Mid Summer Garden

Well I don’t think I can ever get caught up in the backyard these days! My gardens have become so large that I’m constantly cultivating the soil! It seems as if just as I’ve finished one thing, another bed needs redone!
It has been a very successful tomato season for us even though many farmers have said the complete opposite due to all of the rain! Plenty of heirloom tomatoes here! At this time I have planted about 102 in my small space. The reason for that is a greenhouse lesson learned. In the years prior I seed started in the house where the environment wasn’t ideal for sprouting. Davin was able to finish the greenhouse coop last fall and I was able to start my favorite varieties successfully for the first time. I put 3 seeds in each pod, and guess what, they all came up! So, I was able to sell a few at the farmer’s market, and donated about 40 to a few local families. Lesson learned! We will be expanding our greenhouse coop into a full greenhouse with aquaponics in one section and a chicken care station below, in addition to our seed starting stations. That will be our next big project after Davin remodels the new coop again. I swear, how many times  can you rebuild something until you are satisfied with the end result?
Our chickens are 20 weeks old on Wednesday! One of our Campines has been laying for almost 2 weeks straight now but none of the other ladies have begun yet. The campine eggs are tiny, a little smaller than a guinea egg actually. The new flock is having a hard time adjusting to the heat I think because we had so much rain in the spring that it was actually pretty cool for much longer than it usually is. Since it’s dried up for the past month or so it’s been pretty hot and they are struggling, even though it hasn’t reached 100 degrees yet. Luckily we have multiple fans in both the new coop and the old coop so all of our hens are getting some relief. It does help them to lay in the summer if they have places to cool off. We have multiple locations for water and I like to give them refreshing frozen or chilled afternoon fruit treats.
We also have ten different breeds, within the 20 birds we own. Four of them are 16 months old and three of them are consistently laying. The Ameraucana hasn’t been laying eggs but has a deformed dorsal, which I’ve read is how some of the original Arcaunas were shaped. She did have some very soft shelled eggs and I’m not sure if she will lay again or not. So right now she’s helping to control the bad bug population, and fertilization. She is one of the original ten pullets that we bought 8-10 weeks old and lost 60% for different reasons. Davin calls her Corky. For anyone considering raising chickens, get them as chicks, not as older pullets. They’ll have a much better chance of survival and be much healthier if they grow up in the same environment.
Here are a few pictures to show you what’s new at our market garden-backyard homestead and some of the things we’ve done this spring and summer!