With limited space… Here are some of the 2015 Urban Gardening Highlights proving that you can eat food that you grow for your self with worms and all natural ingredients that could come straight from the earth… Note: This takes work and time, our products save you TONS of TIME and Effort putting nature into a bag that you can brew and have instant success… So with out further ado here’s a snapshot of some great fruits and vegetables that you might enjoy at home…
List of vegetables and fruits the urban farm this season.
Peppers, peppers, peppers. Delicious and spicy
Jalapenos: Jalapeno, purple, and some huge variety from ace hardware. 😀
Thai Peppers: Garden Bird Thai, slightly hotter then Jalapeno generally speaking.
Super Hots: Carolina reaper varieties and scorpions and Maruga scorpion peppers.
Mediums friers: mmmmm delicious do your self a favor and fry some of these babies up so delicious. Cubanelles are nice and take note when ever you fry peppers some of the heat goes out so you get some flavor. It also seems when we fry things we lose nutrition so be aware that eating live plants is the best.
We did have a huge success with PASSION FRUITS very tropical aroma check into the purple variety in zone 9b hardiness zone or similar otherwise you will need to use lights an hydro which would be a really, really nice set up… Passion Flora.
Mysore Black Raspberry, zone 9b tropical raspberry works very well as you can see here, there is a question that arises, why sell raspberries in major home improvement stores that do not grow here??? It seems greed yet who knows why instead of selling Raspberries that grow they sell raspberries that are not supposed to grow in 9b as they need coldness to ripen them.
Avocado Tree doing phenomenal this season 3rd season, the first season we used crap chemical fertilizers we got NOTHING. Then we built a compost pile next to it, on the second season we had a tiny bit of sucess yet the squirells ate all of the fruits… they did not eat them yet dropped them early off the tree!!! Well I thought I better shoot them they steal my food. So I got a pellet gun and waited on the 3rd season. This time I added a mountain of extra elephant manure from ‘Disney secret manure pile’ The entire tree EXPLODED with fruits… this leads me to believe that what my gut says is true… feed the soil then you don’t have to kill anything. If your like me you love animals. I eat them, yet I love them, if you can explain this please do so immediately it perplexes me beyond belief. Perhaps its my canine teeth. tell me here firstname.lastname@example.org
Jicama – A fruit with origins from mexico that grows under the earth and has a mild flavor with a wonderfully crunchy texture. Enjoy this and other tropical fruits with a bit of Tapatio style hot sauce mmmm and some lime tastes incredible. I know it sounds weird yet, it is extremely delectable. Also try this on mango. An alternative to Tapatio might be Texas Pete brand yet perhaps making your own might be the best as well, something about the vinegar and sugars with a hint of cayenne like sweet, spicy and bitter all rolled up into one.
2015 Oregon Farm Visit ‘organic highlights’ –
OK so here is the start of a guide all about mouse melon. First though the reason for planting out the Mexican Sour Gherkin, scientifically known as “Melothria Scabra” is known for its disease resistance.
If you have ever struggled with curcubits you know exactly what I’m talking about, if you have not then just know, watermelon, cucumbers, squash and pumpkins are prone to things like powdery mildew, fusarium wilt and a number of mold/mildew related diseases. Other names for the variety are cucamelon or mouse melon just in case your getting confused by the name.
If you have struggled as an organic gardener for 3 seasons like I have because of extreme humidity, pests and heat then you know its beyond aggravating. As if aphids were not enough your perfect cucumbers seem to get the white mildew substance if a tiny amount of water gets on the leaves at the wrong time. Once the mold sets on one leaf it seems nothing gets rid of it. First you cut the leaves that are effected and spray the rest with cold pressed neem oil. Yet still because of the environment it seems extremely difficult to get a nice harvest.
Germinating the Mexican Sour Gherkin
Enter the Mexican sour gherkin, the seeds of this vegetable look like cucumber or cantaloupe seeds yet about 25% the size. I put the seeds in a small recycled 6 cell container (cleaned with anti bacterial dish soap and rinsed well). Within 5 days they popped up using ***jiffy mix. I covered the 6 cell tray with some plastic nothing fancy shopping bags work, clear plastic is better because you can see the seedlings just as they they pop up out of the mix. After Germination I removed the plastic to let it dry for a day or two depending on the heat and humidity in your area. If you get the moisture correct, you will know because the plants grow much faster and are able to uptake nutrients more efficiently and readily.
Select the Best Mouse Melon Plants or Seedlings
1. Look at all of your mexican sour gherkin seedling groups. In our example we planted 3 seeds per planting cell, they germinated in 5 days and now we can see which ones are best. Tallest is not necessarily best. When your seedlings are tall it means they are searching for more light so give it to them. Choose the seedlings one at a time today after waiting a couple of days I will choose one of the weakest from each cell to cull or cut out. Note: gardeners cut them out at the stem so they don’t disturb the root zone of the other plants. The strongest seedlings are relatively short and stockier than the others. I will cut one out today and one in a day or two depending on how readily I can differentiate between the strongest and weakest plants.
2. With two seedlings left in the tray now I choose the best ones. Let the strongest 6 plants grow until the second set of true leaves come on. This way the seedlings are not to fragile for transplant.
*** When you prepare jiffy mix the absolute best way for quickest germination and most seeds germinated is to add water to your Jiffy Mix in a bucket. Just add enough rain water (chlorine free water) so that it starts looking moist, then mix it with your sanitized and cleaned hands. When the water is fully incorporated grab a handful of mix and squeeze it. Only a couple drops should squeeze out indicating it is moist but not saturated. This technique leaves the mix light with a small and increasing amount of air in it. Note: Roots need small pockets of oxygen to develop huge and fast. So far I am very excited that my Mexican sour gherkin plants have germinated very fast and are off to a good start.
Note: If you are interested in growing Mexican sour gherkin let me know in the comments below and I will do a follow up on this post showing you our trellising solutions, fertilization programs and how it all turned out. In other words full size images and other critical growing information information.
Are you looking to purchase quail or eggs for your homestead?
Quail is a great bird for the “survivalist spirit” in you. Raising quail gives you a sense of more security in terms of self sufficiency and food availability. Imagine for a second that you have no food, yet you have quail which produce on average 1 egg per day per bird and multiply super prolifically. Now you see, if you even had one egg a day, a few raw vegetables and water, you could survive for perhaps just that much longer, until help arrives. Start Quail Farming your micro-homestead today. We show you all the things needed on this site and its super easy. We sell Quail Orlando Fl. We do not ship. Please bring a box for recycling purposes or cage, just be prepared you dont want em flyin around in your car on the way home. 😉 sometimes we do have boxes for you and if we do you certainly can have one. We will consider boxes and fancy egg crates when we can justify the cost. Please understand there is little profit in quail farming at this scale its mostly a hobby that we do for fun that also feeds us and helps you as well. Thanks for your continued support!! Ordering Quail Orlando Here for local pickup.
Do you have kids and want to educate them on the finer qualities of life, like farmin’ and quail raisin’?
Let me tell you Kids love Quail and the soothing noise they make… My daughter cant wait every time, to run out to back yard and see them. Also it gives them a chores, to get them used to doing things. (don’t get me wrong every thing in your orlando quail operation can be automated so there is as much or as little work as you want)
Do you want to raise birds, yet don’t want all the problems that come with chickens?
Quail can easily be raised on an urban homestead or small farm even on a balcony for that matter. If you have very small space just start out with a few birds. in 10 days you will produce as much as you would need in terms of eggs for a small family of 3.
Are you limited on space and cant keep huge livestock?
We sell small amounts of quail and quail eggs locally, meaning we do not ship… our guide will show you how to keep any number of quail by making your own cages and saving money as well as time for any quantity of quail.
Do you like tasty & delicious Quail yet don’t want to pay restaurant pricing?
You want to enjoy tons of quail meat & quail egg, yet your not into spendin’ a hundred-dollars on a dinner for two, try our quail birds. at $2 minimum chick pricing your bound to save cash. Large birds are $5.
Are you tired of the Muss and Fuss of having to Order your quails eggs and wait for shipping?
Look no further, we have a limited quantity of quail egg for pickup, however if you are on our mailing list you get first pick at the eggs and you get them as Fresh as Possible. This way for cooking the yolks stand up tall and for hatching you will have a much higher success rate as we do not sell quail eggs over 10 days old.
Looking to expand and add diversity to your flock of Coturnix Japonica? (Japanese Brown Quail aka. Pharaoh Quail)
If your looking to expand your current stock in and around Orlando Florida, we can supply you with a small quantity of eggs and quail to promote genetic diversity, these quail come from prime stock.
Improve your soil structure for the most delicious vegetables.
The best garden soil structure is one of the most important aspects of vegetable gardening and growing plants in general. In order to grow the best vegetables the soil must be optimized for great drainage as well as retaining a small amount to keep the microbial life inside the soil alive. In other words we are talking about the “soil food web” of life that occurs when we build the soil over time and we refrain from using chemicals.
So then how do we improve our garden soil structure when we don’t even know what it is. That part is easy, we use science.
Visual Garden Soil Test
Quickly Test your current garden soil structure with this process in 24 hours.
- Grab a quart mason jar or equivalent clear container
- fill with water about 2/3 of the way full
- place a soil sample in the jar. a couple handfuls will do.
- Measure the heights of each layer in the jar and divide by the total hieght, then multiply each by 100 to get the percentage of how much each layer is of the total.
Fixing your garden soil structure
After you finish your test you will know which material that your beds or garden is lacking and over time you will get a feel for good sandy loam soil. 30-50% Sand, 30-50% Clay and 10-30% Loam
Which ever component you are short of you could add over time or you could turn it right in to your beds at the beginning of the season. None the less optimizing your soil structure will allow the correct nutrients to be delivered to your plants as well as allow oxygen to get to the roots more readily. Not having this causes poor plant growth, dampening off, more pests and problems, healthy plants create their own defense mechanisms so you don’t have to spray as much neem oil or other other external defenses. If we build the soil correctly it does most of the work for us. If our soil structure is within the parameters then when we do things like add “kelp and fish” and other fertilizer we do not have to add as much and we do not lose all of the nutrient through drainage. This is why in nature the proper balance exists within the soil.
Check out our compost methods for improving garden soil structure , adding worms for improving garden soil structure. Sand you can get at the beach, mulch and organic material is every where, you just have to let it break down, this is why LAB is great for composting and garden
Here’s a sample from my raised beds:
Hi Folks Toby here, well its been a short Florida winter (zone 9b) and today we are going to start posting again. To begin the 2015 season it will be nice to show you guys some EXTREME seed starting techniques. Why, extreme why seed starting techniques?
- Starting out as an organic gardener can be super simple or super complex depending on the style you choose.
- Maybe your into optimizing the plant and growing it to the full potential.
- Other seed starting techniques are aggravating and have not produced desired results, don’t worry I have been there.
For this post we will focus on pepper plants, pepper seeds are notoriously annoying sometimes, especially when you forget that they are not like tomatoes in that the optimal germination temperature is 85 degrees f ( 26.6 deg c). Where as tomatoes are 70-80 deg f about 23 c.
First of all to start seeds correctly learn from my mistakes.
- Seeds have all the nutrients with in them needed to start the growth process. This means a sterile growing medium is optimal, do not add any nutrient or manure. This will burn and kill seeds. In nature the entire fruit falls to earth, no additives are needed. However in Hydroponics vitamin b sometimes jump starts your seedlings.
- Keep the seeds proper temperature, do not leave the mini seedling green house out under the clouds/shade then come back later and sun has baked them. Common sense here goes a long way. Keep your mini greenhouse or hot house under a shade tree. Or indoors under controlled conditions.
- Give seedlings proper growing media, with proper PH it seems around 7 is good notice I said seems. In other words dont try to start them in straight peat. Peat is hydrophobic for starters, secondly no drainage causing poor performance in seedling and also its a bit acidic. Try adding lime and perlite with peat or vermiculite, this would be better.
OK, with that said what can you do to optimize seed germination.
Method 1: Paper Towel and Bag every ones doing it because it works which is fine, just not extreme.
Method 2: Coco Coir (coco peat): Perfect starting medium, renewable, inexpensive, order online. Slightly extreme (I would suggest coco peat with hot house in cool areas, yet remember coco peat is sterile which is great for seed starting. Yet as soon as the seed emerges and first true leaves arrive give it a week fish hydrolysate and kelp feed to jump start it with out burning it. Works better than miracle grow also if you use miracle grow be sure it does not get too wet, which is difficult in a hot house or mini green house.
Method 3: Get a tall hot house of any size, use a heat mat (temp control) indoors. Getting More Extreme.
Method 4: Combines starting method 3 with the addition of rapid rooter grow plugs which were $15 USD. SUPER EXTREME TECHNIQUE. NOT WORTH IT DO NOT BUY THESE they stall your seedlings when the roots try to push through seems like an over priced gimmick that doesn’t work.
Today is the arrival of my order for everything will need if you want replicate this technique. see featured image in this post. (When it arrives I will try to take a picture time permitting). The green house kit comes with 72 cells, the rapid rooter comes with 50. So this means 22 cells will be empty so I will use 44 plants in the experiment to see if the plugs out perform standard starter mix. Now honestly I would never purchase a miracle grow product yet it was starter mix and I was at ACE Hardware (they do not carry natural organic products the best products are only or in a specialty store). This will be a simple split A/B test to see if these plugs are worth ever buying again. Remember this, “The Bigger the Roots the Bigger the Fruits”. So when you start you want to start as strong as possible to get the plants shooting out of the ground or pot in this case when you transplant them.
I ordered pepper seeds online from a reputable online grower who specializes in peppers. 22 peppers will be in starter mix, 22 same variety of peppers will be in the rooting plugs. So you can change the plant variety just have equal numbers of each variety of seed on each side of the test. The left over cells will have rooting plugs and will not be considered. Give these peppers to your neighbors to encourage them to grow things.
Note: If this post is interesting to you guys I will expand on it with more images and exciting progress, let me know in the comments below. Also if you have experience we love to learn here on womcastings.net. Happy Spring Season 2015!!!!!! God BlessYou
P.S. I plan on coming back and adding pictures of the setup to show you exactly what I am doing. No guess work.
Garden Tip: Read This Guys Website>> Learn how to make Lactic Acid Bacteria it works
Summer temperatures are backing off now and we are getting into the fall season
Here’s what I did to Grow the Papaya’s You See in the picture:
Step 1. Purchase a nice ripe papaya from the grocery store, cut it in half, eat the fruit and Dry the Seeds in the window sill. Step 2. Dig a huge 3’deep hole and fill it in with well rotted and finished compost mixed with worm casts, and some peat… Step 3. Mulch with wood chips, the first batch were nice and rotted then I put more on top. Step 4. Every week add a nice compost tea, add trace minerals a little each time and use a variety
of input materials. eg,. manures, vermicompost, or other… read through the section on compost teas to find out how to make them.
So you say you want to grow delicious eggplants for cooking really great dishes right?
Well folks here is your FREE Eggplant Growing Guide. (below gallery images) First please take time to share some of our eggplant images with your friends or some images you can just click to put them on pinterest.
Step 1. Prepare your rich growing medium. You can see our compost section and our growing mix if you are unsure how to make organic garden mixes.
Step 2. The key to growing perfect large eggplants is vermicompost tea which you can find in our tea section. Eggplants really take to compost teas you especially if you get them 1 day before the rain… When it rains it seems to make the eggplants just take off..
Step 3. Consistent deep watering; first let the roots dry out and then water thoroughly. In the beginning water every day until the plant has acclimated then water consistently letting the roots rest and dry (this introduces oxygen to them as air pockets form in the soil.
Step 4: cut off any yellowing leaves near the soil and continue to inoculate every other watering… also add a pile of vermicompost near the base of the plant before rain…
Step 5. Mix some kelp meal into your vermicompost when you add it before rains…after flowers have formed for micro nutrients
Step 6: DO not forget to PH buffer with some calcium product like dolamite or garden lime… the best would be Azomite (super expensive though)
Notes: Water your eggplant with chlorine free water or better yet rain water, so you do not kill off your soil bacteria. Eggplants love hot and humid weather 80-100 degrees f (26.6-37.8 Deg C) Try growing them with okra during the hot season. Eggplants are great for vegetarians because they are filling and nutritious. Eggplants are great baked, in sauces, sauteed fried or used as a wrap for other ingredients.
Eggplant Recipes: (recipe images above)
Sauteed Eggplant and Pole Beans
Slice your eggplant on the bias (diagonally) for a desirable look, also clean and wash polebeans and eggplant.
Heat some olive oil in a saute pan and add your favorite garden herbs… with vegetable we usually use basil. Salt and pepper so that you can tase what came out of your earth.
Always heat the oil then add your herbs, and then finally your vegetable. Serve this as a side dish
Garden Fresh Eggplant Parmesan:
Ingredients: Fresh herbs form the garden ( parsley, basil, oregano and any other desirable herbs that you have or like in your red sauce), canned tomatoes from your garden 1 quart, About 3 Fresh Eggplants depending on the size, fresh Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic (from garden), red onion & shallot from the garden. also some red wine…
Making the Sauce: The key to making an excellent marinara is the development of the natural sugars that form when heat is applied to the tomato product over a long period of time on low heat so the sauce is just simmering. crock pots work well for this or just on
low over the stove…
First Get your sauce pan hot and coat the bottom with a little olive oil, when the pan starts to sizzle a bit add your vegetable and herbs. Stir the mixture and let the vegetables caramelize. (You can add some tomato paste here because it caramelizes well a few tablespoons). keep the temps on medium for this making sure not to ever burn the vegetable mixture. Now once the veg is caramelized bring the temperature to high briefly and before it smokes pour in a splash of wine most likely red but white would work as well since this dish has no meat.
Next: After deg-lazing ( scraping sugars off the bottom of the pan with wine) reduce the heat to medium and add all you tomatoes…
Simmer for hours on low stirring occasionally until desired taste… salt to taste at the end.
Make an eggplant breading station: 1.Bowl of flour with salt and pepper mixed in 2. Seasoned breadcrumbs with garden herbs and Parmesan 3. Bowl of egg (egg wash) 4. Bowl of milk Soak eggplant in milk in the fridge overnight, dip in flour first then egg-wash then breadcrumb...
Last but not least… Baking your eggplant Parmesan: Layer your eggplant intermittently with mozzarella (shredded) and the sauce from your tomatoes. You can add extra Parmesan if you would like. Bake on Low until golden brown slowly at 325 deg f. Note: cover with foil for the first 1.5 hours then the last half hour or so remove the cover for browning… 😀 Enjoy My Friends… Finished recipe images coming soon… Stay Tuned … P.S. Paypal link on the right is finally working donate to the Carpenters House today!!! 😀
Hey folks Toby Here,
This thread is all about watermelon growing for 3 straight years and 3 years failing due to either poor polination, pests taking the fruits energy, watering issues, and or fungal/bacterial issues. Many things grow very well and sometimes things do not. This is one that has not grown well for me personally. I wont give up that easily though until I get a field of ripe and delicious watermelon. This is why Im asking for your help. To defeat the 2 years of consecutive problems that have taken over my watermelons this year I will be prepared.
- For Pests and mildew: Cold Pressed Neem oil, This time I wont be waiting for the problem but after the plants take root they will get a dose of neem.
- Watering will be done pretty much the same except extreme care to not get the leaves wet with city water even de-chlorinated city water. Recall it still has other crap in it that is not good for plants. Therefore I will use only rain water if at all possible. I also have an inline filter to remove heavy elements from municipal water.
- Increase the sand level and side dress heavily with castings.
- Increase probability of success with smaller fruit, eg just planted sugar baby seeds.
- Try different melons that will succeed just in case. Check out our Melothria scabra page aka mouse melon. Coming Soon.
Update after last years 2014 Urban Garden complete watermelon fail:
Hi Friends/Fellow Gardeners,
It came to my attention after 2 years of consecutively failing to grow watermelon that I needed some watermelon growing guidence. Well I am sure there are a lot of folks out there who can benifit from a watermelon grow guide as well so here it is I’m starting one its called watermelon growing secrets.
First off have a look at the watermelon patch: Note: Follow entire thread for perfect melons these died Almost every one due to a combination of cal/mag deficiency (most likely) as well as worms that bore into the fruit…we are replanting all Heirloom varieties this time… we got one sugar baby that taste great though lol… for us melon and curcubits are the most challenging yet they are supposed to grow prolifically here in Fl. This time we will direct sow from seed and amend with azomite. We will also water the azomite in periodically or top dress the plants…This will account for nutrient deficiency as well as input some boron which watermelons love… If it does not work this time then hey at least we got closer to watermelon success… I will make some more videos so that you can skip all of our trial and error and get right to growing and eating delicious melons. 😀
Easy Method For Growing Melons
Step 1. Compost… read our compost guide on the top nav section if you are not sure how to compost for watermelons …use free city compost then amend with your own if you have to.
Step 2. Build Your Own Soil
Step 3. Make Mounds of the soil insert your starts or your seed 3-5 per mound. You can cut week ones out later if you want.
Step 4. Water Every Day until the plant establishes and shades out the sun a little, you can mulch to retain water if you would like.
Step 5. Boron this is the first year we will use the element boron to sweeten the fruit… at least thats what growers have said. I will let ya know…
Step 6. Progressivly water less and less as fruit developes to prevent cracking. Oour fingers are crossed on this one…
Note: This Guide is for all watermelon growers, if you know any watermelon growing secrets lets get them on the guide and help others with our success… or failures for that matter… Happy watermelon growing 😀
Hey Guys Click on One of the Image below to see the beautiful custom lightbox gallery we developed for you, Note: Within the Gallery itself you can share with images your friends on your favorite social network. It's pretty sweet just be sure to bee logged in first to your favorite network 😀 let us know if you like them...
OMG Please Help Identify This Bee… Click on read more to view more images.
Someone said it was an Orchid be what do you guys think? Below is an Orchid Bee Picture.
Please help Identify our green bees in the comments below… Thanks 😀
So you saw the Yacon root and want to get started right? Well that’s exactly why I have created this guide. Below is a video of a 2 foot Yacon growing to give you a demonstration of the plant. When we harvest we will update the post.
*Grow the plant in a great compost mix and a self watering container … this way you do not wash away the nutrient. * The leaves have hair on them so no aphids yet leaf cuttingg types like them a bit… about as much as cucumber. *Responds really well to castings tea like rosemary plants. * Susceptible to wind damage be sure to protect we used the tomato cages surrounding it. * Plant rhizome 1-2″ deep, water it in heavily and wait our first rhizomes were not viable yet the second one came in from Argentina and they popped right up… * Be prepared for the plant to multiply prolifically give them out or sell them grow more every year *leaves are huge up to 12″ across *relatively easy to grow * grows nicely in raised beds * Allow for more spacing than what you see in the video maybe one per pot would be better.
*Self watering does not mean never water if you have a dry spell check the soil with your finger if its dry all the way down your index finger give it a watering can full of diluted compost or vermicompost tea * The plant will pick up tomato blight so grow it away from tomatos or other similar plants it would do great in a bed full of perennials check out our post about tree collards.