The Yardstead - Farm Your Yard!
Published in Edible landscaping

This week I ordered online a chinese water chestnut plant. The chinese water chestnut belongs to the family of grass-like pond or wetland plants; Cyperaceae. In asia it is cultivated in the same way as paddy rice. I think it will be a wonderful addition to the yardsteads edible garden. The corm, which resembles a bulb grows underground and is the part of the plant that is harvested and most often eaten in asian stir-fry. This should be an excellent addition to the edible bamboo plants we already have planted on our property.

In the U.S. chinese water chestnut is most often imported in cans but is sometimes imported frozen. The largest source of imports come from China, followed by Hong Kong and Taiwan. In the late 1980's, researchers from the University of Florida studied the chinese water chestnut as a possible plant for production in Florida. A single plant can yield 5 lbs or .......

Published in Yardstead Blog

Our spring garden is growing up nicely and It looks like we will harvest some zucchini this weekend.  One of our favorite things here at the yardstead is fresh spring produce, and it looks like we will have a bountiful harvest this year.  Some of the yellow squash should be ready next week as well as some tomatoes.  Our onions that we planted last fall are almost ready to harvest, and we have picked a few lately for cooking.  They are very sweet and have an excellent flavor.  We harvest the rest of them when the tops turn brown and fall over.   We still have a few vacant spots in the garden, but K has started some seeds and we will tranfer the seedling to the garden soon.  Staggering the planting allows us to have a continuous harvest of fresh produce throughout the spring and into the summer.
I have a couple of projects underway which I will cover in upcoming articles.  This weekend I am helping a friend roof his house with metal roofing.  I will have lots of pictures of the project in progress.  The installation method we are using is similar to the method used to install metal roofing on a pole barn........

Published in Vegetable Gardening

Our spring garden vegetables have been planted about 1 month now and we are starting to see some flowering and fruiting.  We planted tomatoes, zucchini, crookneck squash, straight neck squash,   pattypan squash, cucumbers, okra, habanero peppers,  and watermelons.  Almost everything we planted in the garden has done well, and the plants that didn't make it have something else planted in their plots.  Our plan to control weeds by adding a 6-8 inch thick layer of mulch is paying off.  We have not had to pull many weeds and the ground stays very moist underneath the mulch longer, which has reduced the amount of watering the garden has needed.  We have been pretty lucky getting some rain just about every week since we planted.  I have only watered the garden about once a week.  The tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers are all starting to flower.  The flowers turn into fruits and we can already see small tomatoes and zucchinis forming. 
It looks like the zucchini is going to be the first veggies harvested.  We already have a couple that are about 3 inches long and growing fast.  We usually harvest ......

Published in Yardstead Blog

We've had a busy week here at the yardstead.  The chicks that got soaked last Saturday are doing fine.  The baby chicks were back outside that same night, with a small shelter in case it rains again.  Unfortunately we've only had a couple of small drizzles since last saturday, so I will probably have to water the garden in the morning.  With the little bit of rainfall we've had though, I've only had to water the garden about once a week.  All the vegetables are thriving and I will probably get some current pictures posted in the gallery tommorrow.  I did manage to add a video of the buff orpington ducklings swimming and diving in their kiddie pool.  I have some more duckling videos to post tomorrow also. 
We have some blooms on the zuchinni plants in the garden.  Some tomatoes and some cucumbers are flowering also.  I am really happy so far with the .......

Published in Yardstead Blog

I woke up about 5:30 this morning and walked into the kitchen to start some coffee.  I looked out the window and noticed it was raining.  I was glad to see the rain but suddenly I remembered that our baby chicks which are about 3 weeks old were outside with no cover.  We moved the baby chicks outside 2 days ago.  They are in the pen with the adult hens, but are confined to a small holding pen, mostly to protect them from the adult hens.  They have a light to keep them warm and their feeder and waterer, but I haven't made them a cover yet.  I rushed out to their pen with a large umbrella to check on them.  They were all huddled together but were soaking wet.  Some of them were shivering so I ran and got the storage tote that had been their home for the previous 3 weeks.  I started grabbing them and putting them in the box and noticed one of the smaller chicks was laying on the ground sprawled out.  There are 3 chicks that are about 4 days younger than the rest and a little smaller.  All the chicks were cold but seemed ok except the small one which had been sprawled on the ground.  I carried them all inside in the storage tote and put 2 warming light on them.  I took the little one in a towel and gently dried her as best I could. I sat on the floor near a small electric heater and held her close to the warm air to speed the drying.  Her eyes were closed and I really didn't think she was going to make it.  By this time K was up so she took over the ailing chick and I went to check on the others.  They looked better already but were still wet and some shivering.  I grabbed the other 2 small chicks which looked a little worse than the big ones and gave them to K.

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