Just a few pics and updates.
When we moved the chicks out to the coop, we were hoping to integrate the two “flocks” fairly smoothly. But it became obvious quickly that the new ones were just too small to defend themselves against the older birds, even those that aren’t aggressive. They don’t stand a chance right now against the older Wyandottes or those 3 Buff roos. But we needed them out of the house, and we also needed a simple set-up for our housesitter to manage the two groups while we’re away in a couple of weeks.
So the Skipper partitioned off the coop with some wire to keep the two groups in contact in all ways except physical. And then he had the stroke of genius to open up the nest boxes and take out the partitions between the 3 boxes to creat a little extra space where we are keeping the food and water for the little ones but that we can conveniently access from outside.
At the same time, we wanted to get the older birds some regular access to their summer forage area–our developing orchard. So Skipper fenced off a large area, put in a gate for us and a little latchable door out of the chicken run. And they were off! I posted pics earlier of the happy chickens enjoying the weeds and grass, but here’s a pic of the fence:
Pretty! Just outside the fence in front here is a cherry tree, and then our transplanted rhubarb. There’s a little patch left next to that that I’m going to sheet mulch and plant probably some quinoa or amaranth. A sunny spot for a tall plant that the chickens will enjoy eating later in the season. And the fence may enable some more space for tayberries or other climbing/training food plants…
Yesterday, one of the Wyandottes finally discovered that the apple trees don’t just provide some cover and tasty treats on the ground.
The next project was to figure out how we were going to cover the raised beds in order to move the tomatoes outside asap. We decided after some experimentation to go with 6 ft lengths of 1/2″ pvc pipe in simple hoops, to which row cover is clipped with 1/2″ irrigation pipe, which seems to clip quite tightly (much better than clips made of 3/4″ pvc). Should work well!
We can’t stake around our beds to keep the hoops up, so Skipper fastened some pipe clamps to the side of the bed, and then created a sleeve out of 3/4″ pvc that the hoops slide into. Nifty!
All this infrastructure–irrigation is next–will have the garden in full swing over the next couple of weeks. I’ll have the tomatoes out, the potatoes in, artichokes transplanted, the peas trellissed, more carrots, mesclun and lettuce seeded, and then I’ll start my corn, beans, and squash in order to transplant them out on the first of June (or so!). Then it will be time to start the fall crops! No rest for the wicked, I guess!