Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Winter Gardener's January Checklist

I read this great post online about winter gardening and what you should do to get ready for Spring.  I saw a lot of pretty plants like the one pictured below, and then looked outside.  The birds have eaten all of my pretty red berries or my kids have pulled them off to put them into self made "bird's nests".  Thanks guys!  My one glimpse of color gets reduced to a bird's nest that eventually gets crushed into the brown ground.  Exciting!  The article did say to leave them on the plans for the critters to eat and if you have pulled them off for holiday decorations, sprinkle them back onto the ground.  Does crushing them into the dirt count?? :)

Traditional Exterior design by Philadelphia Photographer Amy Renea

 The next article caught by attention because it pertained to chickens.  I am a proud member of CLUCK (Charlottesville League of Urban Chicken Keepers).  I just sold one of my coops a few weeks ago for a whopping $150!  The commissions were huge on that one!  I should have planted a "SOLD" sign in front prior to shipping it off.  It was a smaller coop and provided enough warmth.  The coop we have now is quite bigger and the three girls, Dora, Princess and Yo Gabba Gabba have had limited access to the outside world with the cooler temperatures.  Davin, my husband, put a small heater in their house and they'd just assume stay in there.  There is plenty of food in there and they just come out for water then go back in.  If we put the water in there I am pretty sure they wouldn't leave at all!  It's funny because when you walk up to the house, you can feel the heat coming out of the vent holes.  Those chickens.......

On a more serious note, if you DO have chickens or just enjoy bird watching, it is time to add a dirt or sand bath to the coop or yard for your feathered friends. Once the ground has frozen, they will not be able to bathe as they need to, so a small box of loose dirt and sand is a necessity.  Make sure to keep the cats out (and kids).  They are equally messy. ;)  Also make sure that your winter coop is warm enough for the hens. Though chickens can withstand a surprising amount of cold, a simple pane of glass to break the wind in the coop can make their life much more pleasant. You might also consider a heat lamp depending on the age and location of your flock or a heater that shuts off once th coop reaches a certain temperature.  The one we have is great!  It's small and if it gets knocked over, it shuts off.  I think we got it at Lowes for about $20.  I can check if you're interested.  There is a much more interesting story that goes into a lot more depth on composting and then putting dirt and radishes into a pot...and some potatoes into compost so it's ready in the Spring.  Very much not me (though I would like to do all of that composting stuff).  I make that part sound so much fun don't I!?

Traditional Other design by Philadelphia Photographer Amy Renea

 I hope you have enjoyed my blog thus far and I truly do love interaction!  Even a "good job" or "this sucks" is acceptable!



  1. I've wanted chickens for years! There's really no excuse since I live in the country again. What kind do you have, Valorie?

  2. We have three barred rock hens. Also known as heritage chickens. :) They are awesome!!