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Monday, May 7, 2012


HELLO & Welcome to GARDEN DADDY here at the urban farm!  What to do with all these snow peas you say?  If you are having the HUGE harvest I am experiencing here in Jackson, TN., then you are overwhelmed with those "body snatcher" little pods!  I have given them to everyone at church, in the neighborhood, at work...anyone who will stand still long enough and knows anything at all how to prepare or even attempt to prepare them have been gifted with these peas from this urban farm!  And those vines are still a'bloomin'!
I thought I might give you a recipe or two I ran across and made a little deviation from to make it my own and now, gifted to you:   (When I tell you to "WASH" & "SEED" everything in just that or either heat or seeds in the teeth and bitterness will prevail.)
*1/2-lb snow pea pods, capped and strung or shelled if you let them get too big for eating the whole pod then cut into fork size pieces on the diagonal.
*1/2 -RED & YELLOW bell pepper
*4-green onions, all the white and large quantity of the green tops, cut on the diagonal.
*2-medium carrots, cut into julienned strips
*1-medium to large jalapeno or milder pepper to taste, cut into thin slices
*1/2-cup fresh basil leaves, whole or chopped as per your own taste
*1/4-cup fresh mint leaves (same as above)
*1/2-cup fresh rough chopped flat leaf parsley
*1-clove garlic - crushed
*1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil
*lime juice - to taste
*Kosher salt to taste
*Fresh cracked pepper to taste
*1-tsp. sugar
*Champagne vinegar to taste (or white will be fine)
Let me know how you like this one!
Then there is the one where you cook rice, add shrimp, some curry, snow pea pods, Thai or regular basil, coconut milk, a little brown sugar, and some chili or other milder sliced peppers, garlic, then use your imagination for anything else you would like to add and try this as well.
There are many more snow pea recipes...snow peas with onions, fresh mint and lime heated for a few minutes in olive oil and lots more.  Use your imagination to use them up.  Me, I just give them away.  Again, I think it is the chicken manure this year!  Not only are they producing like crazy but the pods themselves are really HUGE!  Tasty & HUGE!
I leave you then today with our ongoing mid-town gardening affirmation:   "URBAN FARMING"   ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Friday, May 4, 2012


HELLO & Welcome to GARDEN DADDY here at the URBAN FARM!  I would just like to bring you up to date on the condition of this urban farm here in Jackson, TN.  It thrives and flourishes with already giving an abundance or should I say OVER abundant harvest of snow peas.  You can see them in the back growing up and over the top of my chain link fence.  They currently are around 7ft high and need picking almost daily, at least every other day for sure.

You can see in the top photo that I have added a larger "herb bed" (LITERALLY if you look at the yellow frames!) this year and have added several different varieties of Basal.  I think my sister & I are in a fever to see who can have the most varieties of same this year!  You can also see a few tomato plants in the background as well.  I already have a few small "greenies" putting on size daily.  I think things are SO LARGE and prolific this season as I am basically all organic this year with the only additions being chicken manure added during last winter chicken coop muckings and the only other addition being pulverized lime, which is a natural mineral and not a "chemical" as such.

The lower picture shows you the other addition of a weather vane I added earlier this spring.  It has chickens on the top and really will spin when the wind picks up.  I raised it up to give a better show as well as get it over the fence-line to take better advantage of winds.  I have radishes growing at the base as well as on each corner with plans to let it wind around the supports like an arbor, I have planted large size bottle gourds.

Chickens are laying daily and of course this GARDEN DADDY always has to have some spring chicks.  I have bunches!  I have some that I got with intent to sell at the West TN Poultry Club sales and also added two more Ameraucana chicks I intended to keep....I went out this morning to put those two 10-week old "keeper' pullets in with the general population of laying hens and when I went to pick up the larger of the two, who was my body with black head and was truly beautiful..."SHE" began to CROW!  I nearly cried I was so disappointed.  You know that Ameraucana roosters do not have a very large comb...actually only a pea comb not much larger than a hens.  But I knew something was odd with this one due to the size and the beautiful conformation, etc.  SHE was lovely..truly!  Off to the sale for HIM as weekend, Saturday, May 12, 2012.

I will leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation...oh yes, the community garden is coming along pretty well...several sections up and growing..."URBAN FARMING:   ONE EGG & SNOW PEA AT THE TIME!"

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


HELLO & Welcome to GARDEN DADDY here at the urban farm!  Good morning and hope your week is going well.  I cannot remember a milder winter...or the fact that not even the middle of March yet and we are having low-80-degree weather this entire week.  Most all trees are blooming now or budding out and that means we are really a whole month early.  I saw yesterday in the back yard that there were some of the elephant ear plants starting to come out....that is almost 45 days ahead of time in my memory.  I might try to start some early tomato plants now.  Not ready for that!  I NEVER start planting tomato plants "in-ground" until mid-April.  I have some surprises to come with new photos, ideas and the like.
But I did want to mention that this coming weekend will be the first meet & swap of 2012 of the West Tennessee Poultry Club at R & J Feed here in Jackson, TN.  There will be poultry and ducks of many varieties that members bring to sell or swap or often to just brag about.  Quail have become a big seller at our meets in recent past months last fall - for many reasons - both to start a new flock and to "harvest"!  I will update you after this weekend's event with photos, etc.
Pullets and hens (3-hens & 12-pullets...remember from past postings, that a chicken is a "pullet" until it is a year old) still getting their spring legs under them so to speak and egg production from my 15 layers continues to surprise me daily...12 to 15 eggs daily.  My local soup kitchen and neighbors are loving me these days!
I leave you this day with our ongoing urban farming affirmation:   "URBAN FARMING:   ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Thursday, March 8, 2012


HELLO & WELCOME back to GARDEN DADDY here at the urban farm!  Home with little "MAX" for his "annuals" and he is sleeping off his shots and other embarrassing test to his little "nether parts"!  I have for a while now, been trying to access my blog site and when I first registered this blog I was using a different email provider.  It has since become something else, under a new name and at the time locked me out, with no access to get back and be with you.  I got my higher educated 3siblings involved and with pooling of knowledge...guess I am.  I should have done that long ago!
I do not even know where to begin with a catch-up and with it so long since I spoke with you I will not even try.  I will start you off with this week...YES, I got spring chicks this week, yesterday actually.  Little Buff Orpingtons...but not to keep.  I will sell them later on at one of our W. Tn Poultry Club meets.  Everyone always well raised birds.  Of course I had to get one or two new ones for myself, right?!?!?!?  I will also bring you up to date on the fact that all 6 of the little Mille Fleur d'Uccles show bantys I got late last August turned out to be ALL ROOSTERS!  And living "in town" that was a no-no.  My neighbors loved it but I knew it was only a matter of time before word got out and the jig would be up!  So off they went to a fellow Master Gardener.  But the Rhode Island Red and Black Sex Link pullets I got at the same time have started laying now and out of the total 15 birds I currently have I am getting anywhere from 12 to 15 eggs a day!  I could not be more pleased.  You are asking what does one person alone do the 1 +/- dozen eggs a day?  Well, I have some happy neighbors and even yesterday, I took 5-dozen to my local soup kitchen....that is really what this whole "urban farm" thing is with me anyway.  Being alone and gardening the way I do and including my management of one of our community garden sites I cannot possibly eat or freeze all the things I grow.  So that has been the whole plan all along...I feed neighbors, friends, church folk and donate a good bit to the soup kitchen every year.
I did not want to consider this a victory garden as there is NO VICTORY in working yourself to being bone tired with all the work involved when I can really buy the things I need enough.  But the great effort is made worthwhile in the result that a lot of people can eat off a relatively small amount of property.  Especially those who either A. have now where to garden/homeless or less fortunate living circumstances & B. those who are some elderly or that simply are unable to manage gardening "in ground" (as opposed to raised beds).  So yes, it is often tiring, yes it is a great deal of effort but when that man taking my food and eggs at the soup kitchen or the lady down the street who is widowed takes a bag of "mators" it is well worth the effort.
I am saying this to those of you who are able to garden, who have space and the time...plant one or two extra plants of EVERYTHING in your garden and simply give it a stranger, to a neighbor, to someone at your church, to your soup kitchen...simply give it away.  Do not be "FOOD SCROOGE"...give it away!
Enough preaching...yes, I have already started working on the community garden site for this summer and yes, I have already tilled my own several times...yes, I have planted snow peas already and they are up and soon to be running...chickens laying, birds nesting, trees budding....what happened to winter as it is ONLY March 8th 2012?  Never really had any here but about 5 snows in November this past year...really too early but mostly all the winter weather we really had here in Jackson, TN.
I leave you today back in the urban farming blogosphere...and will try to update you at least every week.  One of my OTHER problems as I have discussed before is that I have a terrible time telling people, "NO".  I joined the JACKSON CHORAL SOCIETY late last summer, in August then was asked to be on the board of directors of same, I am still of course with the UT Master Gardener program, sing in my church choir (singing a duet this coming Sunday actually), still work p/t at my "big box" hardware store, member of the W. TN. Poultry Club and my community garden.  I was also contacted this week to host a neighboring county's Commission on Aging for their April 2012 gardening event here at my home for them to tour the house and the "urban farm" and visit the community garden and we might even make a leaf casting or two.  So yes, I am busier than I need to be but isn't life grand?
I leave you as in all our past with our ongoing gardening affirmation:   "URBAN FARMING:   ONE EGG AT A TIME!"


HELLO & Welcome to GARDEN DADDY here at the urban farm!  WHEW...What a winter!  Much to relate to you all but know I will be back in full force and FINALLY solving some tech issues with accessing my site here.  A long story but hopefully finally fixed for now anyway.
Off to the vet just now with little "Max" the urban farm Silky Terrier for annual visit but will return with you very soon and so glad to be back Hello Dolly..."RIGHT WHERE I BELONG"!

Monday, September 12, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I just thought I would take a moment and mention to you that one of the two Standard Cochin pullets FINALLY laid yesterday, Sunday. I have been waiting on these spring pullets to get started and one finally got down to business. It was a nice, pinkish color, rather small, like a little pullet should be with a very rounded small end. It was not large enough to think of eating, having just one. So I fed it to the dog in his food. Now, I wait on the other Cochin, one Ameraucana pullet and the remaining 6-Welsummers to start laying I will be happy.
By the way, I still have the 3-Cuckoo Marans hens I reared from day old chicks last year. They have stopped laying for a bit as one is in molt and the other two just stopped after it got so terribly hot this summer. Those 3 hens are being donated to the St. Jude Chicken Chase that will take place the end of this month on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in Alamo, TN. Small kids will chase some chickens and they keep all they catch. It is for a good cause of course as well as a good way to move some birds out of your flock you might like to cull and NOT harvest!
URBAN FARM UPDATE ON VEGETABLES: Just about gone. Getting some few small tomatoes from this garden home and still getting a little okra from the community garden. Hoping to clear off the urban farm next week one day, then add some lime, triple 13 then till up, water in good then maybe plant something cool weather tolerant...either some turnips or go ahead and start some more sugar peas I think. My luffa gourds NEVER did even bloom to date and I think I held them in their starter pots too long and they just got messed up is really what happened. I plan to make sure I have some next year and start them really early. I want to get some luffa sponges out of them at some point. It takes over 100 days for them to even bloom I hear and start making a pod so we will hopefully see next year.
I leave you today with our ongoing urban farming affirmation in mind and hoping for more eggs very soon: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Friday, September 2, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Well, my little Buff Orpington hen ended up hatching only 4-chicks out of an 8-egg clutch. Two eggs were infertile, one was not viable after breaking through the shell in the 100-degree heat yesterday afternoon and the last was abandoned too early, and appeared to need a good 2-days more to be ready to hatch. Little Mama was ready to go this morning with her small brood of 4-chicks and get out of the enclosed space for her nesting area and she got off the nest, started covering up the unhatched eggs and looking to get her and the brood out of that area and into the rabbit cage - converted into brooder run.
Below in the top photo, you will see two of the new hatches of Cuckoo Marans chicks. MOST of the time, in these Marans and some other breeds one can almost sex the chicks based on coloring as mentioned before...not always. But it appears in a lot of cases, that with the Cuckoo Marans, the lighter, more grey chicks like the one in the foreground of this top photo is more than likely a little rooster. You can see his silvery-grey coloring. This is probably true in the Barred Plymouth Rocks as well, as they are very similar in chick coloration. See the darker chick in the background...that is probably a little pullet.

In the second photo, below, you can see two darker chicks and they are most likely also little pullets. Even though, the one in back MIGHT be slightly lighter, I feel if you see it in real life/time is is still darker than the one in the upper photo.

Now in this last photo, you can see the little roo-boy (probably) in the foreground again with the 3-darker little pullets in the back...can you see the difference? You can really see the grey on him in this picture. Of course there is Mama Dorothy, the little Buff Orpington hen that did such a good and faithful job of keeping them warm for 3-weeks to get them here

UPDATE: ALL 18 NEW CHICKS ARE WELL AND VERY (!) HAPPY TODAY. I gave them a little heat last night, a 60watt light bulb hanging in one corner, as it got down to around 82 when I was heading to bed after Master Gardener meeting last night. It bottomed out to 71-degrees this morning and they were all in the heating area and warm and snug in their new digs this morning. After my early breakfast today, I went and unplugged their heat as it was already way up in the 80's by then and they were happy with the natural heat. I think once they get more real feathers grown out and less fluff in about two weeks I may not need heat if we do not get any really cool nights...though there is some talk of next week a few nights into the 50's in which case they will surely need some night time heating for a little while.

On to gardening updates...the urban farm remains in drought conditions and I am working hard to not overwhelm my utility bill again next month with watering, as we have to pay waste water even when there is none that is going into the pay a percentage of what water you use as in most city utility systems. But then again, if I want ANYTHING left to either freeze or eat I must do some watering. Not wishing ANY bad luck or problems on anyone, but we sure could use SOME of the rain from the east coast and what appears to be heading to NOLA from the Gulf. If you earlier followers remember, I moved back to Tennessee 5-years ago after a 2-year stay in Pensacola, Florida, and that was because of the 4-hurricanes and 2-tropical storms affected the area so much both housing cost and rentals and insurance made it nearly impossible to remain in the area and have anything left to live on! I am hoping we get a break in this late summer heat and drought we are in again this year. As for the community garden, it has been a disappointing season there, with many external issues stemming from the area of town it is in and the community we are working so hard to help and teach gardening skills to. We have been able, between this urban farm and the community garden, give to our local soup kitchen at least a small amount of produce, mostly squash earlier in the summer, and some tomatoes and okra and peppers as well. Not as much as last year of course. Most ended up coming from this urban farm and I am glad I planted some 34-tomato plants and was able to share with neighbors and the RIFA Soup Kitchen as well as enough for my freezer and some even went to an assisted living facility in Millington, TN, and to some employees in Humboldt, TN, at the TN. State Veteran's Home there. So even though the community garden ended up this season not as I had hoped it would, my own garden was able to assist many and that in itself is well worth the effort.

I will leave you followers and newcomers then with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

(I apologize, but my spell check here on this site is not working properly today so forgive any misspellings you might find in this posting...I will check it later and correct any errors!)