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Building a bigger more functional chicken coop where there is enough room for all my chickens, a place to put their feed verses carry a 50#bag from the garage, having their food/water away from their roosting spot, a area for any broody hens and a big enough area for when we get snow storms that we can just not worry about them getting bored and picking at one another cause they all have space to roam..FYI: I bought 9-heritage pullets(5-months old now) that tend to go broody and are good mom's...so as the flock expands I will have room for them.

Expanding the garden beds.

Growing all my herbs, veggie and flower's from seed.

I need to grow enough of certain herbs so I have enough put up until the next growing season..

Planting mushroom spores.

Planting 4-mature Blueberry plants come April ( Christmas present from kids)

Buy more grape vines to plant next to my smaller fruit trees..I watched a youtube video where this guy planted grape vines near his newly planted fruit trees in the spring and come late summer the grape vines were climbing up the fruit tree so they don't need a trellis and grew beautiful grapes..hoping for the same results.

I have a new garden area started by layering several layers of card board ( every box we get from online order's, pizza takeout boxes go into this area) and then putting leaf mulch on it..will continue to build up the soil in hopes of possibly using it next year.

Tapping my maple trees for our syrup.

Growing twice the amount of peppers for my homemade hot sauce.

Foraging the wild apple trees ( even if my own apple trees produce it won't be enough so wild appple trees is the answer)if they produce this year last year every apple tree around my area was hit with a early frost so not 1-apple..will make apple pie filling, applesauce, apple juice, apple butter.

Most important more homemade apple cider vinegar..I just used the last of the bottle from 2015.

Will dig up more Ramps up the road from me and plant on our back property..they will eventually multiply over the years to supply us with enough for ourselves.

I will make sure to go black cap picking to make more of my favorite black cap jam.

Make more dandelion wine.

Dig up some wild blackberry bushes from my families property and plant them on my dads property.

Ask my Uncle if I could grow sweet corn & pumpkins on his property..it sucks not having enough property sometimes.

If the fruit trees produce this year I need to can, dehydrate and freeze it ALL...I see that my peach trees are loaded with buds so crossing my fingers for a bountiful harvest..( last year there wasn't a peach in my County due to a early frost..and boy, I missed my freshly picked juicy sun kissed peach craving..lol..

Would like my dh to teach me how to make bird houses.. I love my birds and there is lots of trees on my lawn where I can give them a home to raise their babies.

I planted lots more perennial's last year that I didn't get to post about..I'm really looking forward to this year to see it all..here is what I planted:

Red currant
White currants
Black currants
White raspberry bushes
Red gooseberries
June berry bushes
Nanking cherry
Blueberry bushes (9-in total)
Elderberry bushes
Ramps
Oregano (grew from seed then planted in ground)
Sage ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Chives^^^^^^^^^^^^
Marjoram^^^^^^^^^^^
Mitzu Apple tree
Sweet leaf plant
St Johns Wort
Mojito Mint
Black peppermint
Strawberry plants (about 50)
Rose bush for the rose hips
Blackberry bush
Bee Balm I grew from seed
Tulips near my garden area to feed the bees.

Plant twice as many grown from saved seed zinnias in my garden..I couldn't believe all the honey bees that was in my vegetable garden last year..I actually didn't have to hand pollinate my squash plants after many years of doing that.

Dig up more Bee Balm and replant around the property.

Check into growing a Fig tree.

Maybe clearing a spot in our back woods to grow a Crabapple tree.
 

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Wow, that is a lot. I have a small plot that I rent from the county. 2016 was not a good year. 2015 was pretty good but the plot had been dormant for a year or more before I got it, so that may explain my luck that first year. I'm going to try doing things differently in 2017. I need to start reading now to get my plan ready. The things I really want are: basil, yellow squash & zucchini, pumpkins, green beans, tomatoes, okra, eggplant, lettuce, chard, peppers. The herb garden seems pretty well established along the front fence: thyme, sage, parsley, chives, dill. You have a good point about the flowers attracting the bees.
 

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Wow, that is a lot. I have a small plot that I rent from the county. 2016 was not a good year. 2015 was pretty good but the plot had been dormant for a year or more before I got it, so that may explain my luck that first year. I'm going to try doing things differently in 2017. I need to start reading now to get my plan ready. The things I really want are: basil, yellow squash & zucchini, pumpkins, green beans, tomatoes, okra, eggplant, lettuce, chard, peppers. The herb garden seems pretty well established along the front fence: thyme, sage, parsley, chives, dill. You have a good point about the flowers attracting the bees.
Good luck on your garden. I suggest compost (organic, preferably) and rotating plants each year into different sections of the plots. That's what I do over at my plot. (I also 'rent' a plot in a community garden on township property.)

Are you part of a community garden as well? If so, perhaps the garden coordinator can request compost from the county. Since townships/counties have leaf pickup in the fall, they should have some compost available.
 

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I plan to have a garden this year, not sure how large. I have a 16x30' area dug in the back yard.

Got the garlic in back in November. Onions should come up in the spring, and maybe leeks. I have sage, oregano and chives that come up every year. I will plant rosemary, thyme, and basil in the spring. There are volunteer potatoes that should come up this spring, too.

I don't know if the strawberries survived. DH wanted them and said he would take care of them but didn't and the bed was waist high in grass and weeds when it froze.

I will get a mixture of seeded and nursery grown tomatoes again. The nursery plants just do so much better, and earlier. I have to heavily fertilize the tomato bed, as I don't have room to rotate the crop.

I'd like to plant cucumbers, I found a variety that is wilt and mildew resistant. Will also seed radishes, various lettuces, chard, and a variety of carrot that does well in our heavy clay soil.

Need to see if it is too late to order asparagus. Had a large die off last year. :(
 

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The county does drop mulched leaves or wood bark nearby depending on the season. However all fall - no leaf mulch. The prior year I did get a lot. I am just going to buy several bags of dirt/compost mix in the spring. The plot is divided into beds and different areas. I have 2 6' tee pees from tree limbs. A couple of the beds are raised. Anything outside the fence the deer will get. The lot is supposed to be 20X30' so does not seem all that big to me. Trying to grow vertically where possible. I planted a few cucumbers near the okra and the vines climbed up. I will do that again. I'll post a drawing of the layout sometime.

My neighbor got permission from his church to garden around a storm water collection pond. He and other church members were mowing the grass around it anyway. It did flood sometimes for a few hours but I think he got enough produce to be worth the effort. He just erected poles and used netting as "fence". He also used some of those battery-charged deer posts w/ the scent attractant that deliver a shock if touched. I guess it served well enough to keep the critters out.
 

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Buy more grape vines to plant next to my smaller fruit trees..I watched a youtube video where this guy planted grape vines near his newly planted fruit trees in the spring and come late summer the grape vines were climbing up the fruit tree so they don't need a trellis and grew beautiful grapes..hoping for the same results.
Before you do this look into whether or not the grape vines will smother out the fruit trees. In Florida we have a lot of vine type plants that will totally take over the host tree and eventually kill the tree from lack of sunlight and other variances.
Also factor in the grapes climbing so high as near impossible to pick. Another one is that high squirrels ... and birds... would definitely be in grape heaven.
 
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Before you do this look into whether or not the grape vines will smother out the fruit trees. In Florida we have a lot of vine type plants that will totally take over the host tree and eventually kill the tree from lack of sunlight and other variances.
Also factor in the grapes climbing so high as near impossible to pick. Another one is that high squirrels ... and birds... would definitely be in grape heaven.
Thanks,will check into that.. Almost all my fruit trees are dwarf and semi dwarf not the standard trees..however, my peach trees are roughly 16ft tall because I didn't trim them to keep them semi dwarf.
 

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dircpa - I have a 10x20 plot and sometimes it seems like a lot, sometimes it doesn't. :lol: I have a bunch of poles that I use for beans and peas. I also picked up some trellises over the years as well. Last year I picked up a couple of round tomato cages to wrangle my tomato plants. They seemed to do pretty well - in spite of me.

I think I will put in my usual amount of tomatoes again this year. (Used to put in ~6 plants since my mother loved fresh tomatoes but she died last year.) I started making fresh tomato sauce for Dad. I'm planning on making more this year, although it will be just for me.
 

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Soooo, I received a poultry magazine in the mail yesterday.. never have I've gotten anything related to it this before so really not sure how I got it..maybe from ordering my chicks online?

So I was looking through it and found these awesome nesting boxes that are made of plastic, have a roll out mat so after the chicken lays the egg and she stands up the egg rolls into a little box that has a clear lid...the little box is attached to the nesting box...the benefits to this particular nesting box is that you can take it off the wall and sterilize/clean it ...this is a HUGE PLUS because this will eliminate bacteria & mites from inhibiting in it unlike the ones that I have now that my dh built me that I put pine shavings in them that harbor all these factors..PLUS I have had problems over the years with my chickens eating their eggs...this is very very bad because once they do that they continue and teach the other chickens to do the same..with this nesting box they have no way of eating their eggs because once they stand up like I said before the eggs roll into this box so there is no way they can eat their eggs...so let's say I'm gone for the day and didn't gather the eggs I don't have to worry because they are safe in box..

If you don't have your own chickens or have never been around someone that does that you wouldn't understand why this is so important.

I'm super excited BUT they are really expensive..no way for us to build our own out of plastic, not to mention the specially designed roll mat insert so that option is out..I will just have to purchase 1-each month for 3-months straight to have the 3 nesting boxes I need for my flock..

These will last beyond my lifetime so I can justify this purchase as I intend to have chickens the rest of my life or until I can't take care of them anymore.
 
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One thing my family and I definitely want to do in the future is raise chickens! We are doing research on that this year...hopefully it's something we can do next year.

This year I am planning my garden; I want to do more of a permaculture type thing. We don't have as big of a yard as I would like here at the house we are renting, so I plan on putting pots of veg, flowers, and herbs in every available spot that I can. I also want to do some canning this year, which I'm really looking forward to!

I also want to get into candlemaking as well.
 

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the benefits to this particular nesting box is that you can take it off the wall and sterilize/clean it ...this is a HUGE PLUS because this will eliminate bacteria & mites from inhibiting in it unlike the ones that I have now that my dh built me that I put pine shavings in them that harbor all these factors..PLUS I have had problems over the years with my chickens eating their eggs...
We raised 200 hens per year for many years - we used roll-away nests. They were wood with angled hardware cloth (heavy screen) floors. The hen would lay an egg on the floor and it would roll downhill on the screen into a separate compartment along the front. The compartment had a hinged lid, you could lift the lid and walk down the line picking up eggs. The eggs stayed clean cuz the chicken droppings fell thru the screen to the floor. And there was a canvas curtain that separated the 'egg' section from the laying section - so the hens didn't get a chance to peck/eat the eggs. There was no bedding (no wood shavings).
As for mites, etc, they are more likely on the roosts, not the nests. We painted the roosts with creosote each year.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
We raised 200 hens per year for many years - we used roll-away nests. They were wood with angled hardware cloth (heavy screen) floors. The hen would lay an egg on the floor and it would roll downhill on the screen into a separate compartment along the front. The compartment had a hinged lid, you could lift the lid and walk down the line picking up eggs. The eggs stayed clean cuz the chicken droppings fell thru the screen to the floor. And there was a canvas curtain that separated the 'egg' section from the laying section - so the hens didn't get a chance to peck/eat the eggs. There was no bedding (no wood shavings).
As for mites, etc, they are more likely on the roosts, not the nests. We painted the roosts with creosote each year.
Thanks Sir for your knowledge and advice. I will tell may husband what you said.
 

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The county delivered leaf mulch twice recently, so I moved several trash cans' worth into my garden area. I got a cube-shaped plastic compost bin from another gardener and more 1/2" wire screen to put along the fence line. I planted pepper seeds in pots WEEKS ago, they are on a buffet warming tray inside a plastic container (green house effect.) So far nothing has sprouted. I planted some tomato seeds in pots last weekend.
 

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Last weekend I planted watermelon, muskmelon, honeydew, artichokes, peppers, tomatoes and strawberries. 2 muskmelon and 4 artichokes have sprouted. Last weekend we also built a raised bed garden and have it half filled with free 3 year old manure. We still need to order top soil to mix in with the manure after that arrives I'll be able to plant peas and other cool weather loving plants.
 

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So far I planted cayenne peppers, green bell peppers, chili peppers, habanero peppers, garlic chives, chives, thyme and sage seeds in seed cell starter containers on a heating mat under grow lights in my basement.

The sage, thyme, garlic chives, chives and cayenne peppers have sprouted. I planted them on the Feb 9th..:)

I'm anxous to see if my flower seeds that I had saved from my plants last year will germinate..if I succeed at this it will put me at whole nother level that could potentially make me some money selling them in front of my house..

I saved Cheyenne echinacea, zinnia, bleeding heart, yarrow, petunias & calendula seeds.
 

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I planted most of my garden last week friday and sunday. I have bush peas, snow peas, climbing peas, kale, spinach and dow gauk (yardlong beans that taste like asparagus) all peaking their heads above the ground. Gardening is so exciting!! Plants that I sprouted from seeds that are in the garden are tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, artichoke, muskmelon and honeydew. The garden is starting to take shape. In pots I have tomatoes, peppers and garlic sprouting too.
 

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I want to get into the garden so bad! I can see weeds coming up already, last year's debris hasn't been cleared, there's honeysuckle coming up where I don't want it, etc. The garlic I planted last fall is up 4-6". It's so warm, I want to start lettuce already. Going to see if I can find some plastic cups to start basil seeds today.
 
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