Farmer D & His Backyard Chickens

 

Screenshot 2014-03-17 17.35.07At my urban abode in Decatur, Georgia, my wife and I keep a few chickens in the backyard. We love them for many reasons: they give us yummy fresh organic eggs, eat lots of our kitchen scraps, fertilize our lawn and garden, give us fuel for our compost pile and provide entertainment for the whole family, especially our little guy, Tilden.  I use the spent bedding and manure out of their laying boxes as a prime source of carbon and nitrogen for the compost pile and move their coop around the yard to areas needing a boost of fertility.  Our chicken coop is homemade in our woodshop and has two stories with the upstairs for sleeping and laying, and the downstairs is open to the ground for scratching and pooping.

We named our first flock of hens Rosie, Hazel and Slow Poke and we feed them all organic soy-free layer feed along with kitchen scraps. We even plant them a rotating pasture in the backyard of chicken lettuce, peas and more. Our favorite thing to do with the eggs is poach them in a slow boil of water with brown rice vinegar and then plop them over a bowl of hot millet with arugula or kale dressed up with olive oil, salt and lemon. We also love to rock out veggie frittatas with broccoli, leeks, avocado, tomato and fresh herbs like basil and marjoram.

Yard to Table Broccoli-Leek Frittata

This homemade frittata is one of our favorite go-to meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is made with free-range organic eggs from the store or from our backyard hens, Rosie and Hazel.

frittataMakes 4 servings

Ingredients:

8 eggs
3/4 cup finely grated mild cheddar cheese (we prefer raw goat cheddar)
Handful of fresh basil, coarsely chopped
2 sprigs fresh marjoram, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 medium leeks, white and light green part only, trimmed of roots and thinly sliced
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small tomato, sliced
8-10 whole basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk eggs and then add ½ cup cheese, basil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside. Heat oil in a large, ovenproof, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until they are tender and soft but not too brown, about 3-5 minutes. Add broccoli and sauté for a few more minutes until broccoli is bright green and slightly tender.

Transfer the broccoli and leek mixture into a medium roughly 9” cast iron sauté pan (if you want to use the same pan, let it cool before adding eggs). Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Thinly slice tomato and evenly spread them with fresh basil leaves on top of the frittata. Finally sprinkle the remaining finely grated cheese on top and place in preheated oven.

Cook for 30 minutes or until puffy and lightly golden on top. Let rest for about 3-5 minutes before serving.

Garden Potatoes

blog potatoes For those of you “eyeing” your calendar it is definitely seed potato time, and Farmer D Organics has a wide variety of certified organic seed potatoes that are great for Georgia growers.

Potatoes are a fun and nutritious garden crop. They are high in Vitamins A, C and K, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium…you get the point.

Choose a bright, sunny spot for potatoes. They like to be drenched in sunshine, 8+ hours. Soil should be well draining and crumbly. Our planting mix is perfect. Watch the weather, as April 15th is our last frost date, and potatoes do not like to freeze. In case of hard freeze, you might want to protect your taters!

Before planting a seed potato, cut up the potato so each chunk has two sprouts. If the eyes haven’t sprouted, you can put the whole tuber in a brown bag with a banana peel for a few days. The ethylene gas will stimulate the sprouts to emerge. Cover each bit of potato, with the sprout up, with 2-3″ of soil. When the sprouts are 6″ high, mound some garden soil around the sprout. Keep new tubers covered with soil. This keeps the potatoes cool and will result in tastier tubers. Water about once a week in dry times. Mulch with straw to reduce heat and evaporation. It takes most potato plants 10 weeks before harvest.

Here are some of our favorite varieties:

Yukon Gold
A well known yellow flesh potato with yellow skin and pink eyes. Sets 5 to 7 tubers per plant  that size very quickly. Great as a fruit stand or farmers market variety.  Good eye appeal and excellent quality. Great mashed, or as french fries. A mid summer maturing variety.

Banana
The most recognized of all fingerlings. Can also be the biggest yielder as it can set up to 40 tubers per hill. A late maturing variety thats  good boiled, fried or in your favorite salad.

Caribe
A very nice pastel purple variety with creamy white flesh. Its very early and has a big yield. It can get very large if left growing all summer. A great multi purpose variety that will grow well in short season areas.

All Blue
A late summer to early fall maturing variety. A tall up right plant with beautiful purple flowers. Deep purple skin with a nice purple flesh. Great anyway cooked, especially when turned to purple french fries.

February Seed Starting Guide

Spring is almost here! Starting seeds indoors is a great way of getting a jump on the season and ensuring you get the exact varieties you want in your garden.

The Farmer D Organics Garden Center is ready to help you start your garden early. Check out our seed starting guide below and come into the store to shop our NEW 2014 heirloom and organic seed collections from High Mowing, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and the Hudson Valley Seed Library.

Farmer D Organics’ week-by-week planting guide is specific to zone 7b (Greater Atlanta, and surrounding cities).

Click the chart below for an enlarged view.

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Get the Details: Farmer D Holiday Sale!

Introducing Farmer D Organics Signature Products for 2014!

Handmade at our woodshop in Atlanta using socially responsible business practices and FSC Western Red Cedar, these are gifts you can truly feel good about giving!

Available online at 25% off through December 25th.

 

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                  French Bed
A rustic hand-made raised bed planter with exposed galvanized bolts and an open bottom. Your choice of natural finish, white, yellow, green, orange, red or blue zero VOC paint.  

Dimensions: 30″ x 40″ x 12″ deep or 40″ x 48″ x 12″ deep.

 

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             French Patio Planter

A rustic patio planter accented with exposed galvanized bolts.

Dimensions: 21.5″ x 21.5″ x 15″ tall and 9″ deep planting bed.

 

 

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                    Bed on Legs

Our raised beds give you control of your soil, which means higher yields with less weeding and less fertilizing. The elevated design reduces bending over—ideal for gardeners of all ages! 

Dimensions: 24″ sq. bed: 24″ high overall; bed depth 10”; 3-cu.-ft. cap. or 48″ sq. bed: 36″ high overall; bed depth 10”; 6-cu.-ft. cap.

Assembly required.

MissionUrbanPlanterLARGE                  Urban Planter

We’re expanding our line of urban planters!

This medium-sized patio planter has a practical, minimalist design.  

Dimensions: 32″ x 20″ x 16″ tall

 

FarmerD_ColdFrameLARGE                   Cold Frame

Protect new seedlings, extend your harvest, or grow year round with a ‘Farmer D Organics’ Cold Frame. This is a useful and beautiful addition to any garden!

Dimensions: 3′ x 3′ x 10″

 

FarmerD_CompostBinLARGE                      Composter

A sturdy, hand made container for your composting food scraps. It is near rodent proof and made with specific dimensions to ensure proper oxygen flow through the compost. 

Dimensions: 30″x30″x30″

Some assembly required

 

 

824_771_large              10” Raised Bed Kit

This is the answer to “easy” growing of vegetables, herbs and flowers. This easy assembly kit with notched corner designs, is stackable and connectable, so you can create the perfect size bed for your garden.

Check out our website to see the many dimensions available!

Assembly required. Boards over 6′ in length must be hinged for shipping purposes. The hinges are affixed on the inside of the beds, and are almost impossible to detect once assembled. 

FarmerD_PottingTableLarge                     Potting table

This handmade potting bench is crafted  in our woodshop in Atlanta. With three different shelving levels, this piece has style and functionality. It is perfect for the greenhouse, garden shed, home, or backyard.

Dimensions: 42″wide x 42″ tall x 24″ deep.

 

 

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             Garden Tool Chest

Finally a place to keep all your garden tools! Heavy duty rope handles make this tool chest easy to tote. Handmade from 2″ thick FSC certified Western Red Cedar.

Dimensions: 23″ x 9″ x 11″ tall

 

trellisLARGE                       Trellis

This hinged A-Frame trellis is the perfect space maximizing addition to any garden. Ideal for beans, peas, cucumbers, and other climbing vegetables. Fits perfectly into Farmer D Organics 3′ x 3′ and 3′ x 6′ raised beds, or can stand alone in any in-ground garden bed.Dimensions: 36″ tall by 30″ wide or 30”x30”

 

 

 Don’t forget your To-Go Ware utensil sets! A great addition to any gift.

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Pre-Feast Sale!

Happy Holidays Gardeners!

All Farmer D Signature Products are 25% off  from Tuesday, Nov. 26th until Sunday, Dec. 11th. Use the code “GROW” for online purchases.  

Farmer D Signature Products

You’ve got a lot to do in preparation for the big Thanksgiving meal, right? Luckily, this is our season, the season of celebrations revolving around food! So we’d like to help you out.

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We’ve stocked up on seasonings like rosemary, thyme, oregano, and garlic. Spice up your holiday food with something fresh that you can keep growing for years to come!Consider picking up a few of our gorgeous, ceramic herb pots as little gifts for your guests. Or use them as living centerpieces on your thanksgiving table! Set fresh rosemary, oregano, parsley and sage out in a nice ceramic pot and harvest your seasoning right from the table. Spread a few of our Mama Brand candles (handcrafted in Decatur, GA!) out to either side and you’re ready to go! Don’t forget about the lavender, to help keep the season of family get-togethers calm.

There’s one more big thing to consider. Shop locally! If you start planning now you can order a local turkey and stock up on local(ish) produce like sweet potatoes, cranberries, onions, carrots, greens and herbs to round out your feast. Stop by the shop on Briarcliff Road for our recommendations on where to get great produce in Atlanta.

Sweet_Potato_Latkes_Allrich_Kar2On top of ALL that hanukah is early this year! Yes! There’s nothing better than hybrid-food-celebrations, think sweet potato latkas with cranberry sauce. So, if you have a gardener in the family they might appreciate a little hanukah gelt from Farmer D.

All Farmer D products are 25% off and everything else in our Atlanta retail store is 15% off from Tuesday, Nov. 26th until Sunday, Dec. 11th. Use the code “GROW” for online purchases (Does not apply to already discounted or sale items). We have tons more holiday specials just around the corner- sign up for our newsletter to catch the deals!

 

Get Out the Blankets and Row Covers- It’s Gettin’ Chilly!

These first few weeks of fall are sooo beautiful. With leaves changing color, cooler weather and our fall crops producing, it’s time to start thinking about extending the garden season. Our retail shop is waiting to help you out!

photo (1)First, think about what you’d like to produce all year. Then check out our collection of books with planting charts or talk to our in-store experts about what to plant now. Want summer strawberries? It’s time to pop those plugs in the ground! How about mustard greens until the frost takes over? They’ll add a beautiful bright color to your late-fall veggie garden. Think about adding in a few evergreen herbs, like rosemary, too! All these and more are waiting in our plant nursery, ready to go home with you.

knife-u2934We also have a really beautiful and functional, new line of products at the store. Stop by and check out our hand-crafted patio furniture and colorful raised beds- a great way to keep the garden looking fresh all winter! Pick up row covers and cold frames to help extend the harvest season for your greens and herbs. And try out a Moso Natural Air Purifier in your kitchen or workshop- we love these, they’re a great way to keep the air fresh when it’s too cold to open the window.

Backyard Cultivators Episode 1: Bluffton

IMG_4933With a blank slate and a desire to learn, Julia Butler, reached out to us. She and her husband Malcolm are building a new home in Bluffton, South Carolina and hoping to grow as much of their own food as possible! So Katie Pigott, our Consulting Expert, suited up to meet with her on the site of her new home, assess the soil, slope, arrangement and tendencies of the landscape and talk to her about her goals for the garden. Katie returned back to the Atlanta office, studied her notes and designed a beautiful layout for the site with a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and flowers that would do well within this lush, coastal landscape.

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Katie teamed up with our woodshop to create custom designs for the Butlers that will allow for easy garden maintenance. The beds are a bit taller than our traditional design with ledges so that the Butlers can sit while they garden. Five of the beds are raised on legs to avoid knee strain entirely, and they’re just an arm’s reach wide! The custom built potting bench provides plenty of storage space for tools and natural fertilizers, and allows an open view right into the garden. Everything was partially assembled for easy transport from our woodshop in Atlanta and finished on site in Bluffton a few weeks ago! Are you jealous yet? Just wait!

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Now that the garden is in place, Ms. Butler has become one of our Backyard Cultivator clientele. She and Katie have arranged for site visits every 3-4 months so that Ms. Butler can learn about appropriate seasonal planting and efficient garden maintenance. The first visit focused on fall planting is coming up, and each subsequent visit will focus on seasonal turnover of plants with a garden and/or food focused lesson. The Butler’s and the Farmer D Team want to make sure that the garden continues to produce a bounty and that Ms. Butler feels comfortable, confident and knowledgable in managing it.

Are you interested in designing a new garden or revamping an old one to incorporate more edible foods? We’d love to help!

For more information on Farmer D’s Consulting Services please email or call Katie Pigott or Farmer D at:

katie@farmerd.com

farmerd@farmerd.com

(404) 325-0128

Any information (location, size of land, existing uses, goals and ambitions) you can provide us about your project in an email is greatly appreciated.

The Edible Sukkah

Sukkah-Earth-Final-1024x662Farmer D and Kurt Buxton of Valley Crest are celebrating Sukkot in a delicious way out west! They’ve designed and constructed a hydroponic, living earth Sukkah that celebrates the Leichtag Foundation and Ecke Ranch‘s vision for connecting community, tradition, innovation, sustainability, the arts, education and social outreach.

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“The edible walls were grown on site by Go Green Agriculture and symbolize the vibrant living energy and agricultural legacy of the ranch. The eighteen channels that make up the edible walls of the sukkah symbolize life and the vibrant energy that is being cultivated on the property. The food growing on the walls will be donated to a local food bank as a reflection of the Foundation’s commitment to helping those in need.” Learn about more of the design details here!

And don’t forgot to vote for Farmer D’s design- you can vote for us once  a day!

Fall Garden Planting (2 of 2)

It’s that time of the year- go on, get out and plant something! Here are a couple tips for a successful fall harvest! Check out our garden planning tips if you haven’t yet and please come by the store, check out our Backyard Cultivators Program or email us at farmerd@farmerd.com with any questions you have!

4.) PLANT! After you’ve amended your soil and picked up your selection of fall garden plugs and seeds from us, get started!019-001

  • If you’re planting plugs be sure to place them far enough away from eachother that they’ll have room to grow into their full potential. Dig your holes, sprinkle a little compost into each one, dip the root bundles of your plug into water or a compost tea, place it in the hole, and firmly press the soil in around it.
  • If you’re planting seeds, follow the instructions for seed depth on the packet and be sure to keep the top soil around the seeds moist for maximum germination rates.
  • Don’t forget to wish the plant well in it’s new home!

Whew! Wipe your brow off, you’re almost ready to step back and admire your fall garden, but before you do…

 5.) Protect your young plants.
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  •  Make sure you lay down a mulch. A heavy mulch will retain moisture in the soil, block sunlight from weeds, decompose to fertilize your plants and keep them warm when the ground temperature drop, so don’t be shy, lay it on thick.
  • If you have a few especially sensitive plants, think about placing wire cages around them or building a hoop house cover-  stop by the store and we can help you figure out exactly what you need to keep these youngins’ safe and strong.

When your new plants and seeds are all tucked in, take a step back, admire your hard work and imagine the beauty and the harvest to come!

Fall Garden Preparation (1 of 2)

It’s finally cooling down across the country and our fingers are itching to get back in the dirt! While this may just be a wave of relief, we can definitely start planning and preparing for our fall gardens. Consider these 3 steps for planning a successful fall harvest.

1.) Pick a spot for your garden (if you haven’t already):

  • img22o-544x435Think about the size and accessibility of the area.
  • Is it sunny most of the day?
  • Does the soil drain well after a big rain storm?
  • Is there a watering source nearby?
  • Consider using one of our raised beds to improve drainage, this will also make it easier to build up your soil.

2.) Plan out what you’d like to plant- leafy greens, root vegetables and some squashes are great options for a fall garden!

  • Pick up transplant plugs from our retail store so that you can harvest earlier and seeds so that you can continue planting in succession (this will allow you to harvest 3-4 crops from one area!). We have collards, Red Russian Kale, Dinosaur Kale, Savoy Cabbage, Farao Cabbage, Rainbow Chard, Golden Chard, Green Mustard, Red Mustard, Two-star Lettuce, Red Sails, Purot, Pac Choy, and DeCicco Broccoli available!
  • http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/fall-garden-vegetables-zmaz09aszraw.aspx#axzz2cENSv14YAdd a few hardy herbs in the mix, companion planting will help with insect control and kitchen stocking. Check out Roses Love Garlic for great companion planting tips!
  • Once you’ve decided on your crops, think about the size of your garden and draw out how many plants you can fit- feel free to stop by our store with your garden plan and ask for suggestions!

3.) Amend your soil BEFORE you purchase your plants.

Lastly, stay tuned! We’ll share tips for planting next week!

Farmer D Organics Garden Centers
2154 Briarcliff Rd. Atlanta, GA 30329
Phone: (404) 325-0128
Summer Store Hours:
Monday Closed
Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am - 6:00pm
Sunday 11:00am - 5:00pm