Chickens: An intergral part of the home Eco cycle

Chickens are great. Since we got chickens this year, our compost pile has almost no food wastes. Chickens loves table scarps, vegetable waste from the garden and even the dandelions growing in my lawn. My daily routine now includes making nutritious and delicious chicken food every morning. I chop up some greens like radish tops, dandelions, bolted spinach and mix it up with the leftover food from the day before and mix in some chicken feeds. The chickens LOVE it. They come running every morning when they hear me coming. I change the straws in the chicken coop every week, and put them in my compost pile. I am expecting some super rich compost with all the nice chicken manures that will enrich my garden. So having chickens makes my mini home Eco system more complete.

Spinach and Radishe Salad

If you time it correctly, you should have spinach and radishes come out of your garden now. Both radish and spinach are cold tolerant vegetables, meaning they can be planted before the "end of the last spring frost" whenever that happen to be. I made a perfect salad for lunch today with the spinach and radishes I harvested from my garden. Dressing is 1/4 C. ranch, 1 T. pesto and 1 T. butter milk. Yummm, it was a very edible salad!

Spinach and Onion, happily grown together

Spinach is one of the first things you can eat out of your garden. They can be sown as soon as the ground is workable. Mild frost would not hurt them. I usually sow my spinach the same time I plant my onion sets. This year, to experiment with inter-cropping, I sowed my spinach in between my rows of onions. The result is great. Spinach grow fast, they cover the ground when onions are still small-saves space and suppresses weeds. It is a win-win!

When the spinach is 3-4" tall, I just cut the leaves with a pair of scissors and let the plant grow more leaves.

Tomatos planted

From end of March to the beginning of May, soil temperature remained at 50F. Under the minihooper, it is 6By now the soil 60F. Now the soil temperature is a steady 60 F, and inside the minihooper it is 70F. I have transplanted my tomato plants, beans are about 3" tall, both are under the minihooper. This year I got quite a few heirloom varieties of tomatoes, looking forward for a taste test in the summer. The Sungold already has a cluster of blooms on.

At 60F, the soil temperature is still too cold for cucumbers. Since there is a lot of space inside the minihooper, I placed some cucumber trays inside the minihooper. This way they will be germinating inside the minihooper and can be hardened off easily. I also started a bed of lettuce that has green and red lettuce and mizuna. The arugula I planted in early march are spent, and needs to be replaced.