Friday, February 3, 2012

Garden Fever

1/19 tiny baby lettuces
Okay, folks, I've been away for a while. I want to catch you up on what I am up to these days. I am garden-obsessed. I am putting in more raised beds, upping compost production, introducing chickens into the cycle, raising plants from seed, keeping a big garden journal complete with photos, and poring over garden related websites. I want to raise a ton of vegetables, eat them to be healthy, give them to friends, and freeze, dehydrate, or can what's left. This is all with the cooperation of Oklahoma weather conditions for the next several months, so it could go south in 5 minutes of hail (last year) or a few weeks of 100F+ days (last year). I want to put in a tornado shelter/root cellar and expand our small greenhouse into a larger aquaponics operation.

(I feel a sense of urgency about this, no doubt due to my recent birthday. It's so strange to be at a point in life where year to year plans seem so tentative.)

I've been inspired by Ruth Stout, a 20th century gardener who sometimes shocked people by gardening naked. I don't intend to do that (although it does sound nice) but she had a method of growing that makes more sense than the traditional tilling and weeding. Here's a two-part youtube video of an interview with her.

I am reading City Chicks: Raising Micro-Flocks of Chickens and laughing my head off while learning about integrating chickens into my garden. Here's the basic plan: Put some straw down on the ground in a pen. Turn the chickens loose in the pen. Feed the chickens kitchen waste and let them peck around on the ground. When the straw gets nice and poopy, move the chickens and their pen to a new site. Put the poopy straw on the garden or in the compost bin. When the plants in the garden get big enough that the chickens can't eat them, turn the chickens loose in the garden and they eat pesky bugs and poop right on the garden. Of course the garden is well mulched so the chicken poop doesn't burn the plants. Do I have the stomach for all this poop? It remains to be seen. Can I connect with chickens spiritually? I doubt it. Oh, one more thing of course, eat the eggs!

I have ordered plans for a chicken coop and I have hired someone to build it. I haven't decided what kind of chickens to get. Any chicken raisers out there want to advise me?

People are growing potatoes in containers, which takes up less space, and results in potatoes that can be harvested by simply dumping the container over. I have salvaged some big plastic trash cans and plan to use those for growing potatoes. Trip to the nursery for seed potatoes today! Shopping on the Champs Elysee? Getting my nails done on Rodeo Drive? Attending runway shows in Paris? Booooooring! Get me to the seed potatoes at the local nursery!

This is Darrell, my garden assistant. Actually, it might be Darnell, they are hard to tell apart. Either way, I don't expect much of them and they oblige by not doing much.


  1. no wonder Darrell/Darnell is exhausted. Who could keep up with you?

  2. Ah, chicken poop! Takes me back to my youth on my father's "Gentlemen's Chicken Farm" in New Hampshire. I remember thinking it was the most evil smelling substance in the world. Good Luck! Why NOT do the naked thing? sounds like fun...