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The Productive Backyard 2018

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:16 pm
by Harriet
Here’s a space to discuss the chores and pleasant efforts that bring something from the land into your kitchen and home.

Planning and designing,
tiny plants, big plants,
Enjoying views,
Vegetable garden harvests,
Egg gathering,
Beautiful blooms,
4-H projects,
Canning/freezing/putting up,
Orchard fruits,
Composting and building soil,
Livestock appreciation!

Re: The Productive Backyard 2018

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:33 pm
by Harriet
Starving for blossoms and all growing things here, I'm thinking of spring plantings and also trying to plant a few indoor microgreens trays while we have the snow and cold.

I bought on A-River a brick of coconut coir (coy-er - the brown fiber of it) for a planting medium and a bag of the broccoli seeds that are SproutHouse brand (all I cared about was that it was one for tiny greens purpose - I don't know that this brand is better than gotsprouts or Sprout Man or Todds or lots of others as long as they are meant for microgreens or sprouting (regular broccoli seed, for instance, would cost a fortune to seed a tray thickly, plus sprouting seeds are cleaner). Broccoli is, i now find out :) not the easiest to start with, although very nutritious. Radish, sunflower and buckwheat are easier, with radish supposed to be the very easiest.

I have learned most of what I know through the Growing Your Greens videos on youtube while eating my lunches :) . But there is a lot on the net that you can probably read through faster. Now I realize that even he (John at GYGs) thinks of broccoli as a fancier, newer microgreen that is not a reliable stand-by, to be grown after you're good with others. LOL! After 4 days, mine were about an inch high. I took a photo at 5 days. Starts looking appetizing to "harvest". This is about 9 inches wide in my windowsill!


Staring at the garden seed online catalogs. There's a new-ish marigold very very small (6 to 7 inches tall) called Hot-Pac I'd like to try. Also staring at the pretty cherry tomatoes. and thinking about dirt in general!

Our Buff Orpington hens here are okay - getting a little old, but content, and doing well in the cold, which is one thing they are known for. Without their New Hampshire Red leader, they don't seem to have as much dare-devil in them and are cautious when we let them out for bug-hunting.

Re: The Productive Backyard 2018

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:19 am
by Nancy
I have onions sprouting on my counter and in the yard.
I cleaned the coop and put down fresh shavings in the coop and run. I got an egg from a hen that took nearly a year to begin laying, Jan. Is an odd time to have a new layer with a pullet egg in a shade of green from an easter egger.

I have been looking for robins.

Re: The Productive Backyard 2018

Posted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:31 pm
by Harriet

blessed mentioned in kitchen thread her situation with a garden bed that mistakenly was sprayed. We have a similar thing with the bed I could use as a kitchen garden, near the back door. Dstepson, believing he was helping, and thinking we only wanted flowers, sprayed so that I am fearful of growing anything but flowers there. Not that I don't love flowers, but it would be nice to plant whatever I wanted in such a convenient place, and lately I'm so interested in having vegetables. I think - not positive - I could still use the space with one of the thick black-fabric raised bed containers - veggies in one of the large raised beds with dirt we'd bring in, and flowers in the soil around it. Problem being the front is sunnier than the rear, so flowers at the front might just push veggies back into shade. Thinking.

Oh, well, heard a poor report on the fabric raised beds. If I tried veggies among flowers there, I guess it would just be containers mixed in among flowers.

Re: The Productive Backyard 2018

Posted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:24 pm
by Harriet
Fun with beans -
I grew the second crop of mung bean sprouts according to some tips (not all) I learned from youtube videos of Chinese, Korean and Laotian ladies and one man whose nationality I never figured out. They were really trying to help me! But it was mostly visual learning!

Basically, this time I put in a first layer of nylon bag (like onions or potatoes come in - Korean lady's idea), then layered of natural (bleach-free) paper towel (that was the man's idea). Some used cloth instead, but then there were criticisms in the comments about whether you could be sure of cleanliness. For my well-drained pot about a quart sized (opposed to all their huge ones), I folded the paper towel in quarters, then cut it to a square and put in next. Then put in 1/4-cup mung beans soaked overnight and rinsed. The idea is that when the beans send roots down in the darkness, they'll have something moist to anchor on, and will emerge together, easy to harvest.

Also I watered more often, going from 3 times a day last time, to 4 this time. Several videos insisted at least every 5 hours, and one every 3 hours, getting up in the night, but I compromised. This is what was ready 5.5 days later - I think I could have harvested at 5 days and may try that next time. It depends on season/warmth, too. The nylon bag lifts off right away; the paper towel needs a little tugging but not much. I can see if it were, say, clean new muslin, it would also work and might be easier. Then you remove the green outside of the seeds that have fallen away, and any bit of root you don't like, or whatever - it's all good, though, so you don't have to remove anything. I don't think I had a single seed that didn't sprout.

There were 3 bowlfuls like the one pictured, about 2 pints. Most are 3 inches long, with some at 3.5, just about the size restaurants serve or can be found in groceries.

Bean Sprouts Emerge small.jpg

This is what the netting and paper toweling look like.
The pot with drain holes is beside the plate.

Bean Sprouts CloseUp small.jpg

so plump! Fresh, fresh.

Bean Sprouts Bowl small.jpg

bottle cap to show size

Re: The Productive Backyard 2018

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:47 pm
by Harmony
Do you just eat those raw? What do they taste like? What do you do with them, put them in salads or stir-fry? I've been making stir-fry stuff just for a little variety and these would be a good addition. Trying to get more veggies into us. What's their nutritional value by the way?

Re: The Productive Backyard 2018

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:21 pm
by Harriet
Both raw and cooked. One of the ladies who spoke English said she never ate them raw until she came to US. In her culture (?) everyone adds them to stir-fries at the last minute and lets them cook a little. I usually sprinkle them raw over top of oriental type dishes like restaurants do. HRH absolutely wants them raw, because he loves the crunch - he's more likely to make a salad if he can sprinkle mung bean sprouts on, too. Restaurants might have, say, 5 or 6 sprouts as a garnish for a dish with some decorative carrot - HRH puts on a half-cup or more. ;) The taste is very mild. They are a stem of the little plant, so probably taste as much like a mild celery as a bean.

I was amazed to go into Har ris Tee ter and find a bin of pretty good-looking mung bean sprouts right beside the cucumber a few weeks ago. Have never, ever seen that. Noticed they were gone the next time. But they looked fine at the time. There was a scoop/tongs for putting them into a regular plastic produce bag. I guess they could be a product stores would try to carry. The only other way I've seen them is in the square plastic packs like berries come in. I believe that was at Whole Foods.

Nutrition is nowhere near what broccoli sprouts have, but then that's not a fair comparison - not the same thing because broccoli sprouts are tiny and nearly weightless, lol. Mung bean sprouts are plump and big with so much more water content. I think I've heard more about the vitamin C and the B vitamins beans sprouts have that seem to impress people. This is from the Dr Axe site - really don't know the guy but the site is extensive and seems to have a lot of gleaned info, so maybe something here is helpful to know. Even HRH doesn't eat a whole cup of the things, but it gives a point of reference. Mung beans are not one of the scary veggies for people on blood thinners - its Vit K is considered a "medium" amount. A cup has no more than a cup of romaine lettuce or a cucumber does.

One cup (104 grams) of sprouted mung beans contains about:

31 calories
6.2 grams carbohydrates
3.2 grams protein
0.2 gram fat
1.9 grams fiber
34.3 micrograms vitamin K (43 percent DV)
13.7 milligrams vitamin C (23 percent DV)
63.4 micrograms folate (16 percent DV)
0.2 milligram manganese (10 percent DV)
0.2 milligram copper (9 percent DV)
0.1 milligram riboflavin (8 percent DV)
0.1 milligram thiamine (6 percent DV)
56.2 milligrams phosphorus (6 percent DV)
0.1 milligram vitamin B6 (5 percent DV)
0.9 milligram iron (5 percent DV)
21.8 milligrams magnesium (5 percent DV)
0.8 milligram niacin (4 percent DV)
155 milligrams potassium (4 percent DV)

Re: The Productive Backyard 2018

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:09 pm
by Nancy
My new lily is up one of four in a back from my local w-mart it is with the onions. I am not planting much bc of the possibility of a move in the next year so I am just trying to catch up on yard work that did not get done bc of my knee issues un the past. I am glad to be able to get to these tasks yea for this. Hens are happy these days.

Fruit trees are blooming and tulips in the yard now.

Re: The Productive Backyard 2018

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:56 am
by Twins' Mom
I'm beginning to think of when I can get out basil and tomato plants. Neither of them does well until warmer weather. I have two raised bed and will probably use one for tomatoes and basil and the other for zinnias which do better as seeds, and also don't go until the weather is warmer.