WE have a little bit of lamb available. We sell at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market in Houston. This is one time a year event since we will not have lamb again until the new ones grow.
Gulf Coast Sheep
I can’t believe that we are going to lose an hour tonight, right in the middle of the busiest time of the year—planting the spring garden.
I told the dogs and the sheep that they would not get fed at 6:00am tomorrow but would have to wait until 7:00. The sheep stared at me incredulously and baaaa-ed their disapproval. Dogs are not capable of being incredulous.
I explained that the powers that be found this change necessary in order to save daylight. The animals were unaware that daylight was in danger. The sheep cocked their heads showing their skepticism, and the dogs lowered their heads but raised their eyes.
Eventually the sheep turned and walked away saying “mehhh”. One dog lifted his leg, and the others reinforced his opinion in the same spot.
I guess they do not have respect for the decisions that the powers that be make in order to save daylight.
Nevertheless, the extra hour of daylight they saved will help the garden grow.
Permaculture Gardening and a Seven Layer Forest Garden
We are again offering a class on planning and planting your permaculture garden. This time we will focus on the seven layer forest garden; planting perennial fruit trees, bushes, herbs and vines with winter vegetables, and ground cover plants. The class will be on Sunday, Dec. 4 from 10:00am until about 2:00 or 3:00pm.
We have experience raising crops for culinary purposes in this area and want to share the successes and help you avoid some of the failures we have had. The class will include soil preparation, plant selection, irrigation, seed starting and saving, site planning, use of livestock, and what it takes to make gardening flow and turn the environmental problems into assets.
The class will include short presentations about permaculture and organic principles, soil health, and the use of natural assets. This is not just an idea and theory class –THERE IS NO POWER POINT!–but a hands on experience. We will design gardens taking into account the sun and shade, winds, water flow and companion planting while trying to obtain a bountiful yield. We will make beds with swales and berms, plant fruit trees, vines, shrubs, ground covers, herbs, vegetables and root crops–all in one area, benefiting one another. The main focus will be on perineal, but annuals will be mixed in. You will get your hands in the dirt. We will discuss interplanting and plant rotations, make compost tea and see how a permaculture garden might work.
Winter is a prime time to garden in the gulf coast region. Weed and insect pressure is minimal and the temperatures are usually tolerable.
The basic idea of the layered forest garden is creating an environment where each plant contributes to the overall ecosystem. Large fruit trees create summer shade and transpire moisture, vines take advantage of vertical space, shrubs that fruit in the spring grow under the deciduous fruit trees that have lost their leaves, vegetable plants that like shade can be planted in one area and those that like sun in another, a ground cover like herbs, squash or strawberries will hold in moisture and inhibit weed growth, and root crops grow below the surface. Such a garden needs very little attention and holds moisture well, whether we are talking about flood or drought.
My online store is selling it as an item for pickup. It is not. It is a class at the farm on Dec. 4 at 10:00am. I hope I can fix that problem but me and computers are not always compatible.
The class costs $40.00 per person Tickets
If weather makes cancellation necessary a full refund will be available.
Farm to Table Mothers Day Dinner
Rescheduled. SOLD OUT AGAIN.
We have to reschedule the Mothers Day dinner due to a foot of rain, and will move it to May 21 at 3:00. This frees up some tickets.
The meal is served outdoors in our pavilion. The event is BYOB.
If the event has to be cancelled or rescheduled due to weather there will be a refund available. Otherwise tickets are not refundable. No actual paper ticket will be issued for you to pick up.
Planting Citrus Trees
Planting Citrus trees in the ground in Houston
The best time to plant citrus is in March or April after the chance of frost is hopefully gone. Choose a spot with a high elevation where it drains well (not a sink hole). Citrus trees need at least six hours of sunlight to fruit reliably. More sunlight would mean more fruit.
If you plant in the spring prune any overly aggressive branches sticking out from the formed head. Do not prune in the fall. Pruning stimulates new growth.
Dig a hole twice the size of the pot and only as deep as the pot. Fill the hole with water to make sure the water will drain. If it does not drain in 4 or 5 hours you will need to build a raised bed for the tree. Put the plant in the center of the hole and fill around it with the soil that came out of the hole. It is ok if the level is an inch higher than the ground, but not ok if it is an inch lower. That will cause ponding and roots don’t like to drown. Do not add compost or fertilizer to the soil you are putting back in.
Top dress with three inches of mulch and/or compost to the drip line but not touching the trunk. Mulch helps insulate the soil, aids bio-activity, decreases the amount of water you need to add, and controls weeds.
Water in well. For the first two weeks you will need to deep water every three days or so, then change to a deep watering once a week if it does not rain. You can tell by the leaves if it is thirsty.
I recommended you fertilize citrus in April, May and June using an organic fertilizer like micro life citrus and fruit fertilizer (6-2-4). Most other trees I fertilize on Valentines Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but with citrus Feb 14 is too soon to stimulate growth. The first year use about 4 cups of organic fertilizer in April and 2 cups in May and 2 cups in June. Sprinkle the fertilizer on the ground a bit past the dripline.
In year two and three double that amount. It should not be necessary to fertilize after year three.
Do not fertilize in the late summer or fall. If any pruning is needed do it in April.
It is a good idea after a year or two to prune off the lower branches so that the fruit does not sit on the ground.
Improved Meyer lemon, Satsumas, Key limes, kumquats and Calamondin oranges all can grow in a pot especially if grafted to flying dragon dwarfing rootstock.
If you plan to keep the tree in a pot you should repot it to a 20 gallon pot, 18” to 20” in diameter. Buy a quality potting soil like Nature’s Way citrus mix and plant the tree in the new pot at the same height that it was in the smaller pot. Water thoroughly once a week most of the year, but you will have to water every other day in a dry August. Citrus does not like soggy soil, but never let it dry out completely. Make sure the water is getting to the roots and not just running out the drain holes.
Fertilize as recommended above but every year because it cannot mine for nutrients from the soil.
Dancing with lambs
This little ewe lamb, born with a dot on her neck, looked like she should be called Polka.
And we’re off with a theme for the season.
This years line will include Foxtrot, Rumba, Tango, Jitterbug, Salsa, Flamenco, Fandango, Cha-cha-cha, Samba, Mambo, Two Step, and Cotton Eyed Joe. My granddaughter had already named her sheep Hairspray and five of the ewes have been sold before we got them named. That’s good. We were running out of dance steps.
We have some very good ram lambs available. Contact me for information. email@example.com
Gulf Coast sheep are incredibly adapted to our climate and we love how easy they are to work with.
Raise chickens! Get free eggs!
Permaculture Farming and Gardening
We are again offering a class on planning and planting your permaculture gardens for the spring. The class will be on Sunday afternoon, April 18 from 1:00 until 5:00. The class will be taught by Andrew Cobb and Glen Miracle, certified permaculture designers.
We have experience raising crops for culinary purposes in this area and want to share the successes and help you avoid some of the failures we have had. The class will include soil preparation, plant selection, irrigation, seed starting and saving, site planning, use of livestock, beneficial insects, pollinator attraction and all the stuff it takes to make gardening flow and turn the environmental problems into assets.
The class will include presentations about permaculture and organic principles, soil health, and use of natural assets. This is not just a idea and theory class, but a hands on experience. We will make beds with swales and berms, plant fruit trees, move sheep, plant and transplant vegetables, discuss interplanting and plant rotations, make compost tea. We will talk about fertilizers and insect control.
The class will be limited to a small number both for health concerns and for our ability to answer questions. Masks are required. If weather makes cancellation necessary a full refund will be available. Sign up
Wild rice and cornbread dressing
I made a wild rice and cornbread dressing for our early Thanksgiving dinner and it was a big hit. Here is the recipe for enough to feed 20 to 30 people.
7 or 8 cups chicken stock
6 cups water for cooking the rice
3 cups wild rice
3 tablespoon olive oil
3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup parsley leaves
3 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
12 cups crumbled cornbread
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
3/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly grease two 9×13 baking dishes.
Cook the rice in water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 1 hour. Drain the rice.
Saute the onion and celery in a skillet and season with salt and black pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add parsley and thyme and cook another minute.
Mix rice, cornbread, pecans and vegetables in a large bowl or two. Add butter and just enough stock to get the right moisture level.
Pour everything into the baking dishes. Bake until cornbread is golden and crispy, about 20 minutes.