Poop-poop-e-doop

That’s what Michael always said when we were dealing with a really poopy diaper back in the diaper days and it’s my first thought when I step into the chicken coop in the morning.

I love to talk about all of the lovely reasons to raise chickens… the eggs, the colors, the educational benefits, the pest control, the fluffy beautiful fun. There is another side to this business though and to be fair and transparent the time has come for me to hit that too.

There is a LOT of poop.

DSC03868Here we go… this is from one night in the coop and it’s just one side of the room. This is a lot of poop to clean up.

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We use this handy dandy scraper. It’s located in a tricky spot, over to the right where I can’t quite reach without leaning into the perch but I manage when I have to. Truth be told, Michael does most of the scraping. I fill in when he’s not able to which was the case yesterday morning because he wasn’t feeling well. So, I finally got these chicken poop photos I’ve been meaning to take.

I’m a pretty spoiled chicken mama and Michael is a very dedicated chicken dad so it all works out.

DSC03877This is what one morning’s poop removal looks like.

We scrape it up every day first thing. I know that not everyone does it this way, you can wait and add hay on top then clean it out less often but we’re kind of daily chicken coop cleaners. About once every four to six weeks we (I use the word “we” very loosely here) do a more thorough cleaning and remove the old hay and put fresh down.

The daily poop goes out to the compost piles down in the woods to break down. We add it to the garden as compost after a year or so.

It’s one of the best composts ever!

Guess I’m right back to the good reasons to keep chickens!

poop-poop-e-doop!

Have a great day!

Michele

The First Annual Salem Garden Holiday Wish List

It’s the holiday season and that means it’s time to find a gift for your favorite gardener.  There are so many choices and ideas everywhere you look, from your local garden center to millions of places on the internet. Here’s a few of my favorites this year:

First up, how about a pair of great gardening clogs? I’m really love the adorable chicken design. These are $36.95  here at Gardener’s Supply company.

 

Snap & Grow Greenhouse - 6' x 8' (2 boxes) - Hobby Greenhouse Kits

If I were in the market for a greenhouse, I’d choose this one.

The sides are polycarbonate, it appears to vent well and it’s a nice size. I found it here at Greenhousemegastore.com for $749.00.

 

Herb Garden Markers / Plant Stakes - A Set of 3 ceramic garden markers

Look at these great garden markers! I found them on etsy for 3/$22 at this cute shop called FromArtisanHands. I think they would add a nice punch of color and they look nice and sturdy and fade proof.

At the very top of my “gardening books to read” list is Margaret Roach’s  “the backyard parables, lessons on gardening, and life.”  I loved Margaret’s last book “And I Shall Find Some Peace Here” in which she talked about her journey from corporate life as a garden editor for Martha Stewart to a full time gardener and writer. This new book looks to be a continuation of her story. It’s available on Amazon.com for $17.57, hardcover and $11.04 on your kindle.
If your a very practical gifter or receiver this bucket caddy is perfect. For just $9.19 your favorite gardener will be able to store all of his or her tools and weeds in one place and move around the garden.  This is also an Amazon find. Take a look here if you’d like to check it out!
Here’s another practical gift—a tumbling compost bin!  People ask me about compost bins all the time and this one is absolutely my favorite. We purchased it for our adaptive gardens at work last spring and I love it! It makes compost in two to three months, has two chambers so one  “cooks” while the other is in use, and it’s quite compact. I’ve never noticed any odor, which is often a concern of new compost makers and its quite animal proof since it’s up off of the ground. You’ll find it at Home Depot for $99 or it can be ordered online here.
This bench/kneeler is a great find for the gardener who needs a little extra help to be comfortable physically. It can be used as a bench as pictured above or flipped over as a  kneeler with handles to assist when pushing up to stand.  It’s $28.95 here at Amazon.
And finally, I had to include this lovely rocker for two. I can just imagine sitting in this chair with Michael enjoying our view (when we’re 99 and 102, maybe). It’s  so pretty and I think it would be a beautiful accent piece without distracting from the rest of the garden. I found it on Overstock.com for $217.00 along with 117 other beautiful bench designs. If your looking for a bench, you will find something at Overstock!
So there’s my wish list. What’s on yours?
Feel free to share this post far and wide… just put hint, hint in the subject line if you send it by e-mail ;).
Enjoy everything!
Michele

For the Lady I Met In Walmart Yesterday…How To Start Your Garden

Hi there!

I heard you ask for help yesterday in Walmart and spoke with you a few minutes later and told you a little bit about my blog. Since then I’ve been thinking  about how I can help people like you who are just starting out with their very first garden and I came up with a few simple ideas. These are my thoughts after talking with you for just a minute or two.

—You said that your garden will be next to your driveway and you want some things growing and some color. I didn’t say it, but I should have said that you would want to dig down 12-16 inches to loosen the soil really well. If you just scratch the surface it will be tough for the roots to grow and establish themselves.

—Then, see what kind of soil you have. It may be nice topsoil (black, brown and crumbly), or sandy (light colored and very fine) or clay like (sticks together in a clump when it’s a little wet). It may be very rocky (try to take out as many as you can), or not. Adding compost that you can buy in bags from garden centers will help improve most soil. If you have an extreme version of any of the above you may need to work at it a little bit more. Here’s a link that can help you with that.

—As you work on getting the soil ready watch the way sun shines on the space. How many hours of sun the garden gets is really important in choosing plants that will do well. It might be over 8 hours a day (full sun), 3-6 hours a day (part shade) or less than 3 (shade). Match the light requirement on the plant tag with the type of light you have. It’s really important to do this!

—Look for plants that will fit the light requirement and the type of garden that you have in mind. Read the labels again to get an idea of how tall the plants will be and when they’ll bloom. Some tags even tell you what to plant together which is really handy when your first starting out!

—Try to arrange the plants so that the tallest are in the back and shortest are in the front.

—Pull the weeds as you see them pop up. If you do this for a few minutes every day you’ll be able to keep up with them easier.

—Watch the weather and be sure to water if it doesn’t rain.

—Take off dead flowers and leaves so that new ones can grow.

—Leave me a message here if you have any questions. I’m happy to help if I can!

— Most importantly, enjoy it! Don’t worry too much if plants don’t make it, it happens to all of us! You can do it!!!

Michele

ps/ Other gardeners, feel free to chime in with your ideas and suggestions in the comments section.

Let’s help this lady have the best first garden ever!

English: Soil types by clay, silt and sand com...
English: Soil types by clay, silt and sand composition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is It Just Me?

I know, I know, this is silly, but, when I take apart the planters it’s hard for me to throw the old plants into the compost. I’ll miss them. They were beautiful and I feel a sense of loss. I can throw anything away in the house with no problem, but plants are different. I tend to hang on for a long, long time. So the other day I took everything out of the big front porch planter and went down to the compost bin. In went the spike plant, the verbena and the stock…. then I got to the geraniums. I threw one in and took it out. Then I looked at the four plants in my hand and I knew what I had to do. So, up they went to the kitchen counter. Michael came home and they were still there. Of course he said something like “oh, please, no, not again… you know that these are going to hang out all winter and your never going to do anything with them. In the spring you’ll be buying more”…   Well, he’s probably right. I do that.  I have great thoughts about wintering things over  and re-using them.  But maybe this is the one time it will work. Maybe these geraniums will come back as beautiful as ever. So for now I’ve tucked them away in a dark, cool corner of the basement. Just hanging out, waiting for spring.

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Maybe they’ll be back, we’ll see!