Mittleider Garden Watering System Update

Watering System Modification

 

I have found that the water pressure to my garden is not sufficient to properly feed the plants. Watering 1 30-foot row at a time resulted in more of a drip irrigation than the intended directional spray.

watering system
Working like a champ

When operating properly, the Mittleider Gardening watering system sprays water directly at the root zone of each plant. Having the three holes drilled in 4-inch intervals ensures that regardless of your plant spacing, each plant will receive an accurate and plentiful amount of water each time you turn the watering system on.

The problem I found is that with a low water pressure, there is not enough force to make the water spray out all three holes for 30 feet. Even though the holes are quite small (made with the #57 drill bit) all I could manage was a drip.

mittleider gardening
Drilling Holes

Today, I modified the system by cutting each 30-foot row in half and capping the new cut. Then I added a ball valve at far end of each row and ran a new watering line to that end. The result is that I now have six 15-foot watering lines rather than three 30- foot lines. Each line has a shut-off valve allowing me to water one section at a time.

Watering System
Shut Off Valve

 

The difference is amazing.

Watering System
New Water Line

I may sound like it would take twice as long to water this way. However, it actually takes less time now. There is a beautiful stream of water shooting out each of the three holes directly at the plant roots. It takes about 45 seconds per section now rather than several minutes per row.

While I have enjoyed pretty good production from the garden so far, I expect this correction will result in increased bounty in the days and weeks to come.

Grow More Food

Garden to Table

From the Garden to Table

garden to table
Eggplant ready to harvest

This morning as I was walking through the garden I gathered a few more cucumbers and harvested the three eggplant fruit that looked so good I could smell the eggplant parm. Garden to table is the plan.

 

The RAM
The RAM

The Ram is currently grazing in the paddock next to the garden. He likes to watch me work – probably wishes he could knock me over when I’m not looking.

 

 

These three weighed in at just over 2lbs. Perfect for making a nice eggplant parm for dinner. Here’s the recipe

Garden to Table
Nice bounty

The cucumbers are the perfect size for the next batch of pickles too.

Garden to Table

Soon to be Pickled

 

The three of them weighed in at just over a pound. Combined with yesterday’s harvest that puts me more than half way towards the 4 pounds I like to work with when making pickles.

So far I’ve pulled more than 20 pounds of fresh vegetables from the garden to table this week. Good thing I like veggies!

 

The garden is looking pretty good overall. I’m excited to see what kind of sweet potato harvest we get. And the pole beans still do not have any beans ready to pick. I suspect the next few weeks will be providing an abundance of fresh vegetables straight from the gaden to table!

Think you might want to grow a garden of your own? Here are some other posts I’ve written about getting started with the Mittleider Gardening method.

5 to 10 Times the Food 

Five to Ten Times the Food Is it really possible to grow five to ten times from the same space? Well, that is exactly what we’re doing this year at the Ten Mile Farm. Compared to last year’s garden, this year’s is going to produce much more food. We harvested plenty of …

Easy Vegetables to Grow 

Pole Beans, Tomatoes, and Squash are Easy Vegetables to Grow It seems that every time I walk into the garden (which is every day), the plants have grown and there is new fruit to pick. Yesterday I was pruning and treating for an aphid invasion. I gather two gorgeous yellow squash. …

Growing Vertically 

Growing Vertically with the Mittleider Gardening Method   Growing vertically is one of the keys of a successful Mittleider Garden. vertical growth allows for more plants to grow in a smaller area. This year’s garden literally has twice as many plants in the same area as last year’s garden. As you can …

Locally Grown 

Locally Grown Locally Grown Do you buy locally grown food? Do you know where your food is coming from? Do you really know? Take a look at this report by Amy Davis, Investigative Reporter/Consumer Expert for Channel 2 in Houston Texas. Where does your food come from? If you are like most people you

How to Make Pickles

Make Pickles – the easy way

make pickles
Homemade Pickles

When you have an abundance of cucumbers, it’s time to make pickles the easy way. There probably is an easier way than this, but this is the easy way to make pickles that taste great 🙂

First, pick yourself about 4 pounds of ripe cucumbers. You want them to be 3 to 6 inches in length.  Make sure you wash them and then cut off the tips.

It’s important to cut off the flower end because they won’t get tender if you don’t. Cutting off the stem end is optional I guess, but they will look more appetizing without the stem.

Fill a large pot of water about 1/2 full (or 1/2 empty depending on your disposition) and heat it to a boil.

make pickles
Sliced Cucumbers

While that pot is heating, go ahead and  start slicing up your cucumbers. For pickle sticks, cut each cucumber in half and then cut each half into three equal wedges. Put these cucumber wedges in a nice clean container like this picture.

Once you have the cucumbers sliced, mix up your seasonings. You’ll want to have:

  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 14 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 14 sprigs of dill weed

You will also need 3/4 cup of canning salt*, 2 1/2 quarts of water, and 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar.

Dissolve the salt in warm water, add the other ingredients (except the dill and garlic) and let that sit until your large pot of water is boiling.

Once the large pot is boiling turn the heat to a simmer.

In each jar, place 1/7 of the garlic and dill. Then load with the cucumbers. Pack each jar with as many slices of cucumber as you can fit. For 4 pounds of cucumbers, you can expect to need 5 to 7 jars.  Top each jar with the remaining garlic and dill. Then pour the liquid with the seasonings to fill each jar within 1/2 inch of the top.

Put the lids on and place the jars in the large pot of simmering water. Leave them in the water for 15 minutes.

Make Pickles
Pickle Jar #1

Remove and let them cool. Wait two weeks and your pickles will be ready to eat.

Unopened jars will stay fresh for years. Once you open a jar, however, you should refrigerate what you don’t eat.

* canning salt is salt that does not have any additives. Most salts have iodine and some anti-clumping agents. Your pickles will taste fine, but the liquid will be cloudy and unappetizing if you  use regular table salt.

 

Gathering Eggs

I Always Enjoy Gathering Eggs

 

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I have automated the feeding and watering of my chickens. But I still manually gather the eggs each day. These girls average 19 eggs a day. Today was an exception with a total of 20 eggs. Considering that two of the chickens are Roosters, that’s a pretty good ratio of eggs to girls.

This short video is what it looks like when I go great the hens and start gathering eggs. I usually stay in the yard with them for a bit because many of them love to be held and petted. The roosters are a bit stand-offish, but at least they don’t attack me like other roosters I’ve had.

With eggs coming it at nearly 2-dozen per day, it’s a good thing I have a local store that is purchasing everything I bring them. In fact, if you’re eagle-eyed, you may have noticed that I only pick up 14 eggs in the video. That’s because I grabbed 6 this morning to make an even 8-dozen for delivery to Hillcrest Artisan Meats in Little Rock.

I still have plenty of eggs for home use and plenty of uses for them. One of my favorite recipes calls for a full dozen eggs. I might share that in another post on another day.

Gathering Eggs
Basket of Goodness

I’ll get some more video of the chickens one morning next week. It’s just too hot out there in the afternoon to spend much time. Thanks for stopping by.

Here are some other posts I’ve written about the chickens

Barred Rock Hens are sweet

One of our Barred Rock Hens These girls come running every time they see me. Now I have no delusions that it is for any reason other than they know me as the guy who carries corn, but still it is a great way to be greeted every time I go …

Farm Fresh Eggs 

Farm Fresh Eggs   There are a lot of benefits of keeping a backyard flock of laying hens, and I think my favorite is the farm fresh eggs they deliver every day. These eggs are nutritious and wholesome. Compared to a store bought egg, well, they are 100% better. Instead …

Laying Hens 

If you have a comment or question about laying hens, this is the category to post it in. What to raise chickens? Want to buy some eggs? Want to know about the nutrition of a free range hen versus a factory egg? Post your comments and questions in this category …

Pastured Laying Hens 

We have two breeds of pastured laying hens The older pastured laying hens are Barred Rock. They have been a wonderful breed for laying medium sized brown eggs. We’ve had these girls for several years and they are starting to slow down in their egg production. Like the sheep, our hens …

Red Sex Link Hens 

Red Sex Link Hens I just wanted to post an update on our pastured Red Sex Link laying hens. Last week I moved them from the brooder to the chicken coop I built.  I kept them in that coop for a week just to make sure they knew where their home …

Easy Vegetables to Grow

Pole Beans, Tomatoes, and Squash are Easy Vegetables to Grow

It seems that every time I walk into the garden (which is every day), the plants have grown and there is new fruit to pick. Yesterday I was pruning and treating for an aphid invasion. I gather two gorgeous yellow squash. I’ll eat those tonight with the giant zucchini I picked late last week. I’ve already harvested 5 lbs of cucumbers and I’m starting to think that maybe I planted too many of those.

Easy Vegetables to Grow
Cucumber Vines

Tomatoes are easy vegetables to grow in the garden. My tomatoes are coming along very nicely. Have the precise nutrients they love and a consistent water source certainly helps.

Easy Vegetables to Grow
Cherry Tomatoes

There are several blossoms on the cherry tomato plants and a few fruit developing.The big beef tomatoes are further along, with several fruit and tons of blossoms. I fertilize the garden once per week with weekly feed and the watering system provides water directly to the root zone.

Easy Vegetables to Grow
Yellow Squash

I saw a nice big bee in the garden yesterday doing its job pollinating zucchini and squash flowers. The powder you see on the leaves of all these plants is diatomaceous earth. That’s is what I treated them with for the aphids.

 

Easy Vegetables to Grow
Pole beans

The pole beans have grown all the way to the top of the T-posts and are starting to grow along the top. There are several pods developing along the vines too. I’m certain this will be a bumper crop.

Easy Vegetables to Grow
Eggplant

 

 

 

Take a look at these eggplants. Yum. two weeks ago they had aphids attacking them. I treated them with a dusting of Diatomaceous Earth and the aphids disappeared over night.

I can hardly wait to make some Eggplant Parmesan. Here’s the recipe I’ll follow as soon as these fruits are ripe.

easy vegetables to grow
Eggplant Parmesan

Get the Recipe here

If you are looking for easy vegetables to grow I would suggest that you consider selected vegetables that you like to eat and grow them using the Mittleider Gardening Method. You see, the gardening method is at least as (if not more) important than the variety of vegetables you decide to grow.If you want to try

The Mittleider Gardening Method ensures that whatever you plant will receive the nutrients it needs to thrive in any environment and any climate.

If you want to try The Mittleider Gardening Method for yourself, you can find lots of info at the links below. There are also links there with free plans to build  your own greenhouse, and a free gardening journal to download available here. If you have any questions, I will do my best to help.

5 to 10 Times the Food

Five to Ten Times the Food Is it really possible to grow five to ten times from the same space? Well, that is exactly what we’re doing this year at the Ten Mile Farm. Compared to last year’s garden, this year’s is going to produce much more food. We harvested plenty of …

Growing Vertically

Growing Vertically with the Mittleider Gardening Method   Growing vertically is one of the keys of a successful Mittleider Garden. vertical growth allows for more plants to grow in a smaller area. This year’s garden literally has twice as many plants in the same area as last year’s garden. As you can …

Locally Grown

Locally Grown Locally Grown Do you buy locally grown food? Do you know where your food is coming from? Do you really know? Take a look at this report by Amy Davis, Investigative Reporter/Consumer Expert for Channel 2 in Houston Texas. Where does your food come from? If you are like most people you …

Mittleider Garden Preparation 

Mittleider Garden Preparation Day Week   It is a beautiful day and the weather is perfect for setting up the raised beds in preparation for planting next week. Today I will be laying out the garden and building the grown boxes. Tomorrow I will add the growing medium –  a combination of sand …

Yellow Cucumber Weighs in at 1 Pound

Yellow Cucumber and Giant Zucchini

This morning I was in the garden doing some pruning when I found this giant yellow cucumber. It weighed 16 ounces and, as you can see, looked more like a small squash then a cucumber. I was curious about why it might be yellow, so I went to the great “google” and asked. What I discovered will blow your mind.

Yellow Cucumber
Yellow Cucumber

Not really. I’ve just been seeing a lot of headlines that say stuff like “He opened the door and what happened next will… (a) make your jaw drop (b) blow your mind (c) make you cry like a baby (d) some other outrageous exaggeration of an emotional response.

Seriously though, what I read was that a yellow cucumber

(a) has been left on the vine too long
(b) was planted next to squash
(c) could be the variety of cucumber

So, the article that said that yellow meant it had been on the vine too long mentioned that they would be bitter. I cut this cucumber open and it looked fine to me. So I sliced it up and put a little salt on it and ate it up. It was nice and tasty crisp and delicious. Because of this I am ruling out (a).

yellow cucumber
inside the yellow cucumber

I do have the cucumber planted in the same row as the zucchini, so if cross pollination is between cucumber and zucchini is possible that could be taking place. However, zucchini are green and the yellow squash are planted about five feet away. Five feet isn’t really too far for a bee to cross-pollinate -so (b) is a possibility.

The third possibility is variety. There is a variety of Chinese cucumber that grows yellow. It is called “Chinese Yellow Cucumber.” I know I didn’t buy yellow cucumber seeds, however, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t receive yellow cucumber seeds mislabeled. Below is a picture of one of my other cucumbers from the same plant and the Chinese Yellow Cucumber from rareseeds.com. They sure do look similar to me. Given the taste and the comparison between mine and the Chinese Yellow Cucumber, I am pretty sure I received seeds that were mislabeled

yellow Cucumber
Young Yellow Cucumber from my garden
Yellow Cucumber
Rare Seeds Chinese Cucumber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, almost forgot about my zucchini. This bad boy weighed in at 19 ounces. I haven’t eaten it yet, so I can’t attest to the flavor, but I’m confident it will be delicious. I’ll eat it tomorrow night and update this report then.

Yellow Cucumber
Giant Zucchini

Here are some other posts about Mittleider Gardening – take a look and see how you can grow amazing veggies just like these in less space than you think you’ll need.

Mittleider Garden Preparation 

Mittleider Garden Preparation Day Week   It is a beautiful day and the weather is perfect for setting up the raised beds in preparation for planting next week. Today I will be laying out the garden and building the grown boxes. Tomorrow I will add the growing medium –  a combination of sand …

5 to 10 Times the Food 

Five to Ten Times the Food Is it really possible to grow five to ten times from the same space? Well, that is exactly what we’re doing this year at the Ten Mile Farm. Compared to last year’s garden, this year’s is going to produce much more food. We harvested plenty of …

 

Growing Vertically 

Growing Vertically with the Mittleider Gardening Method   Growing vertically is one of the keys of a successful Mittleider Garden. vertical growth allows for more plants to grow in a smaller area. This year’s garden literally has twice as many plants in the same area as last year’s garden. As you can …

 

Locally Grown 

Locally Grown Locally Grown Do you buy locally grown food? Do you know where your food is coming from? Do you really know? Take a look at this report by Amy Davis, Investigative Reporter/Consumer Expert for Channel 2 in Houston Texas. Where does your food come from? If you are like most people you …

 

 

How to Make an Automatic Chicken Watering System

An Automatic Chicken Watering System

You Can Make

In an earlier post, I wrote about making a 5-gallon chicken watering system to provide clean water to your yard birds without having to fill it every day. Today I’m going to show you how to modify that system to make it so you will never have to manually fill it again.

Summer is here and with higher temperatures, my chickens have been drinking a lot more water. The 5-gallon system was sufficient in cooler weather, but now I am finding I have to refill it several times a week. With this modification, I won’t have to manually fill it again. I’ll probably take it down in September to give it a good cleaning, but other than that it should be maintenance free.

Automatic Chicken Watering System
Automatic Chicken Watering System Finished

To make this system, you will need a couple of tools and a couple of parts.

Tools:

  • Electric drill
  • 7/8th inch drill bit
  • 1/2in or 3/4 in garden hose

Parts:

Take the lid off the 5-gallon chicken watering system. If you haven’t made that yet – click here for my post on how to make one.

Automatic Chicken Watering System
5-gallon bucket with 7/8th hole ready for installation of the float

With the lid off, drill a 7/8th-inch hole in the side in line with the handle and far enough down to allow the float valve to open and close the valve.

 

 

Use Teflon plumber’s tape to secure all of the threads on the float valve, hose adapter, and hose. If you don’t do this, you will have a leak.

Automatic Chicken Watering System
Float Valve installed

Position the float so that when the water level is up the valve shuts off. This will keep about 4 gallons of water in your 5 gallon bucket at all times.

 

 

Replace the lid and you are ready to hang the bucket in your coup or in a shady spot if you free range your chickens.

Automatic Chicken Watering System
Hose Connection

Attach the hose and turn on the water. If you have a long hose from the house or well, you may want to bury it to prevent the water from getting too hot while it is sitting in the hose.

How to Make a 5 Gallon Poultry Waterer

How to Make a 5 Gallon Poultry Waterer   I thought I would provide some more details on how to make a 5-gallon poultry waterer like the one I showed in my Tips for Raising Chickens post. To make the 5 gallon poultry waterer you will need: 5 Gallon food grade bucket with …

Growing Vertically

Growing Vertically with the Mittleider Gardening Method

 

Growing vertically is one of the keys of a successful Mittleider Garden. vertical growth allows for more plants to grow in a smaller area. This year’s garden literally has twice as many plants in the same area as last year’s garden. As you can see the garden is coming along nicely.

Growing Vertically
Food, Glorious Food

Today I added the bailing string to support the plants as they grow taller. The bailing string angles out on each side of the bed allowing more sunlight and airflow around the plants. It also spaces them out so pruning and harvesting are easier.

Growing vertically
Pole beans

I need to add the verticals on the third bed. Originally I was going to make this entire row bell peppers, which do not require vertical support because they grow as bushes. Instead I planted half the row with cucumber and squash. You can see that they are already reaching for the sky.

I won’t be able to put the normal 4×4 posts in at this point because they should be 18 inches into the ground. I can’t dig those kinds of holes at this point without disrupting what’s already growing very nicely. I’ll take some pictures of what I come up with. It will be an interesting experiment in deviation from the Mittleider Gardening Method. As with any recipe, I know deviation will affect results. But at this point I am certain the results with a modified vertical system will be better than they would be if I do nothing.

Many of the Tomatoes already have blooms and a few have fruit forming. I am really looking forward to the harvest from this row! As you can see from this picture the tomato plants are pruned. Pruning helps with production. You can learn more about how and when to prune your vegetable plants in the Mittleider Gardening Course.

Growing vertically
Pole beans

The pole beans are looking fantastic and the eggplant look pretty good too considering that they survived a sheep invasion shortly after planting and then were attacked by some leaf-eating bug. I solved the sheep problem but reinforcing the fence with an electric wire. I solved the bug problem with a little Diatomaceous earth.  You can get it at most garden centers and even big box stores like Home Depot. I have found the best price at Amazon.com if you have prime shipping is free. It is a fantastic organic product for getting rid of unwanted garden pests.

If you are interested in growing vertically, I highly recommend the Mittleider Gardening Course. You can get it and other Mittleider Gardening supplies at growfood.com

Mittleider Gardening Course
Mittleider Gardening Course

Other posts about Mittleider Gardening

5 to 10 Times the Food 

Five to Ten Times the Food Is it really possible to grow five to ten times from the same space? Well, that is exactly what we’re doing this year at the Ten Mile Farm. Compared to last year’s garden, this year’s is going to produce much more food. We harvested plenty of …

Locally Grown 

Locally Grown Locally Grown Do you buy locally grown food? Do you know where your food is coming from? Do you really know? Take a look at this report by Amy Davis, Investigative Reporter/Consumer Expert for Channel 2 in Houston Texas. Where does your food come from? If you are like most people you …

Mittleider Garden Preparation 

Mittleider Garden Preparation Day Week   It is a beautiful day and the weather is perfect for setting up the raised beds in preparation for planting next week. Today I will be laying out the garden and building the grown boxes. Tomorrow I will add the growing medium –  a combination of sand …

Muscovy Ducklings Arrive

Muscovy Ducklings

 

After faithfully sitting on her nest 35 days, four Muscovy Ducklings broke free from the confines of their egg shell this past Friday. The four little muscovy ducklings are quickly learning the ropes while momma duck keeps track of them.

Muacovy Ducklings
Momma and her ducklings

These little ducklings are a nice addition to our duck family and we’re looking forward to watching them grow over the summer months. It will be fun to watch them as they navigate the pond in a few weeks.

In this second picture, you can barely see the little ones peeking over the grass. At this age, they like to stay real close to momma.

 

Muscovy Ducklings
Muscovy Ducklings

 

Here are a couple of other posts about Muscovy ducks

Muscovy Ducks 

Muscovy Ducks About 4 years ago, I decided I wanted some muscovy ducks on the farm. Although we always had the pond, wild ducks never stayed around very long. So, I found a guy selling Muscovy Ducks and I bought ten. One male and 9 female ducks have been grazing the …

Muscovy Ducks Grazing 

Muscovy Ducks Grazing Just a quick update on the ducks. They seem to have discovered that the grass is indeed greener on the other side of the fence. In this video, they are grazing in the front yard while one of our adopted stray dogs watches.

The front yard is not the …