Hey there, fellow homes owners! 🍂 It’s that wonderful time of the year when we’re gearing up to welcome winter’s embrace on our property in the South Valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico. There’s a lot to do to prepare for the colder months, so let’s dive into our essential fall preps:
- Bed Overwintering: Now’s the perfect moment to give our garden beds some love. Adding hot fertilizers like horse, cow, and chicken manure sets the stage for a nutrient-rich soil next growing season. We cover our beds with straw to keep pesky weeds at bay after topping them with an inch of compost. This nourishing mix will soak up winter moisture and regular irrigation.
- Chicken Coops: Our chicken coops are a special concern. We’ve got a semi-open design to balance ventilation and draftiness. Deep litter method, anyone? From November to mid-April, we let the bedding pile up. It might be chilly outside, but the composting manure provides some much-needed warmth. Ventilation is key, though, to keep ammonia odors in check. And don’t forget, cracked corn adds some extra coziness for our feathered friends.
- Composting Adventures: We’re serious about composting, especially this time of year. Everything from coop cleanup to woodshop scraps and tree branches gets in on the action. Our burn pile can grow a bit wild during dry spells, so now is a good time to keep it in check. We use a top down burn barrel and generate an even mix of ash and biochar, both of which are invaluable elements of our compost.
- Cold-Weather Chicken Care: When those nighttime temperatures drop below 25 degrees, we’ve got thermostatically activated hot plates to keep our chickens hydrated and cozy.
- Water Wise: Managing water lines is a breeze with our irrigation setup. We’ve learned from past mishaps and now ensure all spigots are properly closed to avoid bursting.
- Leafy Lessons: We’ve changed our leaf-collecting game. Instead of hauling them to compost and back, we let nature work its magic by blowing leaves near the orchard to decay into the ground. It’s not only easier but also a haven for pollinators and beneficial insects. Some of our leaves are used to insulate tender plants. We wrap our fig bush in burlap and then stuff leaves between the branches to protect it from the routine light frosts that we encounter.
- Feeding the Chickens: After the first frost, our chickens get a buffet of frost-affected plants. They love it! We also have beds with native wildflowers that become their tasty treats after we’ve tidied up.
- Mowing Matters: Lastly, don’t forget that last mowing of the yard, no sense tripping over grass all winter. We’re contemplating replanting a section due to rodent damage and an ongoing grub battle.
So, fellow home owners, let’s embrace the changing seasons and ensure our property is snug and ready for winter’s arrival. Stay warm and enjoy the cozy vibes of fall! 🌾🍁🏡