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Tuesday, July 19, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I know, I know...again, where have I been? All I can say is too sorry. A lot has been going on here both with the urban farm and in Jackson, TN and mostly just "life" has been happening really. I hope to remedy that soon. I am giving up some commitments I have had over the summer and hope to have more time for you in the future. Sometimes it is so hard to tell people no, again not my strongest strength.
Last week I took a few days and visited my middle brother & his wife in Giles County, TN and he and I had a good time running the roads of his rural area of Tennessee. He lives very close to a large Amish community, found in the Etheridge area, Lawrence County I think. But we spent one whole day driving through that area, viewing some wonderfully productive and very lush farms, both thriving and moving ahead without the aid of many of our so called "modern" machines and other conveniences we THINK we must have to make our gardens grow and our front lawns green. These good people use a lot of real horsepower in the way of large draft horses, mules and the like. We saw bee hives, tomato plants of all stages of growth, including some new plants just being set out for a late harvest. Lets see...if you plant tomatoes the second week of July, give them 65 to 70 days to start blooming and fruiting that would make them harvesting in September which is still in the very-very high 80's and often still in the 90's here so YES, a late harvest for them is very viable.
We also were able to stop and chat with some of these good people and found them not only hard working but friendly and willing to assist us "ENGLISH" where needed. I love to hear their heavy accents, often some with what seems like a heavy Dutch accent or other close to something like that. TRULY GOOD PEOPLE!
I had a request from a follower who wanted to know how I introduced my spring chicks to the rest of the grown flock. When the little pullets were about 10-weeks old, I took some of the green plastic 1" fencing and used some plastic electrical ties and attached the fence to about1/3rd of the chicken house, added their own water fount and feed container and then took them in and added them into that section of the house. I left them there for about 4-weeks and in that time the grown hens got to check them out and they got used to each other. Then I went in and removed the fencing, leaving the separate food and water for the chicks in the same area where they had been staying. It took a few days but soon the little pullets started coming out into the outside run, often seeing a grown hen and returning to the safety of their original area, only to find there was really no place to hide now. But soon, they were eating together, roosting together and mingled just fine. It worked GREAT! I had already returned their foster Mom a few weeks earlier and it took a few days for her to even be re-accepted back into the flock, as she had been gone herself for those first really almost 12 weeks while if you remember sat on the golf balls, then brooded the store bought chicks I had ordered. It took about a week for her to be added back to the flock again without any fights or chasing.
I have been harvesting and freezing green beans from this urban farm. I planted both "Blue Lake" and "Contender" varieties. I gave some away and heard they were the best the folks had eaten...they were a mixed bag of both varieties I had blanched and froze first. I also have been harvesting many tomatoes and have made some cooked down and made some soup mix already. It looks like later this week I will really be in the midst of a huge tomato harvest but looks of things, more than I could ever eat before spoilage, so my kitchen will be alive again with chopping, adding to the food processor, then cooking down then mashing through a sieve to remove seeds and the bulk stuff (including any skins that did not cook down) then slow cooking to reduce and thicken, then cooling, then placing into freezer bags, cooling down in ice water then FINALLY.....adding to my freezer for next winter soup stock, chili base and other good winter cooking.
I also have been to the local farmer's market here in Jackson and got some "Peaches -N-Cream" corn, which I cut off the cob, fried in a little butter and salt, then cooled down and put in freezer bags and that also went into the freezer. Of course I have eaten some of that fresh when I first cut it off the cob. Boy...was it ever good! I need to make some cornbread, get more fresh corn and cook up a mess of fresh green beans from this garden home, slice a tomato and get to eating, right? ARE YOU HUNGRY YET?
Back to speaking of chickens...did I tell you I sold all but 4 of last year's laying hens? I had to make a decision as to keeping a large amount of hens with up and coming pullets eating me out of house and home, way too many eggs to be given away again this fall and winter when the pullets start to lay or culling down the flock to a more manageable size. I now only have 4-grown hens that are laying, with the 9-pullets who should I think start laying in late August or early September. I only kept the 3-Cuckoo Marans and the little Buff Orpington hen that was the little pullets' foster Mother. I am only getting a minimum amount of eggs now, as due to summer heat and the fact the Cuckoo's are not the best and most dependable layers. Now waiting on the 6-Wellsummer pullets, the two standard Cochin pullets and the new Blue-Wheaten Ameraucana to start laying later this summer or fall.
I will leave you today then with our ongoing urban farming affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

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