My Edible Garden

I've been gardening for most of my life and have been a devoted fan of organic gardening the whole time. It just makes so much more sense to work in harmony with Mother Nature than to fight her. Besides which it is better for the planet and better for our bodies. Here you can see what I'm planting and harvesting, with gardening hints and resources thrown in for good measure.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Jan 7, 2019

I saw this at the grocery store a week or two ago. Capons are castrated chickens.  Removing the testes cause them to put some fat into the muscle meat instead of layering it under their skin or packing it in around their internal organs. It also means that the males can be raised together without fighting for months. A friend that grows their own says they have processed them at 18 months and they were very tender and juicy. (Intact males at that age are tough and stringy and will kill each other).  Caponizing does require going into the body cavity to remove the testes. It’s on my list of things to learn to do!

I had to work early today and will for couple of weeks. But after work worked on cleaning out moms office. Look what I excavated in there..... Do they even still make drives that can read these?

Sunday, January 6, 2019

And This is Why I get Nothing Accomplished

This is a 10x10 foot dog kennel, 6 feet high with a roof kit so about 8 feet at the peak. It has weld wire over it at the 6 foot mark. The bottom of that tarp is now at my eye level and I’m not quite 5’2”. The rain and snow collapsed a couple of the roof supports. 

It took all morning to bail the water off and straighten out the tarps. Next to that kennel are several more, also covered with the big tarps. 

I was lucky it didn’t actually rain. 

Some of the pens had standing water in them that ran in when I was bailing. This one just smelled of ammonia because it was wet under the bedding. So after finally scarfing up some food I cleaned it out and turned and fluffed the bedding in some of the other pens. Then I hauled 3 bales of straw to help soak up the water and give everybody dry footing. 

Everybody loves to dig through the straw so I just dump it in there and the birds spread it around. 

Pinal Mountains, south of me. More snow and rain coming. 

A new Ameraucana joins the layers club. By the time I did afternoon chores I was stiff and sore and hungry again. 

I did discover this pretty purple cauliflower. It didn’t stay purple when I cooked it but tasted good. 

Little Bits has claimed a spot by the wood stove. He is putting more weight on his hurt foot today. 

So chores are done and dinner eaten. A toasty fire is made. . I think a splash of brandy in my tea is just the thing to ease up all my sore muscles. None of this stuff was on my agenda for today. Ah well. There’s always tomorrow. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

And On The 5th Day of January

And today I went to sell at SunFlour Market in Superior.  

I had to fix a water pipe that broke from the cold. 

It’s supposed to rain tonight and a couple more days later in the week so had to cut up some wood. I have no dry wood at the moment aside from what I can keep in the house. 

To top my day off my old Tom Bitsy came home with a hurt leg. Since he can’t get around too good at the moment I let him in the house   He promptly scarfed up some raw liver and turned his nose up at dry food.  Yes my kitchen floor looks gross. I’m still cleaning up the mess from the squirrels and 3 yrs of neglect. But I have gotten one side of the stove washed and a couple of counters so I can at least cook simple stuff.  

Friday, January 4, 2019

The 4th day of January

Good morning Sun. Almost 9:00 and just coming over the hill. 

Still lots of snow. Was about 25°F when I got up. I think the high today was *maybe* 50. So no greens or herbs for market tomorrow.  It’s supposed to warm up this week so maybe next Saturday. 

A new girl has joined the layers club. Very nice blue Ameraucana egg.  

I’ll get a pic tomorrow- today I moved over a small coop and moved in a group of Silkies that I want to hatch from this spring. Later I went back and got another coop taken apart so I can move it tomorrow afternoon. It’s supposed to rain on Sunday so part of tomorrow will also be cutting and stockpiling dry wood. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Jan 3, 2019

That is as far out of the chicken house Giotto will come. He just doesn’t know what to think about all this snow.

The Pinal mountains south of me are covered. 

This was New Years Day. A lot has melted off but there is a lot left!

Egg production is picking up with new layers on the box and some old layers eggs down in the bucket.

I just wish it would warm up a little bit. Hauling 5 or more gallons of water out to the coops every morning is starting to get real old. Tomorrow is Friday and I have no idea if there will be any usable greens to pick for Saturday market or not. Everything has been frozen solid for days now. You can't touch a plant when it's frozen or it will just turn to mush when it thaws out. Well, at least I'll have some eggs!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Happy New Year

I woke up to a white 2019.

It started snowing the night before and Giotto was anxious and whining so I put him up in the big chicken coop. His instincts were right, the hoop house I made wasn't stable enough in the wind and snow and collapsed. 

He’s been in the big chicken house ever since. This morning it was still very cold and trying to snow again. He stuck his head out the door and promptly backed up. I don't think he likes this weather at all.

Egg production is picking up with several new pallets getting started. Hopefully the weather doesn't put them off.

I think there is another raccoon hanging around. These tracks went in and out of the new tent shed where the cats food is. 

They don’t look like the cat prints which are small circles. I will have to set the traps up as soon as the weather breaks a bit. It's snowing again this morning. I'm hoping it doesn't get too bad, I have to work until 4:30 today.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


I know I've been AWOL for a  bit. Lots of things happening in my life right now. Some issues of the computer not recognizing that there really are picture on the phone to download. And my phone is old so the battery runs out real quick when I'm trying to do thing on it. As you know I root knot nematodes in several garden beds. I bought some things to help with that and will be adding a  page to the blog about organic controls showing the experiments I'm doing. In the meantime I'm not sure if these sunflowers have a nematode issue or if they just need more nutrients. I think it may be a little of both.

You can tell a lot about a plants nutritional status by looking at it's leaves. This sunflower leaf is very pale green so it probably needs some more nitrogen. The yellowing and die back at the edge of the leaf says it needs potash. I know that nitrogen and potash are both low in my soil and some other nutrients may be present but may not be available to the plant because of the high pH (usually 8-9. If you don't know what pH is you can check this article What is pH?)  The Royal Horticultural Society has a nice article with photographs of nutrient deficiencies here. The University of Arizona Extension Office has a good chart here but they don't include pictures and they don't offer organic solutions.

Plants often start out doing very well in the spring and early summer, only to run out of steam part way through the season. There can be many causes, having to water a lot because we are so hot and dry can leach nutrients out of the root zone, our high soil pH can tie up some minerals and make them unavailable to plants. Plants need more of some nutrients at different points in their life cycles. I have been watching some great videos from Dan Kitteredge and the Bionutrient Food Association about how the biology in the soil works and how it feeds the plants. I'll be working hard to improve my soil and foster the correct biology so that in the future there won't be any deficiencies.

In the meantime I've bought some Neem Cake fertilizer. They press an oil from the neem seeds and use it for controlling nematodes and other things. The material that is left is used as a fertilizer and also to help control nematodes. So I'm adding it, along with SulPoMag (sulphate of potash magnesia) which is a mined material to add potash. Crab shell meal is also supposed to help suppress nematodes. All of theses materials are going into beds before replanting. If the bed showed evidence of nematodes I'm planting cole crops like kale, cauliflower and broccoli as they are not usually bothered by nematodes. If there was no evidence of nematodes in the previous crop that's where I'm planting more susceptible things like beets and lettuce.

 One of our little Nankin pullets disappeared without a trace awhile back. I found a young pair to keep her company. They are still in quarantine but will soon be joining her. Hopefully they will hatch some chicks this fall.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Farmer Friday 8/31/18

Besides watering some stuff and the usual chores and run to Superior about the only other constructive thing today was bagging some sunflower heads for seed. This week has wiped me out.  So glad to be done. Good night world. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Thursday 8/30/18

Hard to believe it's almost September. Took sis to the dentist in Mesa. We treated ourselves to lunch since we didn't get to on our birthdays in April. 

Had extra time after lunch so we went to Bookmans, a used book store. I found some good titles. Then a long wait at the dental school. I think I read almost half of Seeds of Change before it was time to come home. 

I didn't get a pic but the dogs had a cat treed all day. So I finally brought all the dogs inthe house. Poor cat had managed to get its waist stuck in a fork in the tree and couldn't seem to get out. So I got the ladder and got down and took it outside the fence. I doubt it will come back after that! Whew. It's been a long week!  Time for bed, good night world 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wednesday 8/29/18

So today was very frustrating. Drove 100+ miles to an organic supplier and they didn't stick the neem cake fertilizer that I went to buy in the store. Wanted to ship it to me. No. Just no. Then when I ask about the root knot nematodes the lady says I should just replace the soil!!!!! 

I think I know more about what to do about it than she did!  The University of North Carolina has some good info on them and I will be following some of their recommendations. In the meantime I did buy one of the soil drenches to use right away. Stay tuned. This issue will probably generate a whole new page here with what I try and how things work out.