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, October 23, 2017

Going to a Chicken Show

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The show hall
Over the weekend I attended a fun chicken show. It was a double show put on by the Apache County and Four Corners poultry clubs. It's a lot of work getting the birds ready for a show, they have to be bathed and checked over, nails and beaks trimmed. We oil their legs and combs to make them shinier and to bring their color out.

Black Silkie hen
When you go to a double show you pay double entry fees, but you save on hotel bills and travel expenses. This show is very nice and has some nice awards, which darn I didn't take any pictures of.

One of my black Silkie hens was Best of Breed in one show and Reserve of Breed in the other. Since there were quite a few Silkies entered that was pretty good. One of my blue hens was Best Variety in one show and 3rd place in the other.

Buff Ameraucana cockerel
My buff Ameraucana cockerel was Reserve Breed in one show and Reserve Variety in the other. There were only about 5 Ameraucana entered in total but still not bad. He does have a large number of faults that I'll be working on going forward.

Buff Ameraucan hen
My buff Ameraucana hen was 2nd place in both shows, but her competition won the class, AOSB (Any Other Standard Breed)

Me and some of my chicken buddies, Marcia and Suze
I didn't get any more pics of my chickens, silly me. I was too tired by the afternoon. A couple of my Welsh Harlequin drakes traded off being Best Light Duck and Reserve Light Duck. they didn't have a lot of competition though. 

If you've never been to a chicken show it is a lot of fun and pretty amazing to see all the different breeds. Next time I'll try to take more pictures.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New Pullet Eggs and Meat Chicks

I know I haven't been around much lately. Loosing my brother and his son just 3 weeks apart really took the wind out of my sails. But I have been working the garden and have a lot of things to be grateful for. The new pullets are laying. 

I'm really pleased with the color of the brown layers and olive eggers this year. 

The farmers market in Globe is finished and now we are in Superior 9-12 every Saturday morning. 

2 does came to visit one day. I'm glad they didn't get into the gardens. 

The kittens are getting big.  

And so are the chicks. 

The meaties were getting big so we processed them on Monday. These guys don't look that big but the biggest ones dressed out over 4 pounds without feet, necks or giblets!  There were 21 of them, nearly 80 pounds of meat. Wowza. We had to cut them up to get them all in the freezer.   Next up soup stock from the carcasses. Lots of work but certainly worth it to know where your food comes from. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What a Terrible Windstorm

We had a terrible windstorm right at dusk yesterday evening. I woke up to the Ducks shade looking like this. 

The roof was blown off this little coop and Harmony's Nankins were loose.  My buff Ameraucana pair also got loose and were chasing the Nankins which ran and hid in another open coop. So I just shut the door until I can fix their coop and move them back. 

Then I went to my house to discover the 10 foot tall archway is bent.  I will have to wait until frost to take it down since the Red Kuri squash are climbing on it. 

Then I discovered a dead raptor in my front yard. Nothing left but feather and bone so it's been there awhile. Not sure what kind but maybe a Cooper's hawk. I thought it was a chicken at first but couldn't tell because the feathers were so faded and matted. I didn't find any tail or legs. Just wings, head and body. Just another day on the farm!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Harvest Monday

8 pound Northern New Mexico Melon
Hales cantaloupe and Marketmoore cukes
Once again I missed Harvest Monday last week and I'm late this week. Go visit other gardeners around the world and see what they are picking, planting and eating.
N. NM Melon, Armenian and Marketmoore cukes

assorted squash
There have been cucumbers, squashes and melons to pick. the Northern New Mexico melon is an heirloom from the Pueblos. It was sweet and tasty.
Hales, Armenian and Marketmoore
Black Copper Marans cockerel

Olive egger cockerel

Black Copper Marans pullet

tree seedlings
The formatting is all whacky today and I can't seem to fix this page how I want it to display. Oh well, not wasting any more time.  My phone app already lost this whole post and then the PC needed a malware scan and had over 1,000 things. No wonder it's been funky.

I did plant red mustard and turnips in the bed recently vacated by the beans. While prepping the bed for replanting I discovered some tree seedlings. At least a couple are honey locust and so far no thorns. The others have similar but slightly different leaves so I'm no sure what they are. They are now in 1 gallon pots while I wait and see.

So totals for 2 weeks
Harvest for Aug 21-27
cantaloupe    5# 6 oz
squash          9#  6 oz
Big tomatoes   11oz
squash          2#  11oz
Armenian cuke 2# 8oz
beans         1# 8oz
flat parsley      4oz
rosemary         negligible
sage                1oz
Armenian     5# 9oz
Marketmoore  5# 0oz
Honey Boat delicata  2# 8oz
squash 30#
Scarlet kale    2# 9oz
Lancinato      1#  8oz
chard              1# 6 oz
Marketmoore 10# 8oz
9-1 (I can't believe it's Sept!)
squash 30#  0oz
cantaloupe 1# 13oz
N. NM melon  8# 2oz
cherry tomatoes  2# 4oz
Armenian   17# 9oz
Marketmoore   2# 4oz

TOTALS for 2 weeks
melons       15# 5oz
squash        72# 1oz
big tomatoes 11oz
cucumbers   43# 5 oz
beans        1# 8oz
herbs              5oz
delicata      2# 8oz
kale            3# 1oz
chard             1# 6oz
cherry tomatoes 2# 4 oz

TOTAL     141# 14oz

Friday, August 25, 2017

Farmer Friday

cucumbers and melons
This has been a hard sad week with the sudden and unexpected death of my little brother last Friday. So I have spent a lot of time staring off into space, forgetting what I was going to do next and sometimes just crying. That said the garden grows and life goes on.  The chickens and garden gave me something to focus on this week. There were squash,  cucumbers and cantaloupe. 
Tomatoes and squash
There were even four big tomatoes. 

Spaghetti squash, almost ready

There will be an abundance of spaghetti squash. 

Black Copper Marans eggs
One of my oldest Black Copper Marans hens is laying again so all of her eggs are going in the incubator for now. For what it's worth the egg on the right is about the right color; the other two are washed out in the pic.

eclipse picture
I watched the eclipse like everyone else although I couldn't really see anything. 
Red Kuri winter squash
There are some Red Kuri squash finally. This is a new one for me and taking its time to put on fruits. 
bean stem

empty bed, all done

I cut down the old bean plants and stripped off the few good pods. Some of the stems were really thick. I left the roots, hopefully covered with nitrogen fixing bacteria, to rot in place. Later this week I'll pull up the drip lines, tidy the edges with the rake and pile on some more compost. I think I'll have time for some salad turnips and baby mustard greens before it's time to plant garlic. 

The cucumber and melon arches in the creek side garden are made of scrap fencing and are not up to the weight this year. I will have to use cattle panels next time since these are collapsing. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Harvest Monday

Some of the collards
 A little late getting this out. Hooking up with Dave and the Harvest Monday gang. Lots of collards, kale and chard this week.

squash, Marketmoore and Armenian cucumber and a melon
squash of different kinds

green beans
The squash harvest is down, I've lost several plants due to wilting but the survivors are rebounding. The first patch of green beans is winding down, only 2 pounds this week, but the new patch is blooming. The old patch will come out and I will cover the bed with compost and try to get some baby mustard greens. Then in late September or early October I'll plant the garlic.  There were also some cherry tomatoes, but again, yields are down. 

herbs for chickens
I don't think I've mentioned before, my harvest weights don't include things I pick for the chickens (or my snacking while working). I picked a big bucket of herbs for the chickens the other day; all kinds of basil, catnip, parsley, sage, white horehound, rosemary. They are all good for the chickens.

new duck eggs
Some of the young ducks have begun laying. Their eggs size up pretty quick, the little egg is probably the first one laid, the bigger eggs are probably 2nd or 3rd eggs.

very first duck egg from the 2017 girls
The very first egg I found wasn't as big as most of my silkie eggs.

Northern New Mexico melon
There are a couple of Northern New Mexico melons getting big, can't wait for them to get ripe, they are huge.

Black Copper Marans pullet, April 2017 hatch
Not the best pic but I'm keeping an eye on this Black Copper Marans pullet. Hard to see in the picture but she is getting some copper on her neck.

Capt Hook

baby brother
Tinkerbell (aka mama kitty) had 2 boys in her first litter, a grey striped named Peter Pan and this black and white one named Capt Hook. In her second litter she has 3 tiger striped (2 boys and a girl) and this little black twin of Capt Hook.

my fortune on Thursday
Every Thursday mom gets her hair done and then we go eat buffet at China Taste. Sometimes my fortunes are thought provoking.

Harvest totals.  Week of August 14-20
Aug 15
Scarlet kale. 1#. 3 oz
Carrots.        1#  8 oz
Aug 17
Green beans. 2#. 0 oz
Scarlet kale   3#  0oz
Squash.         3#  14 oz
Marketmoore 2#. 4 oz
Armenian.     3#.  14oz
Lancinata kale 2#. 12oz
Aug 18
Italian basil. 6oz
Sage.            1 oz 
Lemon basil. 2 oz
Rosemary.      .5 oz
Cherry tomatoes 2#. 5 oz
Collards.       4# 0 oz
Squash.        18#.  0 oz
Week Totals
Kale.  6# 15oz
Carrots 1# 8oz
Beans.  2# 0 oz
Squash. 20# 14 oz
Cukes.   6# 2 oz
Herbs.   9.5 oz
Tomatoes.   2# 5oz
Collards.  4# 0oz
TOTAL.  44# 5oz

Friday, August 18, 2017

Farmer Friday & #eatwhatyougrow

cleaning up a bed in the back garden
I cleaned up a bed in the back garden this week where a few puny beets were left. I cleared off the weeds, loosened the soil with my digging fork and added about 3 inches of fresh compost.
I planted out some Georgia Collards. Some were totally decimated by slugs and cabbage worms but I planted the little green sticks anyway. I know that now they are in good soil they will grow quickly.

a couple of pounds of green beans
There were some green beans but not as many as there have been.

some squash, cucumbers
There have been some squash and cucumbers. And even a cantaloupe. 

The young ducks are beginning to lay
The Ducks that hatched this spring have begun to lay this week. 

Capt. Hook's little brother; almost twins
Captain Hook

roasted beets and potatoes with fresh herbs
#eatwhatyougrow I discovered a couple of volunteer potatoes in the bed and roasted them with the beets and fresh chopped herbs for dinner one night.

Honeyboat Delicata

The Delicata squash in the front yard wilted badly and just went crispy so I picked all the squash and brought them in. I picked out the ripest looking one and cooked it in the microwave since I was in a hurry that day. It wasn't that sweet so I am thinking they need to sit and ripen up some more. I'll leave them for awhile and try again.

Black Locust seedling?
I discovered a volunteer along the path to the chicken house. I'm pretty sure it's a Black Locust seedling. I'd rather not have a thorny plant that close to the pathway but it's doing so well I really don't want to bother it. In this picture it's about 3 feet tall but it's taller now. At least it's thorns are smaller than the giant Honey Locust in my front yard, that tree has wicked thorns 3-4 inches long and sharp as needles. Locust trees are pioneer species and can host nitrogen fixing bacteria on their roots.