Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016 Winners and Losers

I wanted to make a list to remind myself of these thing come spring.

Things that worked this year:
  • The red ranger chickens were really a joy to have around.  The hen I kept is also a really good layer.  Get more next year.

  • Poultry pasture - huge win. Cannas look great & attracted lots of hummingbirds.  Cheap seeds and no work on my part equaled a lot of feed and cover for various poultry. I should do this every year.  Heck yes.
  • The heirloom fingerlings were fantastic and well worth the effort of actually buying on-line and having shipped. Yes, I know you can buy potatoes in the store for cheap. No, I still don't want to have to drive to the store.
  • Poultry nursery coop.  With the exception of the bantam peep murders and resulting early turkey harvest of course.  It was nice to have moms, babies and young ones close to the house.
  • Straw mulch. Did a great job of keeping the weeds down.  The straw was mostly weed-free because the chickens had pecked through it all winter either as bedding or keep-the-mud-down in the chicken yard during spring. 
  • Peppers.  Dang, what a good pepper year.  Must have been all of the heat because they had no help from me. Lots went into the freezer.
  • Cherokee Purple, Violet Jasper and Monarch heirloom tomatoes were the heavy performers.

  • The nasturtiums looked beautiful.
  • I liked having herbs right outside the kitchen door.

Things to improve on or not do again:
  • Oxheart tomatoes usually do well but this year they were terrible.  Nearly all went to the poultry due to odd fungal (?) spots.  So sad.
  • Winter squash in the poultry run.  Yeah, that was a disaster.  They didn't wreck the plants, it was the softball-sized patches of dirt they were planted in that proved irresistible.  I might try to do this again but will make some sort of squash cages for the first month.  What a bust.
  • Pattypan squash look cute but were kind of a pain to cook so most got fed to the chickens.
  • Turkeys.  Once was enough.
  • I can tell that I'm going to run out of canned tomatoes.  I've been putting them in scrambled eggs so next year I need to can a ton of pints and half pints. 

  • I freeze eggs during the summer to cook over winter while the chickens are on break.  I think I froze 4 or 5 dozen and we've run out.  We're getting about an egg a day now but next year I should freeze maybe 10 dozen.
  • The quail project was a bust.  I'd like to get another handful in the spring because I do miss having them around. 


  1. Great post and I might have to copy your idea and do the same post. Each year I tend to let something slip, this year my squashes let md down and I only ended up with about 8of them! I've big plans for next year, but then I say that every year!

  2. Please do! I started this list in the summer and had forgotten some of these things by the time I came back to it. I really think it's going to be a good tool for me to try to do better in the spring.