New to the block

Hideaway Pines

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
45
Reaction score
115
Points
76
Truly amazing that you've created this beautiful garden yourselves.
my husband and I enjoy working and seeing things accomplished, but we found this land to be a bigger challenge in many ways than we expected, just clearing for our large Garden took almost a year of work off and on, as we removed trees, yaupon and then the layer upon layer of roots. But it was worth all the effort! We only had weekend for the first several years while we were still working in Dallas. Then we move out her full time in 2018. We have sugar sand, so at least we were not fighting rocks or clay.
 

Baymule

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
20,758
Reaction score
52,073
Points
823
Location
Northeast Texas
We have sugar sand too! I was going to ask you what soil you have, I figured it was not black gumbo clay, so that left sand or red dirt. We are in a pocket of sugar sand of maybe several thousand acres, but just down the road is red dirt. The red dirt is what most of the soil is around here. Water the sand, it goes right through and is dry in minutes like it never had water. :barnie We have amended the soil with everything we got our grubby hands on. LOL After 6 gardens, it is looking pretty good. Believe me, I know what you are up against. I saw where you joined TEG too, it's a great gardening forum.

Pile leaves in the chicken coop and run, they will enjoy scratching through it and in a couple months time, it will be reduced to a fine black crumble. I've piled leaves 2-3 feet deep in the sheep barn and in no time, the leaves are shredded by their hooves. Pine straw, leaves, they make great animal bedding and the resulting compost-in-place is garden gold. Let your animals do the work for you!
 

Hideaway Pines

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
45
Reaction score
115
Points
76
We have sugar sand too! I was going to ask you what soil you have, I figured it was not black gumbo clay, so that left sand or red dirt. We are in a pocket of sugar sand of maybe several thousand acres, but just down the road is red dirt. The red dirt is what most of the soil is around here. Water the sand, it goes right through and is dry in minutes like it never had water. :barnie We have amended the soil with everything we got our grubby hands on. LOL After 6 gardens, it is looking pretty good. Believe me, I know what you are up against. I saw where you joined TEG too, it's a great gardening forum.

Pile leaves in the chicken coop and run, they will enjoy scratching through it and in a couple months time, it will be reduced to a fine black crumble. I've piled leaves 2-3 feet deep in the sheep barn and in no time, the leaves are shredded by their hooves. Pine straw, leaves, they make great animal bedding and the resulting compost-in-place is garden gold. Let your animals do the work for you!

Yes the sand has little nutrients, but we love how easy it is to work in. Did you say you have 6 gardens? that is a lot!

We have done the Back to Eden garden method, where you basically layer several things to get a nutrient rich soil after time. This has worked wonders for me. You are so right about letting the chickens do the work for you though, I have an enclosed chicken run and I add the pine straw and wood chips/leaves multiple times a year, then I remove the layer of perfectly ready compost and add to my gardens at least twice a year. We have done this for 4 years now and it has produced some of the best veggies. My friends here are amazed at the size of my plants.

I have four large compost bins too, which also provides additional things for my gardens. When we were first starting, before I had all my own things to add, we got Mushroom Compost from the mushroom factory in Madisonville. If you have not gotten some from there, we highly recommend it. We got a 24ft trailer with sides filled to the rim, normally it is $12 for a load this size, but they are giving it away free when they are over loaded, which they have been the last few times we got some. Good compost with my chicken and bunny poop was all we needed to get our gardens started. We woodchip all our trees and yaupon we cut down, so we have piles of woodchips all around our place. This gives me easy access to some anytime I need them. We also built our chicken coop with a poop area under the roosting bars, that has a trap door on the back of the coop, this allows me to scrape all this into my wagon and toss in my compost. Trying to let nothing go to waste. I am at my max on chickens right now at 30, but at least 5 are really past the point of keeping for the sake of laying, but we are attached to them, so they get to keep clucking along.

I am expecting my first batch of Tamuk rabbits in a few weeks. We have California & Netherland rabbits, but I purchase a Tamuk buck a few weeks back and I am anxious to see how he will work out. Tamuk is a fairly new breed created by Texas A&M thus the name... they were bred for the Texas weather and for meat, we will see. I have 4 does and two bucks, just enough to keep us in a good supply of meat and I also sell some on the side.
 

Baymule

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
20,758
Reaction score
52,073
Points
823
Location
Northeast Texas
I should have been more clear, not 6 gardens, 6 years or seasons of gardening. LOL It has taken awhile to go from beach sand without the ocean, to fertile ground. Yes, I have made the pilgrimage to Madisonville for mushroom compost, but not since moving here.

I butcher and can my old layers, can the broth, it's the best. But sometimes there are the old ladies that get to hang out and just be chickens. I brought one with us when we moved here, Robin. She lived to 7 years old and is buried right inside the garden gate in a place of honor.

I only have 9 pullets now, will probably hold it there as I want to get knee replacement surgery next fall. Gotta make it easy for DH to do the animal chores! We raise Cornish Cross for meat every spring, have a few customers that buy from us, so we eat for free, plus make a little on them. Same for pigs. We raise 2, have a pig customer that buys one.

I want Jubilee Orpingtons, maybe after I get knee surgery. I have long admired them, like some eye candy!

We found a power line cleaning contractor in our area about 4 years ago and let them park their trucks here at night. They brought us over 110 loads of wood chips! That was a major help here! Early this spring, they were back in the area and brought us 11 more loads.
 

Coolbreeze89

Loving the herd life
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
171
Reaction score
297
Points
143
Location
Central Texas
Question for @Baymule and @Hideaway Pines : how do you keep pocket gophers under control? My dabbling in gardening has been limited to containers on my porch as we have so many gophers (despite my LGDs’ occasional success at killing them) and of course fire ants. I have toyed with starting a true garden, but I’ve been intimidated by the pests. Any wisdom to offer?
 

Hideaway Pines

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
45
Reaction score
115
Points
76
Question for @Baymule and @Hideaway Pines : how do you keep pocket gophers under control? My dabbling in gardening has been limited to containers on my porch as we have so many gophers (despite my LGDs’ occasional success at killing them) and of course fire ants. I have toyed with starting a true garden, but I’ve been intimidated by the pests. Any wisdom to offer?
I have had a run with the gophers myself, I found my 22 was the best way to control them, just parked my chair by their homes and waited...take some patience, but it works. I leave the dead one in the hole, it deters new incoming gophers... but also try Mole Maxx, it works great on gophers and moles.. you must water it in the ground though so the smell causes them to relocate. I have some mole that have nibbled on my root veggies and leave me tunnels all over my garden, a few times I have used my shovel to go after them, and once flushed a few out with my water hose. My Aussiedoodle actually killed one a week ago too - she got a huge reward.

on the ants, we do not have fire ants here thankfully, but we do have a biting red ant (almost as bad) that lives in our sand and leaf cutters which can strip a plant in a matter of hours. I found fresh coffee (not old grounds but unused) is good as a deterrent, I scatter it around the plants I want them to stay away from. They hate the smell. I also use DE and scalding hot water on their mounds - not at the same time as DE needs to be dry to work. We do all organic in all our land here, so we stir away from pesticides near our gardens. But around our house I use ant killer.
 
Top