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 15, 2012

Harvest Monday

Yellow Zuchinni
Welcome to Harvest Monday! This is a great blog hop hosted by Daphne's Dandelions. Go visiting with gardeners from around the world and see what they are harvesting from their backyards, balconies and community gardens!

My apologies to so many; life has been so very crazy and I haven't been able to visit with all of you like I want to. Hoping this week things slow down a little bit more.

October is a month of decisions. Should I leave the zuchinni another week so it can make a few more squash before frost or pull it out so I can plant the garlic on time. (In the end the garlic won)

My Buff Orpington pullets are beginning to lay, right on schedule. Which is a darn good thing because the banties have quit completely; no eggs all week until I got this first tiny pullet egg. The banty girls have a bit longer to finish their molt and if they don't pick back up, then it's chicken soup and pot pies!

chicks, one week old
And speaking of chickens, the chicks are one week old. I know it's hard to see here, but they are already growing tail and wing feathers. The ones in front are the Buff Orpington X banty that are sold. The four Welsummer chicks that I am keeping are in the back, brown stripes on their heads like chipmunks.

German Butterball potatoes
I dug the rest of the potatoes. The March planted ones were pathetic; won't be doing that again. Either plant in Jan or June. Think I'll order some soon, then divide the order and plant some of the same varieties at each time and see how they do. Wouldn't mind just planting early, but I don't have a cool enough place to keep them over the summer.

Bell Peppers

Got a nice bunch of bell peppers, tho a couple had sunscald where they flopped over and the peppers weren't covered. Note to self; stake/cage all the pepper plants!

Spaghetti and Tromboncino Squash
Picked some more spaghetti and tromboncino squash. Can't seem to sell any of the big ones at market, but the spaghettis go pretty quick.

I did eat one of the tromboncino the other day; just cut a piece off and cooked it in the microwave. Very much like a butternut, about the same color, a little stringier, more like a pumpkin. But if I can't sell them, I suppose the chickens and I will be eating them all winter, which is fine with me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Harvest Monday

yellow zuchinni
Welcome to Harvest Monday, a great blog hop sponsored by Daphne, where gardeners all around the world show off their harvests, please consider joining in! The more the merrier!

This week is short of harvests, not because there weren't things to pick but because of lack of time to pick and process; This week the work schedule is a little lighter, so next Monday's post will hopefully be a bit heavier on the pics!

Besides this overgrown yellow zuchinni (it's supposed to be yellow, btw) I picked some tomatoes, herbs and such.
squash on the roof

I also climbed up on the roof, there are a bunch more squash growing up there! Mostly tromboncino and spaghetti.

veggie soup stock and peachy pear butter

I did a little canning, some veggie soup stock and some peach-pear butter. The white stuff on the jars is the calcium from our hard water. It wipes off pretty easily.

banty chicks
Of course the news of the week is that 17 out of 20 eggs hatched! 4 were Welsummers, which I'll keep and all 13 of the banty eggs hatched, which I"m selling. 6 are already spoken for and there is some interest in the other 7. Good thing because at the moment the poultry project is deeply in the red with the cost of original birds and feed. Right now the Welsummers have quit laying and my young Buff Orpinton pullets haven't started yet, tho I expect them to any day now.

I did butcher out one of the Muscovy drakes and dressed weight was 4 pounds, 3oz. I had to skin him tho because when I went to start plucking discovered that he wasn't actually done molting. So will wait until November to do the rest. I don't know what value to give this meat tho, no body here sells duck meat and the gourmet order online place is so outrageous, I don't want to use their price! (About $50 for two Muscovy breasts!) Can you buy duck where you live? What is the going price for whole birds?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chicken TV

Well it has been a lot of fun watching the eggs hatch, I can see where this could become very addicting! I set 13 banty eggs, their daddy is my big Buff Orpington roo. I set 7 eggs from the Welsummers that I was given and 4 of them hatched. Actually I'm amazed I got them, these were the last eggs the girls laid before quitting for a full blown molt. And those chickens are 4+ years old; I wasn't sure they were fertile because the roo had not been doing the roo dance that I ever saw. (Unlike my other rooster who is after the girls all the time!)

So I have 17 new babies (I haven't given up hope on the last 3 eggs yet, but not holding my breath either). The chick dead center and the one to the immediate left of it are Welsummers. They have really cute faces, and stripes on their backs like chipmunks. I will be selling all the banty chicks and just keeping the Welsummers.

In other news I butchered out my first Muscovy drake. Should have waited awhile longer, he was still growing in feathers so I ended up skinning him because plucking some parts were impossible. I think I will wait until about the 1st of November to do the others; hopefully they will be done molting by then! I'm going to go cut some fresh herbs to stuff him with and pop him in the crockpot to roast for dinner. (My oven is still broken, need to remember to call the guy to come fix that. Maybe he can look at the ice maker on the fridge while he's here)

Friday, October 5, 2012


I came home this afternoon to find some of the eggs had pipped (made a little hole in the shell) and lots of pecking and peeping going on in the incubator.  And just a couple hours ago the first chick burst out of it's shell.

Now you are not supposed to open the incubator during the hatch but this little guy was lurching around all over, knocking the eggs around so after he was partly dry I whisked him out to my brooder set up to finish drying off.

Just now chick #2 popped out. This is so exciting, I can see how this could become addicting! No word from the Welsummer eggs yet, both of these little guys are from my bantys.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Holding my Breath

Well for almost 3 weeks now I've been keeping a secret. I've got some chicken eggs in an incubator. I've probably done some things wrong (OK I know I have!). For instance I forgot to turn the eggs while I was saving them up before setting them to hatch. The incubator I've borrowed didn't have it's wire shelf or humidity trays in it and then my friend went on vacation. I wanted to get the Welsummer eggs set before they got too old so I jury rigged a piece of screen to fit and put in some foam meat trays to hold water for the humidity. I have faithfully turned the eggs over every morning and night, so the embryos don't stick to the shells. I don't have an egg candler so used my old flashlight. It's a bit dim and I couldn't see into those Welsummer eggs with their darker shells. But I also set some banty eggs which are lighter and I could see that at least some of them are viable.

Today is what they call "lockdown". It means you fill up the water pans to raise the humidity, you stop turning the eggs and you aren't supposed to open the incubator until the hatch is finished. They are supposed to hatch on Saturday, so we shall see what happens. I should be able to hear some peeping maybe tomorrow night.

The Welsummer eggs are the larger darker ones, there are 7 of them. I don't really want any more bantys, but set 13 eggs because I had them and I was pretty sure they would be fertile and capable of hatching. (The Welsummer chickens are much older than my banty hens and I'm not sure of their fertility). I figured having both in the 'bator at once, if the Welsummer eggs don't hatch but the bantys do, then it's more likely the chickens and not something I did during incubation. I figure I can probably sell off the banty chicks and just keep the Welsummers. Holding my breath and crossing my fingers for a good hatch.

Now I gotta go find that heat lamp and get ready for the babies!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Harvest Monday

Northern New Mexico Melon
Welcome to Harvest Monday, a great blog hop sponsored by Daphne! Go on over and visit with other gardeners and see what is being harvested around the world from back yard gardens, balconies, and window boxes!

It seems I was terrible about taking pictures last week. I was working a huge number of hours and actually didn't harvest a lot, even tho there were things to be eaten.

I did have to climb up on the roof of the house. There are a lot of squash up there, but most are not ready to pick. But a couple of things were stuck in the rain gutter and actually spreading the metal apart as they grew. Got them out and found this Norther New Mexico Melon while I was up there. From the shape I'd say pollination was incomplete and watering a bit irregular, also something was eating on one end. It only weighted about 5 pounds, but it was as sweet and delicious as the 11 pound monster I picked before.

Sadly I don't seem to have any pictures, but I did pick more yellow wax beans, a few Italian Heirloom tomatoes, lots of small salad tomatoes, some more Burgess Buttercup squash. Hopefully my work will slow down a bit this week and I'll have time to take more pictures.

I did snap a few out in the chicken pen.

My young Welsh Harlequin drake gets prettier by the day. He got his curly drake feather on his tail, the other 3 ducks don't have one (yet, they are a bit younger) so they may all be ducks. Harley is getting the rich green feathers on his head now.

Welsummer X Americauna cross

I'm trying to decide sex on my young poults. They are Welsummer x Americauna, so they could lay olive eggs. They will be 6 months old in Dec, though I don't expect them to start laying until the days get longer in spring. Two look to have a single type comb like this one.

Welsummer X Americauna cross
Two of them have this funny sort of double comb. (I'm not really up on all the comb types and names. Didn't even realize there were different ones until just a few years ago.)

At first I thought these doubled combs would be roosters, but then realized that the Americauna have this sort of comb, while Welsummers have normal single combs. So still, anyone's guess at this point!

My apologies for not getting around to read and comment on everyone's posts last week. I tried, but I worked over 50 hours and just couldn't do it. Hoping this week is a bit easier!