So I was out yesterday in late afternoon getting some flats ready and I went to separate a flat from its tray and there it was...sure glad I had my gloves on. I freak out when I see them, but obviously not so much that I can't put him in a container...and then duck tape the hell out of it so I don't accidentally load it in the dishwasher later on!
They're not bad- they actually eat black widows, which we also have. If they stick you, it's more like a bee sting- but then I've never been stung before (I know, can you believe it!) so I don't know how that feels or if I'm allergic- only one way to find out!
So I told you I'd let you know what I'm growing when- a few of you, some that have attended my seed starting classes, wanted to know about when I get my fall/winter crops started- well, now. I start them starting mid-late August. I've stated 2 flats of lettuce and greens. I don't start spinach until it starts cooling a bit, if I'm directly sowing, as they don't germinate well in warm soil. If I'm starting them indoors I can keep it cooler.
Not sure I've mentioned that I've been inundated with earwigs this year- well actually, I've had problem that have been growing, since we moved in. This year I've been experimenting with the Back to Eden method, using wood chips- more on that later, but the earwigs are now worse and love having more places to hide. I refuse to use any chemicals- knowing by experience that it will only make the problem worse. My MIL and husband want to nuke everything to start off with a clean slate! What? Yeah, clean slate alright. That will kill my frogs I've encouraged with the water feature...
photos not from this year
And how about all the praying mantises? And numerous birds, lizards, etc. Chemicals? I think not. It will take some time, but we'll build the soil, and as close to a natural area and encourage critters that bug hunt better than I can...period.
I'm not about to strike up a bargain with these great and mighty bug hunters and then kill them. We've got quail that bring their babies in and around the yard too- no way. For now I'll use the oil traps that have worked very well- gross as it is :) See the previous post about that.
Which brings me to our chief soil builders/bug hunters...chickens! This is what I've been focusing my attention on- good thing to because I kind-of gave up on growing, at least until fall and winter, because of the earwigs (although not completely, we've got tomatoes coming in, and hopefully a few beans and melon that managed to make it pretty well)
I think I posted about the chicken coop I found on Craigslist- well, we got it into the yard. We took it apart, except the frame, took out a panel in the fence, and now it's in place. I was going to put it on the South side of the house- where the mini orchard will go, but that area is outside the fencing at least until we get the deer fence up it is. So they'll go in the back yard.
I've been working on their area- and I had to lower the nesting boxes as they guy that made it had them at 31"- and the roots were lower than them too- which is why there was poop all over the board in front of the nesting boxes...they were roosting there, which is not what you want. There just wasn't enough room for them to get down- in my opinion either- only a 3' width. After doing a lot of reading online I lowered it to 18". I plan on getting smaller breeds- still researching that, so I'll be able to have about 5-6 chickens. The guy that built it said the coop will hold 7- and I'll agree only if they're smaller. I'm still assembling it and have to cut the wood since I redid the boxes- but here it is so far.
I'll be adding a sign on there- Cackle Shack- what do you think? Like it? I'll also hang an old window above the boxes with a planter box. I'm adding a dusting bath area- as I had to fill in the pond that the previous owners half attempted to put in anyway, hopefully they'll use it. I'll create some outdoor perches, and salad bar, which is a raised bed with hardware cloth on the top (raised up) so their crops can recover after being munched!
Lots to do!
Hope you're garden is growing well,