Rainbow Ranch Farms

  (Pinon Hills, California)
Organic, free-range, pastured, grass-fed/finished, heritage-breeds,
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Growing Swiss Chard-EASY

Growing Swiss Chard - advice on how to grow Swiss Chard

Chard is a green leafed vegetable that makes a good alternative to spinach. Growing Chard can be easier than growing spinach as it is better able to withstand higher temperatures and water shortages.

As well as its value as a food crop Swiss Chard also has a very striking value as an ornamental plant and so often appears in a gardens ornamental borders or ornamental pots. Chard is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It's stalks can be of various colours.

Chard is known by a number of different names in including Swiss Chard, Spinach Beet,and Leaf beet.

 

Preparation

 

Dig over the soil and dig in some organic matter a number of weeks before sowing. This will help soil moisture retention and soil aeration. Make sure to break up any large clods of soil with your fork and rake the soil to obtain a fine soil structure in which to plant your Chard seeds.

 

Sowing

 

Sow Chard in early spring to avoid the final hard frosts. Chard is normally sown directly into the soil, not in seed trays for later tranplanting.

Sow the Chard seed in rows around 45cm apart and about 5 cm apart. The seeds should be sown at around 1 - 1.5cm depth. Germination can take anywhere around 1-2 weeks.

The plants will need thinning to about 15-25cm between plants. If left until around 15cm in height before thinning then the thinned plants can be treated like an early harvest and the young leaves will be extremely tender and tasty.

 

Position

 

When growing Chard you should position the plants in a spot that receives a good amount of sunlight. Chard will tolerate partial shade but will give a better yield when in a sunny spot.

Chard is a cool weather vegetable and may withstand a very mild frost.

 

Soil type

 

Chard doesn't like a soil that is too acidic, an acidic soil will stunt growth. Chard grows well in a soil of around 6.5 - 6.8.

The soil should be able well drained but be able to hold moisture well so a soil with a good amount of organic matter is ideal.

 

Tending

 

To extend harvesting past the first hard frost you can put the plants under a cloche or polytunnel to extend the growing season.

Chard is sturdier than spinach and can cope better with water shortages, however you should still water regularly to ensure optimum growth and prevent bolting. Bolting leads to premature flower and seed production and will divert the plants energies away from leaf growth.

If a flower stalk develops then clip it off to extend the harvest.

 

Harvesting

 

Chard is a pick and come again crop. For multiple harvests from the same plant simply pick the outer leaves and leave the inner younger leaves. You can pick leaves after they have reached around 15cm in length. Chard can be harvested until the first hard frost this way.

Chard does not store well so should either be eaten within a few hours of picking or stored in the salad box of the fridge for a maximum of 3 days.

Be sure not to damage the central terminal bud at the centre of the young growth.

You can also if you wish harvest the whole plant.

After picking the leaves simply wash and add to salads or wash and then quickly heat in a pan using only the water that clings to the leaves after washing. This will avoid overcooked soggy chard leaves.

 

Varieties

 

Chard varieties are available with a variety of stalk colours - red, yellow and white.

 

http://www.gardeningpatch.com/vegetable/growing-swiss-chard.aspx

 

 
 

Anyone Can Grow Sprouts - Growing microgreens and sprouts at home EASY

Growing microgreens and sprouts at home EASY

 

chicagobotanicgarden

Nice video here, please click link to be directed to YouTube!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h1ADMsKQTg

 
 

Growing Your Own Chickens For Meat

Growing Your Own Chickens For Meat

By Katie Pepper Morgan

The decision to raise your own chickens for their meat is one that many more people are making. By raising your own meat you will control what your chickens eat. If you are choosing to feed your family only free range chickens, then you can insure your chickens are free range.

COST OF RAISING CHICKENS FOR MEAT: You will be surprised to learn you probably won't save much money growing your own chickens for meat unless you plan on raising a large number of chickens and filling up your freezer.

ARE ALL CHICKEN MEATS THE SAME?: Meat you raise yourself may not taste exactly like the chicken you buy at your local grocery store. Most people think the fresh meat you raise yourself actually tastes better, while other people think the taste takes some getting used to. Some people can not tell the difference between the store bought chicken and home grown chicken meat.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?: How long it'll take to raise chicks to butcher depends on what type of chicks you choose to purchase. You can purchase fast growing chicks from online hatcheries which will be ready to butcher in about 15-16 weeks or so. This is a very fast turn around time. If you choose to raise a standard breed like New Hampshire's or Rhode Island Reds then it may take a little longer until they are ready to be butchered.

If you are concerned about the treatment chickens may be in commercial farms while they are being raised for meat then you may wish to raise your own chicks for meat. This isn't a decision for everyone. Butchering can be hard, especially if you form a close bond to the chickens. If you are unsure if you will be able to handle the butchering, then you can probably hire someone to do it for you.

Check out Katie's newest website Easy Chicken Coop Designs dot com. Tips for designing or picking out a Small Chicken Coop Plans. Please stop by and check it out!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Katie_Pepper_Morgan

Please click on the link for the original article http://ezinearticles.com/?Growing-Your-Own-Chickens-For-Meat&id=4084810

 

 
 

What’s Different about Heritage Breeds?

What’s Different about Heritage Breeds? 

 

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy states that heritage chicken breeds must be an American Poultry Association (APA) standard breed. The chickens also must be allowed to mate naturally, lead a long, productive outdoor life, and maintain a slow growth rate. It takes heritage chicken breeds at least 16 weeks to reach market weight.  

 

http://www.motherearthnews.com/blogs/blog.aspx?blogid=1508&tag=chicken Original LINK

 
 

DIY – Grow your own fish for food at home

DIY – Grow your own fish for food at home

by Marshall Brain

Looking for something to do with that extra space in your basement, garage or backyard? Aquaculture is one option. You raise fist to eat in tanks. Here’s a small tank in the basement:

 

For videos, articles, how to instructions and for the original post, please click the link

 

http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/2008/06/30/diy-grow-your-own-fish-for-food-at-home/

 

 

 

 

 
 
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