Memphis Backyard Farmer

A Bloomin’ Surprise
April 30, 2013, 7:41 pm
Filed under: Gardening | Tags: , , ,

IMAG0874I was able to get my seedlings in the ground April 15th. These were seedlings I’d started in the attic at the beginning of March. Imagine my surprise when I walked by the garden on Friday and saw blooms on my tomatoes! It’s a big deal for me, first, because this is the earliest I’ve had blooms, and second (and most importantly) because it proves to me that my methodology for planting from seed and transplanting has improved. My first few years of trying to grow from seed worked, but my plants were far less vigorous than they are this year, and matured much later than this.

The particular plants that have blooms are “Early Treat” hybrids, which I’ve written about before. They have small fruit but ripen quickly and produce all season. They’re a great option for impatient gardeners. My heirlooms look to be close behind, however, so I look forward to reporting on their progress soon.

Happy gardening!


Spring Planting
April 18, 2013, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Gardening | Tags: , , , , ,

IMAG0865April 15 in Memphis is “the day” to plant. Last year I fudged and got some plants in the ground a little early. I’m glad I waited this year. At the end of last week we were certainly having warm days, but then the temp would plummet back to the 30’s. Monday, and every day since, has been gorgeous, between 70-80 degrees, so my wife and I spent Monday putting seedlings in the ground.

Tomatoes,  peppers and loofah seedlings went in, but my okra and herb seedlings didn’t look quite strong enough to put down yet. I also seeded some pumpkins, squash and cucumbers. My usual routine is to put my tomato and pepper seedlings in rows with adequate spacing, then plant vining, creeping plants in between rows to make the growing space a little more intense. Tomatoes grow up. Curcurbits grow out.


I still have some beds to finish up. I have spinach and kale seedlings to put in one bed, basil and cilantro to seed in another, and a few more cukes and squash to put into two yet un-weeded beds.

With all that said, the temp tomorrow is supposed to drop back down in the 30’s, but not quite to freezing. Hopefully the plants will be hardened off enough to handle the change.

Bees and Taters
April 13, 2013, 3:32 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

Had a great afternoon working in the garden today. In preparation for planting my spring crop I harvested a boatload of turnip greens (with my first turnips). I let the plants go to flower because they’re really beautiful and have a fantastic fragrance. I picked some as a bouquet for the kitchen, let the bees enjoy some (the bees love them!), then fed the rest to the bunnies.


In addition, I did a walk through to see what was coming up, and it looks like my first potato is up, and the grapevines are covered in buds.


My seedlings are going in the ground next week, along with lots of pots full of plants. I’ll keep you posted.

How does your garden grow?

I Need Some Help
April 5, 2013, 8:20 am
Filed under: Bee Keeping | Tags: , , ,

ImageI need some help.

For close to ten years I’ve kept in bees in one particular bee yard owned by a very gracious farmer. It’s been a somewhat symbiotic relationship. He accommodates my hives when he plows, mows, and harvests, and my bees pollinate his crops year after year.

But the plot has never been ideal.

When it rains, the place is a mud pit. The hives are located so very far off the road that it’s almost impossible to reach for weeks after the rain. The crops are conventionally grown, which means there’s lots of herbicides and pesticides. My hive losses the last few years have been huge. It’s time to try another, more hospitable place.

If you have a spot you’d like to donate to two bee hives, I’d love to talk.

I’d prefer a spot in the Raleigh / Bartlett area of Memphis, since that’s where I live. But I’d also love to help you if you have an urban farm / garden in the city. As long as there’s easy access, and low/no pesticide application, I’d love to talk.

You can post a comment below if you’re interested, or feel free to email me at memphisfarmer[at]