Monthly Garden Chores for February – East Coast Edition

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This is a guest post written by my buddy Heather from Massachusetts.  I thought it would be fun this year to post Monthly Garden Chores from both the West Coast and East Coast. You can see my February garden plans for my Seattle, Washington garden HERE.

Monthly Garden Chores for February – East Coast Edition

February, I don’t know about the rest of you who live in cold climates, but February is the hardest! The holidays are a distant memory, I’m so pale my veins stand out like a road map, and my mind keeps playing that it’s-almost-spring-hang-in-there-card. Trouble is, it’s not almost spring. To keep myself occupied, operation plan-in-advance is in full swing.

Lately the temps have been up and down but with long stretches of 5*-20*.  Anyway, around 20* the girls {chickens} don’t seem to care, but below 20* they stay in their coop and hunker down. We haven’t gotten a lot of snow this year, so we can see a bit of grass. The funny thing is that I literally tried to turn over the garden beds with a pitch fork like a compost pile… yep, frozen.

DIY Chicken coop designs recycled wood palletsThe chicken’s water freezes of course so we just have to rotate fresh warm water out to them twice a day. I was worried about the chickens in the cold temps and was looking for a non-heatlamp idea to keep them warm when it dawned on me… I could insulate the coop with straw! Luckily, with the walls made of pallets, it was super easy to just cram the pallets with straw. This has kept the drafts out and has really warmed up the coop. Most days I see them sunning themselves in the front window.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with HamMy big New Years resolution was to make one NEW recipe a week! I’ve got a pretty solid collection of 10-15 dinner recipes, but when I made the new dinner resolution announcement there was a shockingly excited, yet subtle, roar that bubbled up from the family… very suspicious. And so far, so good – thank goodness for Mavis’s recipe catalog as it’s taken half the struggle out of finding a new recipe, which is simply, finding a new recipe.

This year I’ve made the Baked Mac with Ham {the HH actually stopped eating to kiss me he loved it so much}, teriyaki chicken, roasted chicken {this was sooooo easy}, and with the roasted chicken leftovers I made Mavis’s rockin’ chicken soup, {this last week I went on a mommy/daughter trip so I gave myself a pass, plus I know the boys will be happy living on nachos, cereal and pasta while we’re gone}. This next week I’ll make the homemade pizza recipe.

grow lightsSeeds I’m Starting Indoors this Month

My seeds from Botanical Interests have come in and I’ve planned my garden already. So my son and I put together our seed starting rack, I got this one it’s super sturdy plus Home Depot will deliver to your door – did you know that? I didn’t, but I love it! They even delivered my lights all in one piece! It’s early to start seeds that will go in the garden so we’re going to start lettuce to harvest for the table and give tomatoes a whirl – it might be too early but it can’t hurt to try right? {Work with me people, it’s February!}

grow light kitWhat I Plan to Transplant Outside this Month

Transplant? No. But stalk Pinterest for good ideas for garden structures and designs… Yes! I’ve already found a few I love. Wonder how the HH will take to woodworking, of sorts, in the house? Hmmmm, I’ll keep ya posted.

eggsWhat I plan to Harvest This Month

The girls are still poppin’ out 2-3 eggs a day – the funny thing is, one of them lays torpedoes! We have no idea which one it is, but it’s funny. Anyone else have a torpedo layer?

indoor plantsHouseplants and Indoor Bulbs

Actually, my house is already half rainforest – every window has a plant in it. If I bought another, the HH would shake his head and ask where we would put it. Some plants I’ve had almost as long as my kids! This one started a foot high and has grow to the point it couldn’t support itself and had flopped over. I didn’t know what to do with it but it seemed to be doing fine so I just left it. Finally it grew another shoot – so I took the opportunity to lop off the top {6 feet’s worth}!

lemon treeI also gave my lemon tree a lil’ fertilizer and boy.did.it.like.it! Warning: our dogs thought the super stinky fertilizer smelled oh-soi-nteresting and one of them {ahem, Ridley} dug his nose around in the soil. On the upside, that super stinky smell means it’s super awesome – I’m not kidding when I tell you lemon flower buds popped out overnight!

front bedsTrees and Shrubs

One year I planted pumpkins in one of the front yard mulch beds and it went CRAAAZY. We were able to get 5 good pumpkins out of a pretty small space {from the vines that didn’t get mowed – what is it with men and their yards?}. Suspiciously the HH didn’t say anything and he has a strict no-garden-in-the-front-yard rule so last fall I snuck a raised bed in that same front mulch beds hoping for another good batch off pumpkins. I camouflaged the raised bed by burying it at ground level – think he’ll notice?

rhode island red chickenWeed and Pest Control

Usually the chickens do a bang-up job with pest control. We saw a huge difference in just one summer with chickens eating ticks like a kid eating cotton candy.  But, since we’ve added strawberries and blueberry bushes to the backyard I’m thinking we won’t be able to let them free-range as much as they’ll free-range all my fruit right off the stems!

Plus the lil’ stinkers keeping sneaking into the front yard, so I’ll need the build something to contain them that’s movable, foldable and light weight so they can play in the yard but not get into trouble. Enter Pinterest – it really is a magical collections of ideas and style. I may have to build this one in the garage. I love building projects!

boston garden winterLawn Care

Is there a better invention than a snow blower? I think not.

Hang in there folks – it’s almost spring! {Repeat until you believe it, or, until it’s actually spring!} That’s my story and I’m stricken’ to it!

~ Heather

**These garden chores are based on my Zone 5b Southeast/Boston MA location. Find your garden zone HERE.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the glimpse of gardening on the other side of the country Heather. I love seeing how other gardeners cope with their environments and what they can grow. I had a hen that laid a pale pink torpedo and one that laid an olive green golf ball (perfectly round)! My adventure this year is ducks and guinea fowl!

  2. This is great. We just moved to Norwell,MA and are thinking of getting chickens and setting up our garden. Are you nearby? I’d love to get more information on your setup as this is our first time gardening in the Northeast.

  3. we are in northwestern corner of ohio and have chickens. they are in an insulated coop but the sub-zero temps for such a long time this winter scared us. so we hung a heat lamp in there, but that didn’t help much. the coop has lots of windows that we covered with recycled windows from the house which let a lot of wind in. I got the bright idea to staple thick cardboard on the inside to cover the windows and voila(I got poopooed on this) it stays 30 degrees warmer than outside. The girls are warm and happy and are laying like champs. And yes it is almost spring……yaaaay.

  4. Heather in MA says:

    Cecily: ROUND? Oh my, that must have been challenging ;) Are the guinea fowl for meat and ducks for eggs?

    Hilary: My chicken coop and garden are in different posts on Mavis’s website. Go to the top of her website to the search bar – this will search Mavis’s site.

    Julie: I think the cardboard was wise – I know what you mean by the air that comes in around the windows, I think I’ll add something like that next year too. The water is our real challenge, taking water out twice a day is tedious – I’m hoping to pick up a water heater at the end of this winter on sale ;)

    • Both for eggs and meat. I love duck and guinea meat but I am also albumen intolerant and I have read that I may be able to eat duck eggs without the side affects.

  5. One of our hens lay torpedo eggs, only we call them “lizard eggs”. They’re long and skinny! We only have nine hens, but still haven’t been able to figure out the culprit. Our flock is composed of 2 Australorp, 2 Delaware, 3 Red Star, 1 Buff Orpington and 1 Speckled Sussex. What we know for certain so far is that the Sussex lays a pinkish egg, the Delawares lay enormous dark brown eggs, and the Buff lays a speckled brown egg.

  6. MILDRED LANE says:

    OT
    Time to sow poppy seeds is when the snow is on the ground. I remembered to do this ,usually I forget. Now to wait for the beauty.

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