An Evening in the Garden

We have transitioned into our summer rhythm where Vijay naps late into the afternoon, and Vik and I stroll down to the garden once my husband gets home from work.  I am learning so much this year- my first year as a real vegetable gardener.  Raised beds are the best (in my humble opinion)- the soil is so rich, and the weeds so few.  I’m starting to boast about having a green thumb, but I’m pretty sure it has little to do with me, and more to do with the quality of the soil, and the wonderful rain we’ve been having.

I am keeping all of my thoughts organized in my garden notebook, and so far, I’ve learned the following:
*Just because you buy an entire pack of seeds doesn’t mean you need to plant every single one of them.  I have grown enough spinach and lettuce to fill about 10 grocery bags, and I’ve been giving it away to anyone who will take it.  I’ve made spinach pesto, spinach omelets, spinach pasta, and endless salads.  We’re a bit greened out.
*Same goes for radishes- no one family can possibly eat over 100 radishes and still be excited about them.
*Stake your peas as soon as they start to sprout.  I waited until mine were a tangled crazy clump before I tried to stake them.  A bit of a disaster, but still…we are getting plenty of peas.

I’m sure tomato season will be teaching me quite a lot considering I bought my tomatoes based soley on their names…Striped German, Mortgage Lifter, Yellow Pear, and about 5 others.  I might have gone a bit overboard.  We’ll see what happens!

This part of my day is so idyllic…Vik is such an easygoing soul, he is happy to eat some dirt and hang out while I fuss with my plot.  We load our basket full of kale, spinach, lettuce and peas, and make our way home to start dinner.  

The walk to and from our community garden is gorgeous…it is a treat to stroll along the streets of this beautiful town of ours…

The flowers have been extraordinary this year.  Blooms spilling out over every fence, leaving me to wonder what beauty is hiding in the backyards we pass.  Poor Vik…we can hardly make it a block without stopping for dozens of pictures.

When we finally turn onto our block, my heart feels so much lighter.  These walks are my tonic after a busy day of cooking, cleaning and chasing my wild toddler.

And then comes the most laughable part of our urban gardening experience- chicken wrangling.  Our girls don’t seem to understand the concept of coming back to their coop once night falls.  And so we head out into the backyard to chase down our four birds.  It is always comical, with one of us wielding a rake, Vijay making matters worse by scaring them away, and my husband cursing lightly under his breath as he crawls through bushes and under the deck.  Any ideas of how to train our fine feathered friends to come back to the coop on their own each night?  We’d appreciate some tips!

13 thoughts on “An Evening in the Garden

  1. amanda

    Did you start by keeping them in the coop all day/night for a few days? To establish it as their home base, to return to?

    Your garden is gorgeous, Christine! And Vik just scrumptious.

  2. Christine

    Beautiful photos……I am always amazed by the difference in siblings and yet I shouldn't be. I think you're given exactly what you need when you need it. Enter Buddha boy after the ever ready bunny!
    Enjoy these days

  3. b.k.

    Lovely! We're growing a backyard garden (second year), making changes from lessons we learned the first year. Love your chickens! That's next on my backyard dream list 🙂

  4. Anonymous

    no advice on the chicken wrangling activities, BUT! I shouldn't think Vik minds in the least as you stroll down the street pausing to drink in the sight and scent of those lovely flowers……my, my…… are so blessed with that walk. Your photos are amazing and I have to tell you if I could get away in September, I would be in SQUAM taking your course. LOVE your garden and your perfect backyard.

  5. Anonymous

    I give my chickens millet every evening about the same time. They love it and come running when they hear me go outside.

  6. Laura

    We had the same problem! Eventually what worked for us was just letting them stay out a little later – it seem their natural roosting instinct really kicks in around dusk, so if you've been trying to get them in earlier they may just be rebelling! Also, reserving a bit of a treat never hurts! Your place is looking so gorgeous!

  7. Stacey

    We have always put the chickens in the coop for two days straight. They learn that this is their home and then when you let them out for a normal day you'll see they'll know where their safe place is at night. I've never had a problem after doing it this way for years! I hope this works for you. It stinks to keep them “cooped” up for a couple of days but it works. Then once dusk falls they return.

  8. Gaby

    i wish you could give me some of your extra spinach! i'm always spending a fortune on organic spinach/kale. your garden looks amazing!

  9. Gk Threek

    Our chickens did the same thing when they were young. Go and roost in bushes or wherever. We started giving them snacks in the coop just before dark and they eventually get the picture.

  10. Helle and John

    When we first brought our chickens home we kept them in for a few days and my husband would put treats into a rubbermaid container and tap on it before he entered the coop …they got used to hearing the tapping on the dish and relating it to treats…they would come a-running from any field and gladly run into their coop. Hope this helps!

  11. Jennifer

    lovely photos.
    as for chicken wrangling.
    We use a jar of freeze dried meal worms.
    We chased and cursed for a year and a half before a friend told me this.
    I simply walk to the coop saying, “here chick chick chick”. Then we shake the tin of meal worms. They all come hauling it, lightening speed, toward the coop. It took about 2 weeks for them to learn.
    good luck.


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