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DIY Farm Gardening

Lasagna Garden

April 16, 2017

We’ve got a tiny greenhouse on the back deck with all kinds of peppers, squash and cucumber ready to be put in the ground. We have been planning a garden and decided that we should get started on it this weekend.

Carmella had read about a method known as Lasagna Gardening. This is a no-till method of gardening that is accomplished by layering materials on top of the ground to form a base to prevent weeds and or grass from growing up through the raised bed and also decompose and feed the garden.

This is the area that we decided on for the garden. It’s in the “front yard” next to the Apple Tree. The space that will eventually be fenced in is about 60′ x 90′. Once it is complete there will be several plots for gardening, a greenhouse, a small potting shed and a handful of raised beds.

To get started we picked up some topsoil and potting soil from Lowes. The plan is to order a truckload of soil, but this was a spur of the moment thing and we wanted to get going on it.

We already had some bales of hay that we had used to kind of insulate the chicken run and block the wind this winter so we were going to use that as one of the layers. We also had a bunch of cardboard boxes that we had used for moving so we were going to use that as the base.

We didn’t take any photos of the first bed on the left, we were still trying to figure out exactly what we were doing. We used a couple of 9ish foot 2×4’s that were salvaged from a nearby house that was being remodeled as an edge to keep things together.

On the right we’ve got the 2×4’s set up and have the cardboard put down on the bottom. Once the cardboard was down we gave it a good soaking with water.

 

 

 

The next step was to add the hay on top of the cardboard. It doesn’t need to be too much hay, just enough to cover up the cardboard, again adding water on top of the hay. The water serves a couple of purposes. The first is to get the decomposition process jump started. The second is that adding the water kind of holds things in place, especially on a windy day like today was.

On top of the hay we added a generous layer of top soil. This was nothing special, just some of the cheapest bags we could find at the store. We soaked the soil well with water to make sure that there was going to be plenty of moisture in the beds.

And here we have the final layer added on top. This was the potting soil that we picked up. We wanted to have a good nutrient rich area on the top to give the plants a fighting chance.

And here we have the finished (for now) product. We ended up with 2 “raised” beds approximately 20′ long and 30″ wide. The idea is that we’ll add more rows as we need them. We had to put up this temporary fencing so that the chickens didn’t get in there and destroy our fresh new beds.

June 18th, 2017 Update

Our tiny garden started to become unruly.  The grass on the edges started to become very tall.  The walking path in between the rows is not smothering out the grass as well as I expected.   Jason had to weed eat and hand pull weeds.   We added an old rug that I took out of the hallway to start smothering the second row.   I was pleasantly surprised at the growth of our vegetables once I could see them again.   Everything is actually growing,  without any insecticides.   There is some bug damage, but nothing that is keeping the plant from growing.    Jason made a pair of saw horses for another project and we are using them to hold the water tank now.   I bought a set of drip lines and we hooked them up to the water tank.  Now we only have to go out fill that tank up in the evening.  I can turn it on in the morning on my way to let the chickens out.  The nights we have more time, we just hand water.   Later down the road, we will have a potting shed out there to help catch water.

Chickens DIY Farm Life

Chicken Coop

April 5, 2016

I had chickens one other time in my life and I hated the coop we built.  It was a typical tiny box with egg collector on the back with a small run.  It was hard to clean and the hens never laid in the egg box.  This time I wanted something I could walk into and clean.  I wanted removable nesting boxes and a roost that lifted up so I could shovel out the poop and put it in my compost bin.

 

We were about to build a coop.  I had the plans and we were going to get lumber later that week. Until I was looking on craigslist and found a 16×20 shed  with free delivery and leveling.  I was super stoked about it.  We needed more storage and this had enough room to put the chickens on one side and storage on the other.  We cut an entrance on the side and put up dog kennel on the side so they had a lockable run.  I let my girls free range, I do not like to lock them up.  But from experience when they first start to lay they don’t know you have this nice nesting box for them.  They will lay all over the place so you have to lock them for a while so they learn.