The last few nights have been very cold for this time of year. A couple hovering around 20 f but today the day time temperature is above 60 f, the sky clear and very little wind. With one more day similar to this due tomorrow, it seemed like a good time to prep the garden for winter and to get the perennial onions and garlic planted.
The bed that was designated for it is a 4′ x 4′ raised bed that had sunflowers and cucumbers in it this past summer. It was cleared of stalks and a few weeds. Each time I put straw or woodchips in the chicken run, they scratch them into wonderful compost mixed with their droppings and some of it gets kicked out the low end of the pen. I was able to gather a full wheelbarrow full of this rich compost to add to the bed.
The alliums were planted, a thick layer of hay spread over the top and mesh fencing laid over the top to hold the hay in place in the wind and to keep the chickens from digging that bed up when I let them scratch in the garden during the winter.
While I was in the garden, I pulled the Creeping Charlie from the Blueberry bed, removed the deteriorated tarp from over the mint bed, grabbed armloads of mint, dead pepper plants, and weeds to throw to the chickens. Cardboard was placed over the mint bed. I am going to add another layer to it when I can get some, place heavy rocks to hold it down and put hay over it too. Maybe I can regain control of that bed.
Each morning, I go to the coop to let the hens out. They get free range time for several hours until the dogs need to go out again. Once I release them from the coop, I look in to see the cleanliness of the coop, to check to see if their water is frozen, and make sure their 5 gallon feeder still has feed. They have been only providing 1 or 2 eggs each day now for a couple of weeks, or so I thought. When I looked in the coop this morning, I saw an egg in the back corner opposite the nesting boxes so I climbed up in the coop to get it. Tucked in a neat nest there were 11 eggs. Sneaky birds. And I actually bought eggs yesterday at the Farmers Market.
Having an extra dozen around with Thanksgiving coming is a good thing. Eldest son and family will be here for a couple of days so breakfast will be needed for 4, hubby doesn’t usually get up for it. Pumpkins pies will need to be made, so more eggs will be used than the usual amount. I cook an egg for the dogs each morning and sometimes one for me for breakfast or dinner. Now that I know they are being sneaky, I checked the coop while out in the garden and sure enough, there were two more in that corner, plus one in the nesting boxes. I guess I am going to have to check daily.
If tomorrow proves to be another good day as forcast, after I go for my hearing aid fitting tomorrow morning, I will weed a couple more beds, cut back the asparagus tops and get hay on that bed as well. It is fenced off so the hens can’t get in it. Then the hens will be given time in the garden to scratch for bugs and seeds to help keep the weeds down in the spring. I still want to get help to redo the fencing and posts, but the garden is getting bedded down for winter.