The 5th Annual Chicken Coop Garden Tour

Albuquerque’s 5th Annual Chicken Coop Tour began today!  If you are in the neighborhood, we’ll be participating tomorrow!  Come drop by!

For maps and more information, CLICK HERE

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A Whole Lot of Weeding Going On

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Current Crops

The garden is flourishing.  Here’s a handful of pictures of just a few of the crops.  I’ll take some more pictures soon!

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The Garden Builds a Shade Structure

Albuquerque summers, as can be expected, are HOT!  Our garden sits in what used to be an empty parking lot, which means shade  is limited.  Last year, we tried to construct tents out of shade cloth in order to keep our greens from getting scorched, but this made harvesting  difficult.  The year before, we experimented with flimsy shade tents which didn’t stand a chance against our high desert winds.  This year, Bonnie arrived to the first meeting with a plan: Why not install a shade structure?

Here were the factors we considered:

  1. How can we be sure the plants will still have ample sunlight?
  2. How can we be sure the plants have access to the desert rains?
  3. How do we create something stable, yet flexible enough to make it through those high desert winds?
The answer?  Shade strips!   The process began prior to planting and all took roughly four Saturdays to complete.  Take a look:

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As you can see from the pictures, a lot of man power went into the making of our shade structure.  For those so inclined to construct their own, here’s the basic play-by-play of events:

  1. We began by “planting” the latillas.  (20 total).  This involved digging a LOT of holes and the process took several weeks and many, many diggers.
  2. Then, we cut the shade cloth into 9 inch by 60 foot strips.  Under windy conditions, it was not easy to mark (with a chalk line) and cut up the shade cloth.  However, with the help of many gardeners standing (and lying) on the edges while we marked the chalk lines, and then holding the fabric taut while it was being cut, we got the job done.
  3. Meanwhile, Lee and his “engineers” drilled holes near the tops of the latillas for cords that would be used to raise cross beams.
  4. Once everything was ready, we installed those cut strips onto the latilla cross beams using a drill, nylon rope, and a special staple gun.
  5. We also added some fence wire stabilizers at intervals along the strips.  A trial run had shown us that the strips were curling in on themselves when pulled too taught.  If you look closely at the pictures, you’ll be able to see the metal pieces attached periodically along the cloth.
  6. Finally, with stabilizers in place, we raised the strips and our shade structure was born.

So far, our garden is flourishing, and the shade cloth seems to be helping immensely.  More pictures soon!

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Winter Roaming for the Birds

This winter, we decided to let the chickens roam free in the garden area.  But in order to do this, we needed to do two things:

  1. Build a better fence
  2. Cut a door for the Ethels
Here’s how that went down:

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June 2011 Harvest!

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The Ethels Arrive!!!

I have to say: Our garden is made up of DOERS.   One Saturday morning, as we sat around the garden drinking coffee, preparing to work, someone (Angela?) brought up chickens.  That day, Lee and Dylan started building the coop.  A week later, we had 10 Bovan Browns!!!  All accomplished in the span of a single week!

Here’s the information , our Chicken Queen:

Great news chicken lovers! I have attained chickens…basically.
I have made contact with a man in Socorro who apparently owns one of the largest organic chicken farms in the the U.S.  We will be purchasing 10 Bovan Browns from him.  These are great layers, and are known for there great temperament.  You could add more chickens in with them some day, and you shouldn’t have too many problems.
These pullets are around 5-6 months old and are laying.  He has been feeding them his own crushed oats, and not medicating them.
These chickens will cost $12 each, which I have discovered is quite a good deal…  If I go on Saturday to get them, I will need to borrow a couple large dog crates.  Anyone have one?

Soon after, the chickens arrived!  We decided to name them all “Ethel.”  Here’s some pictures.

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And here’s a video!  Honestly, not the most exciting video, but there they are!


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People Shade!

What do you get when you cross the summer heat, a gigantic shade cloth, an array of latillas, and Bonnie Anderson?

Check it out:

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