Welcome to a little farm and garden tour for the 2017 growing season here in Southern Utah.
Last year, I took a break from gardening. We had just started our house the January before, and I just didn’t have the energy to weed and tend to vegetables last year. It was a huge fruit year though so I was able to can peaches, peach jam, and jalapeno peach jam (great on cheese boards!). We even pressed 84 gallons of apple cider one weekend on top of drying apples and making apple sauce.
Last year wasn’t a total abandonment of gardening, but not much in the way of vegetable canning or preserving happened.
This year I’m so excited to show you one of my best gardens to date. It’s amazing how much easier it is to weed a garden without a pregnant baby belly or a little baby being carried on your back. I dare say I like weeding this year!
Before we get to the garden, let’s check out the chickens! Roostio and 16 ladies are happily living in the orchard. Roostio has gotten pretty aggressive and the kids can’t collect the eggs alone. Paul (my cute blonde three-year-old) who loves all things “farm” ventured into the chicken yard alone and was attacked last month. It was super sad, and now we are pretty vigilant about helping the kids get the eggs. This is a big disappointment considering he’s been a kind rooster for 2 summers. We keep him around though because the hens enclosure isn’t all that secure, and I know he’s very good at protecting them. We’ve seen him on top of the coop making a racket with all of the ladies inside the coop hiding. There was a hawk just sitting in one of the apple trees right next to them. He’s a great guard rooster, so for now we keep him.
This spring I was getting 12-14 eggs a day and though it’s slowed to 8-10 in the hot months, we are still enjoying having lots of eggs on hand and having enough extras to give them out as gifts to friends and family.
Here’s the garden fully planted in early June.
The photo below is taken from on top of that dirt mound right in front of the house. Doesn’t the garden look great? It’s the biggest one yet, and I still think I could have used another few rows of green beans and pumpkins!
To the very far left you can see a little coop that has this year’s chicks in it (which are now just about the size of all the other hens). So I have 6 pullets and 16 laying hens. The coop (with the blue tarp part) is where the chickens live and their run is nice and large – you can almost see the fence in the pictures. They like all the grass to hide in, though it makes finding their eggs hard when they decide laying on the ground is a good idea.
Green beans just shooting up! I planted two rows and hope to can a few, but I’m not sure if that will be enough to have extra outside of eating fresh. We eat a lot!
Here’s a fun little diagram of what I planted!
And here’s what it looks like in the middle of July (and it’s even more wild and big now!).
The pumpkins and the spaghetti squash are doing the best as far as squash go. I haven’t seen any butternut or acorn yet.
I’ll never get sick of zucchini!
I planted so many sunflowers because the chickens like to eat the seeds, the wild birds love them, and I love them too.
Here’s some of what I picked one day! I have also picked our first tomato (I placed it in my bucket, but then the baby found it and ate the whole thing, so I still haven’t had a garden tomato yet this summer), and one gallon of green beans.
I planted about 8 tomatillo plants this year which are new to me. They seem to be flowering really well, so time will tell if they decide to fruit or not. I’m hoping to have enough to make and can some green salsa with them and the chilies I have growing. We love green salsa, and I’d love to have some homemade available all winter long.
Isn’t that awesome? Weeding and spending time in the garden has been really therapeutic for me this year. I just sit on an upside-down milk crate and make my way down the rows in the cool evenings. The kids play, I can hear the chickens clucking, the wild birds flit all around the sunflowers, and I can see the house and my mountains. I can’t wait to live here and get to enjoy my garden every day out my windows.
House update coming soon too!
Here are some of my favorite garden-fresh recipes if you need some inspiration:
Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Quick Pickled Banana Peppers
Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce
Green Beans with Bacon
One Pot Farmstand Dinner
Zucchini Pineapple Muffins
Fresh Corn Salad
Healthy Whole Wheat Zucchini Pancakes
Chocolate Zucchini Cake (so good!)
Thanks for stopping in and letting me share my garden and chickens with you. Both things I love as much as food because, well, they create food. 🙂