Get your garden questions answered and offer suggestions other than regular posting comments. If you want more personal contact or you have more in depth gardening questions and need answers, let Garden Daddy send you on your "Happy Garden Way" by offering you my comments.
Contact your Garden Daddy today:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! WHEW...has it been hot & humid! We are experiencing above normal temps here in the Jackson, TN area and it has taken its tole on the vegetable garden. We had floods the first weekend of May this year and lots more rain in May as well. Then June hit and it went dry...dry...dry. The garden has looked beautiful though. Huge, dark green plants, larger than life themselves. I have looked and looked almost daily for produce as this time usually in the season I have harvested many cucumbers and a few tomatoes already. But then this past weekend I realized I have no bees like last year. The summer of 2009 my garden was inundated with bees and the blooms were covered and they floated from plant to plant and the harvest was on in a big way.
This year I have seen NO BEES at all and it seems there is nothing going on in the garden but a tremendous plant growth and blooms but no fruiting. I think the lack of bees and the humid heat are turning this years garden to just a lush greenery factory. Generally by now I have harvested many cucumbers and a few tomatoes before July 4th, but not this year. In fact, my sweet banana peppers are tall, bushy and vibrant green plants but there has been a single pepper show up on a single plant out of 12 plants. Again, I am growing a lush greenery garden.
I hope July shows some improvement and soon. I did see today that I must pick some purple hull peas tomorrow. There are not that many yet but a few and enough for a quick mess for one meal anyway. So at least something is coming in.
To update you on the little pullets I would just say that they are fast becoming LARGE little hens. Not chicks anymore by any means. They cluck when they hear me coming to the coop every day to open the door and let them have more air circulation and when they are watching me work in the yard. There are a few that even literally run over to me and cannot wait for a scratch on the back or under the breast when they see I am coming in to feed and water every day. I think I told you in a previous posting that I no longer give oatmeal as the main treat and they are now getting regular "scratch" feed for a treat along with their usual grower feed. Other treats they are getting are watermelon and cantaloupe rinds and trimmings, lettuce leaves from cleaning lettuces, etc. and I also am giving them almost all the grass clippings that I catch in the mower bag every week. They will eat two full bags in a very short time. If there were completely free and loose in a barnyard or larger area they would be foraging anyway for everything and this way they can stay a little more private and more controlled were they travel to in the yard and still have that sense of the digging and eating the tender leaves of grass and leaves.
So I leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! WOW...What a wonderful day that took place here yesterday, Tuesday. I played host to some former owners of this garden home who lived here with their parents from around 1941 till around late in the 1980's, around 1988 or 1989. It was two sisters and their brother. I allowed them to roam and take pictures from all angles and we all talked and laughed and I heard marvelous stories of some of the past changes that have taken place in this house and home as well as their family history and the love, the grief, the laughter and the tears that have been in this garden home. Two sisters and a brother lived here along with their parents and often other family members, coming and going through life together! Isn't that the way it should be anyway? The day ended with a few weepy eyes and many-many happy memories brought back to mind and new ones to take with them for the future as well I hope. I also ended up with many answered questions regarding certain aspects of the house I had been curious about as well.

We all seemed to come to a like mindedness that we even felt like we had a connection and love for this house and at the end of the day, a fondness and friendship with each other. I provided a lite lunch by way of some homemade chicken salad (loaded with good red onion, bacon, celery and eggs and some Cajun spice) on a bed of lettuce and mesculin greens from out of the urban farm here, some strawberries and grapes on the side and some cantaloupe with scoops of lemon-lime-orange sherbet for dessert. We enjoyed a long visit and I had contacted a friend that is a writer for local magazines and articles for the local paper as well and she put me in touch with a columnist of the Jackson Sun daily paper and she came and did an interview with me on Monday and then sent a photographer during their visit and did a photo shoot to once again put this garden home/urban farm in the Homes Galore section of the paper again this next week.
There are only 52-issues of that Homes Galore and this will be the 2nd time in about 6-months that this garden home will be featured on the cover. That is just unheard of and quite a treat for this Garden Daddy to have this home featured and shown off to this community. I really wanted the paper to do an article on the visitors I had and their history and re-connection in this house. That was my intention in all this but something else happened along WITH the history connection. So I will have that little feature in my stock pile when time comes if and when I try to ever sell this urban home! I thought I would share a few of the fresh flower arrangements I made for the photo shoot.

I must leave you today to head over to water at the Jackson Community Garden site and take a look at that progress then I have another scheduled appointment with a friend to look at their garden and offer some "expert advice" but in a friendly way of course! Advice, well I don't know about that now! I hope you all are staying as cool as possible in this record heat wave we are going through in our region. It has really been sweltering, reaching 100-degrees here a day or two this past week with very high humidity. I leave you then with our ongoing urban farming affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Friday, June 18, 2010


HELLO & welcome to GARDEN DADDY here at the urban farm! After many-many weeks of your patience with my worry & major concerns regarding my site over at the Jackson Community Garden, I feel this week has made huge difference and that my site has turned a new corner and I must say for the better. I attended a meeting this week with our entire community garden group of coordinators and directors and advisers and after vocalizing my main concerns and getting some issues "off my chest" I think I see a new direction for at least my site over at N. Fairgrounds & Hatton St. I was able to transplant a Jackson Community Garden sign from another site that is no longer in use from last year and I think that the addition of the sign not only gave credence to the project but made it seem real to myself and to the neighborhood in general instead of just "something happening" down the street. I think this made the difference as well as seeing things really starting to grow and bloom and fruiting and putting some signs out there that the garden will help bring this neighborhood not only to life but maybe together as well.
I am completely tilled and planted for the most part and I have a little more space to put a few late summer things in for late tomatoes, a 2nd squash crop for late season, and then prep for a fall planting of some mixed greens of mustard, turnips (greens and roots), spinach & collards. This is my plan for my site. August 1st will the time to start planting the fall garden crop.
My plan is to add a nice scarecrow just for fun and add a few benches in the shady areas of the garden, made of course from recycled shipping pallets. I will show you these projects as they come to completion. I think I will put one seat on each side of the sign as well and maybe some sort of arbor as an entryway into the garden and then plant some roses or something to run up on the arbor, either blooming or edible, or a combination of both low bloomers with edible vines on them for a real entry effect as well. I hope to make this site the standard for our local community garden project as a whole. With me being somewhat of a perfectionist, where else could this go but over the top right?
So I leave you with these photos to update you on the looks of the garden at this posting and hope to follow up this next week with some benches, new floral bed around the new community garden sign I added and then maybe as time and "gifting" allows, a possible new arbor addition as well. I also leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! It has been several days since I have been able to spend a moment with you either in mind or to take time to update you on the happenings here at the urban farm. This garden home is being blessed with the largest plants I have ever seen to date here at the urban farm. I have never seen field peas or zucchini so large in my life and my sunflowers are already about 10ft in height. My tomato plants are loaded with green tomatoes and lots more blooms are coming on as well. My bell peppers are loaded and the eggplant is just starting to really bloom this week. But I say all that to say that I am hoping that all energy is not going into plant growth and not into produce. The pea plants are really huge. I mean huge, over 3-feet in all directions as well as the zucchini and many tomato plants are already over 4-feet as well.
I have about 4-pots of mixed greens on my deck here at the urban farm. I have 2-pots of mixed mesculin greens and 2-pots of bib lettuce, all of which are doing well. I thought you might get an idea of using some empty pots you have laying around to add an additional ingredient to your backyard menu of adding more fresh produce to your own table. For you "Provencale" at heart, the mesculin mix if often called Mache' or Lamb's Lettuce. It is a rather spicy mix of Arugula, Red Mustard, Endive and Raddichio...sometimes other varieties of lettuces. Add some goat cheese, croutons, pears and some Walnuts and you are set for some wonderful flavors. Add a piece of medium rare beef or lamb, a few oven roasted new potatoes with rosemary and olive oil and you are set for a feast for any guest or just yourself...who deserves it more, right? I need to stop as this menu could send me into orbit of flavor and taste "Nirvana". Okay, I see it now. A "Garden Daddy From The Urban Farm" cookbook & entertainment guide, right?
Here are some updated photos of the garden this week and a new look at how grown the little pullets are getting. I am a minimum of 5-weeks away from the earliest eggs I could be getting, as the oldest chickens will be about 15-weeks old then. But most likely it will be some time later but that would be the absolute earliest I could see the odd one or two pullet eggs. Also things continue on a regular pace over at the community garden. I will leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Saturday, June 12, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I have waited for several days to be able to be with you here but due to a terrible storm we had on Wednesday night not only has my phone been out but my internet has been out as well. The lightning was so severe that it was hitting really in my back yard and I just knew that some of my huge pine trees would be hit for sure. It did not get them but came in the garden home and knocked out my phone service and fried my internet box outside as well at the "nic card" on my computer where you plug in the connection. I have been having "withdrawal" for several days and can finally breath a sigh of relief this morning.
Yesterday morning, I was in the veggie patch, tying up my field peas a little where this week of much rain had beat them down a little. I knew it would be hard to harvest and get in among them in a few days with they start to bloom and then pick if I did not do something. Well, I was picking up some of the vines and there lay a coiled and ready to strike snake here in center-city Jackson! You can imagine, with it being a totally unexpected find, that I not only cleared the picket fence surrounding the garden in one great leap but I squealed like a little girl as well. Of course then I had to look around to see if anyone had seen or heard me of course. I came yelling across the yard and ran and got a hoe and the hatchet as well. I saw him again and then he was moving so fast I lost him and he was gone. I did not see him clearly enough to know what he was but to me it was just a snake and that is all I know. That was enough to know anyway.
Daily work and maintenance continue here at the urban farm on the vegetable garden and flower beds as well as over at the community garden site.
I would like to update you on the little pullets here at the urban farm. They are growing leaps and bounds. Their feathering has been in for a good while and they have turned into some good looking birds. The will be 10-weeks old on Monday, June 14th. It will be another 6-8 weeks before I get any eggs. The earliest we could see an egg here and there is around 15-16 weeks I think and then they will be starting anytime after that. But I did introduce them to scratch feed yesterday. "Scratch" is a mixture of cracked corn and other grains and they seemed to really enjoy that treat. I have now stopped the oatmeal treat every day and substituted the scratch feed but am of course still giving them the grower/starter feed as well as the chick grit. I will all some new shots of them next week.
I will leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Friday, June 4, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm. Last evening, this Garden Daddy was the leader and coordinator of a small workshop over at my place of employment on some of my favorite topics: Sustainable-edible gardens, composting, raised bed gardening, rain water collection as well as some added information I brought about how to read a fertilizer bag information & how to build a Lasagna garden (layered raised bed). I also planted what I call an Italian kitchen garden in a resin 1/2-whiskey barrel planter. I showed the group, small as it was due to a tornado watch in the area, how I recommend one should plant a container garden of any kind really. I showed how I use bark mulch in the bottom for the drainage instead of stones or broken pots, etc. Then for expediency sake, instead of mixing my own potting soil mixture, I used a bag of "Miracle Gro Potting Soil" to fill the container. Then I planted the items I had chosen earlier for the workshop. I put 1-Goliath tomato plant in the back, then I added 1-eggplant, 1-bell pepper, 1-sweet banana pepper, 1-pot of basil (I split this in to 2-plantings due to multiple plants in the seedling pot), 1-pot of rosemary, 1-pot of parsley and 1-yellow summer squash plant opposite the tomato so it would hang over the side of the planter like a vine with the weight of the plant and fruit on it. This went over well and the group stood up to watch how I planted it all in a certain order, according to height, etc., in the container and added the plant tags back to the planter so one would know what was what. The best part of this project was that I knew in advance that we were going to give this away to a participant by random drawing and it was the best thing to watch how excited everyone got when I told them we were giving it away.
I told them by no means was I a public speaker and I just basically talked WITH them - not TO them - and answered questions like it was a one-on-one situation. I went through the program for the most part but with the "Garden Daddy Twist" and basically just talked about what I knew and what worked best for me and my tried and true methods that have either worked or failed over the years. I had hoped for more people but the small group was fun and we used all but the last 10-minutes of the class period. This would normally have been taken up by questions and discussions about the participant's individual problems and with trying to solve them and to talk about their issues. But all in all I would say I was pretty pleased with the outcome and glad to have it out of the way and off my schedule now. I knew one of the class members and asked them to use my camera to make some shots that I could share with you here.
I know this is a little bit of "blowing my own horn" but being that this is really my first of possibly many events in the future and in my area of knowledge I just had to share with you where I hope this evolved, well not really vocation but AVOCATION, has taken me and I hope will take me in the future. My current plan has been & is to sell my current garden home and buy something more like a mini farm in the southern middle Tennessee area between Nashville & the Alabama line somewhere and have the REAL FARM feed me full time in the way of enough land to have a garden that could sustain milk goats, a feeder piglet, a feeder calf and produce and enough different fowl to raise and grow about 90% of what I eat in a natural, non-medicated and non-steroidal way. And in this way become as self sufficient as possible and then this Garden Daddy will really be able to discuss with you life on "The Farm" and not the "urban farm" in center-city Jackson, TN. The idea that I could maybe have a teaching "farmette" instead of a teaching "backyard" would be my ideal situation. Or maybe where folks can come out and see, learn, experience and first hand milk a goat, gather eggs, harvest produce and learn the "how to" of it all would be my long term goal. Dreaming...absolutely! Realistic...most probably! Time frame...18-months-2-years!
So this Garden Daddy will leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind for you this Friday morning: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! I want to take a moment today and stop and cool down and catch you up to date on the progress of the garden and backyard chickens here at the urban farm. After many warm, no really now hot days and the past two days in the 90's here in Jackson, I finally closed the windows and turned on the air conditioning inside the garden home. When I saw my little dog inside and calm and quiet and laying still and panting, I knew it was time for some cool air. I know it is summer now. I always try to make it till June 1st till I turn on the a/c. I made it till the 2nd anyway.
But on to the urban farm and back out doors. I thought I would share some progress photos on the vegetable patch in the back yard. I even found a zucchini that is ready to pick today. But I will give it about one more good day in this heat and it should be ready for sure. The variety of zucchini I planted this year is called "Black Beauty". It is a very-very dark green and hopefully as described on the seed package as tasty as it is lovely. But things look really good and I will share some photos below.

As you can see by these photos, once again this year I have used every available space inside and outside the fence of my yard to make the most of usable, viable growing space. I have addressed almost every issue I can think of in prevention of disease and insect control and in the weed control in the main garden. I have had more than one person, neighbor or otherwise, mention when viewing my garden that, "You really have this weed problem licked". BOY, little do they know that weeding goes on here on a daily basis and I do mean DAILY! It is not a "once and then done thing" but a true daily chore here at the urban farm. We have been getting enough rain every day or two and that has prevented the need for much watering to speak of except newly planted seedlings, etc. At this time, I also have 24-more tomato plants up and staked over at the community garden as well. Okra will follow shortly this week. As you know due to delays on tilling, etc. there, that garden will run a little late this summer.
To bring you up to speed with the little pullets I would also like to share some photos of some of the little girls, as they now truly look like small full grown chickens. I have reworked the main door to the run and coop a little to allow it to remain opened during the worst heat of the day in order to allow a little more air flow on a larger scale than just coming in from the top of the pen and run. It is like a screen door inside the main fence door. But take a look at the little hens below. You can see "MAX" checking out his little flock...they are not afraid of him even when he barks, as they have had him around since day-#1 when they first arrived here and now they think he is just another chicken I guess. In fact when they see him they run up to the screen door and try get his attention, which is really no trouble for that little Terrier! You may can see in this first picture where I threw a watermelon rind in the coop this afternoon and those chickens have stripped it down to the rind, seeds included! Thus the organic ideas of what I am feeding and giving them as supplement to their grower feed. And they are basically free and not kept in small cages.

You see in the immediate photo above these two hens, the one on the left is a little Buff Orpington pullet and you can see her comb starting to turn a little rose pink. The little pullet on the right is a Blue-Wheaten Ameraucana pullet, the tinted egg layer (1 of 4 Ameraucanas I have in the backyard flock) and you can really see her ear tufts and beard coming in nicely, a sign of a purebred Ameraucana. She also has green feet just as her 3-sisters do as well (another sign).
I have really enjoyed having these little pullets as a wonderful addition here at the urban farm. It has brought this homestead, small as it is and in the city center of Jackson, TN., into an almost ideal situation. I get free manure for the compost bin and garden, I will get (shortly I hope in starting in about two more months) all the eggs I could hope for and then enough to share with neighbors as I do the garden produce and it also gives one a true feeling that I am in control of maybe a little more of my life and living and taking that control away from others and giving this Garden Daddy back some independence and a sense of freedom, I am sure much like my ancestors must have felt in times past on their own farms in the rural areas of South Alabama and North Florida.
I will leave you today then with our ongoing daily gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"