Author Topic: Planting / Growing your own 2018  (Read 41151 times)

plainjane

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #650 on: September 05, 2018, 04:31:17 AM »
At what point during the year do you stop putting stuff in your composter because it won't break down before it freezes? Or, do you even stop? Our average first frost is 10/15.

We stop when the Shadowy One decides it is too cold to go outside in teva sandals, or when the lid freezes shut. The lid generally freezes shut first, but we also don't tend to get much snow. There are only two of us, so we don't really generate enough compost to worry about speed of breakdown.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #651 on: September 05, 2018, 06:08:32 AM »
In winter not much compost material is generated, meal prep leftovers go in a bucket outside that gets dumped into the compost in the spring.

After the summer drought we have had 2.7" of rain in the last 9 days.  My lawn grass is so happy.  So am I, I get a break from watering the vegetable garden.

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #652 on: September 05, 2018, 08:50:04 AM »
In winter not much compost material is generated, meal prep leftovers go in a bucket outside that gets dumped into the compost in the spring.

I feel like an outdoor bucket would definitely attract rats!

We are only 2 people, but we eat a lot of fruit and vegetables (the husks from Boyfriend's corn on the cob alone are taking up tons of space) so I feel like we're generating a lot.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #653 on: September 05, 2018, 08:57:43 AM »
We keep filling our bin until it won't hold anymore during the winter.  And then switch to the second bin that I try to have empty in the fall.  During the summer the material is composting so it takes a long time to fill it, but come January it is just freezing solid so the capacity of the bin is reached really quickly.  I don't worry about rats or raccoons or skunks.  As long as they all keep the bickering and brawling to a dull roar so it doesn't wake me in the night, I am good.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #654 on: September 07, 2018, 01:19:23 PM »
In winter not much compost material is generated, meal prep leftovers go in a bucket outside that gets dumped into the compost in the spring.

I feel like an outdoor bucket would definitely attract rats!

We are only 2 people, but we eat a lot of fruit and vegetables (the husks from Boyfriend's corn on the cob alone are taking up tons of space) so I feel like we're generating a lot.

It is frozen solid.  Great White North and all that . . .  If there are rats around here I haven't seen them.  They would be hanging out in farmers' barns where the pickings are better.

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #655 on: September 07, 2018, 09:28:14 PM »
We keep the compost going all winter. If the snow is too high, we throw it into the basement worm bin. I keep a pile of leaves next to the compost pile to add brown layer. Any critters in the compost are just helping with the aeration and turning it over.

Trifele

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #656 on: September 08, 2018, 03:36:33 AM »
When we lived in Wisconsin we would keep throwing things in the compost all fall and winter but it did freeze solid eventually.  Now down here in the southeast it never freezes, and cooks all winter.  I don't care what critters get in there -- no harm to anything.  We have an open chicken wire bin, and I've seen birds and lizards visiting it regularly.  I'm sure things go in at night too, but whatever they are they are neat visitors; nothing has ever scattered it about. 

furrychickens

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #657 on: September 08, 2018, 05:14:19 AM »
When we lived in Wisconsin we would keep throwing things in the compost all fall and winter but it did freeze solid eventually.  Now down here in the southeast it never freezes, and cooks all winter.  I don't care what critters get in there -- no harm to anything.  We have an open chicken wire bin, and I've seen birds and lizards visiting it regularly.  I'm sure things go in at night too, but whatever they are they are neat visitors; nothing has ever scattered it about.

Where in Wisconsin did you live? Just curious. Iím in Milwaukee.

Trifele

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #658 on: September 08, 2018, 05:32:06 AM »
When we lived in Wisconsin we would keep throwing things in the compost all fall and winter but it did freeze solid eventually.  Now down here in the southeast it never freezes, and cooks all winter.  I don't care what critters get in there -- no harm to anything.  We have an open chicken wire bin, and I've seen birds and lizards visiting it regularly.  I'm sure things go in at night too, but whatever they are they are neat visitors; nothing has ever scattered it about.

Where in Wisconsin did you live? Just curious. Iím in Milwaukee.

Southwest driftless area -- small town.  :)

furrychickens

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #659 on: September 08, 2018, 06:26:38 AM »
When we lived in Wisconsin we would keep throwing things in the compost all fall and winter but it did freeze solid eventually.  Now down here in the southeast it never freezes, and cooks all winter.  I don't care what critters get in there -- no harm to anything.  We have an open chicken wire bin, and I've seen birds and lizards visiting it regularly.  I'm sure things go in at night too, but whatever they are they are neat visitors; nothing has ever scattered it about.

Where in Wisconsin did you live? Just curious. Iím in Milwaukee.

Southwest driftless area -- small town.  :)

A part Iíve never visited even though Iíve lived here my whole life (excepting undergrad).

RetiredAt63

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #660 on: September 08, 2018, 07:01:22 AM »
I've found bumblebees and ring-necked snakes in past compost bins - they like the warm (not hot) areas.

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #661 on: September 08, 2018, 10:24:16 AM »
This is all good to know. I'm just not sure how to prove to the neighbor that we won't have rats. How do you prove a negative? I mean, I haven't seen them, or evidence of them, but they come out at night.

I'd say that the garden is more likely to draw rats than the compost bin, but I don't want to plant (ha, no pun intended) the idea in her head that I should rip out the garden - not happening!

Trifele

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #662 on: September 08, 2018, 10:33:14 AM »
This is all good to know. I'm just not sure how to prove to the neighbor that we won't have rats. How do you prove a negative? I mean, I haven't seen them, or evidence of them, but they come out at night.

I'd say that the garden is more likely to draw rats than the compost bin, but I don't want to plant (ha, no pun intended) the idea in her head that I should rip out the garden - not happening!

Just brainstorming . . . do the ads for these tumbler style bins say anything about "rodent proof" etc.?  Maybe seeing it in black and white would help the neighbor believe that rats won't be a problem?

EDIT:  or how about this -- get a letter from one of your county Master Gardeners with their opinion that this style of bin is fine and won't attract rats?  People tend to respond to the 'Master Gardener' title...
« Last Edit: September 08, 2018, 10:34:54 AM by Trifele »

Vasilisa

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #663 on: September 10, 2018, 11:08:01 AM »
Had my first compost rat trauma this summer- (free) black plastic squares that have lids but have open access to the ground. Went to turn pile with garden fork after having it sit a month or two and had rat jump out at me. Screamed and laughed to the great amusement of neighbors at the community garden. Unfortunately there was continued squeaking come from pile... ugh. Found a nest of baby rats at the bottom of the pile which my neighbor "relocated". Shudder. Am still giving my bins a big kick before opening the lid and am definitely turning the pile more frequently. No cozy rat nests allowed!

On a more pleasant topic- harvested the 'Glass Gem' corn this weekend. SO pretty! Looking forward to popcorn already!

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #664 on: September 10, 2018, 11:50:05 AM »


Just brainstorming . . . do the ads for these tumbler style bins say anything about "rodent proof" etc.?  Maybe seeing it in black and white would help the neighbor believe that rats won't be a problem?

Yeah, so, I looked it up on Amazon, the same model I have, and there's a negative review that says a rat CHEWED THROUGH the side of the thing and nested in it.

!!!!!

Ew ew ew ew ew. Well, there goes that argument.

I mean, I know they can chew, but this thing is so hard and sturdy, I never ever would have thought that possible. Plus, how did they climb up the slippery legs and stay there long enough to chew the hole?

RetiredAt63

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #665 on: September 12, 2018, 04:13:22 PM »
We had another 1/2" of rain.  Still harvesting cucumbers, tomatoes, wax beans (finally), sweet peppers and basil.  Sweet potatoes will get dug in a few weeks, when the warm weather is totally gone.  Got some local garlic for fall planting.  Apparently around here the day to plant is Halloween - I can just see the vampire jokes about that date!

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #666 on: September 13, 2018, 05:06:54 AM »
We had another 1/2" of rain.  Still harvesting cucumbers, tomatoes, wax beans (finally), sweet peppers and basil.  Sweet potatoes will get dug in a few weeks, when the warm weather is totally gone.  Got some local garlic for fall planting.  Apparently around here the day to plant is Halloween - I can just see the vampire jokes about that date!

Interesting, that seems a little late to me but thereís a lot of schools of thought on garlic (including folks who donít mulch it, or grow mainly spring planted, etc). I think I plant mine a bit earlier than that here but I do it by the seasonal progression, not a date. The rule of thumb Iíve been using is to wait for the first really strong frost and then get them planted. Usually thatís mid-October but sometimes closer to Halloween.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #667 on: September 13, 2018, 05:34:30 AM »
My late July planted beans yielded a couple of handfuls of yellow beans for supper last night.  All the plants have started flowering. 
Squirrels are hopping the fence and digging up everything - why the leeks I ask?
The peppers are slowing down but man was it a super year.  To try and keep them ripening up, I have put the floating row cover over them last weekend when it was particularly chilly
Fall greens are coming along.  One packet of old seed did not germinate and another pack of spinach only managed two plants out of a quarter packet.  Arugula and beets are looking good.

Vasilisa

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #668 on: September 13, 2018, 09:05:11 AM »
I've saved some garlic to plant- in Northern California October looks to be the month too. I grew some last year and I have to say it was very little work for some fun rewards of harvesting great garlic! And it's a wonderful feeling to cook with garlic I've grown.

@Frugal Lizard Oh my gosh. Squirrels!! I seriously googled if it was legal to kill them the other day. They have been digging up the new lettuce, completely destroyed the new seedlings I had started the other day and they just love to knock over my pots. I'm now the crazy lady who chases the squirrels out of my yard if I spot one. Darn things!

Still getting pounds of green beans a week- have been sharing extras with neighbors and friends. Has anyone had success in freezing them?

The seasons are shifting and I'm enjoying harvesting lettuce, kale, arugula and herbs to make delicious salads. What are you excited about in your garden this week?

Trifele

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #669 on: September 13, 2018, 09:19:56 AM »
Yes I've frozen loads of green beans.  It works great.  I trim the ends and dunk them in boiling water first for a short time, then drain, cool, package and freeze.  I think if you skip the 'blanching' step their texture will just not be as good after you freeze them, and they won't be as bright green, but they should still be fine. 

nessness

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #670 on: September 13, 2018, 09:57:40 AM »
My first season of gardening was more or less a success. Still getting quite a few tomatoes. Made list of what I want to plant next spring. Posting here mainly so I can reference it when I inevitably forget. :)

- Sungold tomatoes. These were the star of the show this year - great production and the kids ate them by the handful.
- Full size tomatoes. I wasn't super impressed with the Celebrity plant I planted this year so I'm going to try a different variety, TBD.
- Carrots. Easy and fun.
- Melon, variety TBD.
- Bell peppers. Not too successful this year (peppers are kind of tough and bitter) but want to give it another shot next year.
- Snap peas. Haven't tried this one yet but they're one of my family's favorite veggies.
- Maybe a pumpkin if I have space. The kids would get a kick out of that.
- Will leave the strawberries in but not plant any more. I only got a handful of strawberries this year but hopefully next year will be better.

krmit

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #671 on: September 22, 2018, 09:09:03 PM »
Still getting a few ripe cherry tomatoes every day as the weather cools off.  My fall cabbages are looking pretty good, although some of them will be harvested early because...

Mr. krmit and I have bought our first house! Closing is scheduled for Oct 15. It has 3 former raised beds in the front yard (no wood sides) that have fully overgrown with the lawn, which I'm definitely interested in converting back to beds. I was thinking about spreading down a layer of cardboard and a thick layer of wood chips to give me a head start on soil for next spring. I'll wait on adding any additional beds until the spring. Is this a good idea?

Thanks, all! Any and all first time homebuyer garden advice gladly accepted :D

Trifele

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #672 on: September 23, 2018, 04:54:51 AM »
Congrats on the house @krmit !  That sounds like a good plan to get those three raised beds back into production.  A thick layer (8-12") of leaves or organic straw also make a great 'blanket' for fall in an area you plan to plant in the spring.  You can also start composting over the fall and winter to have some nice stuff to add to the beds come next year.

Excellent day here yesterday!  We picked our Kieffer pear tree (we only have the one old tree producing currently) and we got 124 pounds of pears.  That's a little less than last year, but I expected it because I did a major pruning on the old gal last winter.  Love that tree.  It's a champ.  And we have three young pear trees that may start bearing next year.  We also continued to harvest figs.  They don't all ripen at once; it's really gradual which is nice.  We've got one old tree and two young ones producing, and we've gotten about five quarts so far. 

And -- AND! -- I met a neighbor very recently who has chickens and bees!  She invited me over yesterday to watch her inspect her hives.  It was thrilling.  She is new to beekeeping, but was able to teach me plenty, and now I have a neighbor to call with questions or exchange animal care with.  So happy. 

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #673 on: September 23, 2018, 05:22:12 AM »
@krmit congrats! Iíve started new garden beds in the past by smothering grass, tilling it in, or by cutting the sod and removing it to compost. From a soil biology perspective smothering the grass is best but if your fall ends up super busy with the moving in, the other two methods will work just fine if you canít prep anything until spring.

Cardboard (get as much tape off as you can) or 5+ layers non-glossy newsprint (my parents still get the paper every day, so Iíve had them save me a week or twoís worth before), get it soaking wet, then put something down to keep it from blowing away.

Crops that Iíve found do better in the first year after grass: potatoes, squash family, beans. Tomatoes and peppers will do okay too. You donít need to amend heavily for nutrients typically the first year. Pick something that will be easy to weed around, as there will be lots of weeds.

krmit

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #674 on: September 23, 2018, 04:04:25 PM »
Thanks! I've been reading a ton of gardening books but haven't had much opportunity to get my hand in the dirt so it's nice to know my instinct was right. Trying to take it slow to not overwhelm myself while also wanting to plant ALL THE THINGS.


Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #675 on: September 25, 2018, 08:10:55 AM »
My post yesterday got vapourised - drat.

I want to share my black bean harvest.  I think they are a variety called rattlesnake but I have no idea for sure.  They came in a seed swap and the writing on the paper faded to illegible.  When on holiday this summer, my hubs family were growing beans that looked exactly the same - creamy yellow / white with red mottling on the pods.  Through poor translation and hand signals we determined that I shouldn't eat them at that point in time.  And they tasted really chalky as green pods.  (At least I could make the entire hubs uncle and family laugh as I had to spit out this bean in their garden).  So I gathered that I was to dry them and shell them and then use them in soup.  To my surprise look what I got this past weekend -

And I also harvest a great bunch of peppers and gave the bay leaf tree a big haircut.  I am really enjoying making cut flower arrangements for my tables.  Not spending 12-15$ every week on fresh flowers has been one of those reformations that I had to make on my mustachian journey. 
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 08:14:05 AM by Frugal Lizard »

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #676 on: September 25, 2018, 08:35:03 AM »
I'm still getting tomatoes though it's cooled off a little, and my yellow bell pepper is finally making a pepper - ?? I hope it ripens before it freezes.

The basil is pretty much kaput, though. I pulled the two plants that still looked good for one last round of pesto, as we're looking at lows in the high 40s (!) in the next couple days.

I tried for a fall crop of arugula and lettuce - it all sprouted but has just stalled there, with its baby leaves, no true leaves, and it's been a couple weeks. So I guess that is another fail. I've never been able to do fall greens from seed and am unsure of what I am doing wrong.

Strange thing happened with the blueberry bush I've had for 3 years (Top Hat). I got a pretty decent crop off of it, picked them off as they ripened and ate them right off of the bush. There was still a handful of berries that weren't quite ripe. So I left them to do their thing. It's now late September, while the others ripened in July/August, and they are still not ripe. So I guess they're not going to be. Is that normal? Never happened before. I did get a decent harvest so I'm not that worried about it, it just seems weird.

Vasilisa

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #677 on: September 25, 2018, 08:54:46 AM »
I am really enjoying making cut flower arrangements for my tables.  Not spending 12-15$ every week on fresh flowers has been one of those reformations that I had to make on my mustachian journey. 

I SO agree- love growing my own cut flowers! It's so much fun to cut a big bouquet to give away and wonderful to able to fill my house with beauty I grew. I have been fantasizing about having whole beds dedicated to growing flowers for picking. Also- have you checked out Floret Farms? They published a great book on cut flowers but their website is gorgeous with all the things they're growing. So beautiful!

Your dried beans look lovely and it'll be so satisfying to cook them up!


Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #678 on: September 25, 2018, 09:08:19 AM »
I am really enjoying making cut flower arrangements for my tables.  Not spending 12-15$ every week on fresh flowers has been one of those reformations that I had to make on my mustachian journey. 
Also- have you checked out Floret Farms? They published a great book on cut flowers but their website is gorgeous with all the things they're growing. So beautiful!

OMG - flower porn. 

Now I am going to need plant some bulbs for cutting.

nessness

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #679 on: September 29, 2018, 07:55:59 PM »
My cool-season garden is kind of a dud. Most things either failed to germinate or germinated and quickly died - the only thing doing well is the broccoli.

My bell peppers are redeeming themselves with a late crop - I don't know why it took them so long to mature. Sungold tomato plant is still producing but slowing down. Weirdly, one of my strawberry plants produced one perfect, delicious strawberry, after not having had any for like 3 months.

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #680 on: September 30, 2018, 04:46:53 AM »
@nessness often you need to germinate indoors because the summer soil temps are too high for some of the typical fall crops.

Iíve never had much luck with anything other than fall snap peas or broccoli. Our falls here are typically warm, then suddenly very very cold.

nessness

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #681 on: September 30, 2018, 06:39:57 AM »
@nessness often you need to germinate indoors because the summer soil temps are too high for some of the typical fall crops.

Iíve never had much luck with anything other than fall snap peas or broccoli. Our falls here are typically warm, then suddenly very very cold.
Darn, that was probably the issue, although my city's planting guide does say the plants I chose can be direct seeded outdoors in late summer/fall. It also says you can plant lettuce and carrots through October so I'll probably try again with those now that it's cooling down.

Can I ask a chicken question too? My chickens are almost 7 months but none of them have started laying yet. Is it likely that they won't lay until spring?

And a brief update on my HOA fight over my chickens: after some back-and-forth, the HOA sent me an official letter saying I can only have 3 chickens, but then an email implying (I'm pretty sure) that they'll overlook the fact that we have 9 so long as they don't get any more complaints. So that was a relief.

Trifele

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #682 on: September 30, 2018, 09:06:35 AM »
@nessness often you need to germinate indoors because the summer soil temps are too high for some of the typical fall crops.

Iíve never had much luck with anything other than fall snap peas or broccoli. Our falls here are typically warm, then suddenly very very cold.
Darn, that was probably the issue, although my city's planting guide does say the plants I chose can be direct seeded outdoors in late summer/fall. It also says you can plant lettuce and carrots through October so I'll probably try again with those now that it's cooling down.

Can I ask a chicken question too? My chickens are almost 7 months but none of them have started laying yet. Is it likely that they won't lay until spring?


@nessness in our experience over the years (~30 chickens, many different breeds), they start laying anywhere from 22 weeks old to 32 weeks old.  Highly variable.  But in my experience the weather did not matter.  Even in the middle of the Wisconsin winter (with frequent subzero winter daytime highs) they would start laying if it was their time.  We had numerous pullets lay their first egg in January.  Unless you are further north than that, where maybe the shorter daylight might cause them to wait until spring(?), I bet they will go ahead and lay. 

nessness

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #683 on: September 30, 2018, 12:20:33 PM »
@nessness often you need to germinate indoors because the summer soil temps are too high for some of the typical fall crops.

Iíve never had much luck with anything other than fall snap peas or broccoli. Our falls here are typically warm, then suddenly very very cold.
Darn, that was probably the issue, although my city's planting guide does say the plants I chose can be direct seeded outdoors in late summer/fall. It also says you can plant lettuce and carrots through October so I'll probably try again with those now that it's cooling down.

Can I ask a chicken question too? My chickens are almost 7 months but none of them have started laying yet. Is it likely that they won't lay until spring?


@nessness in our experience over the years (~30 chickens, many different breeds), they start laying anywhere from 22 weeks old to 32 weeks old.  Highly variable.  But in my experience the weather did not matter.  Even in the middle of the Wisconsin winter (with frequent subzero winter daytime highs) they would start laying if it was their time.  We had numerous pullets lay their first egg in January.  Unless you are further north than that, where maybe the shorter daylight might cause them to wait until spring(?), I bet they will go ahead and lay.
Thanks, good to know! We're in California so mild winters. I've just been surprised that we haven't gotten a single egg yet, with 9 hens of all different breeds.

furrychickens

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #684 on: September 30, 2018, 01:08:10 PM »
This is why I love commercial hybrids like ISA Browns. Consistent point of lay at 17-18 weeks, 20 weeks at the latest. And unlike other commercial breeds like Leghorns, theyíre pretty quiet and calm too.

Do you have light on them? Photoperiod can affect laying as well as when they come into lay. I have light on my birds from 5AM to past sunrise and then before dusk to about 9PM but some donít like to do that.

nessness

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #685 on: September 30, 2018, 02:27:16 PM »
@furrychickens no, we don't have any artificial light. Since we don't need heat we don't have any electricity running to the coop. The chickens are more of pets than anything else for me so I'm not super concerned about maximizing their laying, though a few eggs would be nice.

furrychickens

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #686 on: September 30, 2018, 07:52:08 PM »
@furrychickens no, we don't have any artificial light. Since we don't need heat we don't have any electricity running to the coop. The chickens are more of pets than anything else for me so I'm not super concerned about maximizing their laying, though a few eggs would be nice.

The light doesnít need to be very bright to trigger their pineal gland, so something solar powered would be an option. Iíve been told even Christmas tree lights are bright enough, so weíre not talking a lot of lumens.

I happen to use a brighter LED bulb just because I had it laying around and my coop is right next to the garage so power is no problem.

No heat here either, they do great in the winter as long as they stay dry and can get out of the wind as desired. Theyíve survived -30 so far just fine and I know folks using similar hybrids in much colder climates than mine in similarly unheated but windproof structures. Chicken coop fires are incredibly common from trying to heat them.

Trifele

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #687 on: October 01, 2018, 04:15:19 AM »
@furrychickens no, we don't have any artificial light. Since we don't need heat we don't have any electricity running to the coop. The chickens are more of pets than anything else for me so I'm not super concerned about maximizing their laying, though a few eggs would be nice.

@nessness -- no worries then, you'll get eggs.  The wait is hard though.  :)

Re:  putting light on them:  If you don't care much about maximizing egg production (we don't either) then skip the lights.   The way I figure it, if the bird's body is telling her to take a break due to day length (or something else) then I will let that happen naturally.  Chckens' frequent egg laying is really astounding from a biological perspective, and takes loads of physical resources.  It makes sense to me to let the animal replenish those resources the way it sees fit.   

Re:  hybrid egg-laying breeds -- We've had a couple and I have to say I don't care for them.  They had more health problems and didn't live very long. They seem to pump out eggs unnaturally fast and burn themselves out at about 2 years old.  That's what lots of people want, if they intend to butcher them when their laying slows down.  Personally, give me a heritage/traditional breed that will take sensible breaks from laying now and again (for brooding, fall molting, etc.) any day.  We have a 6 year old bird that is still laying 3-5 eggs per week, hasn't been sick a day in her life, and has a delightful personality.  The only sign of age I can see in her is that her beard has a few white feathers now, and her egg shells have some weird bumps on them now and again.

Re:  Light and heat.  FurryChickens is right -- they are two separate issues.  Chickens can handle temps down to 30 below in a good coop. We never heated in Wisconsin.   

nessness

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #688 on: October 09, 2018, 08:47:38 PM »
We got our first egg today! Also, I realized that I'd done the math wrong and they're only 6 months and 1 week old, so I was probably too hasty in worrying about it lol. Thanks @Trifele and @furrychickens for all the chicken advice you've given me!

We've had an unusually warm start to fall so we're still getting about a pint of cherry tomatoes and a couple bell peppers per week, and my carrots have finally germinated. So overall I'm feeling pretty satisfied. :)

middo

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #689 on: October 09, 2018, 09:03:50 PM »
Nutrition also plays a part in egg production.  Chickens need a rounded diet, with shell grit added at times.  If the laying drops off at a time that is unexpected, such as late spring, then think about adding wheat or a layer-pellet additive to their diet.

Trifele

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #690 on: October 10, 2018, 03:20:47 AM »
We got our first egg today! Also, I realized that I'd done the math wrong and they're only 6 months and 1 week old, so I was probably too hasty in worrying about it lol. Thanks @Trifele and @furrychickens for all the chicken advice you've given me!

Congrats on your first egg!  :)  That is a happy day.

@middo makes a great point about nutrition also playing a large role in chicken laying.  They need a well-balanced layer feed, and also free-feed calcium/oyster shell on the side.   

furrychickens

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #691 on: October 10, 2018, 04:54:08 AM »
The pullet eggs are so cute looking. Snack size! ;)

I offer calcium free choice, I use a mix of oyster shell and their own eggshells ground up. Mine prefer the eggshells. If theyíre only eating layer ration, they donít need it, but if theyíre getting scraps and other foods they need the extra calcium.

Youíll get best production with a 18% protein layer ration. Mine slow down when Iíve tried 16% feeds. Mash or pellets, I prefer mash as itís cheaper.

I know youíre not concerned with best production rates, but I thought Iíd add that my chickens give me about $100 worth of eggs (valuing at $4/doz) a month on only $20-$30 worth of feed ;)

Trifele

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #692 on: October 11, 2018, 06:15:10 AM »
Well, we are very near the end of the garden for the year here.  We are still picking figs and just started picking a few persimmons from our little two year old trees, but then that's it. 

We processed about half our Kieffer pears into thick sauce, and got 10 quarts.  (We could have gotten more, but the kids were doing the initial work to cut the cores out unsupervised, and they weren't being that careful . . . When I looked at their "cores" in the compost bin there was still a lot of flesh left on them.  :))  So when we finish processing the rest, I figure we will have maybe 22 quarts altogether.  If I can get my act together I also wanted to press out some juice and try making pear mead . . . or do you call it a cyser?  I have to read more about that.

Happy fall everyone!

krmit

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #693 on: October 11, 2018, 10:54:08 AM »
Word nerd alert: Cyser is apple cider with honey. A pear (or any other fruit) and honey ferment would be a melomel. If you make a spiced mead, it's called a metheglin. I love the Old English names!

I've had good luck with wild fermenting berry melomels in 1-gallon batches. I've tried raspberry and cherry, and have been happy with both. It would be interesting to see if pear would work as well. If you like a tangy, slightly sour fruity drink, you could try following this process: https://www.thymeherbal.com/2014/08/14/wild-herb-and-fruit-mead/


Trifele

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #694 on: October 11, 2018, 10:59:14 AM »
Word nerd alert: Cyser is apple cider with honey. A pear (or any other fruit) and honey ferment would be a melomel. If you make a spiced mead, it's called a metheglin. I love the Old English names!

I've had good luck with wild fermenting berry melomels in 1-gallon batches. I've tried raspberry and cherry, and have been happy with both. It would be interesting to see if pear would work as well. If you like a tangy, slightly sour fruity drink, you could try following this process: https://www.thymeherbal.com/2014/08/14/wild-herb-and-fruit-mead/

Thank you @krmit !  This is great information. I read an article that referred to pear melomel as "pyser."  I guess they totally made that word up by combining 'pear' and 'cyser'?   

furrychickens

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #695 on: October 11, 2018, 11:36:24 AM »
Word nerd alert: Cyser is apple cider with honey. A pear (or any other fruit) and honey ferment would be a melomel. If you make a spiced mead, it's called a metheglin. I love the Old English names!

I've had good luck with wild fermenting berry melomels in 1-gallon batches. I've tried raspberry and cherry, and have been happy with both. It would be interesting to see if pear would work as well. If you like a tangy, slightly sour fruity drink, you could try following this process: https://www.thymeherbal.com/2014/08/14/wild-herb-and-fruit-mead/

Actually, incorrect. Melomel is a general term for meads made with fruit. So, a cyser is a type of melomel.

Your definition of metheglin is correct though :)

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #696 on: October 11, 2018, 01:33:54 PM »
Do you all wait until actual frost before picking all of your green tomatoes, or do it when temps get close to frost? 36 degree low coming here.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #697 on: October 11, 2018, 05:33:00 PM »
I just dug my sweet potatoes before it gets too cold.  Not a great harvest, even though we had a hot summer and there was lots of foliage.  I think they got a late start because of the cold spring, a lot of the tubers were just starting to get fat.

Also picked the last of the wax beans.  No frost predicted for the next week, but low temperatures.  Nothing is growing, it is just hanging in there.  Just about time to plant the garlic.

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #698 on: October 11, 2018, 06:38:08 PM »
I have my little garden under floating row covers.  I harvested greens this morning.  I think we are getting a frost tomorrow night and that will be it.
Damn squirrels keep digging up the garlic.  I made the mistake of adding some compost and they are digging through it.

I have a good crop of herbs coming on in the green house.  Peppers and cukes have finished.  I will I had planted some more greens for late November.  I don't know if there is enough light to get a crop going now.

All and all it has been a pretty good year for this first garden.  I have been standing in it contemplating my next moves to secure it better from squirrels so that I can get even more food from my efforts.

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #699 on: October 11, 2018, 09:01:51 PM »
Do you all wait until actual frost before picking all of your green tomatoes, or do it when temps get close to frost? 36 degree low coming here.


If they freeze and thaw they'll rot (long term) and get gross and slimy (short term), so either pick them before first frost or get out there while the frost is still on them and pick for the freezer/ cook immediately.