Memphis Backyard Farmer


Okra Is Coming!
July 17, 2014, 9:56 pm
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Okra!Okra bloom

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Absence Makes The What Grow?
July 1, 2014, 9:56 am
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I took a few days and traveled to East Tennessee over the weekend for a wedding. It was gorgeous there, beautiful cool weather, perfect for some lake time. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Memphis was under a deluge: rain thunderstorms, flash-floods, the works. I arrived home wondering what the house, rabbits, chickens and plants would look like on my return. Imagine my (pleasant) surprise to find everything lush, green, and blooming.

You may complain about the rain this year, but don’t be surprised if I suddenly punch you in the throat. My garden, and beautiful, thick sunflower, corn and soybean fields across the state would argue that this year, finally, Memphis has had some perfect weather.



Spreading The Word
May 5, 2014, 9:16 pm
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This Year's Starts

If you’re connected to this blog, then like me, you probably like fresh, great-tasting food, gardening, nutrition, and the (natural) science of where your food comes from. Part of the reason I blog is to keep a running journal of what I’m doing, but also to let people know how easy it is to grow your own food, especially in a small space. We need to spread the word!

So in the spread-the-word department, a couple of things that might be of interest to you.

First, I’ve found that a great way to get people started gardening is to lower the barriers of entry. One of those barriers is knowing what kind of plants to buy, where to buy them, and how to get them cheaply. So many people just don’t know what to buy, and they’re intimidated by their lack of knowledge and the price of good plants at their local big box hardware store. To the rescue! This is now the third year I’ve had a plant giveaway at my church. Yesterday I gave away close to 80 tomato and pepper plants. I start the seedlings for myself each year, and honestly it’s so cheap and easy to do that there’s no reason not to produce a surplus. For each of the last three years I’ve added to the number of seedlings I’ve planted. I pick what I want for myself then take boxes of plants to church with a “Please Take Me Home” sign taped on. People are thrilled to get them, even folks who have never gardened before, and it opens up all kinds of opportunities for conversation. I get to tell them why I plant heirlooms, the organic methods I use, what kind of care their plants need at home, etc. If you’re handy with seed-saving or seed-planting, let me encourage you to plant for surplus, and give away as many as you can.

Second, over the weekend I received an unsolicited email with a link to a great infographic about micro-farming. I love infographics. It saves me from having to do any serious reading <grin>. But seriously, give it a look at http://www.superscholar.org/backyard-micro-farming/, and share it with your friends. Oh – and do the reading. If you scroll below the (long) graphic, there’s some good background to the numbers and concepts.



Vampires Beware!
December 2, 2013, 3:31 am
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IMAG1163Better late than never? I hope so. I’m only today getting my garlic planted. We’ve got a warm spell this week, so the weather is nice enough to get some things done.

This year’s plot is a little different than last year’s. I planted another 60 cloves (like last year). But if you notice the picture above, I have markers placed for divided sections of twenty cloves each. Last year I bought a big bag of garlic from Costco, divided the cloves, and planted. This year, I bought another bag, but I also bought a small bag of organic garlic, and took three heads of garlic that I grew last year, and divided those. So, I have three different types of garlic planted, to compare with each other. I’ve marked them above with “O” for organic, “S” for Scott garlic, and “R” for regular, or conventional, store-bought garlic. Eventually, I’d like to only grow garlic that I’ve cultivated, but we just didn’t have enough left from last year’s crop to plant a full bed. Read that last statement carefully; we probably pulled in 55 heads of garlic of the 60 we planted. But just like a raise in your paycheck, any extra you have gets consumed quickly. We have burned through an enormous amount of garlic since July when we harvested.

For those of you who haven’t planted garlic before, you should. It’s incredibly easy, and it’s so rewarding to have long braids of fresh garlic hanging in your kitchen, ready to pull anytime you need to add a little spice to a meal.



Last of the Summer Bounty
November 13, 2013, 9:23 am
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Last Harvest of VegetablesIt’s a bit of a sad day here today. It’s the last harvest of the summer veggies. Although the last few days have been perfect, mid-60’s kind-of-days, tonight it’s going to plummet to 26 degrees. I went out today and cleaned the plants of tomatoes, peppers, okra, and the last few butternut squash. This is a full 11 days earlier than last year – in fact, the last couple of years I’ve been able to hold off until a day or two before Thanksgiving.

I ended up with a huge bowl of green tomatoes, which are hidden away in newspaper now, hopefully to ripen and extend our summer pleasure just a little while longer.

The rabbits are nestled in beds of hay, the plants are bowed to the ground, their wooden skeletons pulled. And I’m already dreaming of what I’ll start in the attic come February.



Anticipation
September 26, 2013, 2:58 am
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It’s been a good garden year. I haven’t posted much since spring because, frankly, summer is a busy time. The garden has done great. I’ve had some great successes (and some colossal failures). But by far, my most anticipated fruit of the year are almost ready. I give to you now…butternut squash.

IMAG1099

IMAG1098These have been a long time coming, and are frankly a miracle for me this year. I’ll post more about the ordeal later. But they looked so beautiful this morning, I had to share.

 



Garlic!
July 6, 2013, 12:57 am
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Here’s our first braid of our first ever crop of garlic. And this is just one braid – we have more! We eat tons of garlic here, so this will be a money/life saver around here. Very excited – had to share.

Oh – and thanks to my wife for the beautiful braid. She took initial clues from Garden Nerd’s video here.

Front of Braid

Front of Braid

Back of Braid

Back of Braid