Monday, April 25, 2016

Zone 14

While I was away for the weekend at a scrap booking crop, the Head Gardener was home working on a special project.

We moved here in late winter 2009. In 2010 we gardened in a grass ridden spot north of the barn. The following year we moved the vegetable garden to the south side of the barn where it could be watered using the water from the irrigation wells that we share with 5 neighbors, which we use to water the lawn and pastures. Wanting not to use city water which was both expensive and seemingly not a good use of water, we pondered how we could connect to the irrigation system. After much discussion and the HG's genius mind and hard work, we now have the Garden Spot all on an automated irrigation system. While not fully automated, Zone 14, the vegetable garden, will be more efficiently watered. There is a trade off, however: electricity vs. city water, but the whole system now works from one zone to the next seamlessly with each zone timed according to its need, the vegetable garden included. Whew. What a chore. Thank you, dear HG.

When I got home mid afternoon Sunday, the HG met me with the EZ-Go (our golf  garden cart) to take me on the Grand Tour. So now pretend that you are riding along with me on the EZ-Go, and I'll take you on a tour of the Garden Spot, including Zone 14. Grab a sweater because it is just a bit chilly.

I knew exactly what the HG was doing while I sorted,  cropped, and trimmed photos for little Lily's photo album because my cell phone was exploding with the HG's texts to not just me, but to our two daughters. These first four scared me. I told my crop friend that my husband had either purchased a drone or was on the roof of the chicken house.  The photos do show the trench he dug in which to lay the plastic pipe for the watering system: along the coral fence,

 and around the corner with sprinkler heads attached to water the day lily garden, and along the back side of the chicken house with sprinkler heads attached along the way to water the mound. This week we will add sod to the bare spots to reduce weeds. Reasoning: Grass is easier to mow than weeds are to pull.

His text photo shows that the system works.

Right now we only have potatoes, onions, and peas growing. Tomatoes and seeds will go in after Mother's Day, the second weekend in May, the safe time in Zone 5 to begin planting tender plants to avoid that one last freeze.

From the ground: It works.

Good coverage. The well water is stored in an underground tank beneath the mound.

 Now fully, automated, irrigation will much easier to accomplish.

Our EZ-Go tour will take us down the driveway to see the tulips. We planted them the first fall we were here, and this year they are spectacular.

Don't pay any attention to the dead trees. We lost 3 of the flowering crabs a couple of years ago. This year they will come out. We have pondered a number of solutions for the bare circles that will be left. Everything from sod to new trees to flower beds. I am opting for flower beds at least one year. I'll get back to you on that.

Have I mentioned the red bud lately? Yes, I admit to having been a bit obsessive about my little tree, but would you just look at her. She is at her best this year. The cold and snow from last week didn't damage any of the spring bulbs or the blossoms on the trees, so the northern Colorado landscape has been ablaze in color.

We had our first roasted asparagus the other night. You well know the difference between store bought; healthy and green as it may look, the taste does not compare with the home grown. Of course you can grow it in your own garden. We did. I figured that if it grows wild on ditch banks and along roadsides that it will grow in my garden and it is. You jut have to be patient because this is the 3rd year (or 4th) and finally I am getting healthy big stocks. 

A Fond Farewell

 We parted ways with this handsome fellow, the cuckoo maran rooster. We didn't need two roosters (we really don't need one). These are last year's photos before his tail plumage fully matured. He is a real beauty and gentle since he was handled quite a bit. He had large golden tail plumage that made him look so grand. He went to a good home to lady who keeps a number of hens and sells eggs, so he will be happy.

This is our setting hen, a Black Rock Partridge. She has been setting on a fake egg that we keep in the nesting boxes to remind the ladies where they should lay their eggs.

Even though we have had two roosters, we kept them from the hens so we don't have any fertilized eggs, so we got 8 from another keeper of hens. The hen sat on them, then moved to another nest, so we took away 4. She sat on them for a couple of days then moved off. Oddly she hasn't laid any of her own. We have been told that we must chase her off the nest to make sure that she eats and drinks for hens will literally starve themselves as the they set. She is pretty thin now, so who know how long she will keep this up. I am not expecting any chicks.

I appreciated all of your comments on the homemade yogurt that a ranged from I don't eat yogurt, I buy it once in a while, I prefer Greek yogurt, I think I'll try to make some, to Joanna who wrote that she makes her own and told me to strain the yogurt through muslin to get a sweeter,  Greek style yogurt with less lactose. I am going to do just that, Joanna (at Petal Pics), this week. I did like the homemade, tart as it was and really it isn't that much of an effort. Thanks so much for weighing on the subject. 

This week, weather cooperating, yard work: Clean-up and planting. I am excited to plan out the tree circles. I am thinking of Cannas in the center for drama, surrounded with a variety and annuals, petunias--sun and head hardy plants with lots of color to match the drama that the tulips have added this year--oh and bunny resistant, too. A good plan, until I get to the garden center and see the price of plants. Then I will opt for sod, I am guessing.

I also have to finish packing up the kitchen and living room to have the new flooring installed next Monday.

Today I'll play with the granddaughters. They have a mini spring break since Easter came so early. Guess I'd better get dressed and get on with my day.

Enjoy your week, and thanks so much for visiting. Hopefully I'll do a better a job of getting around this week to see you.

If you have mind to, visit Ann's Dollhouse Dreams to see the recent project.


  1. Hello Ann, wow, that is a great job done! Your HG seems equally as gifted as my EG. However, so far he never thought of a drone, haha - (and I shall not tell him). Wonder what you are going to put instead of the crab apples. Love the picture of the rooster and wonder why you don't have the rooster with the hens? Our roosters are also very good, very gentle. However, René is a real gentleman and will even 'hold hands' with his prefered hen whilst she lays an egg. I kept the other rooster (who was supposed to be a hen when I got the Marans) together with the three marans and they help in the garden around the pond (our under gardeners) whilst the local breed (poules de Herve) can scratch in the so-called hanging gardens where we grow veggies.
    I shall pop over to your dolls house now. Have a great week!

  2. The garden area is incredible! But that rooster took the prize. What a handsome fella! I'll try to remember that breed, so that if I ever get chickens, I will get one like him. I keep thinking about it. :-)

  3. You really have a wonderful garden spot and a beautiful yard. I know how much work it takes, too! I used to make yogurt, now my son has out yogurt maker and makes it. He always eats it with fruit because it is a little plain. Enjoy your week! Hugs!

  4. Ann, That is a great job executed by your HG. Glad it works so well. Sylvia D.

  5. I loved this tour around your garden spot. Your Headgardener really did a fantastic job. Your garden looks great with the tulips around the trees, surprised to see you have already your first asparagus to eat. I saw the first ones at the greengrocer last Friday, I looked at them and thought let's wait another week.
    Our grandchildren have a two weeks holiday at the moment, so you can guess they are here with us at this moment. Such a shame the weather is too bad to have fun outside, cold is back and we have already three days every few hours hailstorms, brrr.
    Regards, Janneke

  6. Wow that is quite a garden....I will say grass is easier to mow, but I find I have to keep hacking it back from the beds....lots of flowers already growing there...we are a bit stalled with very cold freezing nights.

    and LivingFromHappiness

  7. Hello, your garden is amazing. Your HG is fantastic! I enjoyed the tour. Love all the flowers and the hen and rooster are cute! Asparagus is my favorite veggie. Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

  8. You went to a full weekend crop? Woo hoo. I've been doing a monthly 12 hour one and it's fun with lots to eat but I don't last the full 12 hours.
    It's exciting to see your innovative changes and challenges with trying to get some eggs laid.

  9. Hello Ann, the Garden Spot is a very well organized and excellently working place! Thank you for the tour. Your asparagus looks tasty... and the flowers are wonderful.
    Happy gardening!

  10. Wow, that irrigation system was quite a project, Lynn!! I'm really impressed with your husband's hard work and know-how. I'm sure your garden will be all the better for it this summer.

    Your tulips are gorgeous and so is the redbud tree. They color our landscape here in North Carolina in yards and all along the roadsides in spring. They're some of my very favorite trees, and I'm glad yours did well for you.

    I actually learned to like yogurt when we went to England and Ireland in 1999. Theirs was so good there, when we got home, I started eating Dannon "Fruit on the Bottom" and I was so sad when they quit making that. Now I eat Greek Yogurt; it's good that you've learned to like it. :)

    Thanks so much for all your visits, Lynn; I feel so bad about being behind on visiting my blog friends. I haven't forgotten about you and really appreciate your comments. Duncan appreciates your birthday wishes, too. ;) How is Boone? Our dogs really rule the roost, don't they?

    Have a great weekend!



  11. That irrigation system is genius! What a wonderful tool to have for your gardening.

  12. Great garden! I had no idea hens were so complicated! We did fine during all the storms. They seemed to split right before they got to our town. We do have a tornado shelter. So I feel very safe and lucky. I hope you have a wonderful week!