Once the chickens arrived home, we immediately placed about an inch of pine shavings in the bottom of a 30 gallon grey plastic bin, rigged a heat lamp in one corner, filled up their feeder with Chick Starter, and their water trough with good, clean water. And then added the chicks.
It didn’t take long until all eight were around the feeding trough, pecking away at the Chick Starter. We placed the bin out on the back porch since our nights were not that cold. We secured baby gates over the top with bungee cords to keep our dogs and the neighbor cats out. They happily slept in the farthest corner from the heat lamp for two nights. Then the night time lows were forecast to dip quite substantially. So, in moved the chicks into one of the spare bedrooms.
Our cat, Jackson, would sit meatloaf style (front paws curled under his chest looking like a meatloaf ready to go into the oven) and stare at the door. Trinity would stand in the same place, whining…. oh how she wanted to eat one.
The word on the street is the compost from Singh’s Farm is the BEST. So, that’s where we headed. Standing in the middle of Singh’s Farm, you have no idea you are in the middle of the desert and it’s 113 degrees outside! There are native trees planted throughout the entire farm, creating a wonderful microclimate of cool humid goodness.
Entrance to Singh's Farm
Main walk at Singh's Farm
Plants for sale at Singh's
Mr. Singh accepts food waste from Whole Foods plus plant trimmings from local landscapers. He turns it into three different grades of wonderful, fertile, luscious smelling compost. Yes, compost smells luscious!
Singh's compost by the bag or truckload
Medium grade compost
Fine grade compost
We ended up purchasing 2 loads of medium and 1/2 load of fine grade compost. It filled the trailer! Although we had the entire load cover with tarps and tied down well, we still drove home slowly so we didn’t lose any of our precious load.
This is the hardest time of the year for me living in the desert. It’s been hot for sooo long! Then we have a few days where double digits are the high and I get hopeful, hopeful about it cooling off soon. And then it hits again, extreme heat warnings. Checking Weather Underground just a few minutes ago, right now it’s 113.4 degrees with 10% humidity. And the extreme heat warning extends through tomorrow. But, it’s a dry heat…
Oh yeah, shoveling compost in 113 degree weather – it will definitely be a weight loss day tomorrow, even with drinking gallons of water.
It’s almost fall… well, at least in many parts of the country but here! Here, the daytime highs are still hovering around 100 degrees plus. Some of the only ways to tell it’s fall is the palpable excitement about double digit temperatures (OMG, it was only 99 today!) and Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is back. And, if you’re up early enough in the day, the mornings are a little cooler – the nighttime lows are dropping below 80 degrees (like last night, it was all the way down to 79).
What this is all leading to is planting guides. When gardening in the desert, all of the “typical” when to plant guides are meaningless! The best planting guide for our region that I have found so far comes from the work and experience of Matt Suhr and Greg Peterson at the Urban Farm.
Based on their chart, we are looking at planting beets, fava beans, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cilantro, fennel, kale, radish, swiss chard, turnips, scallions, onions, parsnips and spinach. Next step – figure out if we have enough room to grow everything!