Garden Projects in January

Two posts back-to-back, whaattt? Thank you for adding your fantastic gardening tips and advice in my last post. Keep ’em coming!

I thought I’d share a few projects we worked on in our garden last week. It’s amazing how much one can accomplish when the sun comes out and you have a few extra hours of free time! For starters, we made our first gate for the picket fence and sunk a few more posts to complete the whole enclosure. Just to explain what we’re doing here: this part of the garden we plan to completely surround with fencing–as animal proof as possible–to house the chickens and bees which will be arriving in March.

We sunk a few more posts to round out the rest of the picket fence so it will meet the corner of the house. Ugh, when I look at these photos I can’t help but nitpick it. I so want to get to finishing this part of the garden. Expand the beds! More boxwood! Clear the brush! Gravel the paths! I have to keep reminding myself that it’s a process and we’ve come a long way already.

Our property has a lot of levels of varying heights and mixed areas of shade and sun which sort of forces us to divide them into sections, or “garden rooms,” if you will. This section receives the most sun and heat hence many of the roses are here. It’s also the flattest and because of the drainage issues we had when we first moved in, it is the most complete area of our garden. Above is a photo from just the other day so you can see what I mean about the sunshine! I will be adding a couple of stock tanks for growing peppers to this part of the garden since it gets so hot here in summer.

I dug out this photo from last summer to show a different point of view. Where I’m standing as I took this photo, is around where we were thinking the bee hives would go.

In fact, we have to get a move on with this because we’re already putting together the components of the hives. I’ve got A LOT to talk about with regard to beekeeping but I’d like to dedicate that subject to it’s own posts. Stay tuned.

Back to the garden and the future enclosure. Here’s another photo some of you might remember from last April. Where I’m standing in this part of the garden is where the back line of the fence for this particular enclosure will go. Here are a few more angles…

These photos were taken just today. The plan is to clear more brush and then install a simple “farm fence” in between the azaleas and hemlocks, behind the hydrangeas and rhodies meeting up at the corner of the retaining wall. So, while much of this area is a graveled courtyard, there will still be plenty of forage for the chickies to do their thing.

Speaking of chickens, here is a photo of the coop we are going to be using this year and it’s general placement. The enclosure we’re currently building will meet here with another gate. Remember what this part of the garden used to look like? The horror! Yes, we still need to finish the retaining wall and more will be done to predator proof the area. Anyhow, here’s the story on this coop, since I got a few questions about it on IG: We purchased it from the Home Depot website. It was initially painted barn red which, while cute, just wasn’t my thing, so out came the can of white paint. We had talked for months about buying coop plans and building one ourselves, knowing it would be a lot sturdier than a kit. However, there is literally just too much going on right now to add another project to our pile. This coop is more of a temporary solution until we can build something better and larger someday down the road. I do think it will be handy to have around, even when a bigger one is built, to use as a backup should any of the hens need to be isolated. We only plan to house 2-3 hens in here and they will free range from dawn to dusk, in case anyone is curious.

A smaller project recently completed was this cute “mesclun mix” cedar planter box Jesse built for me. I’m going to ask him to build a few more so I can do succession sowing in each one. These were so inexpensive and easy to put together. Anyone want the plans?

There are a few flowers coming up to remind us spring will be here, soon. It’s an exciting time! Hang on, as I type this, Albie is being a lunatic scaling the walls and playfully attacking Pepper & Lucy which they are not into. It’s been so long since I’ve had such a wild tiger young cat living with me it’s taking some getting used to. When will he calm down?!

OK back to this post. I have to show you one of my new favorite mugs. Rose lovers, you can probably guess why I had to have this when I saw it at the vintage shops.

Here’s a hint… 😉

Sweet Eva sleeps right through the kitty-cat chaos. Until next time, friends!

5 thoughts on “Garden Projects in January

  1. Oh I’m so jealous of your sunshine, pretty please send some this way!!! haha Seriously though, the lack of sun is making me go a little crazy ordering roses! It’s amazing how quickly 1 rose in the online shopping cart turns into 15, when you are going through rose/sunshine withdrawal!

    Also I love, love, love the pillows behind Eva, where did you get them? They are fabulous!

    1. I do know exactly what you mean about buying roses…I am sure that’s why I always go a bit crazy with my orders in January and then, come spring, I don’t know where to put them!

      Thank you for your comment on my pillows! They were purchased thru an estate auction but I’ve seen similar ones on Etsy. 😀

  2. I’m truly excited for you – bees and chickens! And, I admire you for having a plan. My garden came together piece-meal. I never intended for it to get any larger than a little plot between trees. The picket fence is beautiful as well as functional. Love the hinges! You are so wise to have a small, second coop for just the reason you said. I would give anything for my girls to free range, but I lose them to hawks and owls here, even if I’m nearby. It’s much healthier for them and the eggs are better. Love your wild tiger Albie, the mug – what a find!, and your sweet Eva. Can’t wait for bees and chickie photos.

    1. Thank you Andrea! Your comment put such a smile on my face. I am very excited for spring this year, more so than usual, but it does sometimes feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

      I, too, am a bit concerned about hawks hunting our hens during the day. We have plenty of those in our woods. I only ever kept chickens (rather, I should say, A chicken) in a suburban area before so this is going to be a bit of a learning curve.

      Oh and as for the garden plans, don’t be fooled, we’re figuring it out as we go, too! Every day the “plans” evolve and change but I guess that’s part of the fun? 😉

  3. I’m so excited for you and your bees and hens!! And I’m so jealous of your being able to work on garden projects now. And in short sleeves! There’s quite a lot of snow here and even inside it’s not warm enough for short sleeves.

    I think your garden is coming along marvelously!

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