Tag Archives: tiny garden

Old Hens… Chickens not people

Before you purchase your chick(s) look 2 years in to the future.

For some people chickens only serve two purposes, primarily a source of fresh eggs, second as a source of fresh meat.
But for some they become pets no different from the family dog. This is where looking into the future is important.

Chicken commonly live 5 to 7 years, however it is not uncommon for them to live to the ripe old age of 10 or more years.

Egg production starts at about 24 – 26 weeks of age (6 months) and will decrease sightly every year after that. By 3 years of age it is likely to the point that you will need to replace your laying hens.

What do you do with them at this point in time? Sell them? Give them to an unsuspecting friend or neighbor? Butcher them to be served for Sunday dinner?

If you have become attached to them for what ever reason butchering them is not an option. However you must decide if the pleasure you get from their presents is worth the reduced or no egg production and the daily cost of feed and maintaining a safe and secure living space.

All is not lost. Even with reduced egg production they are still good weeders and eat every insect find and can catch.

Hint: Keep Them As Broody Hens/Mothers
If you own a broody hen (or hens), consider using them to hatch a few eggs. Those old hens will be perfectly happy sitting on some eggs all day, and it would save you the cost of buying an incubator.

Happy Gardening

Germination Chart For Annual Flowering Plants

Germination requirements (light and temperature) vary among the different flowers and vegetables. The various crops also differ in the length of time from seed sowing until the seedlings are transplanted outdoors.

The following chart provides germination information for many of the commonly grown annual flowers.

Annual Germination
Temperature
(Fahrenheit)
Lighting Days to
Germination
Weeks Sowing
to Planting
Ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum) 70-75 L 7-10 8
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) 70 L 7-14 8-10
Wax Begonia (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum) 70-75 L 14 10-12
Annual Aster (Callistephus chinensis) 70 L-D 7-10 6-8
Vinca (Cathranthus roseus) 70-75 L-D 14 10
Cockscomb (Cleosia spp.) 70-75 D 7-10 6-7
Bachelor's Button (Centaurea cyanus) 65-70 L-D 7-14 8
Cosmos (Cosmos spp.) 70 D 5-7 4-6
Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) 75 L 10-14 14
Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) 70 L-D 14 7-8
Sunflower* (Helianthus annuus) 70 D 5-7 3-4
Strawflower (Helichrysum bracteatum) 70-75 L-D 7-10 6-8
Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) 70-75 L 10-14 8-10
Annual Statice (Limonium sinuatum) 70 L-D 7-10 8-10
Melampodium (Melampodium paludosum) 65-70 L-D 7-10 7
Four-O'Clock (Mirabilis jalapa) 70 D 5-7 6-8
Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana alata) 70-75 L 10-14 8
Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum) 70-75 D 7-21 12
Petunia (Petunia x hybrida) 75 L 7-10 8-10
Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora) 75 L 7-10 10
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.) 70 L-D 7-14 10
Red Salvia (Salvia splendens) 70-75 L 10-14 8
Mealycup Sage (Salvia farinacea) 70-75 L 10-14 8-9
Creeping Zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens) 70 D 7-10 6-7
Coleus (Solenostemon spp.) 70-75 L 10-14 8-10
Dahlberg Daisy (Thymophylla tenuiloba) 65-70 L 14 8
Nasturtium* (Tropaeolum majus) 65-70 D 10-14 5-6
Zinnia (Zinnia elegans) 70 D 5-7 5

*Sunflowers and nasturtiums do not transplant well. Both should be seeded directly into peat pots.

Light conditions during germination are critical for many annual flowers. The seeds of some plant species require light for germination. (In the table above, annuals that require light for germination are designated with the letter L in the lighting column.) After sowing these seeds, lightly press them into the germination medium, but do not cover them. The seeds of other flowers require darkness (D) and should be covered with the germination medium. Finally, those designated L-D should be lightly covered, leaving the seeds as close to the soil surface as possible.

Category: Horticulture
Authors: Richard Jauron
Iowa State University

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Garden Vegetable Germination Chart

Vegetable Germination Chart

Hummingbird migration sighting map – March 7, 2021

Hummingbirds will soon be arriving all across the USA. It’s time to find and clean feeders and prepare for the birds arrival.
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Soil Temperature is more important than calendar date

Soil Temperature is the true key for better and quicker seed germination. Soil Temperature is equally important when your plant seedlings. With the right soil temperature seedlings will quickly send out roots and become well established healthy plants.

To day my soil temperature at 4 inch depth is 48%. Time to plant cool weather loving crops like onions and garlic for fall harvest.

Here is a planting chart with some of the more common garden crops and the best soil temperature to plant.

Herbs are expensive – Grow your own

Herbs Fresh or Dried purchased from your local Supermarket or Farmers Market are exceeding expensive.

These are sample prices taken from Walmart:
Litehouse Basil Freeze Dried Herbs $15.00 an ounce

McCormick Gourmet Organic Crushed Rosemary, $4.45 an ounce

Litehouse Chives $17.00 an ounce

Litehouse Parsley $14.00 an ounce

McCormick Gourmet Organic Thyme $7.60 an ounce

The best solution is to grow your own Herbs. Herbs take up little space and are very forgiving if neglected.
Most herbs will do well in containers, window boxes and planted directly in your garden soil.
If herbs are conventionally located to you and your kitchen you are more willing and more likely to use them when cooking and serving meals.

Herbs Make Common Foods Taste Special

Sage is a herb that does well if properly cared for. It requires a lot of pinching and cutting to keep it from becoming woody. As a rule, sage will need to be replanted about every 3 years since it will become woody with few leaves no matter what, so keeping it in a pot makes this change that much easier. Sage dries very well and if you pinch the leaves throughout the growing season, put a rubber band on them and keep them dry and in a dark place after drying. You will have wonderful sage all winter to give your family and guest a special treat.

Sage Use leaves flowers fresh or dried with stuffings for fish, poultry, and meat, pâté, eggs, poultry, pork, beef, lamb, pasta, cheeses cheddar, cream, and cottage, sauces brown and meat, soups cream and chowder, beef stews, and vegetables.

Rosemary is always a kitchen favorite. It dries perfectly, holds its strong taste all winter, comes indoors and keeps growing in a sunny window and is rarely bothered by insects.
Use rosemary for many herb standards or topiaries. The woody stem is perfect for crafting. The stem also seconds as skewers so each harvest yields two separate herb crops. 1)leaves and 2)stems.
Keep the stems in a freezer bag and use them for grilling skewers. Rosemary doesn’t like to sit in water it likes to dry out between watering. Being in its own container makes the herb grow that much hardier, since it can receive special care.

Basil is one of the most popular and rewarding herbs to grow in a container. It really lends itself well to the other popular container plants like the tomato. Basil likes to have plenty of water to keep its fleshy stems and tender leaves plump, but is susceptible to mildew. In a container, you must be sure the plant gets plenty of airflow.

Thyme is an undervalued herb. Many times it gets planted and never used. Thyme deserves a higher standing on our list of culinary herbs!
It will thrive in a container environment, needing only minimal watering. Some varieties grow into small shrub like plants that enhance an entrance to your home. It’s tiny purple flowers are lovely. Being such a low maintenance herb, thyme will fit in your container garden.

Mint is notorious for getting away from gardeners. You plant one and soon twenty will follow. Planting a bottomless pot into your garden is one way of controlling mint, but keeping it out of the garden completely, by using a separate container, is a better idea. Mint is so tasty, it will be used more often if it is handy.

Chives Leaves/Flowers Use in fresh or frozen soups, salads, salad dressings, eggs, dips, vegetables, chicken, soft cheese spreads, butters, white sauces, and fish.

English Thyme Use leaves flowers with fresh or dried wild game, beef, soft cheeses, fish, chowders, pâté, vegetables, and tomato sauce.

Tarragon French or Spanish Use leaves fresh or dried with chicken, fish, eggs, tomato juice, butters especially nice on steak, vinegar’s, salads, mustard’s, hollandaise, béarnaise and tartar sauce, soups, chicken, fish, mushroom and tomato and marinades for fish, lamb or pork.

Greek Oregano Use leaves fresh or dried
in white and tomato sauces, stews, soups, fish, lamb, pork, vegetables, butters, and vinegar’s.

Rosemary Use leaves fresh or dried
with beef, lamb, fish, poultry, stuffings, soups, stews, fruit cups, soups chicken, pea, and spinach, vegetables, and marinades.

Hint of the Day: Use fresh herbs blended with ‘real’ butter or sour cream for that special taste. Herb’s go well with fresh baked potato’s, snack dips and fresh garden salads.

Beets – under used healthy, easy to grow vegetable

OK, beets are not everyone’s favorite vegetable. However they are a good healthy choice for your family and are an easy to grow root vegetable.

Beets are versatile. Raw, baked, broiled, boiled or pickled. Beets can do it all.
One of the Healthiest and Easiest Ways of Cooking beets in only 15 minutes. Cut medium size beets into quarters without removing the skin. Steam and serve as a vegetable side dish or as a addition hot or chilled to your favorite salad. Don’t over cook beets.

Beets are Easy to grow and do double duty in the kitchen, producing tasty roots for baking, boiling or sautéing and fresh greens to boil, steam or eat raw in salads.

Beet Germination temperature: 50 F to 85 F – Beets will still germinate at soil temperatures as low as 40 F and as high as 90 F.
The wrinkled “seedball” usually contains two to four viable seeds, making it necessary to thin plants to 3 to 4 inch spacing if you plan to harvest young, small roots, or 6 inch spacing to grow larger roots.

Days to emergence: 5 to 8. However it may take two or three weeks in cold soils.
Begin thinning when seedlings are about 4 to 5 inches tall, and eat the plants you cut when thinning. Cut rather than pull plants when thinning to avoid disturbing roots of other plants. Days to harvest about 60 to 70 days.

Unlike most root crops, beets can be started inside or in cold frames and transplanted into the garden. Beets tolerate average to low fertility. Too much nitrogen will encourage top growth at the expense of root development. For root crop use a NPK 5-10-5 or 10-20-10 type fertilized.
I realize many are not real found of beet, but they are a healthy, easy to grow vegetable.
** Hint: If growing mostly for the beet greens(tops) use a NPK 10-5-5 or similar fertilizer.

Best top color and flavor develop under cool conditions and bright sun. When beets mature in warm weather, they are lighter colored, have less sugar and have more pronounced color zoning in the roots. Fluctuating weather conditions produce white zone rings in roots.

Hint: To prevent beets bleeding(losing their color) when cooking. Leave the skin, root stem and 1/4 inch of the tops attached to the root top. Remove before serving or let your family eat or remove the remaining top and root.

Think healthy before you snack.

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Beet root 101 Pt1
Beet Root 101 Pt2

Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be Shy. Leave me your Comment(s).

Rain is (almost) always a good thing

Murphy(Murphy’s law) is working overtime.
Spent much of Monday mowing and weed whacking getting ready for the cooler/colder autumn weather.
Murphy had other ideas. Night time temperatures are falling near 50F(10C) degrees. Last night and this morning I have had more than 3 inches (77mm)(7.6cm) of rain. My weather forecaster said it will warm into the high 80’sF(31C) by the weekend.

That tells me I will ‘get’ to mow and and run the string trimmed removing weeds at least one more time before my first frost.

The rain is not good for unharvested cotton and soybean crops, but we have had very little strong winds and that is a good thing for cotton and soybean farmers.

However the good side of this rain is my pond is full, wheat farmers will be in good shape to drill-in winter wheat the 3rd or 4 week of September.
In the long run in the semi-desert southwest Oklahoma rain is always a good thing.

Frost on the pumpkin

Autumn/fall gardening task will soon come to an end as old man winter nears.

Winter squash and pumpkins should be harvested before night time temperatures fall below 32F(0C) degrees. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale will tolerate frost and may even benefit being exposed to a few frosty nights.

It’s time buy, trade and dig bulbs to be planted for spring garden flowers. This includes planting garlic in your vegetable garden.

Flower beds need to be cleaned, soil dug to a depth of 6 to 8 inches in preparation to plant your bulbs. Bulbs planted in the autumn will spend the cool fall and cold winter months developing a good healthy root system that will support plant growth and allow your bulbs to produce many large flowers next spring.

It is not to late to mail order flowering bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths are some of the most common and popular spring flowering bulbs.
Many lily varieties should be planted in the autumn as well.
However no matter what flowering bulb you favor now is the time to prepare for planting.

Pass It On….

Saturday Evening Post cartoon that is to good not to pass on.

I sometimes feel the same way about my Zucchini crop.

Okra – Boiled – No Slime Trick

I wish I had book marked this blog, but I didn’t so of course I don’t know who to credit with this easy to cook No Slime boiled okra.

I wish someone had taught me this No Slime Boiled Okra trick 50 years ago.

Pick smallish tender okra. Pick enough to feed you and your family.

Wash Okra. Leave Okra whole.
Bring 2 cups salted water to a boil.
You may need more water if your cooking a lot of Okra.
Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to your boiling salted water.
Put Okra in the boiling water.
Return to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 8 to 13 minutes until tender.
Plate Okra, serve and enjoy your No Slime Boiled Okra.

Happy Gardening