Putting Your Garden to Bed

I first posted this back in 2009, but (with one exception, below) my advice hasn’t changed. While I‘m off looking for migrating warblers today, you should be out in your garden. Here’s why:

  • carrot-sleeping-in-bedSpending time now on chores such as weeding and garden cleanup will reward you many times over when spring arrives.
  • Amending your soil this fall will give you a head start on next year’s garden.
  • Fall is also a great time to build a new patio or raised bed.
  • Protecting your less-hardy plants will increase the odds of them surviving a Colorado winter.
  • Winter’s cold weather is a great time to read articles, take classes, and prowl the Internet to become a more knowledgeable gardener.
  • And the most pressing issue? The weather gurus are predicting snow tonight and/or tomorrow!

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Nothing to Do?

Winter landscape with grasses @XG LAH 002Our gardens are sleeping, waiting for the warmth of spring. Here in Colorado there’s not much a gardener can do this time of year—or is there? If gardening is your passion, you can always find something garden-y to feed your soul!

Travel. It’s hard to leave our flowers and veggies during the growing season. Weeds put on a growth spurt the moment we leave town, zucchini grows to humongous size, and our favorite perennial blooms and fades while we’re gone. In winter, the garden lingers in a state of suspended animation. We’re free to leave knowing everything will be more or less the same when we get back.

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Planning Ahead

garden-dreams2

It’s the beginning of a new year, and time to dream about the upcoming growing season. Do you want to add some permanent plantings?  Are you imagining flower beds brimming with annuals? Will you be buying from catalogs? (Get that order in early before they run out of that must-have variety.)

With the Christmas decorations packed away for another year, I finally have time to take a deep breath, brew a cup of tea, and begin to think about spring. I start by making a list of topics, and then mark down what will need doing, and when.

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Coops (continued)

hen_blkforest_20090729_lah_7828Last week I wrote about the design and layout of chicken coops. Today we’ll talk about the inside.

Lighting

If your coop is large, you’ll need some light inside so that you and the hens can see. Also, chickens lay eggs when days are long, then stop and molt when fall arrives. If you want them to continue producing eggs into the darker months, you’ll need an artificial light source (and electricity).

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Coops

chicken-coop_lah_9119The biggest investment in keeping chickens is their housing. Chickens are remarkably hardy birds, but they need some sort of shelter to make it though a Colorado winter. They also need protection from raccoons, possums, foxes, owls, coyotes, hawks, weasels, and neighborhood dogs.

Of course, the chickens don’t care what their coop looks like, just as long as it keeps them sheltered and safe. From our human perspective, appearance matters. So does convenience.

What should you consider when designing a coop (or choosing a plan)? Today and next week I’ll share what I’ve learned about housing chickens.

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Plan Now for Spring Sanity

garden03-plan-lahAre you tired of gardening? We’ve had a longer-than- average growing season this year, and the weather is still warm enough to encourage flowers to bloom and pumpkins to turn orange. If your kitchen counter is piled high with zucchini, and you’re actually getting a tad tired of vine-ripened tomatoes, this is the perfect time to plan next year’s garden.

Most gardeners wait until spring to decide what to grow. This is a dangerous mistake. In spring, we’ve been staring at a brown and dead landscape for the past many months. Anything green seems like a miracle.

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