Last week I built a chicken coop from old pallets. Sort of. I still need to seal the roof, put the door on, and build the nest boxes, and of course, add chickens! I'm thinking about slanting the roof and setting up rain barrels for garden irrigation and watering the chickens. I can probably get a couple of 55 gallon drums and some PVC from my totally awesome in-laws, after all, that's where I got the pallets, horse manure, and most of the soil in my garden.
Speaking of the garden, I transplanted my red potatoes that I started from a store bought potato that had a bunch of eyes growing on it. When I pulled the 8 inch plant from the shallow pot I had it in, there were several marble sized red potatoes growing! So I just had to check the crisper drawer to see if I had any more with eyes all over them, and now I have a potato bed! I'm thinking about using some scrap wood (diagonal cut ends from 2x4's that are about 8 inches long-guess where I'm getting those from!) to put in a border around it. I'm thinking I can just hammer the pointed ends into the ground all around it, and voila, garden bed border!
I also planted more garlic (also sprouting in the fridge), onion seeds, Purple Queen Heirloom beans, tomatoes, a few pumpkins, peppermint and rosemary. I would have kept on going, but I need to get another load of soil from BS Ranch and Farm, another load of horse manure from my niece's yard, and to harvest some worm castings from my worm farm. Technically my last frost date is Feb 15th, but I just can't wait! The weather has been so beautiful I just want to be outside.
My garden is fairly small, with just a few of each plant variety as I learn what works here and what doesn't, and what the plant yields are (did you know it takes 6 plants per person to have a serving of fresh green beans once a week? That would be why I planted 50 Purple Queen seeds over the weekend!) As I plan my garden this year, I am taking into account more what my family eats a lot of (tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, corn, lettuce, carrots, broccoli, squash) and what I want to can for next winter (definitely tomatoes!) I am still planting small amounts of things I want to try or that only I will eat (turnips, beets, Jerusalem artichokes). I have several herb varieties now growing in pots on my porch, and I would love to set up a kitchen garden close to the door. I'm thinking of stacking tires, staggered in the corner by my gate (tires also courtesy of my awesome in-laws!) I hope to get a strawberry bed in soon because I absolutely LOVE my homemade strawberry jam, and so does everyone else, apparently, because it disappeared quickly!
I am working a little more now, with my part-time job at the ranch as well as my eBay store and new website construction, so a lot of my gardening is done before work (watering, weeding), after work (harvesting, thinning, weeding, picking off pests) and on the weekends (getting soil, manure, building beds, planting). It seems like a lot, but I love to walk around my garden, looking at all the little things I've planted and nurtured, and it doesn't seem like work at all. I love to cook sans-recipe and designing a meal around a harvest of food I grew myself is a favorite of mine, even if it is just a homemade chicken pot pie (from leftover chicken) with 12 green beans or 5 pods of peas and some herbs from the garden thrown in. And there's nothing like hearing, "Thank you, Mom, for feeding me good food." from your 10 year old son.