Farm Update Feb 2013

I called this “Farm update” because “Backyard Update” just doesn’t have a nice ring to it. Plus it doesn’t look like a back yard…it looks like, well, a farm…a tiny, narrow, crowded farm. This has been a fairly busy week for me, and I just wanted to share.

Heirlooms and self-starting

Garden. First, my Everglades tomatoes have been coming in nicely, all from a volunteer plant…in a bed that I didn’t plant them it! In fact, this single plant has almost covered the entire 4 foot by 8 foot bed! We’ve been picking tiny ripe tomatoes, slap full of flavor, for a little over a month now. I’m no tomato fan, and even I’ve eaten some. I’m hoping to have some seeds put by for the future….though I’m guessing I’ll have Everglades tomatoes growing out there until I nuke the yard. Hardy things! I like that…

I’ve replanted some sugarcane, and its now established in at least two spots, with another two possible, if it takes. I have no reason to believe that it won’t the stuff grows like a weed if it has soil and water. This makes for a great “fedge”, a food hedge. If I can get it established along a couple fences, this would be excellent for both my privacy, and my neighbors not having to deal with me as much, not that I have any problems with them right now. Good fences make good neighbors! I want to keep a good relationship with my neighbors, as I’ve said before, they are a part of my everyday life, might as well build good relationships with them.

Rabbits. I’ve moved for juveniles to my grow out pen, making room for new litters. I had 6 born Tuesday morning, and my two other does are due within the next week. I’ve changed back to wooden nest boxes with a wire bottom, back from an all-metal nest box with no bottom. Eventually, I’ll want to try suspended nest boxes. I think its a better option for many reasons, and if Aaron and Jonathon are using them, I have to catch up!

Their podcast actually was my first exposure to hanging nest boxes, and as much as I like to give them a hard time for making a lot of the same mistakes I did years before, they beat me to this idea. I love their podcast for its straightforward, non-spastic angle on urban survival and preparedness. But listening to these great guys making my old mistakes forced my hand into stop lurking on their website and forums, and actually register and speak up. What a fantastic group of folks. Again, the value of community cannot be stressed enough.

Nesting MuscovyMuscovy ducks. I have my original drake and hen, along with 4 younger hens from a previous hatch. As I type this, the older hen is currently sitting on a nest of 13 or 14 eggs, more ducks for the stew pot. I’m having an issue of losing eggs from the younger hens though, I believe my dog is eating them. It would explain her sleek, shiny coat πŸ˜› In the near future, I’ll be harvesting a duck or two and try my hand at making duck sausage.

Coturnix QuailQuail. Quail! QUAIL! With my interaction with the InTheRAbbitHole guys, writing an article about quail, and the recent podcast from Jack Spirko regarding quail, BlueTang and I started talking about quail again as a production option. BT got me started with them years ago, getting me interested, then leaving me to get sucked into them as another obsession, as he sat back and laughed at me while he stayed away. I think I have him sucked in this time. I’ve had quail for years, but never ramped up production to the point of having a surplus for meat. As of Tuesday afternoon, I’ve purchased four more quail, bringing my total to 8, two of them being males.

I now have everything in place to start producing fertile eggs to hatch. So 17 days in the incubator, 21 days in the brooder, and 21 days to grow out, and I’ll have quail for meat as well as eggs. And if they egg production works out well, I’ll be eventually eliminating chickens from the “farm”. Quail simply produce more, in less time, require less feed, and less space. I’ll be producing more with less. And to improve on that, I’m going to try to set up my incubator and my brooder heat lamp to run off of my solar setup. The power is all there, may as well use it!

Well that’s the update, though I’m sure I’ve forgotten stuff. Good thing I write every day….


As always, please β€œlike” FloridaHillbilly on Facebook, subscribe to my feed, and tell your friends! The more folks that start preparing themselves, the less likely they are to sneak into your back yard and steal your eggs and eat your chickens!




  1. At one point, you’d talked about growing moringa trees as a fence. Are you using the sugarcane instead? How did the moringa turn out?

    I’ve been interested in growing moringa myself… curious about your experience.

    1. I planted 55 seeds, and only had two trees come up. both are in my front yard, and doing poorly. I honestly wasn’t impressed with them, but that is probably due to my lack of care and maintenance I’ve provided to them. I do know they are well thought of by many others…

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