Don’t throw those Halloween pumpkins, decorative gourds, or dried corn cobs out - feed them to your favorite chickens instead!
Feeding pumpkins or gourds to chickens is as simple as cutting them in half, and setting them cut-side up in their run. They devour them; and seem to really love having access to fresh vegetables after everything else has stopped growing. Dried corn on the cob is even simpler, just throw it in the run – they’ll pick the cobs clean. Of course, treats should always be fed in moderation.
We grow and store quite a few pumpkins and gourds to feed the chickens throughout fall and winter; and we’re always on [...]
Continue reading Fall Decorations = Chicken Treats
In our early years, we moved around the country quite a bit, and ended up putting in many new lawns. We found that establishing a new lawn is best done in the fall; so we finally put in a front lawn at Bramblestone Farm this fall. Prior to this year, we had to drive the tractor through the front yard to get to part of the farm, so we never bothered putting one in.
We’ve settled on a pretty simple process for establishing a new lawn – it’s probably old-fashioned, but it seems to work quickly and effectively: bring in some good topsoil (you don’t want poor top soil with [...]
Continue reading Establishing New Lawns
Fall is the best time to divide spring and summer blooming perennials – they’re finished putting energy into blooming, and new divisions will re-establish quickly during the cooler, wetter fall weather. Dividing helps control the size of plants, rejuvenates them, and increases the number of plants for your garden.
For fall blooming perennials, it’s generally better to wait until spring to divide. By dividing plants when they’re not blooming, they can put all their energy into root and leaf growth.
What Plants to Divide
Most perennials should be divided every three to five years. It’s best to divide plants when they still look good, [...]
Continue reading Fall Division of Spring & Summer Blooming Perennials
As I talk with chicken keeping friends, I’m surprised that some don’t know that most chickens will cease to lay eggs when day lengths fall below 14 hours in the fall. As we move further into fall and shorter days, chickens will naturally reduce egg production. They lay eggs based on day length; long days and increasing day length mean spring to a chicken – time when they should be producing many eggs and raising chicks. The declining day length and harsher environment in fall and winter aren’t optimal for raising chicks; so chickens will naturally stop egg production, molt, renew their egg laying resources, and [...]
Continue reading Maintain Winter Egg Production – Add Artificial Light
Fall is the time of year when chickens molt and ours are doing just that; so egg production is way down and it’s a good time to make decisions on which chickens (if any) should be culled.
Molting is a natural occurrence for chickens triggered by shortening day length in fall. It can take from 2 to 6 months for a chicken to complete molting; and egg production generally stops during molting for pure breed birds or significantly slows down for egg
production breeds. This egg production slowdown occurs because it takes the same nutrients to grow feathers that it does to
Continue reading Molting Chickens
I used to do a combined spring, summer, and fall seed starting & planting schedule (see Making a Seed Starting & Planting Schedule), but this year I wanted to start concentrating on extending the gardening season into the fall longer – so this is my first fall only planting schedule. But wow – it seems like the garden just went in – yet it’s already getting late for starting and planting crops for fall! I need this kind of schedule to keep me on track for what needs to be started indoors and seeded outdoors; otherwise I let the dates slip until it’s too late for [...]
Continue reading 2011 Fall Seed Starting & Planting Schedule (w/downloadable template)
Every year it seems that there’s an overload of tomatoes in the fall, so I make and freeze this sauce to use up all those great tomatoes. It gets us through until tomatoes are fresh again next year. The recipe is adapted from The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash.
7 lbs. tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped red or yellow pepper
1/2 cup beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
1 cup tomato paste (this can be omitted but the sauce must be simmered substantially longer to achieve consistency)
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground [...]
Continue reading Fall Freezer Tomato Sauce