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.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Farmer Friday

The spinach and lettuce are coming on strong, but I don't know how long they will last with our unseasonable heat. Things are blooming a month ahead of normal.
mixed lettuce
I have been planting every kind of lettuce, hoping some will manage the heat at least a little while. Oak leaf, Red Salad Bowl, Green Salad Bowl, Bibb, Butterhead. All different shades of green, with some red and speckled ones too.
Rainbow Chard
Rainbow Chard is a garden mainstay. These plants have been producing for a year now with no sign of letting up or slowing down!
Siberian Kale, aka Red Russian or Ragged Jack
With the warmer weather the kale has really been putting out a lot of new growth.
*some* of the eggs in ONE of the incubators
While some eggs are going into the incubators, a lot more are going in the fridge!
The Peas are coming!
I picked the first hand full of peas this week, I should have some to sell next week! Another crop that does not like to be hot. In an average year they are done between mid-May and the first of June. If our hot weather keeps up these may not make it past mid-April.
6" soil blocker
This week I played with my new toy tool, a huge 6 inch soil blocker. It was a little trickier to make good blocks compared to making the smaller 2" ones.
6" soil blocks
But I got them done and put about 80-100 tomato starts in them. The tomatoes were a little overgrown and probably should have been transplanted sooner. The issue was space to put them. I had a big fat pack rat getting into the hoop house where I set my transplants. That bugger wiped out over 100 broccoli and cauliflower starts and was even starting in on the marigolds! Finally caught it and it doesn't look like there are any more at the moment.

commercial style chick brooder
I scored big recently, trading an unused rabbit cage for a commercial style chick brooder. My friend even gave me the table he had it sitting on. I cut the table legs down and added casters so I can roll it under the work bench in the shop when I need to.
Just one duckling and a few chicks hatched last weekend. This weekends hatch should be bigger and in a couple of weeks I have a huge hatch coming (like more than 60 eggs!)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Farmer Friday

Eggs from the compost chickens
The compost chickens are doing well and give me a few eggs a day; lots of these are going into the incubator because they are all older girls and still laying.

cardboard and manure mulch
I planted out some rosemary, oregano and a Lady Banks rose by the chicken pens. They were mulched with cardboard and newspaper covered with manure.

I've had some helpers lately and certainly appreciate them!

The Silkie babies got a new house
The plum trees are blooming
It has been way too warm here, with trees and flowers blooming as much as a month early.

eggs for the incubator
Time to hatch chicks! Lots of eggs going into the incubator, duck, Ameraucana, Buff Orpington, Black Copper Marans, olive eggers.

Superior Farmer's Market
Tomorrow I'll be back at the Superior Farmer's Market with baby mustard greens, kale, collards, Superior grown grapefruit and lots of fresh eggs!

A peak at the light set up at my house:
And soon I'll have lettuce for market!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Farmer Friday

Red Mizuna Mustard
Getting ready for the Superior Farmer's Market tomorrow. I pulled all the red Mizuna Mustard greens, cleaned up the bed and planted cilantro in it's place. In a couple of weeks the Giant Red Mustard will be ready to start pulling.

Ants warming up in the sunshine
It is still about freezing at night, then warm and sunny during the day. I noticed the ants sitting on a rock by their nest enjoying the sunshine.

Rainbow carrots & Radishes
I pulled some Rainbow carrots and a few radishes. There are not a lot of carrots left, but it's almost time to plant more.

Marans egg is #6 on the shade card
The days are a bit longer now and some of the hens are picking up their egg laying! I love the extra dark Marans eggs. This one was a #6 on the shade card (which happens to be upside down in the pic) I'll start collecting eggs to hatch starting this Sunday.

The back garden 2-3-2017
Today was a really pretty sunny day and I enjoyed my time in the garden. Took off row covers and discovered some beds needed a drink of water and most had a few weeds. So I enjoyed the sunshine while I watered, weeded and harvested. The chickens all enjoyed the weeds and bugs I tossed to them.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Little of This & That

Pinal Peak Jan 22, 2017
We had a pretty sunset yesterday evening; I was going down the driveway just in time to see the sun highlight the mountains. A good bit of snow up there.

rainfall week ending Jan 22, 2017
In the past week we've had 2.1 inches of rain. We sure need the moisture but I wish it would spread things out a bit. It's raining again already. Can't we save some for June and July?

Leek Seedlings
I haven't grown leeks before but I grow garlic and onions so shouldn't be any real difference. The main difference is planting the leeks deeply and hilling earth up around them when they get bigger. That is what makes a long white stem.

Parsley seedlings
In spite of garden books predicting it taking a long time, my parsley seedlings are germinating, only about 10 days after planting. I think I saw a speck of green in the sage tray too.

Scarlet Kale seedlings
Can't wait to see what the Scarlet Kale is like. This makes 4 varieties of kale this year!

new layer
I don't think the new girl laying quite gets the idea of what the box is for.....

I bought the book Gaia's Garden a couple of years ago. This is a great introduction into the concepts of Permaculture. There are some great projects and ideas to help you get started with becoming more self sufficient, resilient and sustainable around your home and in your garden. If you don't know, Permaculture is described as a design science. Things are designed so that the wastes of one system feed another. Remember in Nature there is no such thing as garbage. Only humans create garbage. Permaculture design principles can be used to design any system, from an urban homestead to a city to a large company. When thinking about something new around my place I ask myself if it fits into the Ethics of Permaculture: Care of the Earth, Care of the People, Share the Surplus

Gaia's Garden, Second Edition

from: Chelsea Green Publishing

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Week In Pictures

#73 a 2016 pullet was Champion English and Reserve Large Fowl Safford, AZ 
Last weekend I attended the Safford Poultry Show. I was pleasantly surprised that my Buff Orpington pullet #73 was judged Best of Breed, Best English and Reserve Large Fowl. There were not that many birds shown in the English class, but there were 108 large fowl show, so not too shabby.

Mount Graham, Jan 14, 2017

Mount Graham Jan 2017

Mount Graham was covered in snow. Can you spot the observatory?

My daughter shows off the marble size hail
I got home and unloaded in time for a little storm of marble size hail.
Sunset Jan 14, 2017
Followed by a really pretty sunset.
uh oh

twisted a 6x6' chain link panel

The storm however did a number on the compost chickens pen. It even twisted a 6'x6' chain link panel out of plumb. I had to leave it out and rearrange the remaining panels.
Ameraucana pullet's first egg
One of the June hatched Ameraucana pullets started laying. Her first egg was this tiny one.

Broccoli coming out
Later in the work I pulled out the broccoli bed and planted some lettuce mix in it's place.

Pinal Mountains Jan 21, 2017
This weekend we have had a lot of rain and have been under a winter storm warning. It's stopped raining for a bit but we have more rain and snow coming. I love that we are getting much needed rain but I wish it would spread it out a bit. Some parts of our county are under a flood watch now too.

There isn't too much run off at my place yet, but the winds have taken out the low tunnel. The plants are all hardy and can survive freezing just fine. The tunnel is just to help them stay a bit warmer so they grow faster. I will deal with it when the weather clears up a bit.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Farmer Friday

carrots and radishes
Today was getting ready for market day. Pulled some rainbow carrots, although most of the ones that were ready were white, there were a few orange, red and purple ones, along with a few radishes.

Red Russian Kale
Got the first picking of kale from the hoop house. This is Red Russian, also known as Siberian and Ragged Jack.

Red Mizuna Mustard
Picked a couple bunches of Red Mizuna Mustard. There is some left, but it's going pretty quick.

Picked some lovely cilantro. I love this stuff. I even munch on it as I work in the garden. It's like addicting.

DiCiccio Broccoli
I picked a couple last bunches of broccoli. The side shoots are getting really tiny. If I was just picking to eat myself I would leave the plants a little longer. But most people was something bigger than your thumb nail. So next week out it will come and something new will be planted. Lettuce mix, perhaps.

Rainbow Chard
The Rainbow chard is still doing well. Some of these plants were planted a year ago and still going strong.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Planting in the New Garden

adding purlins to the low tunnel hoops
Well my supplier didn't get my EMT conduit in yet but I remember seeing some laying around somewhere.... So a check of the junk piles yielded just enough to finish the first bed in the new garden. Mmmmmm looks like a couple of issues. Partly these aren't connecting because the ground slopes a lot from one end to the other and partly because under the compost the ground is as hard as concrete.

my trusty 8' iron bar
So off to find my trusty iron bar. The pointed end is just right to make the holes deeper for a couple of the hoops so they go into the ground a  little further.

purlin on, ends taped to protect cover from rubbing
You can buy special connectors to attach the purlins to the hoops and I probably will get some; they will help make the framework more rigid. In the meantime some baling wire (aka tie wire) did fine. Along with some Gorilla tape on the ends to prevent abrasion of the row cover on the end of the purlin.

wind.... grrr
It was a beautiful sunny morning, so calm and so still..... UNTIL I rolled out the row cover! Of course the wind started up the instant I went to put the cover on the hoops.

with 2 pieces of row cover
So I found some clamps and got it fastened down. Only to discover that either I should have pushed the hoops farther into the ground or I should have ordered wider row cover. What I have is not wide enough to cover the hoops with enough slack on the ground to weight it down. So for now there are 2 pieces of cover on these hoops.

Once all of that was settled, I got busy planting. Some baby pak choi, collard greens and broccoli. I'm thinking the pak choi and collards will be ready to pick in about a month. The broccoli will probably be about 8-12 weeks.