Spring is here

Spring is finally here and the task list is very long.  I have been busy the last month taking the on-line real estate courses which I finished today.   I will take the state test in the next couple of weeks and barring any testing hick-ups, I will be a licensee in April.  Cramming 120 hours of training in a month, I was still able to accomplish quite a few other tasks.

brooder boxI built a chick brooder box a couple of weeks ago and my son and I picked up laying hens and meat bird chicks at IFA and Cal Ranch.  I usually like to wait until after Easter to get chicks as KSL is usually loaded with chicks for sale from people who bought them for the holiday without a plan for the future.  This year I wanted to get started so we went ahead and bought them.   We picked up one each of the following breeds; Buff Orpington, Americana, Golden Wyndotte, White Leghorn, Black Australorp, Rhode Island Red and a Delaware.  The meat chickens are Cornish Crosses and they will go in the freezer in about eight weeks.   As always the chicks are cute and my son and the neighbor kids have been playing with them.

chicks 2chicks 1I have visited the bee hive a few times over the past several weeks and today I fully inspected the hive and all appears to be going well with plenty of capped brood.  I filled the sugar water container and I took one sting on the lip from a bee that got under the netting.  Will see how fat my lip will get in the next few days as my reaction to stings is usually slow.

bee cleaningMy experiment of lining the outside of the hive with black leaf bags and straw has been a success and today I removed all of the insulation and to my surprise I found a little nest with seven chicken eggs.  Funny where chickens will hide to lay eggs.

The school garden has been a struggle keeping watered as there is no water turned on to the garden yet.  We have been hauling five gallon buckets of water every few days but the plants don’t look very good.  We will have to replant once the sprinkling system is turned on.  grow light saladgrow light lettuceWe have been enjoying spring salads from the grow light system.   There is a farmer at the winter market who grows all kinds of spring greens and I plan to experiment with other greens such as radishes and sunflowers.

winter marketThere was a downtown winter market yesterday and we enjoyed a growing crowd.  I had a friend bring some folks from Scotland to visit my booth.  They purchased a couple of birdhouses that I made from old compost boards from my bins.  They will take them home to my ancestral homeland.   I wonder what kinds of birds will inhabit them.

I bought a shitaki mushroom growing kit at the market yesterday so I am excited to see how that new experiment grows and tastes.

I have been trying to get my own yard cleaned up and I will plant my spring vegetables this week.  I have not had the time to build merchandise so I need to get going on that and I need to get started on my new chicken coop.  My lazy winter is over and I should be able to get some rest in say December.


About urbancompostsystems

I am a retired law enforcement officer who is an avid gardener. I have a compost bin business named Urban Compost Systems. I believe strongly in the concept of growing healthy food and I utilize chickens and redworms in my "compost system". The only ingredients that I need from outside my system are leaves in the fall and some supplemental grass clippings from neighbors. I make hundreds of gallons of compost in my four bin system. I thoroughly enjoy the summer bounty I get from my yard and I take great pride in knowing that I am using my yardwaste to make healthy compost for my yard.
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7 Responses to Spring is here

  1. Kim D. says:

    Hey Scott! Wow! 11 new chicks eh?? How fun and full of fluff! I have never heard chickens called “Meat Chickens” before. They just grow for 8 weeks, then it is off to the chopping block? I see your hive is very active, and pollinating my few flowers in my yard very nicely! (Sorry about your lip…) Nice to see the Grow light system from Rocky is getting some good use! We wait with much anticipation to see the “Grand Americana” Chicken house you will build soon hopefully! (What will you do with your current chicken coop??) Did you have to throw the 7 eggs out that you found by the hive? I noticed you cut back on the free range space for the hens, where they getting stung by the bees?? And last but not least, fingers crossed and many good wishes on a great score for your realtor license! Always a pleasure to read your gardening blog Scott. Your neighbor, Kim…..

    • Thanks Kim, The meat chickens are Cornish Cross broilers which have been genetically developed to eat like pigs and grow rapidly before they are too heavy for their bodies to handle the weight. Health wise it is best for them to hit the chopping block in about six to eight weeks. Hopefully I will get going on the coop but first I need to start planting the spring vegetables which I hope to start today. I confined the chickens so that I can get the yard in order. They cause quite a bit of destruction if left to their own devices. I plan to keep them corralled until the yard is in full growth this summer. The bees and chickens have never bothered each other. In fact the seven eggs I found were right next to the hive. I had to throw out the eggs due to them being at least two weeks old or much older. I will tear down the old coop probably this fall or next spring. I will use some of the pen material to build my cold frame base. I am going to use the roof top garden for this growing season and won’t have it available to tear down until late July to August.

      I need to keep reviewing the real estate material and will test in a couple of weeks. Baseball has started for Mateo (still goes to tae kwan do three or four days a week), so I will get accomplished what I can. Busy life is good…….at least that is my current attitude. In a couple of months I may have a different attitude. ha Thanks for reading the blog and being such great neighbors.

      • Kim D. says:

        Busy is good! Keeps you young for all that you need to accomplish in your busy life! I wish my neighbors to my north could learn from your lumber craftsmanship on how to build a proper hen coop!

  2. Hi Scott!
    OK, so I’m ready to give the garden another try this Spring…gotta’ strike gold with Swiss Chard some year. I had ZERO chard last year…what’s that about? Tomatoes plants will go in in May, but can I plant the seeds now for the chard (and anything else that I can think of…) now?
    I had some nice green bell and spicy peppers come in last year (from seedling plants)…but beyond that, not sure what else to plant…
    Congrats on the RE license and the new chickens! And a Chicken-Pig? Nice…

    • Hey Brad,

      Now is the time to plant spring vegetables only. Need to wait until the second week of May for summer veggies. It also matters whether to plant from seed or transplants as some crops would have to be planted indoors months ago to get any harvest. So the spring veggies that can be planted from seed now include swiss chard, spinach, lettuce and any other greens, peas, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, etc. Spring veggies from plants include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions (sets or plants), swiss chard (guaranteed success from plants/buy several as each planter pack is one plant) and seed potatoes.

      Summer plants for May are the tomatoes, beans, corn, squash, cucumbers, peppers, egg plant etc. You can replant some of the spring vegetables from seed during summer including all the spring planting from seed listed above.

      Not planning on any pigs but the meat chickens have doubled in size in a week.

      Hope that helps.

      Let me know if you need any help. Thanks


      • Roger on the summer and spring veggies. Maybe I’ll try carrots along with the chard this time…and put in the tomatoes and maybe a pepper or two in May from seedlings. I just want a LOT of chard…love that stuff. BTW…got a good salsa recipe? Amazing about those chickens that have doubled in size in 1 week. Sheesh. Thanks for your help! – Brad

  3. Brad I have an excellent salsa recipe but it is top secret. Will have to discuss over the fence. ha

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