Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Is anyone els overwhelmed?
I mean about anything? I have 3 different organizers and still don't feel like I get enough done. Homeschooling, the gardens, animals, kids, housework, crafting, blogging; all seems like its own full time job to me. And I almost never feel like I give any of it/them the time they deserve.

Please tell me i'm not the only one. . . . . . .

oh and i would love some suggestions on how to get more done!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 Gardens - The 'Plan'

Ok, I have 3 gardens I will be focusing on. The melon patch, the veggie garden and my herb/flower beds along the front walk.

The veggie garden:

                                 Last year we tried to lay down rubber mats between each row to walk on and to keep weeds to a minimal. While they worked somewhat to reduce weeds they also reduced the amount of water able to get to the plants. Our tomatoes rotted on the vine, sometimes before they were ripe. And I really stink at weeding and watering.
                              This year I would like to try laying down old feed bags between rows. They're paper, easy to cut and place in long strips. My hope is that enough paper layers will keep the weeds away but still let the moister through. I'm going to try and follow along with the square foot gardening approach. Both with starting some seeds inside and staggering my plantings. I'd also like to try drip irrigation using old 2.5 gallon water jugs spaced evenly along the rows. My hope is to get spring, continuous summer and fall harvests.

Garden rows:
walk way
walk way
pop corn
walk way
walk way
sugar snap pea fence / pinto beans (?)
walk way
broccoli / cauliflower / brussels sprouts
walk way
sweet pepper mix / eggplant
walk way
cabbage - chinese & reg. / green beans
walk way
Beets / carrots
walk way
leeks / onions / celery
walk way
lettuce / spinach
walk way

The melon patch:

                            Last year we didn't even plant anything. The year before that everything we planted seemed to get some kind of fungus. We weren't able to harvest anything.

                            This year I'll be combining  Lasagna gardening with trellis gardening for my plants that vine but the 'fruits' don't weigh a lot, like gourds, squash and mini pumpkins. Lasagna gardening is a method where you use layers to combat weeds and enrich the soil. You don't have to till ether, which is nice. I've already laid down my first 2 layers and am working on a 3rd.

Lasagna Layers:
a thick layer of cardboard
sheep stall refuse (spent hay and manure)
peat moss
composted cow manure
peat moss
rabbit manure
peat moss
wood ashes

4 Trellises (one per corner):
winter Squash mix

1 Pyramid Trellis (in the middle):
mini Pumpkin mix

4 mounded beds:
pie Pumpkins

The herb garden: 

                                 Last year it was overrun by weeds!! And parsley. . . . . Seriously I haven't planted parsley except maybe the first year we moved here 5 years ago! Now its everywhere. 

                                 This year I'm going to be doing a little Lasagna gardening along with heavy mulching. Most of the plants are already established but there's a few I question if they are going to come back and I'll plant petunias in the spring. So, I'm going to wait until they come up then I'll start layering, plant my petunias and end with a thick layer of mulch. At least thats the plan anyway. Oh and I'm going to find a place to plant some artichokes. I guess their a member of the thistle family and are really pretty if you let them bloom. Plus the kids really like them.

To plant:

Anyway that's the plan. I'm tired just looking at it lol.

Giant Rabbit cages

These cages can be used for giant rabbits, for a litter of babies or if your like me you just want to give your bunnies plenty of room. There will be plans for 2 different cages. The first cage I'm making will be the same size as the one's I'm already using. The next 2 that I'll be making will be a little smaller. There going to sit beside the door to the bunny stall and the doors to 2 other cages, I think I'll have to modify the cage doors to slide up when opening. All 3 cages will have built in hay mangers but will not have nest boxes. If I wanted to use them for birthing cages I will have to make nest boxes.

Shopping for wire was interesting. It should be noted that we use 2 different types of wire on our cages, 1/2"x 1" for the bottom and 1"x2" on the sides/top. TSC, in Wilmington, didn't have the greatest selection and what they did have they were out of. (I ended up getting the wrong wire and taking it back) Then I went to Lowe's, also in Wilmington. They had a much better selection however they were almost as sparse in the amount they actually had in stock. So I got what I thought might work. 1/2"x1" roll 10' in length, 1"x2" roll 15' in length, and a roll that starts at the bottom 1"x4" the openings gradually winded to 4"x4" at the top (50' in length). I spent $80. I was hoping to build all 3 cages for less then $20 . . . . .

I was delusional.

However if the wire with the larger holes works out I'll be able to build 5 or more cages. Oh, and my dad bought some wire for me to use. Its 1"x2" and (I think) 25' in length. So we're up to $106.99, 4 rolls of wire and a bunch of J-clips.

For the larger cage I cut:

                             1 piece of 24"x40" wire for the bottom, the holes were 1"x.5"
                             3 pieces 24"x24" for the small square sides, and the middle
                                           using the 1"x4" graduating wire
                             2 pieces of 24"x40" wire for the back and top; with 1"x2" holes
                             1 piece of 24"x36" for the front
                                            with a @x$ square cut for the door, 1"x2" holes
                             1 piece 4x3 for the door, 1"x2" (though I changed this for the smaller cage)

For the smaller cage I cut:
                            1 piece of 24"x32" wire for the bottom, the holes were 1"x.5"
                            3 pieces 24"x24" for the small square sides, and the middle
                                           using the 1"x4" graduating wire
                            2 pieces of 24"x32" wire for the back and top; with 1"x2" holes
                            1 piece of 24"x26" for the front
                                          with a @x$ square cut for the door, 1"x2" holes
                            1 piece 4x3 for the door, 1"x2"

I connected all of the pieces together with J clips. For the pellet feeder, you'll want to cut a slot out of your middle section and wire it up before you attach it to the floor. Connect the middle to the floor next, to make life easier. Attach the side closest to the middle section, the last side piece, back and then top. Clip the front to the rest of the cage. Next attach the door to the front section, add a latch and your good to go.

In hind site I would tweak the design just a little if the cages were going to be up against each other. I would make it one very large cage with 2 rabbit holes and a hay manger in the middle. One small package of J clips is not enough for 2 cages.

This is the slightly larger cage. You can't see the pellet feeder, its there hidden by the water bottle. And this is Rewben, my new rew English Angora Buck. As you can see he has plenty of room. The cage is wired to the celling and hangs underneath of another cage. There is a slide made from sheet metal above that lets the droppings move to the back. You can kind of see it in the picture.

Yes, I had blisters by the time I was done. And my sweetie had to clip a door for me; but all in all I built them mostly by myself. Now I get a few new bunnies to fill them!!

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.