I have started tomatoes and pepper seeds inside to get a jump on the season once things warm up a bit. I bought grape seedlings and bare root stock and have those starting. The person that I bought the bare root grape from suggested cutting a bit of the roots and soaking it for 24 hours before planting in soil. To be honest that worried me a bit as I bought cuttings last year, trimmed a half inch off the bottom, soaked and used rooting hormone but couldn't get a single one to root. I decided to soak the roots in the small tilapia tank in the house. The water is heated to 78 and the fish are providing fertilized water for them. I have been "soaking" them for two weeks now and I am seeing amazing root growth. I will be planting them into containers next week. The Boysenberry plants I ordered are enroute and should be here Tuesday. The Strawberries will arrive hopefully between February and March. I am excited about the crops this years, even though the 2016 major purchases will not be producing for a year or two.
The laying project was by far the most successful part of 2015 for me. Production averaged 71% for the last 11 months of 2015, when the girls started laying. We saw a high of 85% in May and June and a low of 43% in December. The drop in production was caused by the molt, shorter daylight hours and a much colder and wetter month than usual. Despite the low lay rate to end the year, I am very happy to share that the girls paid for their feed, the egg cartons used, the liability insurance and 6 months of feed for the pullets and still showed a nice profit!!
I did not put any supplemental lighting inside the coop to stimulate egg production and am not planning to do that this year either. I don't want to push them beyond what is in their nature. As Joel Salatin would say, "letting the chickens express their chickenness."
Thank you for dropping by and sharing the journey with me!!