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Friday, July 29, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I wanted to share with you that today was the last of my green beans here in the backyard garden. I was able with the first three pickings of beans to freeze some 15-quarts or so of product. I also ate about 5 meals along the way with what I cooked through for serving. But after watering during the past week to make the vines bloom again even in this heat we are going through, one nice rain shower in the mix as well, when I went to the garden this morning at 6:30am to harvest beans, banana peppers and tomatoes, I found very few green beans, few blooms and vines barely hanging on. HEAT...HEAT...HEAT...It is just not letting up here. So I started pulling them up, hill by hill, then picking what ever was hanging on them, large or smallest of the small. I ended up with a nice pot full, enough for dinner tonight and leftovers it looks like. Adding a little cut up salt pork to the cooking and they taste really great. I am adding some mashed potatoes and going to grill some sliced pork loin I bought this week, whole, and cut up into boneless steak size slices...are you hungry yet? Oh yes and of course, some tomato and basil salad!
You know what this Garden Daddy did with the bean vines don't you? RIGHT...straight to the chicken coop, along with any cull tomatoes, grass I pulled and any other garden refuse I thought would be a treat for the "girls"! That will keep them busy today...rummaging through that pile. Speaking of my "girls"...for those of you who generally feed commercial feed, medicated or not, most suppliers claim that if you feed their product exclusively there is no need to supplement with grit or oyster shell if using their feed. BUT...if YOU supplement your commercial feed at all with ANY garden culls, kitchen trimmings, grass clippings....anything other than commercial feed and your chickens are NOT free range, then please remember to add some grit to their diet. It is a must for the addition of products other than commercial feed. Some of my buddies in the West TN Poultry Club (plug here...of course I am a member!) mix it in their bulk feed and some just scatter on the ground in the coop, etc. Personally, I have an extra small feeder with an open top that I use sometimes when I am raising chicks in a brooder that I generally use to hold grit. I use hen-size crushed granite that you can get anywhere you get your layer it Tractor Supply, your local co-op, local feed store, etc.
And speaking of is new photo of a few of my little spring pullets you have seen in March and April as little chicks with their foster Mom who sat on golf balls and I slipped these chicks under after about 22 -days of sitting...the one on the left is a Blue Wheaten Ameraucana, the middle one is a Standard White Cochin (white with the feathers on their feet and legs, I also have a nice Buff Cochin to go with her) and the third in the back is one of the Dutch Welsummers that are SUPPOSED to lay the terracotta dark brown eggs with speckles on them hopefully! You can just make out their little combs starting to come in as well as the wattles. But the Ameraucana never does really get either comb or wattles...but you can see the "beard & ear tufts" on this one pretty well. You can see in this photo why the are called BLUE WHEATEN, because of the gray-blue coloring around the beard (could be anywhere really) along with the caramel/wheat-color on a basic white body. The Welsummers of course here at the urban farm are all pullets/hens but if I had a rooster it would be what was used as the mascot for Kellogg's Corn Flakes rooster. Welsummers lay about 160 eggs per year. Not GREAT by any standards but a pretty egg that is generally just shy of large to extra large by FDA standards. We will see by next summer how well they lay or it is off to a spring club sale for them and new chicks coming in to replace them. I am already making plans for next spring to get some "Cornish Rock X" birds for the freezer I think at his point and maybe a few more for family or another club swap/sale. And maybe if the Welsummers are not what I want in layers or managable birds over the winter, might just go back with all Buff Orpington's or all Barred Rocks, which last year were TREMENDOUS layers as well as the Silver Laced & Golden Laced Wyandottes. I still have three of the Cuckoo Marans, which are probably not the best layers at all to have but their eggs are so dark and that is what I want and like the best. So do not think this urban farm is settled on the topic of layers yet. I have had many varieties this past two seasons, and as in all farming and gardening, it is an ever growing and learning experience with it all. Experimentation, planning, planting, and trying and re-trying EVERYTHING!

I had an inquiry about when I was processing my soup mix from last weeks tomato harvest did I have boiling water handy and dip my tomatoes and remove the skins BEFORE I put them in the food processor. The answer is NO...I just quartered them up, put them in and ran it until it was slush. Then I poured it into my stewing pot and brought the entire thing to a boil, seeds and all. After all when you buy stewed tomatoes in a can at the store they are whole but without skins. By the time that food processor gets through with everything, it is all chopped up anyway and when it cooks down for a few hours to reduce and thicken you cannot tell any difference anyway. I try to make things as simple as possible these days.
I thought you might find a fat old man hiding in the garden here at the urban farm and a few days ago, someone did...ME! Me in my Amish farmer's hat. It looks like I have a white beard but only a goatee...but after seeing this photo, am giving SERIOUS THOUGHT to that fact come fall to grow a full beard again, like I use to wear in my younger days, only this one will be white for sure!

I am already working on a new plan for the layout of the garden here at the urban farm for fall and into next spring. I am planning to add an arbor to the entrance after all harvest and garden clean up is over this fall. I will give you a photo layout of what my plan is when going in...nothing fancy at all but will make quite a statement. If you remember the one I put in last year at the Jackson Community Garden will give you an the way, please keep in your gardening minds that the life of the JCG will continue. My site is plagued with problems from the neighborhood it is in due to the fact the whole idea was to transform areas in need with not only a facelift and something to be proud of and to teach people how to feed themselves. That is why they are mostly in areas of crisis. It appears that it may be in naught after this year...I personally will not participate in the JCG next season but only wish the project success. It is not that I do not believe in the project but I can only do so much and am only one person and I simply do not have any more time to offer that project after this season. So if you have the opportunity to ever participate in a community garden, please give it a others learn to grow their own food, have a plot for yourself, and grow a plot or two for your local soup kitchen as well...EVERYONE needs healthy, fresh vegetables and what better way to get them than to plant the seeds, watch them grow and then serve them to your better way, I promise you. That is the essence of THIS urban farm. I will leave you today with our ongoing urban farming affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the answer. I have always dipped mine in boiling water and slipped the skin off prior to canning. However, I do refuse to peel tomatoes. Some think I am barbaric for serving skins at the dinner table or putting tomato slices with skins on a sandwich that I consume. I have been thinking about leaving the skins on when canning. I don't have a food processor, but I do have a blender. I like the chunks of canned tomatoes, but still want skins that are not so visible. I may add a step and make my life harder by slipping the hot skins off and putting them in the blender. For the fair competition, there will be no skins. At the fair, my first and only food in a fair competition, I won blue six blue or red ribbons--blue for canned tomatoes. Tomato skins probably would not cut it with the judges. Oh, I also leave in the seeds which some people do not want in their canned tomatoes. Judges did not mind.

    Sorry there was not so much help in the community garden.

    My hens will fight over a green bean. I get bruised market produce to feed to them.Often there is a bean or two. I know how much they love to scratch through garden leftovers!

    Are you planting a fall or winter garden?