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Saturday, February 26, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Today I attended the Jackson Area Beekeeper's Association annual keepers short course. I must say I learned all I ever thought I wanted to know about beekeeping. It was very interesting and I had no idea some of the problems facing not only the bees themselves but for keepers as well.
I have long known about the hive issues going on as far as hive collapse, mite problems and really total disappearance of feral bees as a whole. Beekeepers are in a huge dilemma with keeping so many diseases and just pests in general from destroying the hive and total hive loss. I have learned that the cost of getting honey is about the same as this urban farm's cost of a dozen of this Garden Daddy's eggs...about $10.00 a dozen...and thus around $10.00 per pint. Just kidding on both counts but the "cost per" is not the issue but what real cost is worth the price of pure, fresh and home grown food stuffs. Truly, the eggs from this urban farm are NOT $10.00/dozen but are almost equal with store bought "natural eggs". Of course ALL EGGS ARE NATURAL! But with the ones I have here I consider them basically free range (they range free in their enclosure outside), completely steroid free, non-medicated in no way at all and I only use the natural product of Diatomaceous Earth for both worming and for mite control. We have discussed DE before on this site and you can search online for more information or go back to some earlier blogs regarding that product.
I had to agree to obtain bees this spring, take on a mentor, and give monthly reports for one year at the local JABA meetings, held the first Tuesday of each month. That is the partial running cost of the win. Not to mention I need to order my 3-lbs of bees plus a queen, then some other needed equipment and then I will be only feeding sugar and water to start till weather permits more blooms to arrive in the summer. Then other than weekly checks, they are and can basically take care a lot of themselves. Some maintenance and then yearly medications and you are good to go till fall honey harvest. I will have to add more "supers" later on as they build and add their need for more space for the hive brood and the honey they will make. I am thinking now of hot biscuits and lots of real butter and now...fresh, pure honey!
I will write more later on the subject of bees. If you remember I wrote last summer that I had not seen any bees really here all last year and I blamed my poor cucumber harvest on that fact. So hopefully this summer my home garden here at the urban farm will improve AND give up some good honey as well. So till later, I leave you today with our ongoing urban farming affirmation....and coming yet another step closer to our goal here: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Friday, February 18, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! So nice to be able to get online and actually have a good system to visit with you through. I finally got my old system...desktop, old printer, large monitor, many-many cords, etc. out of the way, cleaned off & cleaned up and FINALLY got my new WIFI system up and running. This includes a new wireless mouse for the laptop, a new WIRELESS PRINTER and got the wireless router installed. Your Garden Daddy finally came into the 21st century. With all that said I will move on into urban farm business.
I made a stop over at the Jackson Community Garden Site #4 this week, where I dropped off I think it was exactly 30 landscape timbers that I got from my big box job site for around $0.51 each that had been trimmed down due to being in the cull/cut lumber pile. I plan to use them as bed outline markers to make a neater edge in the garden and make the mulching on the bed perimeters easier as well. I am not making raised beds with these timbers but rather using for aesthetics mostly.
I may however as I can procure more of these timbers for some raised potato beds. Now do not think your Garden Daddy is getting away from his firm belief in row gardening but if you will bear with me I will share with you my thoughts on this process. I say "raised potato beds" loosely as I really should say more like a "potato tower"! Either plan a trench or square or triangle shaped bed. Work the dirt in the base of the tower to loosen soil, probably do this BEFORE placing your planting "box" in the area. Then push your potato eyes about 1/2" into the soil and cover with about 6" of wheat straw or other weed free hay. Keep wet - not flooded but moist. In about 2-weeks you should have some green shoots popping up and then cover these with more straw. Keep this up all season. About 2-weeks after the tops die off it is time to pull the straw back and reveal where your potatoes have grown up and out into the straw and harvest your bounty. You can even start earlier with this process, when the earth reaches around 50-degrees, and then replant in mid-summer for a later fall crop.
The urban chickens continue in their early molt. Or at least half of them are or so. They are really a messy sight now as many of them are bare on their backs and bums. I would be freezing if I was bare like that out in the cold weather we have had the past two months. But at least they will be back feathered in by the heat of summer I hope. My egg production is about 8-eggs a day from the 16 hens now. So at least I am getting enough to eat and still give some away.
I will leave you today now with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Sunday, February 13, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! It is nice today, nay...this very make this my very first thing I am doing on my new HP laptop. WHEW...I have waited patiently with frustration and ill will for my old desktop that had more issues than I care to relate at this writing. But I wanted to just mention, as this Garden Daddy promised to you all, that once I got the new unit I would be faithful in my writing again to you but still give me a few days to get used to everything. I was looking for the 10-key pad as I am in such a habit of using it, almost by touch, and this smaller keyboard will take some effort to re-adjust!
Allow me a day or two for some relearning and then this Garden Daddy will be at your service again. So I leave you this day with our ongoing affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

Monday, February 7, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm. I would like to share the photos that were in the local paper, The Jackson Sun, from our Master Gardener graduation last Thursday evening, Feb. 03, 2011. My graduation group is in the lower picture with me in the back-left in the cream colored sweater (I look and felt like a stuffed baked potato!) and in the top picture is my group of volunteer who logged in at least 100 or more hours this past year to commemorate the University of Tennessee and the activities of the UT Ag Extension Service being in existence and active. I was named as "leading the pack", having logged in about 158 hours of volunteer service this past year. To those of you who are dedicated followers of this Garden Daddy know where that time was spent...that work of love and effort...the Jackson Community Garden Site #4! I am sure time will be well spent there again this season, starting I hope during the end of this month of February 2011.
I would like to share with you the events of today and that we got somewhere over 3 or 4 inches of heavy, wet snow today. I went to my job this morning early as usual on Monday with rain starting around 4:00am. By 9:00am when I left for the day, it was in a driving, blinding snow storm with heavy winds driving the snow so hard I almost could not see the road in front of me. I hope this weather sees some break in the next week or so and I can get back outside very soon. I am chomping at the bit to get out and do something. I have been in all I can stand. Of course I am out every day with the chickens, which remain constant in their 7 to 12 eggs a day from the remaining 16-hens. I will call them hens now even though they are not OFFICIALLY hens till they are a full 1-year old. I am making some plans, if they finish their molt in time for our first poultry club swap and meet to look decent to sell all the Black Austraulorps, the Buff Orph, the Silver Laced Wyandottes and maybe another or two in the plan to exchange for some new chicks of the Welsummer breed and maybe another Ameraucana or two. The black birds have been good layers this winter but I am looking for the darkest egg layers I can get as well as the tinted green layers which have been VERY GOOD and CONSISTENT egg providers.
I leave you then today with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"