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, February 25, 2013

Harvest Monday

Duck egg at 6 days of incubation
Welcome to Harvest Monday, sponsored by Daphne's Dandelions, this is a great blog hop to share you garden with others from around the world.

This week has been all about eggs. I have some duck and chicken eggs in the incubator and Friday was day 6 for them. The duck eggs are big and white and easy to see into when you candle them. Here you can see the red blob that is the embryo, with the spiderweb of veins that supports it.

Chicken and duck eggs from 2/22/13
I have several breeds and mixed breeds of chickens which are beginning to lay now. The big white eggs are from the Muscovy ducks and the slightly smaller ones are from the Welsh Harlequin. The green and blue ones from the Easter Egger chickens, the brown ones from my Buff Orpingtons, Welsummer and Welsummer crosses.

eggs from 2/23/13

On Saturday my third Easter Egger started laying, a tiny bluish egg, there in the center. The Muscovy girl seems to have rolled her egg through the mud.

eggs from 2/24/13
Today another new girl started laying; a mix between a Cochin and a Rhode Island Red. That tiny egg at the top center is her first one. I am really excited to have such fun eggs! I'll be selling chicks pretty soon and I'll have eggs to sell at the farmer's market this summer.


The weather has been really crazy this week. It snowed on Wednesday. Then yesterday it was so warm I was working outside in a t-shirt and this morning it snowed again!

As you can see not much going on in the garden outside right now!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Harvest Monday

Green Eggs!
Welcome to Harvest Monday! This is a great blog hop sponsored by Daphne's Dandelions, stop by and visit with gardeners from around the world!

I have been gone for awhile because of an issue with my IP and my Google accounts. I couldn't access any of my G. accounts for a long time and couldn't even make a comment on anyone's blogs! I am so glad that I was able to get things resolved with the help of a friendly fellow over on the Google Help Forums.

Now I have some easter egger chickens that lay green and blue eggs. My first one has been laying a couple of weeks, that's her egg on the left. And today another girl started laying, that's her egg on the right. There's a third pullet that should start laying soon and then some more that aren't old enough yet. I'm hoping someone will lay a really blue egg, but not holding my breath.

Got Eggs?

 In the carton here, the white eggs are from my Welsh Harlequin duck, the small pinkish one is from one of the Buff Orpingtons that survived the dog attack last fall. It's amazing she lived; the dog's tooth got her right at the back of her comb, straight into her head. She's blind in one eye and acts a bit goofy but otherwise has made a complete recovery. The light brown eggs are from her sis and the darkest ones from my Welsummer pullet. And of course the green ones from the easter eggers.

Tomato seedlings under lights
I've been trying to get some things planted outside and in. I was so busy over the fall that I didn't get a lot of my usual stuff planted, like peas. I could plant some now, but won't get that many before it is too hot and dry for them, so think I'll just wait and put them in this fall. I do have a small patch of lettuce to pick from and a bigger patch planted. And I've started the tomatoes and peppers under lights in the house.

New Chicken House

I've started a new chicken house, this one will be 12x24 feet. This one is pole barn style and here I've gotten the first two posts set. The ground here is solid caliche clay, which is like trying to dig through concrete, plus a lot of rocks. It has been slow going to dig the holes, but once all of the posts are set it will get easier and faster. (The old tires are part of an erosion control retaining wall I'm building in the wash below this flat piece of ground.)

free wood

This week I also managed some free wood. While some is very short lengths, some is of great usable sizes and kinds.

It'll be a bit before I can get caught up on my harvest tallies, but I have harvested quite a few pounds of duck and chicken meat over the winter also.

Nov & Dec Babies

The chicks hatched or bought in November and December are really growing fast out in the hoop coop. Unfortunately it was a great year for roosters, so many of these boys are destined for freezer camp. By the way that red feed tray is actually the top tray from an old tool box which I found in my junk pile.


And today a promise of spring, a clump of daffodils in the front yard is blooming. Seems like we might have a short winter again this year.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Where Have I Been?

Easter Egger rooster
Where have I been? Well there has been an issue with my internet provider. They made changes to their email platform which caused an issue with my Google accounts. This meant that I have not been able to log into and do anything in Blogger or any of my other Google accounts. The issue is finally resolved and now I'm able to access everything once again.

In the meantime I was working my regular job and trying to keep up with things around home. I didn't get as much done in the garden as I had intended over the fall. I have been busy tending to my ducks and chickens. After the dog attack wiped out my layer flock I picked up a lot of young Easter Eggers. Hatcheries call them AmerIcauna. However, they are not a true breed and the spelling of the true breed of chicken is Ameraucauna. Those are a breed that lay blue eggs. The hatchery birds are usually Ameraucauna mixed with other breeds of chickens and they may lay any shade of blue or green egg, occasionally such a light brown it is almost pink.

Eggs from Feb 3
In the ones that I got there are 3 pullets  that are now 5 months old and one has been laying for about a week.

Some of the other girls are also laying now. At the top of the picture, the white egg is from my Welsh Harlequin duck, clockwise the next two are from the Buff Orpington pullets that survived the dog attack. The next three are from the Welsummer and Welsummer cross girls and then the cute little green egg from the Easter Egger.

December chicks

In December I hatched some chicks from shipped eggs and a few I had on hand from my layers after the dogs killed them. In this pick the one in the feed bowl is a blue Ameraucauna, pure bred. The little brown one with chipmunk stripes is a Welsummer. The larger black chicks are Black Copper Marans that were shipped to me from Texas. Due to horrible delays by the post office only 5 chicks out of 20 survived.

hoop coop
So I built a hoop coop, which could also become a greenhouse if I don't need it for chickens.

Chicks in the hoop coop

The black & white and gold & black chicks are from the layers that I lost. The white ones are definitely boys, to gold ones could be girls, but I'm not positive yet.

Fried Chicken
The boys are named Fried Chicken and Swims with Dumplings, they are mixed breed and I don't need them for breeding, so they will go to freezer camp when they are big enough. The girls can stick around as layers.

Black Copper Marans

Besides the shipped chicks, I also hatched out 2 Black Copper Marans chicks from shipped eggs, but I think they are both boys. I also purchased chicks from another breeder and drove nearly 5 hours to pick them up.

Out of 20 chicks it looks like I might have 4 girls. That's the way my chicken luck went all year.

I'll try and get some pictures of garden happenings this weekend, if it doesn't actually snow like they are saying it will.....