Farm Gal Style

Friday, May 22, 2015

I have lived my whole life in the suburbs. Here it is cities really. But I have always loved growing things, imagining life in the country. It is still a dream I have but not sure it will happen. Life ties you to places doesn't it?

But on my small urban lot, I live how I like. I am different than many and I am fine with that. I play in the dirt daily, clean and care for the chickens and our other animals. It gives me a touch of the life I want.

I am sort of an old school mom and wife and wear my apron everyday at some point. But I am opinionated and a fierce defender of a woman's right to choose her path. 

I gather eggs daily and check the garden for fresh produce. I am sure my neighbors wonder what the heck I am doing out bent over in the garden all the time. "What is that lady looking for?"

While others head to the gym or mall, I am strapping on the gardening gloves and that is if I can find them where I set them down the last time. I have tried being more of a girly girl but it is more torture than anything else so now I am old enough that I have given that up. I am happy doing what I want. Though I could probably stand some gym time and some new clothes.

Good food I managed to mostly grow is my jewelry. Dressing up plates of  fresh veggies.

Of course after dinner and the pile of dishes that faces me makes me wonder why I cook so much. I have to do something with all the zucchini I grow. Oh, gotta go, I hear the chickens raisin a fuss, wanting to be let out for the day.

Garden Tour 2015 - Growing Edibles In Your City Garden

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

In a Southern California garden this is our main growing season. Temps are perfect for lots of growth and summer heat has not hit yet. This year we are expanding our edible garden beds mixing ornamentals and edibles so that our garden is producing organic nutrient rich food but also pretty at the same time.

garden tour 2015, urban farm, city vegetable garden, organic, container vegetable garden,  mosaic garden sign, cottage garden

There is so much I could share but we'd be here all day and you would be bored with me so here are some highlights. I endeavour to remove more lawn each year, expanding areas for vegetable gardening. When you are trying to grow a lot of your own produce in a small city yard, you have to ditch the lawn at some point.

Below here I have pumpkins, zucchini and bell peppers in containers. One bell pepper plant is now four years old and loaded with bell peppers and it is only May. A tomato and other herbs are start ups in here too.

garden tour 2015, urban farm, city vegetable garden, organic, container vegetable garden, glass insulators

I grow lots of vegetables in containers and pots. Here are strawberries, cucumbers, zucchini, onion, parsley and basil as well as a pumpkin vine to the left. You can see my jug of compost tea sitting there as well. I always have a batch brewing and feed my plants with them on a rotating basis.

garden tour 2015, urban farm, city vegetable garden, organic, container vegetable garden, zucchini

This garden bed has been a bonus area we have gained after having a tree removed. Once summer hits the six squash plants in containers, will be pulled out and the tomatoes and pumpkins will remain and fill in. Heirloom tomatoes are thriving in the full sun.

garden tour 2015, urban farm, city vegetable garden, organic, metal garden rooster

The front planter this year is our squash garden for sure. The entire thing is grown over with all types of squash and pumpkins. That is for another post but it is thriving this year. My plan to plant early has paid off. The garden was in by January and February and I am already picking loads daily. I was very frugal and started most of my plants from seed this year.

garden tour 2015, urban farm, city vegetable garden, organic, metal garden rooster

This photo of my main veggie bed is from a couple weeks ago. More changes and growth have taken place since. We have veggies, an apple tree, greens, broccoli, herbs. You name it and I try and grow it.

garden tour 2015, urban farm, city vegetable garden, organic, vegetable garden

Simple Saturdays May 16

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Join us for ideas on living a Simple Lifestyle and being Self Sufficient!

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Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop!

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!
Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!

 This Blog Hop is being hosted by:

  What Can I Post?

Anything and everything related to a more Simple way of life OR Self Reliance....
Homesteading, Prepping, Gardening, Cooking/recipes/food, Livestock of all varieties, Off-grid, Natural Living, Wellness/wholeness and Healthcare, Herbal, DIY & MYO!
1. Text link Or ADD the blog hop button below & link back to the Blog Hop.
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 How Can I Be a Featured Blogger?

Our featured blogger is chosen each week by YOU our readers...and we hope to have YOU as our next featured blogger!
If you are selected as "Featured", make sure and grab your button!:
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**Please note: By linking to this Blog Hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include 1 photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way. **

Congratulations to our Featured Blogger this week:

NOVA Frugal Family

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Thrifty Thursday: What Did I Make This Week?

Ready to get to the hop? Add your link below:

How To Grow Sweet Potatoes In A Wheelbarrow

Friday, May 15, 2015

Growing sweet potatoes is so easy. Unlike regular potatoes no hilling is required. They grow great in containers but an old wheelbarrow is perfect. Here is how I grow organic sweet potatoes in my backyard garden.

how to grow sweet potatoes in a wheelbarrow, growing sweet potatoes in containers

This old wheelbarrow was used by my father during his many years as a mason. We drilled a few holes for drainage and filled with potting soil with some sand mixed in. Sweet potatoes do not need  rich soil and it needs to drain well. They are a tropical plant so grow during summer. If some potatoes do peak through just mulch or hill over with soil.

You can plant a few organic sweet potatoes right in the soil or start slips from one like I did. Take a sweet potato and place in a jar with water, potato pointy side up. Shoots with leaves will start to grow and when they are a few inches pull them off and strip a few leaves off at the bottom and put the slips in a clear jar in water in a sunny window.

how to grow sweet potatoes in a wheelbarrow or container

After a couple of weeks, your sweet potato cuttings will have grown a little more and be full of roots. At this time seperate the sweet potato slips and plant them in your wheelbarrow or large container about 6-8 inches apart. Keep soil moist but not wet. The plants will fill in and make a nice attractive plant.

growing sweet potato slips, cuttings, how to grow sweet potatoes in a wheelbarrow or container

When to harvest your sweet potato plants:

Sweet potato plants will keep growing as long as the weather stays warm. This is the benefit of a wheelbarrow if you live in an area with early frosts. You can wheel the plant into your garage at night.
If you have a long growing season like me, you can just keep checking the plants and harvest when the potatoes are a good size for harvest, usually September to October.

Dig sweet potatoes on a dry day and let them sit outside for a few hours in the shade  to dry. They should cure in your garage or on your porch, ideally in 80-85 degrees for about two week. You want to keep them from getting damp but allowing any marks or wounds to heal up. Cook any damaged sweet potatoes right away. Time to try all those recipes you have saved for your organic homegrown crop of sweet potatoes.

Flies In The Chicken Coop And How to Control Them

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Of all the good things about raising backyard chickens, one of the biggest negatives is FLIES. Not kidding. When you don't have property, but instead you have a small yard and are raising those extreme urban chickens, flies in your coop are one of your main concerns.

flies in the chicken coop, controlling flies in the coop, fly predators, backyard chickens

The first year I was raising chickens I almost gave up because of flies. They were everywhere despite my best attempts. I experimented with all the tricks but not much was working.

Finally, after a lot of research and testing, we found what actually works to control flies in the urban chicken coop. I will share the steps we take for a successful backyard chicken coop in the warm months when flies are most bothersome.

1. Don't keep too many chickens for your yard. Chickens poop all the time. So avoid the urge buy chicks every time you head to the feed store or to keep too many chickens for your space.

2. Pick up droppings or rake up daily if possible during warmer months when flies are present. In a backyard setting this is doable and worth it. Leaving droppings for a deep mulch or composting in the run has not worked in our small yard. This goes for other animals. Pick up early and often! I also find if I rake up the coop real quick and put leaves and debris in the compost bins this works great.

3. Keep things dry. Especially in the coop and run. Even in your yard, water less frequently and preferably in the evening so things are drier by morning. Try sand in the run. I have found sand in the chicken coop run area really dries the poop out fast. Dry poop = less flies.

4. For really warm weather, I use Diatemacious earth in the chicken feed and sprinkle in the coop and run. Also, hanging some sticky fly strips help to catch mature flies. The stinky traps do not work for a small backyard because they will attract flies to your garden.

5. Honestly, the best fly prevention I have found is using fly predators. They have been amazing. They are tiny, and I mean teeny tiny, flying predators  that feed on fly larvae. They do not bother humans or pets.
I will share more next time on how I disperse the predators and the best ways to do this.

fly predators, spalding labs, flies in the chicken coop and how to get rid of them

I seriously was going to give up chicken keeping until I discovered the Spalding Labs fly predators. They work great for any fly issue. You still will always have some flies, everyone does and they serve a purpose in nature but we all want to enjoy being outdoors and our animals.

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