Sunday, May 20, 2012


We got chickens.  Our neighbor had more than she needed, and offered some to us.  Before they arrived though, we needed a place to put them.  I had to sacrifice the mini-greenhouse. 

I picked up some 2x4' OSB sheets from the discount scrap pile at Home Depot.  Total cost was $2. 

I made a small box out of the OSB and attached it to the frame of the mini-greenhouse.

The roof is hinged.  I also added a divider.

Finally, I covered the thing with wire mesh screen.  That should keep the critters out.  (I hope.)

The chickens seem happy.

We do let them out for a good portion of the day.  They tend to hide under the deck and don't do much wandering.  
We have four chickens total, and each is a different variety.  I don't know what they are though.  There's a red one, a black one, a striped one, and a yellow one.  The person we got them from said that they should start laying eggs around Labor Day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The blueberries are in.

My blueberries arrived.  They look like twigs right now.  I had to take close up shots so you could see them.

Here's the first one.  It already has some green on it.

This one has some green as well.

I think this one is still alive, but it doesn't have any leaves yet.  I have a feeling that it's going to be a while until I'm eating blueberries.

But wait!  There's more!  I have strawberries in the ground too!  I ordered 50 of them.  I put 25 of them in the bed here.  The other 25 were planted in various places around my yard.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Still preparing for blueberries...

I didn't like the way the flower bed for the blueberries was done.

It was like this when we moved in.  There's a 2x6 piece of lumber on two sides holding back the soil.  On the end were some stones sloping downward.  It just didn't look good. 

This is a picture from the other side.  Again, the previous owners just left some random bricks there.  I suppose I could have picked them up at some point, but I never did. 
This is an older picture taken before the shrubs were removed and the bed was prepared for blueberries.

Anyway, this is what it looks like now.

Home Depot had landscape timbers on sale, so this was the perfect time to do this project.  The bed is a few inches bigger in all directions.  I should be able to get more plants in there now.

The sloppy stones at the end are gone! 
 I still need to add more soil and compost, but it's good enough for now.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Preparing for blueberries

I got an email from Gurneys the other day.  They were having an "up to 60% off" sale.  So I ordered 3 types of blueberry plants.  I don't know when they'll ship, but I figured now was a good time to get the ground ready.

I'm going to put the blueberry plants in the beds around my patio.  I started by digging a trench.  I had several layers of soil here.  The stuff on top wasn't too bad.  I put it off to the side to be used later.  Then I had about 6" of sand.  Under that was 6" of clay. 

I threw some rotten wood in the bottom.  This is my attempt at hugelkultur.  I've never tried it before, but the idea is simple.  You bury wood.  Preferably rotten wood.  The wood acts like a sponge and holds water.  It's supposed to reduce how much and how often you have to water the plants.  Additionally, the wood will compost, and put nutrients into the soil.

I don't know if this step was necessary or not.  I added water to pre-soak the wood.

Then I added a good two wheel barrow loads of compost right on top of the wood.

The final step was to return the inch or two of soil that had been there previously.

I've gotten plants from Gurneys before.  The roots should be small enough that there will be plenty of room between them and the buried wood.  There's a good 6 inches of compost on top of those logs.