Week 11: My, how you’ve grown

Nellie, Loretta and Gigi free-range in the yard.
Nellie, Loretta and Gigi free-range in the yard.

After spending a week away from the girls to visit family, I wasn’t sure what I would come to.

As the girls ambled out of the coop, I was amazed at what I saw.

Hey lady! Where have you been?

“My how you’ve grown,” I cooed as I looked them over.

Loretta was visibly larger, and Nellie had the start of droopy butt feathers.

And Gigi has started making a sound that sounds like a growl-bawk. As long as it doesn’t develop into a cock-a-doodle-doo, it’s all cool with me.

The biggest development of all, is that the chickens now eat a different feed. For the first 10 weeks, they were on chick starter crumble. Now they have transitioned to grower ration, which has a slightly lower amount of protein than the starter feed. They will eat this until they are 18 weeks old, when they will begin layer feed.

That’s right! Layer feed (and hopefully eggs) are just around the corner. By my calculations, we should be on the lookout for eggs sometime near the end of July!

In the garden

We planted three kinds of cucumbers and built a humungous trellis for them to grow on.
We planted three kinds of cucumbers and built a humungous trellis for them to grow on.

When I bought my house 10 years ago, I fell in love with the yard. The house was OK, but the yard hummed with possibility. Before I even signed my name on the mortgage, I stood out back imagining chickens and an overflowing garden.

At the time, chickens were not legal in Ferndale, and my gardening skills were non-existent. This clearly was clearly just a dream.

Corn and Brussels sprouts.
Corn and Brussels sprouts.

The week my dream came to fruition.

As I let the girls out to free-range in the yard, Matt and I carved out an enormous garden.

While you could say I’m obsessed with chickens, Matt really shines when it comes to growing things. Years ago, when he first saw my yard, I could see the gears turning in his mind.

We started setting up the garden last year bring bringing in truckloads of large rocks to line the border. Then the last few weeks, Matt spent hours weeding. The area is huge, an L-shape that at its length is 40 feet, by 10 feet wide. It’s enormous.

This weekend we spent two days digging, and huffing, and puffing, and digging some more, and sweating … and the end result is a great garden.

A look at the garden. In a few weeks it will be bustling.
A look at the garden. In a few weeks it will be bustling.

We built two trellises, one for three kinds of cucumbers and the other for pole beans. The process was swift: Matt turned the soil, added manure and raked, then I crawled through the dirt on my hands and knees planting everything. After getting caked in mud and achey-breaky knees, I made a trip to the store to pick up real gardening gloves, gardening clogs and a pad to kneel on. Rookie mistake!

The herb garden.
The herb garden.

In the end we have two gardens, one for herbs and a huge one for vegetables.

Our herb garden has basil, cilantro, rosemary, parsley, chamomile, catnip, oregano, thyme, garlic and chives.

The large garden has watermelon, sunflowers, Brussels sprouts, leek, red onion, corn, carrots, cauliflower, red pepper, jalapenos and four kinds of tomatoes.

Tonight we invited Matt’s mom, Sara, over for dinner. We ate in the yard, with the chickens walking around us, clucking away. I took the seat facing the garden.

Who says dreams don’t come true?

BONUS VIDEO: Guess who found the catnip?

3 Replies to “Week 11: My, how you’ve grown”

  1. We have the same dreams! This is my first year with a small garden. I already have 10 zucchini on my plants! Get a dehydrator to dry your herbs. I did that thus year also. If you gravest your herbs periodically and not let them bloom, they will last linger. Enjoy!


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