Sunday, February 16, 2014

February, 2014. What's Growing...

We are getting a bit of food from the gardens still, enough to not have to go the shops every month but there are a few things that I have bought lately and no longer want to.   Watermelon is one of these things.  I love Watermelon and it is one of the things that I look forward to with the warm weather but I cannot seem to grow them.  Last year we had 2 or 3 but none like the ones that the shops sell and we didn't get any this year though I planted some.  This year, next Summer, I want to not have to buy any. 

We are growing and eating:
Sweet Potato. Potato, Tomato, Capsicum, Chilli...surely there is other stuff out there...Will soon have Eggplant, not that we are that keen on that but these 2 plants came up by themselves and are doing really well with fruit and all so if I can't give them away we will have to find a way to eat them.
There are pumpkins coming on and the JA's are flowering...So much should be available but sadly, because I slacked off too much, the quantity and variety is not there...

We are still getting Grapes but lost most of them to birds and wasps because I didn't get the netting and bags on them soon enough.  Figs are ready but the tree is in the chookpen and they like them too...Strawberries...Not much other fruit but soon there will be apples.  If I get some bags on them to stop the Parrots and other birds.   The Strawberry Guavas are fruiting and ripe but we only eat those if I am out there in that pen and pick a couple otherwise it's used as free chookfood.  Hmmm, that doesn't sound like a lot of fruit.  Some Passionfruit but the main vine is way passed it's prime and none of the other 3 are anywhere near as productive.   Boysenberries are just finishing...There is one lot of bananas out there but they are a few weeks away yet.  Maybe I need to work on getting more types of fruit that we can have over the Summer months.  I need to learn how to grow Melons.  I will learn how to grow Melons...

The chooks are starting to lay again but these chooks are very hit and miss with their egg laying and we have this circle thing going.  I tell them that if they lay more eggs then I will be more inclined to feed them more bought food but they want more bought food first, I give it to them they don't lay as well as I think they should...What I want is a flock of chooks that can look after itself in getting enough food from the grass, the bugs, the mice, the scraps they get...Ideally, I will never buy commercial food again...Husband says that's not possible if I want eggs but I believe it can be.  I just have to get the right chooks, the ones that know what I expect from them.  You the bugs and lay me eggs and I won't chop your head off and eat you...Sounds reasonable doesn't it?  Or am I asking too much?  I *know* there are people out there that don't buy in food and they still get eggs...I want to be one of those people.  Buy nothing in, send nothing out...That is my goal!


  1. Tell your husband that I get about nine eggs each week from a five-year-old hen and a year old hen. I buy no commercial food. I am willing to get just a few eggs in order to not spend money on food. I believe you, too, can do it.

    All your food to plant sounds so delicious. Okay, not the eggplant. I am delighted with your talk of bananas and parrots, all so exotic to me.

    1. And that says it all...You are getting more eggs per chook/hen than we are. And yeah, I don't need dozens of eggs, just enough for the 2 of us and maybe some to give away but those ones are not needed...

      Parrots are over rated Linda, these ones are a pest and ruin too much of our food. Very pretty birds though...


    2. Then, I don
      t need parrots!
      Here is what I give my hens:

      Bones of any kind for them to strip. From a turkey, they might get two weeks for just these two.

      All plate and pot scraps, the things you will not freeze.

      Tiny scraps of cheese. They love milk and should not have a steady diet of it. You can throw scraps or crumbs of bread it it.

      Leftover fresh fruit and vegetable peelings, and apple seeds.

      Mine love cooked whole grain oatmeal, scrambled eggs, sweet potato skins after cooking IF I don't eat it.

      I did go to produce stand and get old produce for hens. Out of the box, there was stuff I could eat too.

      Hens need green! That is what makes the golden yolks. Figure out what they will eat from the yard and just throw handfuls in if they cannot free range. I take the outside cabbage leaves and throw them in when I am preparing cabbage for me. They really prefer I dice Then, I just roll the leaves, slice down the roll and cut across. They are spoiled. You could sow something green that you throw on top of the ground in odd spaces to cut for them, especially if they green will return in a few weeks.

      Take the egg shells and don't wash, just dry and put in oven for a bit. Baking shells changes the taste so that chickens and dogs won't become egg eaters. If it is too out hot to bake and you don't have a hot oven, just do what I do--stir them in tomatoes or something that they like. A bit of broth, tiny bit of grease, cooked or mushed fruit.

      What I do buy--Old Fashioned Rolled Oats in a 42 oz canister that is on the grocery shelves and for me to eat. I only buy this on sale, maybe $1.79 for that box. You might find it is cheaper at the feed store. However, from the food shelf there is no mold or contaminants. I eat more of the box than they do.

      Corn is not healthy for hens, so they are limited to cans of corn that are given to me. When it is hot, they get no corn. It does warm them. If I happen to get cream style corn, I mix in old cream of wheat to make it more easily eaten since they cannot lick it all up, but they do a great job of finishing it off. Some days I just find something I am not finishing, like corn meal, flour, cream of rice or wheat and use it for a thickener and for nutrients and volume of good stuff for them. Broken open bags are often discarded or sold for a negllible amount.

      I am sure you eat, prepare, keep some of these things. Instruct the family to save all old boxes of cereal they don't eat. NEVER give hens moldy or rancid food. This will kill them. Mine just refuse to eat the occasional rotten/black place on a tomato that is gone that I did not removed. But, don't give it to them.

      Any questions.

  2. Hi Barb,

    Chickens need protein and hours of sunlight to lay eggs. And grass for good healthy vitamins. They do survive without greens but I'm not sure I'd like to eat those eggs. Being Summer you already have the sunlight. All that needs addressing is the protein. Although free ranging allows them to find high protein insects there is just not enough time in the day nor enough insects to guarantee the volume needed. We completely free range our girls, feed them the best kitchen scraps and give them some grain at night soaked in whey.

    The options are limited:

    One is to follow Practical Parsimony's method and ensure they get as much supplementary feed as possible from every possible source. It is economical and uses lots of stuff that would normally go to waste. You will need to keep an eye out for specials in shops.

    You could buy high protein feed. Although our chooks turned their beaks up at the high quality pellets we were given and it ended up as compost. Chickens can be fussy sometimes.

    You could breed up some grubs such as maggots but that is a lot of work.

    You could provide some supplementary grain.

    Just a matter of settling on a method that suits you best.

  3. Eggplant, forgot to mention that one. I was never fussed about it either. But Jean loves it. By chance she tried something different and now I think it's great. Her solution was to fry it in olive oil (and it needs heaps of oil) with some Fish Sauce and Soy Sauce. Eggplant to me is a bit bland but with those additives and the softening from frying made it exceptionally nice. Maybe it is just a matter of trying a few different recipes until you come across one that pleases you. Apparently it is nutritionally a good vegetable.