Planning for Vegetables and Pictures of Chickens

The seeds are arriv­ing and slowly pil­ing up in the cor­ner of my room. Mean­while, I’ve been try­ing to fig­ure out what to do with them. In order to orga­nize the infor­ma­tion about each plant and get ready to make a full plant­ing sched­ule I’ve been putting together spread­sheets. I have a page for each veg­etable and then I list all the vari­eties sep­a­rately. Then, using the Johnny’s cat­a­log, the Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion web­site and Coleman’s The New Organic Grower, as well as a cou­ple of other sources, I’ve been com­pil­ing impor­tant grow­ing information. 
First of all, I have to fig­ure out what veg­eta­bles I’m going to start inside and then trans­plant, and what veg­eta­bles I’m going to seed directly into the gar­den. Some veg­etable plants really have to be started inside, like the bras­si­cas (cau­li­flower, broc­coli, brus­sel sprouts and cab­bage) and night­shades (toma­toes, egg­plants, pep­pers). Luck­ily, the woman who owned Dave’s par­ents house before them had a cut flower busi­ness, and so she built a small green­house off the garage. 
The green­house, the wind­mill and the sun this morning
The green­house really warms up dur­ing the day. Even in the mid­dle of the win­ter I often have to open a win­dow to stop the tem­per­a­ture inside from sky­rock­et­ing past 90 degrees F
So far I’ve just been grow­ing let­tuce, kale, swiss chard and bak choy in the green­house. Dave built me some tables and boxes, about 6″ deep and of var­i­ous sizes, and I was able to grow a fair amount of small, yet deli­cious, greens over the win­ter. This week how­ever, I’m going to be pulling all the soil and the boxes out of there so we can start fresh with our new pot­ting soil and trans­plants for the Spring. 
Next, I have to deter­mine whether or not I’m going to be suc­ces­sion seed­ing the veg­eta­bles and, if so, how many times. For exam­ple, I’m grow­ing 100′ (one row) of a vari­ety of car­rots called Scar­let Nantes. These car­rots will grow from May 1st to July 15th, which is about 12 weeks. Dur­ing those 12 weeks I’m going to want to be plant­ing new seeds directly into the gar­den (car­rots are dif­fi­cult to trans­plant on account of their roots becom­ing irreg­u­lar, plus they grow pretty quickly) every 3 weeks to ensure that I have a con­sis­tent sup­ply of new growth. This means that I’m going to be doing at least 4 plant­i­ngs, and so there­fore each plant­ing will involve seed­ing 25′ of the garden. 
This is all get­ting bor­ing so I’ll just show an example. 
Each veg­etable has it’s own sheet. After I’m done with the sheets I’m going to lay it all out on a MASTER cal­en­dar so I know exactly when I’m going to be plant­ing every­thing, and how. Pretty excit­ing, right?
Mean­while, there are a lot of other things to think about. Right now, I’m wor­ried because we keep hear­ing more and more about how wet the land we’re plan­ning on plant­ing on is. We haven’t really looked at it crit­i­cally with­out the snow and so we’re not sure what to expect. The mois­ture could be an issue because we have to wait for the area to dry off in the Spring before we can even till the land, and with all the snow out­side right now it doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to be dry. All this prob­a­bly means that we’re going to get a late start this year, and are going to have to rely heav­ily on transplants.
Right past those trees and under all that snow is the site of our future veg­etable garden
Alright, enough about the gar­den. Here’s some pic­tures of chickens!
This is the chicken coop for layers
Their yard. I put down some hay so they can come out and walk around on the snow which they seem to love until they get too cold
And here they are!
Lay­ing boxes
Right now we have 9 lay­ing hens and we’re plan­ning on bump­ing up the num­ber to 30 this Spring, which is about as many as we can fit in this chicken coop while still mak­ing sure they all have enough space. That’s going to involve build­ing a cou­ple more lay­ing boxes, although right now they all insist on using the box all the way to the right, and have kicked all the hay out of the other two. 
The hen in the lay­ing box in this pic­ture appears to have gone broody in the last cou­ple of days, which means that she’s become intent on sit­ting on her eggs day in and day out, even if it means that she doesn’t eat or drink. This is also a prob­lem because our deli­cious eggs are going bad under­neath her. I’ve been read­ing about sev­eral ways to cure brood­i­ness, every­thing from dip­ping their stom­ach in cold water (I don’t think that’s a good idea in the mid­dle of Win­ter) to putting them in a cage by them­selves up off the ground and away from the nest. I’ll report back later on how this prob­lem pro­gresses and how we man­age to solve it. If any­one has any ideas, let me know.

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