I had big hopes to get a lot done on the homestead this week. Unfortunately, my health didn’t cooperate at the start of the week. I had some symptoms that indicated coronavirus, including the chest pain and shortness of breath. That made it particularly difficult to do any digging or other yard work. Thankfully, I am over that now and felt really good on Saturday.

Living in the desert brings a number of challenges when it comes to gardening. One of the biggest issues is the quality of our dirt. It has many rocks and not much organic material. To get things to grow, I have to buy compost and growing soil. I found a place called Tank’s Green Stuff that recycles garden waste and turns it into compost. On Saturday, I made two trips there to get a load of compost and a load of Pro Planting Mix.

The Pro Planting Mix contains Coconut Coir Chips and other components that help to store water and provide nutrients to plants. When bought by the cubic yard, their prices are much lower than buying from a big box hardware store. A cubic yard is quite a bit of dirt, so I am happy that I bought a trailer earlier this year.

Times like this is when it is great to have so many sons. I gave them shovels and put them to work unloading the trailer. This was one of those all hands on deck working party type of days.

Everyone got involved in this project. Even the 2-year-old used his little plastic shovel to move the dirt around in the garden beds.

I am glad to have the garden beds filled. I have some squash seeds that I planted in small pots that will be ready to put in the garden beds soon. I just need to build the gate in the garden area to keep the rabbits out.

Our weather has been warm, so the seeds I have planted are doing well. My tomatoes in pots seem to be doing well. Those are probably the plants we enjoy most. Store-bought tomatoes are poor compared to self-grown.

tomatoe seedling

I was finally able to get the fig tree we bought into the ground. I wanted to do that earlier, but feeling sick sapped my strength.

planted fig tree

We moved the Blue-Laced Red Wyandotte chicks into the coop. They were starting to get antsy in the box in our living room. They kept flapping their wings at each other and charging around the box. For the first time in almost two months, there are no chicks in our living room. For a week or two, the chicks will be in a separate box within the coop to grow and get used to the other chickens.

The other chickens are still doing well. They like people to be around, especially if you give them food. We are wondering if one of our Easter Eggers is a rooster; if it is, then we hope it will be a nice rooster.

We also continue to see beautiful things in our yard. The doves are laying eggs and sitting on nests. Walking around, I accidentally scared one off a nest in a cholla cactus. It amazes me that they can nest in those plants; if I just brushed against one I would be covered in spines.

We have a cactus in the front yard that attracts doves. There is one section that is cupped perfectly for a nest. Last year we got to see babies go from tiny to independent and fly off on their own. Now there is a dove sitting on a nest in the same spot.

Most of the flowers have gone away, but I have noticed the creosote bushes are starting to flower. They have small yellow flowers that are kind of hard to see.

We are still waiting on Prickly Pear flowers, but I think we will have them soon.

I hope you all are staying safe and having good gardening weather.

-Joshua

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