Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sweet Potato Harvest

Last summer I wrote about our cattle tub garden.

I planted rhubarb in a couple of these tubs and filled the rest of them with strawberry plants and sweet potato slips.  Several of the strawberry plants died, probably because it was so hot this summer and the fact that the tubs are made of black plastic which absorbed the heat and made matters worse.  Next year, I will move the ones containing strawberries to where they receive more shade.

The sweet potatoes, however, loved the heat and did great!  I was pretty sure we were going to get some nice sweet potatoes when a few weeks ago I looked under the leaves of one of the plants to see this!

Today, we finally had time to harvest them.  It was much easier to dig them out of these tubs than in the past when we planted them in the garden.  Plus, there were no weeds and the deer didn't eat all the leaves.  Sweet potato leaves are deer candy.  They love them.

Having been planted in potting soil, the vines were easy to pull up.

We started out using a spading fork to dig the potatoes up, but eventually found that it was just as easy to dig them with our hands.  We found some very large potatoes, like this one.

But, that does not compare to this monster that weighs 6 pounds!

In the end, we had a really good harvest of sweet potatoes of all different sizes.

I always enjoy digging root vegetables.  It is like digging for buried treasure because you never know what you will find.  Like today, we found a sweet potato "braid".  Isn't that awesome!

I can't wait to cook some of these.  I am wondering if the monster potato will be too tough and fibrous to even be edible.  I will have to wait a couple of weeks to find out.  The sweet potatoes have to cure for a few days before they are ready to eat.  So, for now, they are spread out on the shelves in the greenhouse.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Homemade Chicken Feeder

It's been a while since my last post.  Lots of things going on here, including a trip to Portland, Oregon which included a visit to a community garden in which a friend of mine has a plot.  I am planning a blog article on that in a couple of weeks.  So, stay tuned!

This post, however, is about an idea I saw in a magazine earlier this year on how to build a chicken self-feeder.  I've written about our chicken coop several times.  It is pretty small, so I am always looking for ways to save space in there.   The current feeder hangs on a rope from the ceiling in the middle of the coop and is in the way when we need to clean the coop or work in there for any reason.

The idea I saw used PVC pipe and fittings to create a self-feeder.  Yesterday, I made a trip to our local Lowe's to get the parts for this.  There are four pieces.  

The pipe is about 3 feet long with a cap and screw-in top.  The bottom piece is just a regular trap, like you would use under a sink.  It was rather like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, looking through all the bins of plumbing supplies to find the ones that worked together.

Tom attached it to the wall of the coop with brackets.  

Meanwhile, the girls were outside oblivious to the changes going on inside their coop.

We needed the help of a funnel to fill it with chicken feed.

The screw-in lid went on last.

And the U-shaped trap kept it from spilling out the end.

The girls were unimpressed with the new object, but soon learned it contained food.  When I went in a couple of hours later, they had eaten the feed down to the bottom of the curve.  It appears we may have to cut an inch or so off the open end so it will be shallow enough for them to reach the food when the level gets to the bottom.  

Also, we will need to install 2-3 more of these to insure several of the girls can eat at the same time.  However, this is going to save some room and allow us to remove the hanging feeder.  So, excuse me.  I'm headed back to Lowe's for more supplies.......