Monday, 9 May 2011

Garden ADD

Most of you have probably heard of Attention Deficit Disorder.  I've got it in a BAD WAY when it comes to the garden!  I flit from one activity to another, excited, inspired and motivated, accomplishing far less than I should, but having a ball nonetheless :)   *sigh*  It comes every Spring, when all the winter's worth of cumulative longing for soil between my fingers and plants to tend to comes boiling to the surface.  It lasts for a few weeks, and finally settles down in June.  Anyone else struggle with this affliction?

Now that the new hen run is ready for wire fencing (thanks to my wonderful family), I can get the chickens moved into their new space by this coming weekend.  This in turn means that I can plant my newly expanded, large main garden VERY soon!  Typically, we aim for May Long Weekend (which is coming up on the 21st) as it's the usual last frost date.  I'm eying the long range forecast and things look pretty good!  I'll be getting the cold tolerant crops in right away (carrots, peas, onions, spinach, etc) and hold off on the tender plants until close to the end of the month (beans, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, etc.).

The hens are busy, busy, busy scratching and pecking in the freshly tilled soil where my garden will be.  They're eating bugs, worms and grubs galore, doing a wonderful job of pest control in preparation for planting.  I'll be using rebar posts, chicken wire (already on hand from last year) and tywraps to keep the chickens out of the garden once I seed (much to their annoyance!).   This temporary barrier worked well last year, and it gives me the flexibility to let the chickens in to the garden should I need them for organic pest control at any time in the growing season.  I'm considering fencing the garden in such a way that the chickens will have full time access to the corn patch (once it's established).  I'm guessing it will give them some great shade and the nitrogen boost for my corn will be helpful.  Does anyone know if this practice would burn the plants?  The new hen run is large enough at 100'x25' (not counting the corn patch) that the hens will have plenty of room.  Do you think this practice will be too risky in terms of hot manure/nitrogen burn?  Your thoughts on the matter, if you care to share?

The "Before Planting To Do List" is a mile long, but the priority remains to:

1)  place new hoop house to get the seedlings out of my house (more on that soon!)
2)  buy the wire fencing for the hen run
3)  install it
4)  erect temporary fencing to separate the garden from the hens
5)  tweak the plot plan
6)  buy seed potatoes

I'm sure there's more but as my Garden ADD is in full swing, I can't remember! :)

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