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Friday, April 30, 2010

FYI: PURINA FEED RECALL ALERT FOR ALL YOU POULTRY KEEPERS

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! This is something I found yesterday and added to the http://www.backyardchickens.com/ forum and the West Tennessee Poultry Club forum as well. It is about a recall on certain types of poultry feed from "Purina". I found this on our local TV station online news website yesterday morning. I cannot seem to get the link to copy here for some reason...sorry readers. I have tried every way I can to link this. Just go to www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/unc208975.htm and see if that will get you there. It is for Purina "LAYENA" Sun fresh Recipe Pellet #0056922. Evidently they discovered some metal fragments in a few isolated bags but are doing a recall on that batch in several Southern states.
I know this is something all of us "farmers", urban or otherwise, always want to know about and need to keep up with on our animals in our care. They are like children as they are totally dependent on us for care and upkeep.

I will leave you again today with this ongoing gardening affirmation: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"

JACKSON COMMUNITY GARDEN SITE GETS A FACE LIFT & COMPOST BAY

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I would like to update you on my site over at the Jackson Community Garden. At the last posting regarding this project, I was somewhat, well I would not say "down" about it but feeling a little frustrated about the way things seemed to be going. So what did I say...but that I would become renewed and get things done or it would not be worth doing for this Garden Daddy. I did just that. I made my case to the "powers that be" in no uncertain terms and got a straight answer and the CORRECT answer at that. I will have a water hook up available on my site from my own meter on that lot. That is all I wanted but could not get a straight answer. I finally said that would be the only way there would be a community garden at that location. When the thought and possibility of losing a good worker who has true interest and drive and the chance of losing a chance to expand the project, I think it hit home and the right decision was made.
On that, I will say this has been a very busy week there and I have put in just at 6-hours this week on that site. Wednesday & Thursday I mowed and weed whacked , picked up branches and rocks and bricks and today I went to The Home Depot and obtained 4-shipping pallets. I took them over to the community garden site and built a large, open compost bay. This is for my gardeners to add their garden refuse, weeds, bad vegetables and any other "natural" product that will turn into good, viable compost over this next year. I will also be adding my own home garden compost from not only the chicken house and run but from any garden refuse my own 3-bay compost bin cannot handle. I have made some photos here to share this weeks work there on that project and update you on that progress. These photos are before mowing and after and of the compost bay.



Our area is reporting storms for the next 4-days. The local news & weather is also telling that we are scheduled to get up to 9-inches, THAT'S RIGHT, 9-INCHES, of rain in the next 3-4 days. I truly hope it is not that much as I might lose some of my potted tomatoes I am holding for this community garden site or even have some in-ground vegetables could not only wash up but end rotting right in the ground as well. So wish us well and I hope it is only a worst case scenario they are reporting on. So this Garden Daddy will leave you today with the our ongoing center city gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CHICKEN ADDICTION HAS BEGUN

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! The day has finally arrived and the remainder of my urban farm flock has arrived from R & J Feed here in Jackson, TN. I had put my name in the pot for 4-each of the Silver Laced Wyandotte chicks that were to arrive today and sure enough when I got off of work this morning, came by my homestead and walked little "MAX" I headed straight to the feed store. When I got there, Ginger Kemp (one of the owners of R & J) showed me two more breeds of chickens she had gotten in this morning that were not on her ordering list I had seen earlier.
So, what can I say other than like I told her today, it has almost become a drug for me on these chickens now. She said then you have "chicken fever" and few every survive it appears! I ended up bringing home 6-each instead of my order of 4-each. I ended up with 1-each of a Golden Laced Wyandotte & 1-each of a Speckled Sussex, both of which are not very common and I understand the Speckled Sussex even a little rare in the U.S. They came from England and are a fairly older breed, over one hundred years in the breeding process. I will share the two added breed photos with you here in this posting. I also have some shots of the lot of the 6 together. With these only about 2-days old and the remainder of my little brood around 2-3 weeks old and now rather rambunctious and bouncing all over the place I did not put these new, tender hatchlings in with the older birds. They need to get some age, size and stamina on them before they meet their brood mates or should I call them the other "raptors" that are a little dinosauric at this stage.
Here are my little bunch today that are separated, actually in the house in my upstairs room I am only using for storage just now. I cannot wait till all are out of their brooders and into the hen house and then outside in the run and then at large in the extended run area. Aren't they cute?
Here is the Speckled Sussex hen like my new 1-chick.
And here is the Golden Laced Wyandotte like my other "unplanned blessed event"!
Garden Daddy will leave you today as I am heading over to my Jackson Community Garden site to do a little cleaning up of the site in preparation of the hopefully soon to be tilling that will be going on. And I give you our ongoing homesteading affirmation from center city Jackson, TN: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Monday, April 26, 2010

SINCE I HAVE BEEN ASKED...

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! It seems I get the same question over and over and more even this past week/weekend as to what and where GARDEN DADDY is going as far as ideas, future endeavors, long range plans. I think and hope you who are regular readers have noticed that all along I have not too subtly mentioned I hope in the future to make this little homestead in the center city of Jackson, TN into a teaching garden and urban farm. I need to get more "critters" I feel in the future in the way of possible bee keeping, raising rabbits for meat and salable pelts (for the craft trade, etc.) and maybe beyond.
I have plans for future garden expansion as far as my blooming plants are concerned. Remember I have a goal to have something in bloom from spring through late fall/early winter. I have not quite accomplished that goal yet. Most everything is spring, early-middle-late summer and then I have mums in the fall along with the hydrangeas that keep blooming almost till the first frost really. I also have to work on the shade area where the expanded & uncovered chicken run will be. Just now, I have mostly ferns and azaleas. I WANT to do so much, but I WANT to first get past this new addition of these chicks getting raised to self-grazing and where they are no longer in the brooder and are able to be in the hen house and coop without supervision. Get them started laying and go from there. I am hoping to have a few pullets, the lighter weight and faster growing ones, to start laying a few eggs by about 15-16 weeks of age - around the end of July I hope or early August. I know that is young but not unheard of in smaller birds that do not require more growth toward maturity like the Black Jersey Giants, etc. that I have which take many months to reach full growth.
So where is GARDEN DADDY going? I hope that in about 2-more years I am able to start doing home garden tours of this urban farm in conjunction with not only the Madison County Master Gardener intern classes as a teaching garden/urban farm but for this community at large or maybe in some relationship with the WTREC (University of TN/West TN Research & Education Center) that I volunteer at often with my fellow Master Gardeners. I have, in my mind (a very scary place, right?), the thought and ideas for many uses of this garden home and urban farm but it is getting the resources needed to put these thoughts into action. So Garden Daddy works on his schedule and budget plans and goes ahead...one day, one yard and one egg at a time!
I leave you once again with our ongoing urban gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Sunday, April 25, 2010

LITTLE HENS MAKE BACKYARD FORAGING DEBUT

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! My little flock or at least half of them (8) got to go into some temporary fencing I put up this afternoon to let them get a taste of the real outdoors. They figured it out in no time and those little girls were soon scratching and chasing flying insects and eating grass seeds and looking for more.

Soon I had my little pound rescue Silky Terrier out there and he was wanting to get a mouthful of chicken so badly he could not stand it. But they just seemed to be unfazed by his barking and begging to get in with them. I have let him in the run with them where he could see them in the brooder and they still be safe from his grasp. But none the less, he definitely wants to get at them. I thought you might like to see their progress along with MAX and I tried to load a video on this posting for your enjoyment and amusement below.

I will leave you today then with our ongoing gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

video

Saturday, April 24, 2010

GARDEN DADDY LOADS UP ON SEED PACKETS ON SALE HERE IN JACKSON, TN

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I had to get out early this morning for milk and creamer for my morning hot tea as well as dog food and long cooking oatmeal for the little hens out in the coop here at the urban farm. I was told yesterday that our local LOWE'S was offering their garden seed packets on sale, 'buy one - get one free". Well that was just too good for this Garden Daddy to resist! Especially when I still have to get plants, seeds, wheat straw, fertilizer, etc. for my site I am coordinating for the Jackson Community Gardens. I got a good assortment of seeds...bush green beans, carrots, turnips with roots & not just to make the green tops (there are different varieties that have been hybridized to grow good tops and some that make tops AND roots), cantaloupe, yellow squash and a few other packets. It should have been about $20.00 but I got many packs for 79-cents each or about $9.67 for all I got.
Not to plug any store over another one but if you are looking for seeds at this date you might visit your local LOWE'S today while the sale is still on and load up on seeds.
In case you are not aware, one can put these seeds packets in a zippered storage freezer bag and put them in the freezer for NEXT year actually. I did not know that for many-many years but that is how it is done at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. It is holding seeds from around the world in cold storage in case of a global disaster to basically reseed the planet


So this Garden Daddy will leave you today as another round of severe thunderstorms is heading in here. I have already gone and tucked in the little hens for the rest of the day, fed and watered and added some fresh dry oatmeal for a treat and made sure all were running and breathing and looking well this morning. Yep...time to get off of here with that large hit of lightning...I leave you with our ongoing garden and urban farming affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"
POST SCRIPT: I saw where The Home Depot also had their seed packets the same as our local Lowe's did, buy one - get one free!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

CHICKS TURNING INTO LITTLE HENS HERE AT THE URBAN FARM

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Every day when I go to feed and give fresh water and morning dry oatmeal to the little chicks here at the urban farm I see a difference. Today I realized I almost have little hens now. They are really taking on the characteristics of hens and less and less like little chicks. They are fluttering all over the brooder and I have put a tree limb in the brooder and they are even sitting on it and often taking naps during the day there. They are eating and drinking very well and the feathering is replacing the little down they had at arrival.
I often go out and sit on a bale of hay beside the brooder and "chicky-chicky-chicky" to them and talk to them and tell them to eat well and grow big and fast and that one day soon they will start earning their keep! They enjoy daily dust baths in a tray of sawdust I provide them and today I added a 2nd water fount as I cannot keep the original one filled fast enough for those thirsty "girls".
There is one little pullet by the way, a little Buff Orpington who is really starting to fill out and get some buff colored REAL feathers instead of her little yellow downy ones, who is already acting a little motherly and broody to some of the smaller and younger ones. She often sits close to the heat lamp and then fluffs out her incoming feathers and opens up her little wings and then lets some of the other smaller brood mates come in around her and she tries to drawn them in to her like a real mother hen. This might be good and might be bad in case she is already prone to "go broody" on a regular basis. But the person who I got my newest arrivals from last Saturday, the Cuckoo Marans, has said if I get broody hens in the future she would be happy to provide a few hatching eggs for them to set on. She said they are just as happy with 2 or 3 as they are 12 or thirteen. So that is a possibility for the both of us. I get to resolve future broodiness and she gets some good incubation and chick raising and then I get some future egg layers and she can get the roosters back! Or I might just swap, trade or sell the chicks at one of the poultry club meets of something.


Since I cannot have a rooster along with my little hens here at the urban farm in the City of Jackson, TN. I have added my own version next to the hen house and not only has it added interest but a burst of color as well, just as a live one would in any barnyard. My neighbors are loving the addition and it brings a little light and life to the understory area of my pine trees.
I thought I would add that I completed the planting of the vegetable patch here at the urban farm with the addition of a row of "Black Beauty" eggplant. I purchased seeds this year as none of the plants I saw have been that great and the ones that were good were the Japanese variety that are long and slender and I do not care for those. They are not that great when trying to put on the gas grill outside, in the "Foreman" grill machine or even in a casserole but of course that is strictly this Garden Daddy's opinion.
I will leave you today with our gardening affirmation in mind for your pondering: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

STILL WORKING ON THE JACKSON COMMUNITY GARDEN SITE...BUT WHERE IS IT GOING?

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I am still so pumped up about the community garden project for the City of Jackson, TN. but there have been a few obstacles that seem to be - not stopping it but at least slowing it down a little. From my point of view it seems that several factors are slowing progress on my site at least. One is that it is a new site, never been tilled or anything other than occasionally mowed. Two, it seems that too many of us are unable to get together at the same time to get the things done that need attention. Three, it appears that some issues I keep asking about such as a water source, has never really been addressed and left up to "chance" and "speculation" that a neighbor to the site will "donate" his outside water faucet to our cause!
I am a man of action and few words in these my later years and I do not see that problem of just hooking a new meter up to the old, existing water meter box that is on the street on my site. They did that around the corner from me on another site and it worked just fine, putting a lift handle spigot on the meter box at the street. That is all I am asking for! GIVE ME WATER METER OR GIVE ME DEATH!!! If I am to plan, plant and work and help others feed themselves and the local soup kitchen for the homeless and needy, RIFA, then I am at a stand still till my plot is not only re-poisoned, then tilled, then finding a water source. Well, you know this Garden Daddy well enough by now to know I do not fight with one hand tied up behind me...I will give it to you out right, right? So I am still working on trying to negotiate with the neighbor to my site for us to use his water availability and will do so till I have some satisfaction with this issue. I am sorry I am using my garden and farming site for this small stance on my needs in the community garden but a lot is at stake here in that if I cannot guarantee having water to water the garden plots with then I will have NO GARDENERS to need the plots for in the first place and the whole process and at least my site and my time will have been wasted for about the last 6-weeks and many hours I have already put into this project with planning and fundraising, donation begging (!) and road time as well.
So, as I start a new week I will let this opportunity I have taken here to release a little steam over this refresh and renew this Garden Daddy with a new fight this week and renewed commitment to this good and worthy cause to feed the needy here in my community and help bring a little bright corner to an otherwise depressed and often neglected area of this community. I leave you tonight with this affirmation in mind: "I am enthusiastic about life. My enthusiasm is like a bubbling brook, that waters a thirsty world!"...Anonymous

Saturday, April 17, 2010

MY FIRST CHICKEN SWAP MEET TODAY AT TSC

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Today I attended my first "chicken swap meet" of the West TN. Poultry Club at our local Tractor Supply Co. here in Jackson, TN. It was quite something to see all the different varieties folks brought along with hatching eggs, chicks, etc. Someone even had turkey eggs for hatching. I met the person I was getting my Cuckoo Marens from, the French pullets I had arranged to add to my little brood that lay the chocolate colored eggs. I have a picture of her hens and eggs she was selling and will post that here now for you to see what this Garden Daddy is looking forward to....just look at these eggs laid by the parents of my new chicks:
Aren't these just amazing! The ones on the left are a little lighter than the others and those are like the ones I will have, as my young hens have the feathers on their feet and they tend to lay a little lighter egg than those without the feathers. I chose the feathered footed ones as they are the only Cuckoo Maren recognized by the APA (American Poultry Association) and would be necessary if I were to start going to exibitions, fair entries, etc. But I was able to "peck" the brains of some good, experienced flock owners and get a feel for what is ahead of me. Granted, I may have more birds than I want to deal with down the road but I feel like once I go through and see the different breeds grown up and how they lay, production rates vs. food intake, temperament, and get the egg colors I am looking for, etc. I think I will have no trouble either trading off the ones I do not want and also I got a few extras in case of "casualty", which has NOT happened yet. I also plan to give them a good expanded foraging area that will give more of a "free range" effort and that will add to the better development of their ability to be more self feeding and the quality of their products they give every day. I am going to add some more privacy fencing to the back yard on my property line and then use some temporary fencing on the side-interior under all those pine trees and let then out of their coop & existing run to free range in that thick pine straw bedding. Here are some shots of the chicken swap. The upper photo is more of the eggs laid by the flock my new chicks (Cuckoo Marens) came from today. The other two shots are some of the other cages of birds that were for sale today.




This Garden Daddy will leave you again today with out ongoing city farm affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

URBAN FARM GETS VEGETABLE GARDEN SET IN

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I thought I would share with you an update on the vegetable plot here at this garden home. I have all the vegetables planted here I am having at the urban farm with the exception of 1-row of eggplant yet to be added. I have planted the following:
Purple hull field peas = 2-rows @ 15ft long
Sweet bell pepper plants - 10-plants
Sweet banana pepper plants - 12-plants
Yellow crooked neck summer squash - 8-hills
Zucchini - 1-15ft row (about 8-hills)
Cucumber - 10-hills (2-varieties mixed together then planted)
Jet Star tomato - 3-plants
Better Boy tomato - 6-plants
Rutgers tomato - 4-plants
Snow peas - 18-hills
Yet to plant here at the urban farm again is the eggplant and a few sweet white onion sets. Of course, I have my usual herbs already planted as well - basil, rosemary, lavender, sage, chives (I have lots of chives this year!). Besides the planting here at "the farm", I must remind you of the Jackson Community Garden site I am coordinating here in the city of Jackson, TN. I have already pre-potted in larger pots to transfer when that site is ready the following tomato plants:
Better Boy - 9-plants
Rutgers - 10-plants
Jet Star - 9-plants
At that site, I will put some of these in for our local soup kitchen plot we are growing, RIFA, as well as share with some of the other gardeners and put a few more out for my freezer there for this urban farm to add to our larder for next winter on our effort to become more self sufficient here at this location. One of my brothers, really BOTH brothers, have have suggested in jest I think that I should also go into the rabbit raising business for good white meat. I have eaten farm raised rabbit before and found I really like it better that chicken...I think with the addition of my little brood I might not eat as much poultry as I used to. So the idea of the rabbits might come in handy, right? Send me your opinions!!! WOW, that would really put this urban farm right up there with a huge self sufficiency bonus in that about the only things I would have to buy would remind one of "LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE" where all they went to town for was tea, sugar, tobacco and dress fabric, right?!?!? I am kidding about getting rabbits, right? OK I take the hint, enough already. Here are some scenes of the vegetable garden as it stands today and lacking the eggplant and onion sets. I just have not had time this week to get it all done. In these photos you cannot see the the yellow squash, snow peas or cucumbers as they are on the outside of my fenced in back yard (You can see the pine straw that is on the outer side of the fencing and that is where the other vegetables are). You can however see how I have used the great pine straw I have saved last year as a mulch between the rows as well as around my tomato plants to not only keep the area weed free but it also cuts down on the amount of mud to bring in the house as well as gives you a good place to kneel and do weeding in the row or just to pick or service the area. Remember, keep that straw you rake up and do not worry about leaves that are in it as that is just extra composting material as well in the garden.



This Garden Daddy will leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind then: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

AMERAUCANAS ARRIVE YESTERDAY & CHICKS TAKE FIRST DUST BATH TODAY

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! The little Ameraucana chicks (they were listed as Auracaunas, but are really Ameraucanas) arrived yesterday here at the urban farm and were introduced to their brood mates. Then today, Thursday, I took all the chicks out and put them in another holding container with some sawdust in it with their food and water while I removed the brooder cage from the hen house and put the pressure washer to it to give it a thorough cleaning. When I looked in at the little buggers to see what they were doing I saw the most wonderful site! Without a mother hen for teaching or encouragement those little things were buried up in the sawdust taking their first dust baths. They were covered in sawdust and it must have felt good to them, as they just sprawled out, spread out everywhere and were having the time of their short lives. Here they are, caught in the act of their "morning constitutionals":
Your Garden Daddy has been very busy getting the garden set in here at the urban farm and also working on the other gardening project with the Jackson City Gardens site I am in charge of this year for the community. There are several issues with my site and that will wait for another posting. But all in all this spring is quickly turning into a very busy time here at the urban farm and with the addition of the little brood, it has added another dimension to the task at hand. I know I am going to enjoy having them and they are not any problem. I cannot wait to get them up enough to have them just loose in the hen house and outside run as well as have them in temporary fencing in the back yard at times.
So this Garden Daddy leaves you with our ongoing city farm affirmation today: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

HARDY ORCHID RETURNS IT LOVELY BLOOMS TO THIS GARDEN HOME

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the garden home on the urban farm! I just had to share with you this sweet little thing that I was given by a neighbor who is an avid gardener in her own right as well as published author and contributing writer for Tennessee Gardener Magazine. It is this lovely little hardy orchid, which I think if you could see it in person is a REALLY orchid color. I will not hold you long on this post but wanted you to see this tiny thing that appears year after year since I acquired it and is now adding a few companions along the way this year in the way of self propagation. Here it is...wait...wait...hold your breath and......
NOW BREATHE....! You can see the first of a series of blooms to come as it unfolds a single bloom at a time, then when this one is finished the next is in full splendor. Pale orchid background, outlined in a darker orchid shading. You can see my thumb and forefinger in the bottom of the photo and judge this delicate size according to my hand. The bloom is so small but isn't is just wonderful. I appreciate this garden gifting from "A.S." so much and hope she and I remain gardening friends for many years to come!
I leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind this evening: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"

Monday, April 12, 2010

THE "COOP-DE' VILLA" IS FINALLY A REALITY

HELLO and welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! After nearly three full weeks of fuss & worry and continuous labor I have finally finished the new coop & run for my little brood. I have sealed every possible entrance to and exit from this pen and have even covered the top with chicken wire to prevent "air attacks" as well as dug down about 10" and added old chain link fencing to prevent "digging in or digging out" and then even have a space to plant some fresh greens for the little buggers for when they are ready to leave the brooder. I plan to keep at least part of that area in continuous greens of something growing for them to have for treats. I can section it off with wire and keep them out from one side while part of it is re-growing and one is in use. I will share some photos with you here below.



The first photo shows the chain link fence pieces being buried about 10-12" below grade. The 2nd photo shows looking toward the house at the shade awning, the 3rd shot is standing in the doorway of the hen house looking out and up and the final shot is from the middle of the house looking out to see the run and the little "fresh greens" area that I will plant today. The photo below is of the entrance and decking I added for the little hens to get out under the awning even in "fowl weather" and at least get some air or to just rest in the shade on. I added about 6" of hardwood mulch to the bed of the entire run as a filter to help with drainage as well as to add a layer of hay on top of that which will make clean up easier I think.
I am so very thrilled with the outcome and now just to get these little things up and basically on their own except of course for the regular care and get them out of the brooder. I have several more weeks of brooding to go as I have some chicks that have not arrived yet or even hatched to receive. I hope this gives you followers and readers an idea of where I am heading and what my intention is here...to get the freshest, best tasting eggs with bright yellows that stand up tall on the whites and know what they are eating and that are CHEMICAL & STEROID FREE! Free range and good healthy birds that will lay for several years and give us all much satisfaction and fun.
Garden Daddy leaves you today as I have a lot going on this time of year here at the urban farm as well as in my Jackson Community Garden project, which has a meeting tonight as well as Wednesday afternoon this week. I send you on your gardening way with the following thoughts in mind: "It has been written that even GOD loved a garden once, and so I will love my garden once...once today, once tomorrow & forever!"...Garden Daddy

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

PULLETS ARRIVE AT URBAN FARM!

HELLO and welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! What a great day here at this garden home & urban farm here in Jackson, TN. I would like to introduce you to my little flock of chicks. I am thrilled with everything other than I was substituted my little Delaware hens that were not delivered to the feed store due to unsuccessful hatching and the feed stores' order was not filled due to this issue. BUT...the problem was resolved with the substitution of the Delawares with Black Jersey Giants. These are very large, heavy, very-very docile birds that are good layers of good large to extra large brown eggs. The hens can often weigh around 10-lbs when mature but are a little slow to mature due to their size, but good consistent layers through winter. Often showing a little white on the underside until their final adult molt, these all shiny black chickens have black legs and feet with a rather large showy comb, making them excellent exhibition birds.
SO, WELCOME HOME, LITTLE GIRLS:








I hope these little darlings grow healthy, happy and into very productive egg layers and give this Garden Daddy here at the urban farm some working environment for my future garden tours and possible teaching through my UT Master Gardener outlets as well as in Jackson, TN. in general. It is a little after 7:00pm here this evening and I am going to check on the "girls" and put them to "roost" for the night. And tomorrow will just "hang with my peeps"!
I leave you this eventful day with the our 2nd ongoing gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

CHICKEN COOP & RUN COME TO COMPLETION IN TIME FOR CHICKS ARRIVAL

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I can FINALLY breath a sigh of relief and near exhaustion with the completion of the chicken coop and run. All I really have to do is add wire to the top of the open run area, add a shade awning I got (a green fiberglass corrugated material) and dig down about 6-8"and add some chicken wire buried at the base of the fence. The wire on top is to prevent the hawk and other "air" predators as well as raccoons from climbing over the fence, the awning is for shade and the wire dug in at the bottom is for the "critters" that will either try to dig in for a drumstick or to keep the chickens from digging out when they do their "scratch"!









You see here your Garden Daddy mixing concrete to set post, then another shot of the finished shed before the floor is put in and then the finished project except for the overhead screening to keep the predators out and hens in. I am very please with the outcome of this project and hope you will be encouraged to let your mind wander through childhood memories of life in simpler times and when "eggs at the door" were the norm. By the way this was written yesterday but I only had time today, Wednesday 04/07/10, to add the photos. Another post will follow this one with a surprise!
So I leave you this day with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"

Sunday, April 4, 2010

THE ADDITION OF COW MANURE TO THE VEGGIE PATCH THIS EASTER MORNING

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! It was 48-degrees this beautiful Easter morning at 6:50am but this Garden Daddy was out in the veggie patch adding some cow manure and watching this beautiful sunrise reach up and announce itself. A neighbor & friend behind me must really be listening when I talk because one day I casually mentioned I wanted to go to a co-workers house that was really pretty far away, about an hour, to go get some cow manure for the garden but it had been too wet to get into his barn to get it yet. In a day or two, I had 2-100# feed corn bags filled with what looks like sifted and very-very clean cow manure! Then in a day or two later there was another bag...it was like Christmas for this Garden Daddy. Better than any store bought gift for sure and better than any chemical fertilizers. I have not had time until this morning to get it added into the vegetable patch due to the work on the new chicken coop. But it sure is going to be a boost to the growth and production of this urban farms' produce here in center city Jackson, Tennessee.
Speaking of chickens, this Garden Daddy has been consumed this past week with prepping this urban farm for the arrival of the first 9-baby chicks on Wednesday this next week. Then the following week I get 2-more on April 14th then on April 21st I will get the final 3-pullets, the Silver Laced Wyandott chicks. I did mention that these are ALL PULLETS, as you cannot have roosters (Roos) in the city due to the "noise violation". But the coop is on schedule and I should have it finished today and then start the run either late today or tomorrow after my stint at my "big-box" home improvement store.
A longtime friend has been here since this past Thursday and as of yesterday we finally were able to get outside and get the coop started and about two-thirds complete. All we lack today is the roof and doors. I already had the floor assembled and the base prepared and ready and any thing else pre-assembled as I could. But I was to the point it was going to take two people to finish and he has been a real trooper in his assistance! THANK YOU!
So I will leave you this marvelous Easter Sunday with the following thoughts this morning: "A morning surprise, an earthquake, a stone rolled away, "men" robed in white, women caught off guard, men's heads hanging low with fear and grief. ...JOY, WORSHIP, SURRENDER, RECEIVING ORDERS, DISCIPLESHIP!"...Garden Daddy
HAPPY EASTER!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

NEW JACKSON COMMUNITY GARDEN SITE LOOKS GOOD

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm. I went by the new proposed site for the Jackson Community Garden over at Burkett & Hollywood. Plenty of sunlight wide open space, on a nice triangle shape lot on a good corner with side street parking and in a really better spot than the original site. The only draw back I see today is the city will have to install a water faucet for watering, etc. So I said to the "powers that be" with JCG that is sounds great-let's do it! So here is the NEW site for my community gardeners to work on below.
So hope this new site is the best one available and the tilling and planting can begin in the near future and we can not only have a good yield personally but the plot we plant for the soup kitchen donations will produce as well!
I leave you again today with the new affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

JACKSON COMMUNITY GARDEN SITE CHANGING

HELLO and welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I got an email this morning notifying me that my garden site to coordinate will probably be changing due to the access of water & too much shade from trees on the current site. I shared photos of this site with you in earlier post. I will go over to see that new site this morning and then notify the managers of this city project and give my official "okie-dokie" and post some photos of the new site later today as I can get to it.
First this morning I am heading out to R & J Feed to get my feeding supplies, fount and other equipment to put in the brooder on Tuesday and get it preheated to warm up the area for the little chicks to arrive on Wednesday morning.
I leave you this quick stop in with you this morning...and as always, leave you with your ongoing original gardening affirmation: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"

Friday, April 2, 2010

THE FINISHED BROODER

HELLO and welcome back to GARDEN DADDY here at the urban farm! I thought you might like to see the finished product and view my chicken brooder made from a reclaimed rabbit cage. I added casters to the bottom so I can roll it out of the sawdust material under the cage to catch the manure and then roll it outside on the warmer days to get some sun on the little girls.
AND FINALLY....FINISHED...From rabbit cage to chicken brooder:



So now on with the chicken house & run but tomorrow we are expecting rain early then clearing later in the day then clear Sunday and Monday then I can put everything in the assigned spaces and THEN this urban farm will be off and running (& running over) with baby chicks! I am so excited as I have wanted to get some chicks for many-many years and now this is coming to fruition. I once dreamed a dream with another member of my family of the both of us living close by each other and growing our gardens, raising our chickens and living out our lives in the quiet of the country life on some acreage somewhere. That did not work out but I can make this work as well. The old saying about "Home Is Where The Heart Is" is definitely true then isn't it if I can be happy and content on my lot in town on this urban farm then that is assuredly true!
I cannot remember if I have told you this very important information about brooding newly hatched chicks. One must use, in this Garden Daddy's opinion, an infrared heat lamp (RED!!!) when brooding the little things. This not only gives then the darkness for the many little naps they take often during the day off and on but it also keeps them sedate and more docile and helps almost completely STOP any cannibalism among them from becoming nervous and anxious. This is a MUST in my book of brooding information.
So on this busy day I leave you with this gardening affirmation in mind for all you chicken lovers out there: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"








Thursday, April 1, 2010

A VOID (& RECLAIMED) RABBIT HUTCH BECOMES A CHICK BROODER

HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Off and running I would say in preparation for the arrival of my little brood next week, or at least the first 9-chicks to arrive, expecting a total of 14. I thought you might like to see the brooder coming together in the first stages. I worked on it as much as time allowed yesterday and again this morning. This Garden Daddy is getting VERY BUST now that real spring has arrived here at the urban farm. I have been in meetings with the Jackson Community Gardens, a "feed the needy" type of program, and I have been over at the site I am managing/coordinating to do some measuring, "sipherin", and some estimates on sizes, directions of rows, chatting with the neighbors and out beating the bushes to get about another 5-plot "owners" to work their plot in the site. Each site in the city is also asked to go in together with all the "plot owners" to have a plot that is donated to our local soup kitchen & food bank which is called RIFA which is Regional-InterFaith Association.
But here are some photos of the rabbit cage conversion to a chick brooder. I have made it to where there are NO SHARP WIRES OR CORNERS (!)...remember, little feet are tender and injuries are most likely fatal at this 1 or 2-day old point. Injuries in general in such young birds will result in the same for the most part. It is a must to make sure to take all precautions with your little pullets as your future laying flock is at stake here and the very food that will go in your mouth. I am showing you the stages I used to remake the cage. I also have a photo of some tools and safety items, mostly gloves to protect your hands from cuts and to fold over sharp edges, for your convenience.



You can see here I added some short casters to roll the cage around for ease of cleaning the area that will be under the area that will be loaded with sawdust in order to soak up wet discharge as well as water spills, etc. The 1/4" mesh floor will allow the little feet to remain in good condition but will allow the small manure to sift through to the sawdust below. This in turn will be added here at the urban farm to the garden as well as added to my site over at the community garden for fertilizer. Since the sawdust is MIXED with the chicken manure, after one or two rains it will have broken down enough to be added and what a difference will be made to the vegetable outcome! It will not only fertilize but the sawdust will add a lightness to the heavy clay soil so often found in these older home sites where my city garden will be. I think I have hit on a winner in all phases of this gardening as not only can I control my eggs I am eating and eventually have some kind of break even point but I can use the manure as the fertilizer and if you have bought any lately and seen the price you will know that since the first of this year the cost has almost doubled.
So your Garden Daddy will leave you today with with this gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"