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Friday, December 31, 2010


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I am taking a moment to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and a great 2011! Remember to garden with purpose and mostly for FUN! And as always..."URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Friday, December 24, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! So sorry there have not been postings this holiday season but due to some computer issues I am still laying low on daily computer use. But I could not let the day pass without wishing all of you a VERY VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
I must share with you that this garden home has won 2nd place in the city-wide Jackson Beautiful Holiday Lights for my mid-town area! I did not know it was even going on but was voted by call ins to the local paper, The Jackson Sun:
Just to update on the progress of chickens and their laying in these cold days...I did a good thing by choosing good, hearty winter layers as I have been getting anywhere from 10 to 14 eggs from some 17-pullets this year so far. I could not be more pleased.
So I leave you this lovely holiday with our ongoing affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"
(NOTE: Photo above NOT from this garden home!)

Friday, December 10, 2010


HELLO & WELCOME to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I want to report a short posting that I am not online just now due to the tremendous crash of the office computer. There will be minimum postings till I get a new unit - sometime AFTER New Years this year. I apologize for this problem but budgetary limits require I wait till after the holidays to try to replace the computer. It will take more to repair the old one than to purchase a whole new unit so I am waiting to replace it.
I want to say a HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you all and hopefully can give you a Christmas Eve note at least. Love to all and see you soon! And remember..."URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Sunday, November 28, 2010


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I must share with you the fact today that I have found myself in print in the December 2010 Madison County (Tennessee) Master Gardener Newsletter! I was asked to do an article on some of the pallet deconstruction/re-construction projects I have done over the past two years. If you regular followers remember, we have seen projects in the works here at the urban farm by way of the pallet compost bin, the potting bench for re-potting plants/storage, the garden bench seat for the community garden project this past summer. And do not forget the chicken coop nest boxes that were built last spring for the now laying pullets that use it daily with joy.
This might be a little bit of again, "blowing my own shofar" , but as my Mother used to say... "why have a dog and bark yourself"!
So I leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Thursday, November 25, 2010


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! UGH...Boy am I full! We went to eat today over at Chickasaw State Park Lodge Restaurant where for a good price you can get very filled up on all the Thanksgiving standards plus MUCH MORE and get up and leave the dishes and the 2-days worth of cooking behind for others to worry about. Not to mention sit in the restaurant on a hill and overlook the beautiful lake below through the now bare tree limbs and as we did today, watch a beautiful Cooper's Hawk swoop around the treetops and then glide down over to the lake below looking for a washed up fish or a mouse in the grasses.
But I could not let this next to the last holiday of 2010 end without sending out my warmest wishes for you and your family to have a wonderful evening and hope all your blessings and needs are met. HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM THE URBAN FARM...A 13-EGG DAY TODAY!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Yesterday, I mucked out the now quite wet chicken yard due to some damp, wet days here in Jackson this week. I had not cleaned it out for about 2-months, which has been the norm here. I could go longer but due to the close proximity of my neighbors here in the city center of Jackson, TN., I try to be a little more courteous to the neighborhood and keep it pretty cleaned out. I want you to look at how rich my already black soil is in the garden site and now with this addition and with the next 5 or so months to "cook off" during this winter and early next spring and be less toxic to the plants that will go in then. I can probably start in late February 2011 and put in some spring greens that will tolerate the nitrogen well enough to get some early plantings started.
Hopefully, if you are working with your own urban flocks or even your small farming operations and have fresh manure available, you will follow this Garden Daddy and add your own fertilizer to your garden site. I may have mentioned before that if one has enough room for a hog or two, you should make some temporary paddocks for them, with some shelter available, in an area you would like to garden in next year. Put them in the area with temporary fencing in place, let them dig and root around and get out roots, brambles and brush and along with fertilizer they will add and then next year you will have a wonderful, worked up garden site that is all ready to go. Then move them to another area. This will give you some rotation areas and then go on and on. You can do the same in your backyard with a "chicken tractor", a coop that is mobile on wheels and moves from place to place, clearing bugs, weeds, seeds, etc. and then adding fertilizer at a new place each day. That was my original plan here but decided on more birds and that would not work then.
Enough...enough...So I leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE (or 1-dozen) EGG AT A TIME!"

Saturday, November 20, 2010


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I do not remember if I have shared with you that I am on the advising committee for the LANA Holiday Home Tour this year. I guess after my success last year with this very garden home being such a hit, it was thought I might give my advice and support to the "newbies" this year. In our meeting last weekend, I was asked to do a "Mike Millson Original" for a door prize donation to be given away during the home tour luncheon.
Since it is the holiday season now, with Thanksgiving less than a week away, I thought anyone in the LANA area would appreciate a traditional Holiday wreath with reds, greens and gold with traditional plaid ribbon. Red berries add some bling to the otherwise plain green wreath and make it stand out with more width and bring your eye to the entire framework of the piece. I hope it does not embarrass this garden home/Garden Daddy with its simplicity but I made something I would like to get so I figured someone else would like it as well. Again, due to our historic area here with our older homes, hopefully whoever wins this will feel the same way about something traditional.
I leave you with today's garden home affirmation: "THE GARDEN HOME: ONE WREATH AT A TIME!"

Friday, November 19, 2010


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Can you believe it? Here at this time of the year, when most pullets SHOULD be slowing down laying, my little girls are picking up the pace. But those of you who have been following my postings all along since the chicks started arriving last April will remember that I made the plans and ordered good, winter/cold weather laying hens that would lay all winter long. Unlike some of the Leghorns and other layers that slow down in winter, most of my birds should keep laying well all winter. I just love the colors I get now, especially the dark ones from the Cuckoo Marans which you see one very dark one a lighter one that is not quite as dark but has darker specks on it. I love those best of least the egg colors. I have some birds I think are more attractive but love those dark eggs!
Not much other news today here at the urban farm. I remain busy helping with the LANA Holiday Home Tour efforts as time nears for that and will be busy till after about the middle of December. Other than that, things are slow here and I leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm. I would like to tell you that as of today, Wednesday, I have gotten a total of 14-eggs this afternoon! With 18-pullets in the flock, it is a pretty good average to get that many eggs from them at this point as winter gets started and we are just one week out from Thanksgiving 2010. I had imagined back last April on the day I brought home the first batch of chicks from the feed store where I had ordered them that I would some day actually maybe get some 12 to 15 eggs a day from my chicks. I have given away 3-pullets and had to put one down as you know so I have gone from 22 birds down to my current total of 18.
I have donated some to our local soup kitchen, where their eyes lite up with joy and surprise with the thought of fresh, healthy, non-medicated/steroid free eggs for their clients. I have given some to every neighbor, friends at work and some other acquaintances here in town. As of today, I feel the work, worry, feed and every drama has been worth it now in the large payoff. This batch is going to Memphis tomorrow to some elderly friends in an independent living home. I had plans to try to make at least feed money from them and might still in the future but the reward otherwise in all the joy I get in giving these eggs away more than makes up for any other reward that might be gotten from selling any.
Sorry I have not been with you for several days but after the past few weeks of having all this garden home's plumbing replaced and upgraded and the installation of my first dishwasher here in the house - EVER - I hopefully am back with you, even if in word and not pictures at this time of the start of the hibernating season. So I leave you, as always, with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind, especially with the record setting number of eggs today: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Thursday, November 4, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! While gathering eggs at a steady pace now of anywhere from 10 to 12 eggs a day now, the remainder of my center city operation of gardening and urban farming heads into a "winter sleep" as I have cleaned off all gardening debris and tilled the remainder into the earth for "on-site" composting to take place over these dark, cold winter months.
I am making plans for the holiday season fast approaching as far as decorating both inside and out are concerned. Of course, it will not be like last year with the LANA Holiday Home Tour decorating. If you have been following GARDEN DADDY this past year or so, you will remember that this garden home was the feature home during that holiday home tour season. And of course to brag a was not only a feature home but the tour favorite of everyone who made the tour of all the homes. Anyway, I plan to put up only one tree this year and it will be a fresh cut tree this year. I am putting it up in the living room area. It will be a large, 9-ft Frasier Fir tree with plans at this time to make it, I think anyway, blue, silver, white and natural forest &/or apple-green on it. And of course clear lights as well. I have all the exterior decor in mind as well and have that pretty set in stone as to that decor. You will have to just keep reading and following future postings to see what this Garden Daddy comes up with.
Otherwise, in chicken news...on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, there will be a "chicken swap" here in Jackson at the local Tractor Supply, starting around 8-ish o'clock in the morning. I will not have any chickens to sell or trade but will be there to show support for the West TN Poultry Club and to show off some of the Cuckoo Marans dark brown eggs to the breeder I purchased them from and brag on my flock. I have some other winterizing things to share with you for education on winter preps for both the garden home and your backyard chicken flock. That is in upcoming postings. I have been busy here otherwise with the preps for all new plumbing to be installed this week under this garden home from the bottom up to all fixtures as well as the first dishwasher this home has ever had. YEAH....No more dishpan hands for this Garden Daddy after this weekend!
So this almost ready to hibernate Garden Daddy says goodbye for today and as always leaving you with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Thursday, October 28, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! A rather sad afternoon here at the urban farm as after having made a quick trip over to Nashville, TN. today and returning home I made a mad dash to the back yard and check the egg count from the little pullets (not so LITTLE now!). I did not notice anything amiss at first and went about gathering a record number of an exact even ONE DOZEN eggs in I think it was my second Easter basket I got as a 2-year old in the spring of 1955. I use that basket to gather eggs in now. Anyway, I digress. I gathered the eggs and started looking at every bird as I always do and found "BESSIE", one of the Ameraucana pullets I named after my own Mother, with an issue. I named her BESSIE because as I have mentioned in these rantings before that when the pullet was only 4-weeks old she fell victim to a gene defect and her beak became crossed almost overnight literally, and has gotten steadily worse and worse all the time.
Again, digressing with the name thing...My Mother had an accident when she was "expecting a new baby" (yes, THIS very Garden Daddy) and in the long term suffered a life altering and life long handicap with an artificial right leg. But the pullet Bessie has gotten worse and not eating and drinking as well as she was & I knew it was not going to be long till I would indeed have to put her down. Today, I noticed blood dripping from her top, long and very curled under beak and she was acting very-very withdrawn with her head down. I have noticed all along that the other birds often pick at her crossed beak, as when she has food sticking out of her mouth or bits and pieces of food stuck on it where she is unable to adequately clean it off as the others do. I imagine that the other pullets probably were pecking at her beak, damaging the inside of her mouth and now with blood dripping out of her mouth and down her beak they were almost mauling her to get to the blood.
I knew what must be done. I will not go into details but with sad goodbyes, sad hearts and solemn words, I did the deed and she rest now in the urban farm garden site in one corner. She will go back to the earth and feed the next years' garden site and I will know she lives on in that and is not suffering now or hungry.
It has already been suggested I replace her but I think that will not happen. I have plenty with the remaining 18-pullets and will just make it fine. "Bessie" had not started laying and I predicted long ago that due to being smaller and probably somewhat deficient in egg-making sustenance, I was really keeping her as a pet and that is not wise urban farming for this or any operation and just postponing the obvious need of eliminating her from the flock. Not sounding rough but just facing the honest truth of what our domesticated gifts from the Creator are for. I love my pets, my chickens, my little Max-dog...but facts are facts and I did what I had to do. But one must deal with "livestock" as such. If it was a 20-year old pet dog I can understand feeling like my best friend just passed away. But in this case I was just showing true compassion for a suffering member of this urban farmstead and took care of the problem.
So on this less than productive (other than eggs) day, THIS Garden Daddy leaves you with our gardening and urban farming affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE (DOZEN) EGG AT A TIME!"

Sunday, October 24, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Another landmark egg day today here at the urban farm. As I stated a few days ago, I believe the little micro egg from last week was the first little dark egg from one of the Cuckoo Marans and today's gift proved my right. This is the offering today and look at the dark, milk chocolate difference between my regular brown egg laying pullets and this very-very dark egg.
It is written by Ian Fleming in the James Bond 007 series that the Cuckoo Marans eggs (in French, pronounced Muh-ran) are the only eggs he would eat. It is also reported that 'Martha Stewart' only eats Marans eggs as well. It is often stated that these darker egg shells are thicker and thus either store or travel better and if placed on a flat surface the yolk has a tendency to spread out less and retains a rounder form. Of course for my part, I think the darker brown eggs are just beautiful all on their own just as they are. I have enjoyed my "celadon-green" eggs already, seeing they are green all the way to the inside of the shell as well.
Things remain dry here...drought conditions and a burn advisory as well. I see though today on the national weather as well as local that we might FINALLY get some badly needed rain late today through Wednesday this week. I wish it would rain every day this week for my my part. And on that, I leave you today with our ongoing garden affirmation in mind and as always, thank you for following Garden Daddy: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG (chocolate or brown) AT A TIME!"

Sunday, October 17, 2010


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Another landmark occasion here today when I just went out to put the pullets to "bed" for the night and close them up and secure for the evening. We had a slow egg day today, gathering 8-eggs. Day before yesterday I got 10-eggs. But I digress...Included in this 8-egg day was the little dark brown egg shown above (top photo and bottom photo - right). I put it alongside the "original" winner (bottom photo - left) of the Urban Farm Smallest Egg Contest so you can see it is even SMALLER. It was not in a nest box but just on the ground by the 5-gallon water fount. I thought it was a piece of pine cone when I first saw it and had to look several times to make sure it was what I thought I saw.
I also believe it might be a "first" for one of the French Cuckoo Marans (pronounced Ma-rans). I am hoping anyway. It is pretty dark, not as dark as I was hoping for or SHOULD get but think it might be a start at least. I am looking any day now to go out and have a full dozen eggs or more to gather. Many of the 19-pullets have fully developed combs and wattles now, including the Wyandottes, the Speckled Sussex and the Marans. That will give almost all birds laying except for 2 of the Ameraucanas still do not seem to have been "on the nest" as I have seen. I have seen about every pullet that has been in the boxes at some point and have gotten eggs from under them while laying. They are all fairly friendly or at least "civil" to my approach, except for a few. Not to say all are laying but of all the ones I know that are laying I have seen on a nest at some point.
I have cleared off the garden site here at the urban farm and turned it all under with the tiller, running over it several times in different directions, to work in both some chicken house mucking as well as some of the dried up garden discards, straw, etc., that was mulching the rows and getting it ready to be "put to bed" for this year. It remains very dry here, not having rain for over 6-weeks now. I gave up trying to have a fall garden this time due to this untimely heat and continued drought.
It is late Sunday afternoon/early evening and I must leave you now with our ongoing gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG, EVEN TINY ONES, AT A TIME!"

Friday, October 15, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! "I'd like to thank the Academy, my fans...I am just speechless! I love you...I love you all!" That is just this Garden Daddy quoting Corporal Klinger from the TV series "MASH" when he thought an article was being written about him being crazy dressed like Scarlett O'Hara. What a great surprise this morning when someone from the neighborhood association came around and rang the doorbell and when I got there it was one of the ladies from the committee and gave me the LANA Most Beautiful Yard Award sign. Now in the 4-years I have been here in this garden home I have won 4 different awards. That is pretty good I would say.
Of course now that means I am probably out of the running for a good while. But now that they are just doing "seasonal awards" it will take more to win I am sure. I think then I have won for the fall season from what I understand. Anyway...WOW!!! That is all I am saying.....WOW!!! I do get folks just driving by or walking by all the time though and commenting on my yard. And I do try to not only make it nice for myself but to instill in others or give an idea that might spark some interest in the neighborhood that could help others become interested in maybe making a little more effort in their yards that would not only help their own property value but that of the entire neighborhood as well.
So get out and get to work and tune up your own garden home and make yourself proud and others as well and give a neighbor a hand if necessary. So I will leave you today with our ongoing garden affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Monday, October 11, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! As this garden home attempts to make itself more fall-like and decorative for the longest season we really have (Labor Day through Thanksgiving for our fall season) I came up with the idea to add a little whimsy to the process. I looked at one of my local sporting goods stores and found a good pre-season buy on single goose decoys. I thought a pair of Canadian Geese might add the idea and feeling of the Fall season and placed them around the yard flag which says, "Autumn Splendor". What better way to express that feeling than with this idea of fall migration and relatively inexpensive decor. I understand I am up and in the running and nominated for another "Yard of The Month" award, now given out seasonally instead of monthly. Of course, that is only neighborhood hearsay!
To update you on the pullets that are laying...Today, I got 2-celadon green eggs, which means that 2 of the Ameraucana pullets are now laying and may have been all this week and alternating days. Still getting around 6 or seven eggs daily now and lookin' & hopin' & prayin' for at least 15 daily in the foreseeable future out of my 19-pullets.
Weather still unseasonably warm and very-very dry. We have not had rain here for over
1-month and I am watering almost daily in my front yard to keep things growing and green during this warmer weather and keep the mums alive and looking as lovely as they are at full bloom out this week. They are truly beautiful here and I get daily comments from neighbors and drive-by's and walkers in the neighborhood. On this note, I will leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! It has been a while since I was with you last but you are not forgotten by any means. Yesterday, Tuesday, the little pullets really got busy. They delivered a total of 9-eggs including the greenish egg above that had to come from one of the Ameraucana pullets. I believe it was from the one named "Frances" that is a Brown-Red pullet. She was almost guarding the nest box area late yesterday afternoon when the egg gathering was going on and acting a little over protective in a way. But I thought you might like to see the "gifts" as they are coming in, especially for those of you who have never seen the tinted eggs other than the brownish tones most are used to seeing.
This give this Garden Daddy an idea about a future brunch theme..."Green Eggs & Ham" will be the theme I will use and make it work with these lovely, smooth and these almost moss green beauties. I can see a whole basket of them used as decor along with some sheet moss and maybe some other natural items...either berries or something like that.
I hope you are enjoying these little pictures and stories about the pullets. But I have really enjoyed having them here at the urban farm. So I leave you today with out ongoing gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


HELLO and welcome to GARDEN DADDY here at the urban farm! I want to take a moment this morning and share with you some photos of the basically fully grown pullets I have here at center city Jackson, TN. I just came in from giving them their corn scratch and then added an over ripe watermelon a neighbor gave me to feed to the "girls". The first two photos are of the flock as a whole and the last two show two of the four, 2-Brown Red & 2-Blue Wheaten, Ameraucana pullets who will one day soon be giving this Garden Daddy the blue and green tinted eggs. The white Ameraucanas are called "Blue Wheaten" due to the cream main body with brown (or Wheat colored feathering) and some hints of gray-blue, which you can see under her neck on the "beard" of this breed. You can also easily see the "ear tufts" on both the Red Brown & Blue Wheaten in these photos.
You can get a nice idea of the coloration I have in my little backyard flock, some being the Barred Rocks, the Cuckoo Marans (that look similar to the Barred Rocks), both Silver Lace and Golden Lace Wyandottes (2 remaining SL & 1 GL, having given away 2-SL to a near & dear relative), Black Jersey Giants (& this Garden Daddy does mean GIANTS too!), Black Australorps, big Buff Orpingtons...hey, I think I got them all! And of course previously mentioned Ameraucanas. Going to the Jersey Giants...they are doing well by giving this garden home several double yolk eggs even this early in their laying career..."WELL DONE GIRLS"!
Not much other news. Still very-very dry here but cooler temps have arrived. Around 47-48 degrees in the mornings and in the mid to upper 70's for daytime temps but no rain to go with it so the fall gardening is on hold till we get some rain. Useless to plant greens or anything else till we get some wet weather. So the community garden is sitting there in "wait mode"! On that, I leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Saturday, September 25, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Yesterday, Friday, was a record egg day here at the urban farm. I evidently got another pullet that has started to lay now. I got a whole seven - 7 - eggs! Three were in the same nest even. So that is a bit over 1/3rd of the pullets are laying now. Again, I have 19 birds so we are slowly getting to a full complement of layers here. I am still waiting on the Cuckoo Marans to start their laying to see just how dark their eggs are going to be. WAITING...WAITING...PATIENTLY WAITING!
I had another set of "visitors" this week as well. A set of raccoon babies has decided to winter over in the soffit under the eaves of the garden home. I was woken from a deep end of sleep cycle this morning around 5:30am when I heard a baby that was climbing up the side of the house fall and hit the top of the air conditioner condenser with a huge "thud". He tried several times to restart his climb. He ended up on the front porch and then when I went out there he climbed over the wall of the porch and successfully up to the roof and ran over and into the chimney...OH NO...NOT AGAIN! I have set a trap for them with some cat food in it but no catches yet...hopefully soon so I can repair their entrance area(s).
Sorry I have not been with you for some days but this Garden Daddy was taking the last of my vacation off from work and then back again. I was getting back into the swing of the work week as well as working on the lawn/turf here at the urban farm and over at the community garden as well. So I will leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I have been getting some small eggs now for about 2-1/2 weeks and last week I even got a very large egg, which I ate this past Saturday that had double yolks. That in itself was a surprise but today when out to do my afternoon check on the pullets and give them some strawberries that I was discarding from being abandoned in the fridge too long I got a SMALL surprise. As you can see above, it was a tiny, micro egg that was not much larger than a standard $0.25-cent piece. I also put it along side two other eggs I got today at the same time. Later on I got a fifth egg, dark brown and regular pullet size. I think the last egg came from one of the Black Jersey Giants that has started laying now. So glad they are now laying. But I thought you followers might like to see this little treat. Almost round and not much of a point on either end. I hope this is the only one of these I get and am surprised I have not gotten more already.
This garden home has transformed its face on to autumn splendor. Summer decor and flowers are about gone and I have adorned the exterior with fall colors. I have placed bushel basket size yellow mums in large pots I already had but painted them to match the exterior trim work. I also added some cone shaped baskets that are faced with green moss and added some fall mums, mixed grasses and some late ferns and berries. Fall flags are also waving in early fall breezes. All in all, we are set till about Thanksgiving now and can finish winterizing the yard over the next 2-months or so. My banana trees will be dug up and put in the basement as well as digging up the large elephant ear tubers and drying them and putting them in winter basement storage.
Other work here remains constant. We are still harvesting okra from the community garden and working to plant some fall greens before putting that garden to be after this planting and late fall harvesting. Leaves are falling all over Jackson here in the third week of September but this Garden Daddy believes that it is from our still dry weather and unusually above 90-degree temps we are having. We had a slight rain over this past weekend but not enough to even make the ground get wet and take away the dusty ground and grass.
I leave you then today with our ongoing gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Monday, September 6, 2010


HAPPY LABOR DAY & HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I know, I know...I promised you over and over I would NOT get too "EGG-CITED" over this egg laying going on by the little pullets. But after being out of town from Friday afternoon this past week and returning home on Sunday afternoon, I had 3-more eggs in the nest boxes, 1 in one box and 2 in another out of the 8 nest boxes I have. i had already gotten one on Thursday and one on Friday. This is a good time to remind you that one nest box is good for 3 to 4 hens to share. Having 20 pullets that makes plenty enough to go around.
Well after work this morning, I went out to feed and give fresh water to the pullets and there were no eggs. It was still early, around 9 o'clock or so this morning. I went over to the community garden to pick okra, spray for Japanese Beetles, pick up garbage blown in or thrown out into the street area...general look-see and make a showing. When I got back I had a little garden insect spray left in my pump up sprayer so I used it and sprayed out under the pine trees in the shade to help rid some mosquitoes and I also sprayed on the OUTSIDE ONLY around the sides and back of the chicken coop, as this will prevent some unwanted crawly critters from entering that are not welcome...certain mites, etc. I heard one of the pullets just start cackling and really making a huge ruckus and went in and found one of the friendly Barred Rocks getting off a nest with a pale brown egg in it (one of the suspected culprits) and then one pullet, Miss Prissy, a Buff Orpington, still on a nest box. I gave her a little privacy and then went on with other projects. I then started to go back in the coop and when she heard me coming in she jumped off he nest and came running...remember, she is the pullet that has a strong affection for this Garden Daddy! So she abandoned her egg she just laid to come to get me to pet her and rub her head. She and the Barred Rock that are laying are the most friendly, other than one of the Ameraucana pullets. I think now I have had enough of the newness of it all and will just keep you updated at I start to get the bulk of the eggs. Lets see...with 20-pullets...that should be between 15 to 16 eggs per day on the average...that will be about what...say 15 per day for sure multiplied by 7-days per week...equals...105 eggs per week divided by 12 (1-dozen) equals about 8.75 dozen per week or around 9 dozen a week. I am glad I have a lot of neighbors, co-workers and friends who are wanting eggs. I will eat about a dozen a week so that will leave about 8 dozen to get rid of. No problem as I see it for sure. I know what I will be taking to any neighborhood association meeting or Master Gardener meetings...that's right, deviled eggs!
On to other news. The community garden I oversee is still putting out okra and lots of it. I would be getting even more if we would get some good rain here. It is still very dry, though somewhat milder and not as humid as most of the summer has been. I am waiting on some rain to plant some greens for the fall. I hope we do have a nice long fall. It has been so hot a nice fall would be lovely this year. In fact this being Labor Day, I plan to start later today or tomorrow to set up my fall garden home decor and I will post some photos on this site later this week. I have a new fall garden flag and lamp post flag that are a set and will show them later as well. So I will leave you this holiday with our ongoing gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Friday, September 3, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Like my headline today reads, I promise to not give you an "egg-by-egg play" of the happenings with the start up of the little pullets laying. But since this is still so new and egg-citing here at the urban farm and like a discovery now every day, I will tell you that Miss Prissy has blessed us again with another gifting of a lovely, dark brown egg this morning. Nicely shaded and even of color. She is about the most vocal of the pullets to date and she is always "talking" to the others. I think she is very much at the top of the pecking order anyway, along with maybe one of the Cuckoo Marans, who really thinks she is the top of the flock.
I will not detain you long but for you dedicated followers, I am just letting you know as stated yesterday, that the egg madness had started in earnest and now just waiting on some of the other 19-pullets to follow in her little steps. I am anxious to see how dark my Marans pullets eggs are, after seeing the result of their parents very dark, nearly chocolate eggs I shared with you earlier in the spring, actually on the day I got them. So I leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Thursday, September 2, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I just had to take a moment at the end of this busy day and tell you that a second egg appeared today. I found out earlier this week from a long time flock owner that you can tell by looking at the hen's "vent" who is starting to lay. And this week and again this morning I believe the delivery of both eggs has been "Miss Prissy", guilty on both counts. She is the Buff Orpington I put up on photos this week taking the test drive in one of the nest boxes, clucking softly and making a little nest around her and feeling all grown up and "motherly" it appears.
So, with that first egg last Saturday, I am going to assume the others are soon to follow and one of my neighbors told me today that one day I will just go out to the coop and start screaming with both joy and the overwhelming feeling I have too many eggs...NOT LIKELY I SAY! In fact tonight I attended our monthly meeting of the Madison County UT Master Gardeners at the West TN Research & Education Center here in Jackson, and sat with my former intern friends from last year and as we talked about the little hens I have and was asked if I would be interested in sharing some with them in the future. I said of course I would. So the need and desire for fresh, basically organic, non-medicated, non-steroidal, home grown and home fed by grasses & fruit/vegetable trimmings & good grains, causing happy producing laying hens giving good eggs is high and the demand for these products stands the test of any monetary value I hear. That very reason is why I hope and plan and imagine my future with a little more land in a little more rural area and enough room for me and my birds to roam a little more freely.
So I leave you this evening with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!" .....and waiting on MORE!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, I thought I was getting a second egg when I went into the chicken coop and found Miss Prissy in one of the next boxes. Do you remember Miss Prissy? She was the skinny little hen on the cartoon of "Foghorn Leghorn" who Foghorn always tried to move in with to winter over. That is why I call this Buff Orpington pullet Miss Prissy. She sat in this nest the whole time I was giving my daily treat of scratch and looked out onto the others eating and "scratching" around. After taking several photos of her on the nest I left thinking I would return to find another egg. After about an hour I returned to find nothing other than the plastic golf ball I have placed in each nest box for incentive. I guess Miss Prissy was just doing a test drive. She was sitting in their, pulling wheat straw up around her and making quiet little clucking sounds and I just knew there was another egg on the way. But alas it was not to be...not yet anyway. Not even one today, Wednesday.
I will continue to wait...wait...& wait...patiently! Thank you for following Garden Daddy & I leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Monday, August 30, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! We finally had almost a full day yesterday of "off and on" rain which we badly needed. But we still need much more really. It has and will help finish off the summer gardening, helping some tomatoes linger a bit longer here at the urban farm. The bell peppers and eggplant hopefully will get another surge of production I hope from this rain. I am almost ready to put in fall greens over at the community garden, hopefully later this very week.
I was out today here at the urban farm, gathering what few tomatoes there are now, even though they are very small. While out, I also picked some hot Cayenne peppers and two eggplant. I gave most of the tomatoes and Cayenne peppers to a neighbor to share what I had but I was also able to harvest some pretty good Basil for this time of year I feel. It has not been a good year here for me as usual in the Basil and herb area. I think the tremendously long heat wave we had along with the humidity just harmed so much of the entire plan and attempt here to have the usual over abundant garden I normally have had in years past. The Basil was a bit small where usually the leaves have been really huge and it did not take many to make a very nice Basil and Tomato salad, which I love greatly, adding some red onion and either Greek or Italian dressing or just vinegar and olive oil or other sort of vinaigrette-type dressing as well as some Feta cheese and maybe some good olives. But I got enough I plan to let it dry a little more after washing and have laid between some paper towels to take up more water then I will put in the food processor, add a little drizzle of olive oil and about 2-tablespoons of lemon juice (this acts as a preservative actually) and then put in small containers and freeze. You can do most any herb this way that you would normally put in cooked, hot dishes. If you plan to use it for anything other than as in a cooked dish it is better to dry it first, store in airtight containers and then crush just before using it. This is very similar to a pesto sauce but not really. I will leave the Basil in oil in rather larger pieces, not making it completely blended to the point of a paste, but more of a chunkier if you please type of cooking additive for sauces, soups or other such winter time feasting. This can even be thawed and added to a cut up baguette with a tomato slice and some cheese and then either toasted under the broiler or eaten with some paper thin smoked Salmon or with something you like for your own taste and recipe mix.
I leave you then this lite-harvesting day, steeping a pot of afternoon hot Black Indian tea, with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind & waiting on the next egg(s): "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Saturday, August 28, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! WHAT A GREAT SURPRISE today when I got home from my short overnight run to Nashville, TN. I went out to the chicken coop to check on the pullets and give them a little treat for the day around 2pm this afternoon. As usual, I walked into the coop and then into the hen house. I have been looking into the nest boxes for so many weeks now, only to walk back out with nothing but my head shaking, "No Eggs Yet". But today...TODAY...I found most all of the plastic golf balls I had put into the nest boxes (to give the little girls the idea of where to do the laying deed) kicked out of all but about two nest boxes and in one of the upper boxes I found this little pullet egg...AN EGG! I just about screamed loud enough to scare any neighbor who might have been outside. I felt like a grandfather who just saw his first grandchild nearly, even though on that front I am still waiting and my daughter turned 31 years old TODAY, by the way! I took it across the street to show my neighbors who were out on their porch and one of the ladies said she heard the biggest cackling going on over here at the urban farm today and that was the reason why I told her.
I am so thrilled to know that all these months of work and worry and trying to keep little newly hatched chicks warm in the spring and keep them from drowning rains and floods we had in early May this year...all this has and is about to pay off. It was a pretty little dark brownish-pink egg, about the size of or almost the size of if you remember those little "Silly Putty" eggs, about that size. All the grass clippings, melon rinds, chicken scratch, grower feed and layer mash, along with crushed oyster shells and crushed granite...all the planning and BEGGING has now come to fruition.
Now am I glad I have been saving egg cartons for months and months as soon I should be getting some 15 +/- eggs per day I am guessing. But of course that will take some time. All the birds will not start laying at the same time but at various stages of development just as humans develope at different levels. And of course they will not lay regularly at first but hit and miss. It might be a week before that same little pullet lays again. But hard to say with all the nutrition and protein I give them as they are well fed and basically spoiled. I have been trying to figure out who laid that egg but you cannot really tell except for looking at the vent of each bird. I am NOT doing that at this stage. I know it was NOT one of the 4-Ameraucanas, as they lay pale blue or greenish eggs.
But a good day overall and glad to finally get some hope for things to come. I will leave you late in the day this Saturday afternoon with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind for REAL this time: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!" FINALLY!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! We are finally getting a little break from the tremendous heat wave we have had this summer. It is around 90-degrees and even down to 89-degrees for some daytime heat. It has dropped down to the 60's for night time temps even. On that, things here at the urban farm have already gone down hill as far as gardening is concerned. The massive heat has either burned up most every thing or kept it so dry I could never have watered enough to keep it going. Things are finishing up here. I am trying to keep the tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplant going for as long as possible along with the hot peppers and banana peppers with watering every few days. We have needed rain for weeks and with the exception of a very few afternoon pop up showers we have not really had the summer we had last year.
But I am heading over to talk about the community garden. I have really concentrated so much time on that site this year, almost to the detriment of my own garden. That is because that garden is feeding a lot of folks. We have taken right at 175-lbs of produce to the RIFA Soup Kitchen here in Jackson, TN. this summer. That garden got a very late planting and start but has ended up helping feed a bunch of folks from it. I have gone through over-heating, hard bone crushing work and the only thought I have had was the end result. My plan all along with my limited gardener of ONE really from the community was to give the bulk to the soup kitchen. But the community "AT LARGE" has been helping themselves to a lot of the produce as well. I have heard from all the neighbors around the garden that some folks even come in during the dark with flashlights to get vegetables from the garden. Now some of you might think this would be considered as "theft" but I see it as a "neighborhood in need" helping themselves to much needed fresh produce. If I am around when someone does a "walk-in" to pick off the street I try to chat with them about the chance of them gardening with the project in an official capacity, signing up to garden a plot, invest their time and energy and be a part of the process as a whole. That way they are part of the solution and not continue the cycle as part of the problem.
A community garden is not to be designed to be a "hand out" or "give-away" project. The Chinese proverb goes: "GIVE A MAN A FISH AND HE WILL EAT FOR A DAY. TEACH A MAN TO FISH AND HE WILL EAT FOR A LIFETIME." For me and my gardening house, I say "KNOWLEDGE IS THE BEST CHARITY" and if in my UT Master Gardener way I can share my gardening knowledge with others and teach someone how to garden and feed themselves and this space can give the satisfaction that they themselves have not only put food on their table but added some sense of pride and accomplishment to their lives then my goal as a Master Gardener and as a man has been met. Not blowing my own "shofar" but is that not our goal as human-kind toward each other? Man helping man to help themselves.

OK, enough "hot air" and on to other topics here at the urban farm. The bulk of the pullets turned 20-weeks old on Monday this week and the remainder are between 17 & 18 weeks old. I recently gave two of the four of my Silver Laced Wyandotte pullets to my brother to go with the other birds I already gave him that I picked up at one of the local chicken swaps. That brought my flock down to 20-birds. They have developed very nicely and are looking like real chickens now. Combs, wattles and that dinstinct cackle have come into play now and the golf balls are in the nest boxes to give a hint and the layer feed and fresh waster and greens are given and their little lives are full of good eats and I am waiting...waiting...waiting on that first egg! Any day I keep saying and hopefully that is truly the case from all I have learned in this process. Truly any day!
I will leave you then with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Saturday, August 14, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! An interesting morning here at the urban farm where my best friend, who is visiting to see after aging parents, and I strolled the local farmers market and found the wonderful "Peaches & Cream" corn selling from one local farmer for only $3.00/dozen ears. Well, we both got one dozen, mine for the freezer here at the garden home and the other dozen was processed for my friend's parents at their retirement community.
I shucked and silked my corn, cut off any bad and of course can you guess where it all went? You get the prize if you guessed it all went into the chicken coop, including the cobs after I cut the corn off the cob and milked it for the good juices. I will leave it in the coop for a day or two then go rake it out and add it to the compost bin. If I were on my (hopefully) future mini farm, I would be adding it all to the pigsty where everything would be eaten and adding to the more natural feed I hope to give them.
I dream of the day I sign this house off to new owners in a few years when I hope the market returns to some normalcy and I can find that perfect little "farmette" to start what I know in my own mind I can do and enjoy the very essence of a self perpetuating, self sustaining life. But I will catch you up to date in a few days and let you know how things are going in the gardens and here with garden home rehab, etc. STILL NO EGGS YET...any day now though!
So I leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation: URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! NEWSFLASH: Massive heat wave blankets the Mid-South like a turkey roasting under aluminum foil for Thanksgiving dinner. it ever hot and miserable. I have continued to do my lawn maintenance daily here and at the Jackson Community Garden Site #4 where I work as the Master Gardener coordinator for that site. The heat is really bad but after being in it daily for months now I realize how built up to a tolerance of it I am. So as bad as it is, I stay hydrated by keeping 32oz bottles of frozen water handy, melting slowly for continued cooling water. I take several of these with me daily on my gardening duties around town and that is really a good idea for those of you out in this heat a lot. I take sports drink bottle and wash out and then fill with water and freeze every day and then take them out as needed or on the go, etc.
I am also keeping a box fan on the pullets at the interior wire door of the chicken coop. They are also getting fresh, cooling water daily. Those girls are really growing now and both combs and wattles are showing well and some starting to go red, meaning laying COULD start any day now on some of the early maturing birds. I so look forward to the first little pullet eggs. A good friend says I should take the first one and blow it out, clean it good and then put it in a shadow box frame and hang in the kitchen. I might just do that very thing! But the continue to eat a good, healthy diet of grass clippings, rinds, kitchen scraps and garden discards. They are particularly fond of damaged tomatoes or split ones I cannot use.
I have pulled up all the squash plants from the vegetable garden as the squash bugs completely decimated the main stems and thus the plants have died off. Not to mention again this heat wave. The tomatoes are also suffering as the heat I fear is causing them to burst and rot in place on the stems. I do not see how they are taking this 98, 99, 100+ temperatures like they have been. I have not been over watering so I know the splits are not from too much water as last summer with our cooler, wet year we had. So not much of a harvest has taken place this year compared to years past. I froze many-many gallon bags of tomato sauce/soup mix last year along with giving away many pounds almost daily as well as eating my fill at will. NOT THIS YEAR. I have not had near enough red balls of delicious acid nectar. My pullets have eaten more bad ones than I have any good ones. I could eat one now if I could find one decent enough to slice, salt and pepper and then tell you how great it is/was! But not in this climate this year. I might could find one or two for today. But it might be a little on the green side. I think I might have to start harvesting early, before they reach full ripeness to stop the sudden splitting upon that moment when they reach their peak. That might work and I will let you know in a day or two how that plan works out.
I continue work at the Jackson Community Garden Site #4 here in Jackson. I would like to report that as of last week that site has donated some 80-lbs of squash (plus some tomatoes form my home garden) to RIFA, our local soup kitchen. I am proud of that and the fact I have my only real gardener who is enjoying so much watching her very first garden give her fresh vegetables as well as her enjoying the flowers I added to her plot. I feel good that basically alone I took 2-vacant lots, donated to the JCG project by the First United Methodist Church of Jackson, and have turned it into a good space for gardening that is both productive, enhances the community and teaches others how to garden. That is the premise of what being a Master Gardener is all about and what I went through all the course training and study for and to boost up what I already knew. KUDOS to the UT Extension Service & the Madison County Master Gardeners and to all those who taught and directed the course for Fall 2009. I will graduate in February 2011 and should have over 150-volunteer hours to put me in good standing with my fellow graduating interns.
One more thing to share with you who have been with me for some time during last fall when I was doing some rehab on the old garden home. I have replace my old, solid wood back door that was sagging on the hinges and difficult to both open and close. I put in a new 15-pane steel door like I did on the front last fall. I also found the very same door handle set on sale at Home Depot and added that to make the front and back match, even though the set was a little over kill but with the back door being in the master bedroom, I wanted it to be a little nicer. I have really enjoyed having it in even for this one week alone. I no longer have to pick up on the door to open and close it and it closes with one finger really and the lock works for a nice change as well.

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

Sunday, July 25, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! This week was a good clean up time here at the urban farm. I worked on my own garden a bit (nice change from being all about the community garden and those others I am helping out in) and I was able to work some finished product out and prepare for a fall planting of greens. The summer squash is finished due to squash bug/borers that destroyed the main stems at the ground level and they are pulled up and gone now. Both summer and zucchini squash.
But the main project this past week was mucking out the backyard chicken coop. It was not bad for around 4-months worth of product. I had been putting all my grass clippings, other garden refuse, vegetable trimmings, melon rinds, etc. in the coop and about 3-weeks ago we had our last good rain. In the process and after the rain, we have had record heat and very high humidity. The remaining product in the coop did not dry out. I realized it was time for a mucking.
I removed everything from the coop I could, water founts, feeders...basically everything. Then I started in the chicken house. I had cypress wood chips in there and over time a good bit of wheat straw had made its way in as well due to feedings and the little pullets pulling it out of the nest boxes. So I got two good size plastic storage totes and proceeded to load them up to haul out. I backed my truck up almost to the coop door in the back yard and placed an old tarp in the bed. When I would fill up both totes I would move them to the coop gate then dump into the truck bed. I repeated this only twice in the house. So it took only 4-buckets of product to remove every thing and get it really cleaned out. Fresh chips were then added, food and water founts and I shooed the flock into the house and they stayed there while I started on the run.
Then I moved to the outside yard part. I started in the furthermost corner and took the flat shovel and started scooping out. I filled up the two totes quickly in this part. I took the product down to the bare ground. Originally, I had put in 6-bags of shredded hardwood mulch as a base and good drainage for the coop. I took all this out along with the other material that had built up along with the manure and other refuse in the coop...all the way to bare ground as originally started. After exactly 16-totes full of product dumped into my truck bed, I raked up with a fine metal lawn rake the remainder of loose manure, straw, mulch and other product that was left. This product was very small, fine particles of good usable material and I added this material straight into the area of this urban farm vegetable patch where I plan to plant a fall bed of greens in about another 10-days or so. I am watering it about every other day to help it burn off some of the nitrogen heat quickly.
After this complete mucking out, I added 6-bags of fresh shredded hardwood mulch back to the coop to start again. I have realized I could have put off mucking at this time if I had not put so much grass clippings in as well as the wheat straw and possible too much organic material. I have since this week put in a controlled amount of fresh organic material, using a garbage can lid with grass clipping in it instead of just dumping 2-plus bags full of clippings all in the coop and letting that build up. I will still give fresh material almost daily but will force more eating of the layer crumbles they are on and offer the green material in a more controlled way and not in bulk as I have been. They are by no means denied anything but given when I want them to have it and not "at will". At least for the time being. Then when I am able to reach my 2-year goal of moving to the mini-farm, I will have them more in a free range type of environment. Or at least some birds free ranging for eating bugs, etc.
My long term goal is to get enough of the breeds that are on the slide or endangered and try to produce enough fertile eggs and chicks to be able to provide them to other collectors and hobbyist and chicken fanciers. That would be my ideal situation. And in the plan I have, I look to become as self sufficient as possible. I was privileged to visit a fellow UT Master Gardener yesterday and her husband about 20-miles east of Jackson down I-40 who live on 15-acres and saw their operation and was very impressed. I was also generously given a pint of their freshly gathered honey from their hives. Did I say I was IMPRESSED? VERY IMPRESSED! I thought I had died and arrived in nirvana it was so wonderful there. There were only 2-miles off the interstate highway but you felt like you were miles from now where really. Lovely area and well hidden from view. Makes me think of my future and where to look for "the farm"! KUDOS to my new friends!
Things continue about the same at the Jackson Community Garden Site #4. I have added some fencing around the tomatoes as the local squirrel population seems to have located the main tomato patch that has been deemed for donation to the local soup kitchen, RIFA, and carry off half eaten green produce all over the garden site, leaving nothing to ripen for donation. Other than that, the rest of the garden is in full tilt and the cantaloupes and watermelons continue to add vines and small melons under the DAILY watchful eye of my only real gardener, "Mrs. G.". She has threatened bodily harm to anyone who touches the melons in the garden she says. I call her the Mayor of N. Fairgrounds & Hatton Street here in Jackson! Of course she gets a kick out of that.
I will leave you today with a few shots of the mucking of the backyard chicken coop and did I mention I put the manure product in the compost bin and will let it cook off a few months and then add it back into the garden for spring planting next year. Two photos of the mucked out product and the refreshed coop in shot #3. Have a good week and stay hydrated as we are still due for more scorching heat, up to 99-degrees here today. Still waiting on that first egg anytime now. And remember our ongoing gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Saturday, July 17, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! The field peas have finished here and turning yellow, mostly from no rain or rain at the wrong time and they have just flat played out. So instead of letting 22-pullets loose in the garden with exposure to city hawks and the chance to escape over the short chain link fence in the yard here in center city Jackson, TN I just pulled the pea vines up and dumped them...YES, DUMPED THEM...over into the coop for their dining pleasure. And boy are they ever thrilled. They will eat these things down to stalks, then pick and play with them as well, leaving "stem skeletons" and with the watermelon & cantaloupe rinds already in there from a day or two ago, I will then go in and just rake off the top and add to my compost bin, not only adding green material but adding the top layer of fresh fertilizer to the pile as well that will eventually cook off and be added back into the garden, probably next spring. The worst time, if you call it worst at all since the pullets arrived at 2-days of age here at the urban farm has been the first few weeks, about 4-weeks I guess. They were really no trouble then except for the fact I had them in a large recycled rabbit cage I shared with you early on in this backyard chicken process. That required weekly cleaning and other than that they are and have been nothing but joy, laughter and lots of fun and really no trouble at all. They eat ANYTHING...I mean ANYTHING literally. I give them all my grass clippings from mowing the lawn, usually 2 to 2-1/2 mower bags full about every 6-days. Then they are getting any kind of fruit peels and rinds, cleaned lettuce greens as well as damaged vegetables from the garden here at the center city farm and even some generous neighbors as well, waiting patiently for their first fresh eggs I will share for their patience with me having them in the first place in their back yards so to speak.
I have enjoyed this urban farming idea very much since the inception of turning some flower beds into more of a self producing plot of city lot. HA, you indeed! Well, MY urban farm anyway. I have a vegetable garden, flower garden(s), raise chickens to feed myself and YES I SAY...FARM! URBAN FARM! Farm definition: "FARM: A tract of land devoted to the production of agricultural products and the raising and breeding of domestic animals". I rest my case from this point on for you scoffers and naysayers out there.
The pullets started this week on their new rations of oyster shell and layer crumbles, along with grit for digestion, to prepare the way for egg production for the early maturing birds. I have some breeds that do have moderately early maturing times...Speckled Sussex, the Wyandottes (both Silver Laced & Golden Laced), Ameraucanas (the tinted blue & green egg layers), Black Austraulorps, Buff Orpingtons, and the Barred Rocks which are rather early maturing birds. The earliest eggs could be as soon as the next week or two from some of these. The 2-Black Jersey Giants I have are very slow to mature due to their huge size, being the largest of the domesticated chickens for layers. They do not have a good feed-to-egg conversion but I got them mainly for a conversation piece...they are really large already and if they top out like I think, they will be a head at least about the crowd for sure! Then there are the the 3-Cuckoo Marans...the chocolate egg layers. I have found that even though the name "cuckoo" is supposed to represent the color pattern (similar to the Barred Rocks but more disorganized white stripes on black background) the name really represents the character and temperament, as they are a little cuckoo if you ask me. They truly run around like "a chicken with their heads cut off" if you excuse the quote. Quite the little clowns they are.
I leave you today then with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Friday, July 16, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I finally found a couple of hours this week to make the pallet bench I have been planning and thought about for a long time. I wanted to make this for the Jackson Community Garden site I oversee. I worked about 2-hours on this project and the only supplies I needed was 2-shipping pallets, one (1) 2 x 4 x 8-ft long (cut to fit leg lengths) and a few 3"-deck screws. I would like to share the project with you today and now one of my gardeners over at the site has insisted we paint it white. So we are planning to do that today if the rain holds off a little longer this morning.
I am trying to spruce up a little over there as I hear through the gossip lines that there is to be community garden tour this next weekend. I want to show that even without any help from outside sources my site has literally grown into a really community show out of the void something was created. We have already delivered close to 50-lbs of fresh vegetables from the community garden to our local soup kitchen, RIFA, here in Jackson. That was my main goal all along anyway as much as helping some folks in a neighborhood enhance their community as well as teaching others how to grow and raise there own food and be proud of the end result. The old saying about "Teaching others to fish feeds them a lifetime" is certainly true and quite fulfilling.
Now to find time for my own garden here at the urban farm. WOW...what a summer it has been. Drastic heat waves, weeks without rain, yards to time has been used up this year. But all in all at least I have not been bored or without things to do by any means. To update the city chicken story, I finished feeding the grower feed yesterday and have started the pullets on layer crumbles with oyster shell made available. The oldest ones will be 15-weeks old next Monday and some of the early maturing birds COULD possibly start laying soon. So I wanted to give them the extra boost of the 16% protein and oyster shell needed if this happens in the near future. They are really looking good now, with combs and wattles starting to really come in on many of the birds. I think they are all pretty but of course I have my favorites. So I will leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind...but remember, recycle and keep those pallets from our landfills! "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Friday, July 2, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! What a busy week we have had! Not only here at the urban farm but over at the Jackson Community Garden. I have added a good bit of "curb appeal" over at the community garden I oversee. I have added several plants there that are already in bloom now, but that will add some perennial returns in years to come such as some yellow cannas and some purple cone flower as well as the pink "Potomac" crape myrtles I had already planted.
I also took a few days off this week and visited my middle brother and his lovely wife in south-central Tennessee, close to the Alabama state line. We had a good time as always going "farm hunting" as well as a little fishing and some "picking" through some countryside farm yard sales. We also went to Fayetteville, TN to a well known fabric store where I got some outdoor fabric to make some new covers for my front porch furniture to update and add a new look with a very colorful fabric I will work on in the near future to recover those cushions.
I have had a little better week this week in the garden here at the urban farm where the summer yellow squash and zucchini have really gotten down to producing finally as well as many-many tomatoes and bell peppers have come. I have picked field peas once and froze some containers and they are ready for a second harvest really as of today...or yesterday. Also, I got some good field corn from R & J Feed this week while getting my last bag of chick grower feed. I cut it off the cob, fried it in a little butter and bacon drippings, salt & pepper and then ate a little fresh and then froze most of it for later use.
Speaking of squash, the Jackson Community Garden project I oversee has delivered a large mess of yellow summer squash to the RIFA Soup Kitchen this past week as well. Between the JCG and my own garden here I was able to give them a nice picking and have more today to send them on Monday as well of my own yellow and zucchini squash from this urban farm and then add to it from the JCG. Over at the JCG I saw this week that I actually have some cantaloupe and watermelons starting to grow and make a little showing. It was very exciting for my gardeners there to see the little melons showing up on the vines. We also had another visitor there this week...a little fledgling dove has made its home in the tomato bed where the ground is covered with wheat straw for mulch and has been eating some of the wheat straw heads with the seeds on them and feeling somewhat protected under the canopy of the large tomato plants.
This past week I also stained the deck on the back of this garden home and tried to do some weather proofing there. I am in the process of having a new back door installed on this home to match the front door I had installed last fall. I have a solid wood door now that is dragging some and I cannot seem to do enough myself to make it right and I already know I wanted another single 15-pane French door there and I am also adding a vinyl screen door on the outside of that so that I can leave the main door open when weather allows for more ventilation and for general comfort and the additional features that would take this home back to a more original theme.
I have added a photo here of Max, guarding his little pullets. They are growing so much and will be 14-weeks old on July 12, 2010 and could start laying by age 15-weeks. Max thinks he is part of the flock and the pullets could care less that he is so close to them, as he has been part of their little lives from the age of two days old when they arrived here at the urban farm.

Here is some of the corn I processed for the freezer. I put the silks and shucks in the chicken coop along with the cobs after the corn was cut off and of course there was not much left but bare, clean picked cobs when the pullets got finished with it all. In fact, I even put my field pea shells in there and of course I add all my grass clippings now as they love the cut up tender grass tips from mowing. I also always add any other vegetable greens or trimmings in there...tomato, watermelon, cantaloupe...anything really that is edible for us is edible for them plus much more. I will even add the pea vines when they have finished producing and I pull them from the garden for a fall planting of greens in that spot.

Here is the deck after staining a nice cedar color of "Behr" waterproofing semitransparent stain. I am please with the outcome here and it has made the back really stand out in a better way as well as weather proofing the wood. This should last from 2 to 4 years from these 2-gallons of stain.

Here is a look at the community garden and an arbor I built there this about two weeks ago. It came out OK and for a quick addition, it will do for some added curb appeal. As you can see from the main front area it will add a sense of a more permanent space and give some "garden entry" feel to make this spot seem like it was meant to be and not a chance happening. I have enough pallets now to make some park benches and will post them when they are finished, painted and installed at the garden there.

I apologize for being away from you for so long but even Garden Daddy's need a break sometime! I leave you today then with our ongoing urban farming affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"