The Noobie Gardener

Trying to get my thumb green, and going in the deep end!


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Chickens!!!!!

“We keep moving forward, opening doors, and doing new things , because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. “

Walt Disney

So you know how i’m a noobie at almost everything existing in my backyard, and I mean everything.  Remember how I have a broody ( wants to be a Mum so much) chicken that decided to sit in her nest so I put some fertilised eggs underneath her and was told that it was going to be due to hatch last Tuesday, and on Tuesday nothing happened? Well if you didn’t you do now!

So my motto which sometimes gets me into a whole lot of trouble is : “When in doubt find out”

Well alot has happened since then! Well.. as any noobie on anything if something doesn’t happen textbook wise.. panick will have set in. SO, i initially panicked, emailed my chicken guru as well as hitting Dr. Google.

Let me tell you something if you’re worried, new about something and care about something or a situation so much.. Dr. Google can help you in some ways.. and in others to stress you out some more!! I tell you what, I have never been so interested in Chicken embryology in all my life, i’ve never been so excited about eggs in all my life… an egg.. period! It’s a bit overwhelming what you can find on the web, if the temperature is off it can delay the hatch, hatch too early there may be something wrong with the chicks, hatch late there may be something wrong with the chicks, they should hatch at day 21, actually they can hatch beyond day 21, oh look someone said her chicks hatched at day 28! Don’t help the chick hatch it could die, do help the chick in some circumstances, if the chicks haven’t hatched these are the bazillion reasons why.. and then what to do with unhatched eggs.. unhatched chick ragu anyone?! (eep!) So while I was reading ten billion miles per hour on every information I could find, every forum post..

I finally got an email from my Chicken Guru which simply stated, give it a couple of days it may take longer for the chicks to hatch. Another thing that i’ve learnt is this: it’s text book for chicks to hatch on day 21, however it may take longer and as any newbie will do ,panic and want to help.. the best thing that you can do is let nature take it’s course. Sometimes intervening can cause more trouble so having patience is what I need to do!

So Tuesday came and went… and that was day 21, Day 22 Wednesday morning, nothing… went to work and came back to a completely empty shell and a “Peep peep peep!” Relief!! However only one egg has hatched! Day 23  today, checked on Scarlett and still some peeping but not multiple peeps. However i’ve replaced the water, cleaned the coop and heeding the advice of others on the net.. and Dr. Google… Leave Mamma Alone!!

So i’m officially leaving Mamma Alone and as much as i want to check on her now and then, i’m just going to work today and try and refrain myself from checking or looking!!

I also feel that if the other chicks don’t hatch by day 25 i might have to check the eggs (candle) to see what’s happening. There also like my plants may be casualties. But here’s hoping the other chicks may be well on the way. So that’s the update! One chick who survived the night and peeping away and hopefully the rest to follow!!

But it’s amazing that natures miracles is happening in my backyard! Do your work oh mother nature and lets hope there’s siblings for the lil chick!

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Going in the deep end

“I grow plants for many reasons; to please my eye or please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow. “

David Hobson

So… Noobie.. definition: A person who is new to something; a newcomer.. Describes me to a tee  especially when it comes to gardening.  I live with my Husband, two cats in my lovely house, however my garden is something else.

Lets just say.. that my garden.. didn’t used to even resemble what it is now. Even now my garden is pretty bleugh but it’s a far cry than what it used to be !  I’ll put a picture up of what it is now but before it was a jungle. I wish I were exaggerating.. but unfortunately and ashamed to say… this is true. You know the humble weed? How it starts off small .. well.. my weeds were the size of medium plants. Now imagine that.. and then multiply it by say 40-50 .. and in a small backyard.. I think I sum it up when my Mum who came to visit said to me, ” Detty when are you going to do the backyard? I’m scared that you could have snakes!”. When you hear that you absolutely , undoubtedly know that you really really truly have to do something, anything! This year I made it a point to make a New Years Resolution: Tackle my garden. Make it somewhere I can really and truly escape outside. I’m going to take back my garden!

So early this year,  in came “my backyard heroes” armed with lawnmowers, gloves, shovels and whippersnippers.   My parents church group swung by (needing to raise some funds) , battled my backyard for a good donation. It took 8 full grown men ( including hubby) a whole day to clear my backyard to the bare minimum. Albeit uneven in some areas, lumpy, and bare… it was one of the first since I moved in.. the first times that I ever stepped out in my own backyard. I realised.. that i should do something out here.. and I liked being out here!

So what type of garden do we want? That was the question.. do I just want a pretty garden full of flowers and lawn and water features? Maybe.. I don’t have much space, in fact the whole yard is wrapped around the house but only meters from the house is the fence.  I was uhming and ahing for quite a while until researching gardens, I came to good old youtube.

And.. I found Josh Byrne and Permiculture Gardening Australia.

Suddenly my eyes were opened to the potential that I could have. Firstly it is becoming more and more expensive to eat healthier. Seriously when you think about it, it’s cheaper to eat junk food then to eat healthy. But what about the backyard? What if you could grow your food? Or some of it at least? Have fresh food, where you know where it came from ( obviously the backyard), you know how it was grown ( because you grew it yourself), it’s definitely fresh ( as you picked it out not moments before and you’re cleaning it now) and it’s really healthy! No pesticides ( unless you use it), not much travel time or wait time for your food to travel to you.  The plus also is, if you plan it right, you can utilize your space no matter how small your yard may be and still come out better. Fresh herbs, vegies and fruit! Awesome!

Then came the thoughts of how about we try having some chicken. My hubby ( The voice of reason in our marriage) announced that he didn’t want to buy chickens unless we knew for sure that we were able to cope with chickens. You can rent a house, you can rent a car.. who knew that you can rent chickens!? Chickens that are delivered and setup in your own backyard. Explanations given, information and support for as long as you have the chickens. Chickens check.. coop check.. food check… now.. did they lay eggs? YES THEY DID from the very first day! If you’re in Melbourne and you come across this dilemma BOOK A CHOOK is amazing! The lady who runs this amazing rental business is clearly passionate about everything chicken! http://www.bookachook.com.au check it out!

Anyway we had them for 4 weeks.. in that time they worked their little ways into our hearts. When that chicken ( Peckin Bantam) arrived and the first thing that they did was weed my garden.. they had me! They are amazing, the eat the weeds more than the plants, have dust baths ( but in turn aerate my soil), fertilise and ate my scraps. After the rental period was over we ended up falling in love with the chickens. So we now have chickens, a coop, food and support from the bookachook owner who continues to be invaluable and very very patient.

So after the chickens we thought we should plan our garden moreso.. put some more thought into it. So that we did! My husband is studying at the moment so alot of the time he’s away so really the main person to look after everything including garden wise is moi. I’m working full time and thought to call in someone to just do the front lawn. IN comes this really great Gardener.. who lets me know.. hey not only do I do lawns, I also do landscaping ( aha lightbulb sprung up) and gardens.

So tomorrow he’s going to let us know what he proposes to do to the first section of our cleared out backyard which is exciting. He’s going to also install a gate whereby we can put the chickens in , in the event that my parents dogs Charlie bear and Pepper come to visit for a while.

In the meantime i’m putting everything into containers ( all the plants and seedlings) to keep them mobile until the whole garden beds are completed and we can organise who goes where. I’ve delved a little into companion gardening.. and im still doing a lot of research… I mean alot!

here’s a few websites that i’ve visited

Everything Chicken!

Everything Garden!

Well amoungst all that we did today, we went to Masters to visit the nursery and there is this person who works there : Rod. He’s amazing he’s an avid gardener over the years and well.. he told me , even though we research on the internet, nothing compares to reading it from a book. You wouldn’t cook without a recipe right? It makes sense!

So in a way even though me and hubby are going into making the garden ourselves, we’re surrounded by some support or direction. There is already casualties in the plant department.. but all is not lost as I am learning as I go along.

Whats going to happen in the next following weeks?

  • One of our chickens Scarlett has gone broody, so we put some fertilised eggs under her and hopefully we’ll be raising some chicks
  • Gardener coming over tomorrow to plan our garden out more
  • Establishing a compost bin/ worm farm
  • Repotting plants and establishing where the fruit trees are going to go
  • Water feature in pots with goldfish
  • Installing a gate
  • leveling out the backyard
  • Using every bit of our small backyard to the full potential and making our backyard edible and pretty at the same time. Making it useful.

I know this is alot of hard work and there will be some duh moments as we are completely newbies ourselves. However welcome to our journey you’re more than welcome to stick around, pop in and out from time to time and see how we are progressing or more or less… stumbling our way to a better garden!