I found this concise little article that from an October issue extolling the virtues of Fall bulb planting. A true gardener’s work is never done. And we are always planning for the next season. What I love about gardening is it encompasses a rather good mind set. You HAVE to live in the moment to get those weeds or or relax amongst your roses with your iced tea. But, there are also wonderful days of dreaming over seed catalogs and pencil and paper imaging ‘castles in the sky’. And, when Spring comes, those castle’s become your hard sweat and labor to bring about your goals, which often change once the level of work is realized.
As you continue to gain experience as a gardener, you tweak your plans here and there. You begin to see what works for your soil, your amount of sun or your own amount of time for weeding. If you hate weeding, have little time and don’t care only about flowers, than succulents are your best friend, especially if you have a sunny spot. If you like the cool feel of the shade on a hot summer day than hostas, ferns and even hydrangeas can fill out your shady spots and make weeding easier by their dense spreading.
Now, however, at least in our colder Easter climates, we are thinking of Spring. Yes, Spring, for that is what we plan for now. The wonderful world of bulbs. Tulips, hyacinths, you name, they go in now. So, lets look at our little article here:
Another type of plant, though not planted in fall for spring, is the water hyacinth. I only mention it here because mine our blooming like mad. They are a free floating water plant and are beautiful. Look at the color of the lavender blues and yellows. I didn’t adjust the color either, that is their true vibrancy.These are SO easy to grow that you literally drop them in water and you are done. Of course if there are no fish than you would need water plant food. I know, in the South, these are illegal as they spread like mad. I start with one in Summer and by the end of the Season have to feed many of them to my chickens just to not choke out my little pond. But I also take cute little buckets or containers and place them around the yard with water and put the excess in there. They are an easy way to add green and color and a single 10 cent comet gold fish will happily leave with them.
Speaking of shrubs, not only is this a good time to plant these, as it is cooler and soon leaves shall be falling, so it is less stress on the plant. This allows a good dormancy so come Spring your plant/shrub will have had time to acclimate and will happily bud as if it has always been there.
I have been slowly adding Hydrangeas to our stone wall, as I want a hedgerow of them in time. This past month I took quite a few from our rental property, not caring anymore how pretty it is for tenants (who obviously don’t care). And yesterday I added four new ones to the area.
I got these and others from a local nursery about 30 minutes from my home. They are a little secret place tucked behind the feed lot where I get my chicken feed. They share a space with a boat yard and are entirely word of mouth. Their business has grown because of it and their prices are better than the Chain stores, because they propagate much of their own as well as not have to pay high rents. They actually propagate their own Hydrangea and they are strong and wonderful bloomers.
This is the time of the year, as well, to buy those more expensive trees and shrubs because they are often marked down for the season. Many places don’t have the space to store them all until the following season and you can get wonderful deals. It helps if you get to know the people there, as well, as when it is a small business they have the power to make deals with you. I even worked a deal yesterday with my grain store to start trading my extra fresh eggs for chicken feed.
Now, concerning my own chickens, I had a rather fun surprise the other day. I have one good broody hen, Ruth. She has sat for me before and hatched her own as well as mail ordered eggs. She is a good mother. She went broody last month and I didn’t have the heart to chase her off, so I took some older eggs made sure they had been sitting out and put ‘X’ on them. Then I placed them under her, so when I would collect eggs in the morning I would know not to take those, as the other hens lay under her during this time.
Now, when I have used her before I have tried various ways to sequester her off from the flock. My last experiment was when she was in a rabbit hutch in the chicken house so that the other hens could see her and hear her but not interfere with the chicks.
So, the other day I was letting out my chickens when I heard a peeping and as bold as brass comes Miss Ruth confidently marching down the ramp with three little puff balls following her. Not only did I think the eggs were not viable, she was sitting in a very high nest box about five feet from the ground. So, unbeknownst to me, she hatched and successfully brought down three chicks.
What I have discovered is that the easiest way to raise more chickens isn’t brooder pens and broody boxes, but to just allow the flock their way. The other hens basically ignore the chicks, often eating and drinking right next to them. IF one pecks at the chick, it is usually a warning peck and Mother steps in to protect. And of course Roostie, the proud Papa is such a wonderful helpmeet always calling over the chicks for some morsel he has scratched up. And he is always looking and scanning for any danger to his ladies. It has rather been a wonderful experiment in Chicken behavior this past year.
I think they are crosses with my Ameracauna (blue egg layer) and my French Marans (deep brown egg layer) and these crossed with my rooster who is an Orpington. I am curious to see if all three make it.
Each night, though, they have to follow mum into the chicken house and find their way with her while all the other hens mingle and flutter to find their roosts and we have had no fatalities yet. I suppose Nature Will Out.
Happy Homemaking and start dreaming of next years garden.