spring update

There are things in the greenhouse! There were a lot of steps to get to this point (and a lot of photos below) but here are the highlights. If that seems boring though, just scroll down to the bottom for a little chicken TV entertainment instead.

The greenhouse is situated in what was once a horse arena,  so the ground below is compacted, gravelly and weedy. We're using no dig practices to combat this less-than-ideal foundation, starting with a temporary layering of black tarps to smother the grass and weeds early in the season before they could grow. Next we ordered custom cut cedar planks -- they smelled so good --  and treated them with a special eco-treatment that's safe for plants.

We built looooong beds and stapled 1/2-inch grid wire (hardware cloth) to the bottoms to thwart the pocket gophers. Next we placed a layer of straw bedding from the winter chicken run in the bottom of each bed. This layer is a weed barrier initially but will eventually break down to add organics to the soil. 

That's our tractor trailer -- cute eh? Next we loaded soil into the beds one at a time as they were built, allowing us to use the tractor to fill all but the last one. The last one we did with a wheelbarrow -- 42 loads worth.

Finally a load of well-rotted manure topped each one. We laid landscape fabric in the walkways, topped that with wood chips, and then set up a drip irrigation system.

While we waited for the nighttime temperatures to rise, we rolled our little plant babies back and forth each day -- giving them real sun time in the greenhouse by day, and warmth and artificial lighting in what we call "the lab" at night. 

Finally, this week, those babies went out to be planted. The temperature in there sure fluctuates! They may still need covering the odd night and we have to roll up the greenhouse sides most days to keep them from cooking -- but they are definitely happier in there. 

In other spring news, the crabby apple tree is in full heady-scented bloom, keeping the native bees fat and busy.

And the chickens finally have access to new pasture, thanks to a fence extension. I'll end this post with the happy burble of the hens as they explore new terrain for the first time.


  1. Wow! That sure is a lot of work (with more yet to come)...but it's worth it. And you sound so happy!😊. Enjoy!!

    1. Thank you Teresa! It is work, but it's also play and it does make me happy! Thanks for reading!

  2. Older Sister of Your Man18 May 2021 at 22:40

    I am enthralled with this post! Thank you for telling the story of the greenhouse. I bet you really loved planting all your babies. Bees are happy, plants are happy, chickens are happy but most most importantly, you are happy <3

    1. Yeah, we're thrilled, cuz now it's snowing.... Haha! It's okay, everyone made it through the night. Fingers crossed everyone!


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