A Rainy Day on the Farm
It's rainy season in Dallas--time for everything to absorb as much water as possible, because summer is coming. And summer is very dry. The garden is happy, the grass is happy, the trees are happy--the chickens, dog and cats are not! The chickens all huddle under anything they can find when it rains--they definitely do NOT like getting wet!!
But they do enjoy eating the bounty of creatures that emerge from the wet earth. We once watched Midge pull a garter snake out of the ground and get it down her gullet in about a minute. So crazy.
We recently moved our rain barrel from the front of the house (where it was placed strategically under the flow of water from the roof), to the fenced in chicken area. It is no longer underneath a roof-waterfall, so we've had to place buckets in key locations and dump them in.
Doesn't everybody do this??
The rain barrel has made getting the chickens up much easier--we no longer have to lug a big pitcher of water out to them or yack the hose all the way over there. We also have 20 gallons plastic bins (lids that snap closed) for their feed crumbles and their scratch grains.
I planted the garden on March 19--the day after the official last Dallas freeze day. *Fingers crossed* because it's Texas and the weather does whatever the hell it wants. This year I decided to go with:
Corn, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Peppers, Zucchini, String Beans, and Tomatoes (so many tomatoes).
I fertilized the garden with a mixture of chicken poop and straw. When I clean out the chicken coop, I mix it with the straw that's in their pen as their bedding. It decomposes into compost and I just rake that into the garden and till it into the soil. The straw has an added benefit of deterring weed growth.
You can see that we have completely fenced in our garden. It also has a tent of netting on top to prevent squirrels, possums and birds from eating our veggies. We banged metal T-poles into the ground 7-8' apart, then rolled out the fencing (5' tall to prevent chickens from going over) and attached it to the poles with zip ties. (I'm fairly certain I could build a house using only zip ties...) To make it look nice, we screwed cedar fence planks to the poles. Fairly low skill, lots of hard work. Highly recommend getting a metal "fence post driver" to make driving the T-poles much easier. We added a few gates to make access easier, and voila! Fenced in garden.
Will keep you updated on the veggie progress--my dream is to someday eat a fresh corn, right off the cob, while I sit in the garden surrounded by my pets. Until then....