.
This year we plan on being on top of thing with traps.
Hope to sit down and make more serious plans for expanding the garden soon.