Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sprouts coming to an end...

I'm still doing a little sprouting for the chickens.  These warmer days mean that it may be winding down soon, though.  I may try to get some lettuce and spinach to come up early for them.  If it works, no more sprouting indoors until next winter.

Anyway,  it's sunflower seed soaking today.

The jar in the picture is sunflower seeds that have been sitting overnight in water.  I've put a little growing medium in the salad boxes that I use.  

I pull the seeds out and let the water drain through my fingers.  They get sprinkled onto the medium.  Looking at this picture you can see how many empty hulls and other plant material are in a bag of sunflower seeds.  Seems a big waste, but the girls really prefer sunflower sprouts over any that I grow.

They'll go into a dark room until roots appear, then, into the sunny window.  
I am ready for this rigamarole to end, though.  I'd rather be in the garden doing the growing.

Getting a few more sprouts ready to go outside into the coop.  These are barley, beets and wheat grass.  The beets are not their favorite but, they will eat them if I put them down first.  If I don't, the poor little beet sprouts sit until late in the day.  This was very surprising to me.  They are gorgeous and sweet (yes, I tried one).  I really thought they'd make the girls happy.  

The girls still just prefer... in order...

wheat grass

When were talking about the actual plants, broccoli moves to the top of the list where I've mentioned before the blood-bath the happens in the run when broccoli leaves are added.  It's every chicken for herself when they appear.


We took Ziva into town on the weekend as the Tractor Supply store was having a promo.  Bring your dog in and they got a free bag of treats.  We were all for that.  I know she loves her hot dog snacks each day, but we wanted to see what she'd receive.  She was a hit in the store.  We didn't see any other dogs, so every kid...and adult, came up and asked to pet her.  I think she had fun and enjoyed sniffing the whole store.

While there, Steve ended up with a large purchase from me, too.  
First, some background info.  

We'd priced out corrugated tin/steel beds to replace the straw bale garden.   The straw bales worked well for some plants, but they seemed to be a lot of work for not a lot of yield.  I was going to buy 4 bales for the plants that did well (broccoli, pumpkin, zucchini and yellow squash).  The zukes and yellow crookneck are huge and shaded too many other plants.  I think they'll enjoy solitude on their own bales.  

Anyway, the price for making permanent metal beds was way more than I wanted to spend.  Then, they'd still need to be put together and growing season is here faster than that would probably happen.  I'd need to do too much bribing of Steve, too.

Long story, I know.  Still, while at the Tractor Supply, I found....

Taa daa!  Feeding troughs, raised and ready to go.  And, much cheaper than building the beds.  Moveable, probably not when full, but I could change their locations between growing seasons.  They can handle an 800 pound cow jumping into them, so what's a little dirt?  Steve is showing me the extra holes he drilled into the troughs for drainage.  

These pictures just show us spraying the rusty areas with rust inhibitor.  They will probably last longer than we will, but I hope to make them resist weathering for years.  Still, we got a lot done.  Now, we (and here I mean Steve) will have to manicure the old straw bale garden area into a more level area.

So, busy day....

I was so excited to find them and get them loaded into the truck, that I forgot to buy the straw bales.  Darn!  Need ANOTHER trip into town.  

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