Fall Flavorfest In The Garden

Fall is a time for reflection in the garden. What crops grew well, what would you do differently next year and more. After all, taking notes and learning from experiences are some major factors that lead to edible gardening success.

Fall is also a time that some crops really kick it up a notch. As temps drop tastiness goes up. Go ahead, try out some fresh fall kale. What do you taste? It is probably more flavorful and sweeter than it was just a couple of weeks prior. Beets are another vegetable that I notice more intense flavors in during fall months. I am not the only one who notices this flavor phenomenon.

Our littlest DIY Backyard Farmer gives a quick glimpse into our current crop of beets and kale as fall sets in and flavors rise. Take a look. If she doesn’t make you want to grow your own then no one will!

How We Grow Better Zucchini

In years past we lost many zucchini plants to various types of rot. I believe the rot was often caused by wilting and rotting leaves that created an environment of wet, mushy mess. Wet, mushy mess is a breeding ground for plant ailments. A couple of years ago I began to carefully experiment with trimming off single leaves and their stems from the main stem of the plant. This can be a risky move because pruning a zucchini plant leaves the plant vulnerable at the spot where you made a cut.

In my experience the risk was worth taking. The video below shows how I prune my zucchini and what they look like in late September.

Book Review – Henrietta’s Guide to Caring For Chickens


An interesting children’s book on chicken keeping that covers the basics in a fun, engaging way. Both of my children read it and retained some of the basics. I would recommend this book to parents and grandparents to give to kids who are interested in chickens or who will be keeping chickens at home.

We were planning on keeping a small flock of chickens and this book helped to engage and educate the kids. Just like edible gardening, with chicken keeping it is important for the kids to be part of the activity.

Both of my kids did their own book reviews as well. Read on for their take.


My daughter was inspired to draw this after reading the book.

What did you like about this book?

The pictures were my favorite part because they were very funny and made me smile and laugh.

What did you learn from this book?

I learned that keeping chickens as pets or for food can be hard work, but also fun too.

Would you recommend this book to other kids?

Yes I would if the kids were also interested in chickens or learning to keep chickens.

Our 9 year-old son was inspired to draw this

Our 9 year-old son was inspired to draw this

What did you like about this book?

I liked learning about how fun chicken keeping could be. I also liked to image all the things the chickens would do in my yard.

What did you learn from this book?

I learned foxes like to eat chickens so a person should be careful to protect their chickens. I also learned some fun facts:

  1. Chickens are related to dinosaurs!
  2. Chickens really like to eat worms.
  3. Chickens like to take baths in the dirt.

Would you recommend this book to other kids?

Yes I would!

Why We Are Not Keeping Chickens…Day 2 and Beyond

So we got permission from our town to keep chickens. We socialized the idea with our neighbors and they were all excited and accepting. We were so fired up that we ran to the library and got a bunch of chicken keeping books.

We had books for kids and books for adults. Many of them page turners for our anxious learners. As we read on the tide of excitement began to turn. Suddenly those cute and whimsical birds were no longer the apples of our eyes. Keeping chickens was indeed more work than we had heard!

You see, chickens are certainly pets. Like other pets they require a certain level of care. Without proper care they can get ill or just plain unhappy. That is just not fair to the birds.

The responsible thing for our family to do was to refrain from keeping chickens at this time. Hopefully in the future our lives will allow more time for such a worthy pursuit.

Day 1 – Asking For Permission

Today I called the suburban town we live in to learn what special permissions, applications or other official stuff we would need to keep chickens. Much to my surprise, nothing was required! Our town official told me they consider chickens to be pets and as long as we did not keep too many we are all good. He also mentioned the chickens cannot be overly loud as to disturb the peace of our neighborhood. I explained to him that we are not planning on keeping more than 6 or so chickens at once and we would not be keeping any roosters.

After hanging up the phone I breathed a sigh of relief. I was worried the town may have some kind of rule(s) that would prohibit us from our chicken keeping endeavors. I also felt energized and excited to explore the next steps.

Do you keep chickens? Are you thinking about keeping chickens? Please share your stories.

Bird is the word. We are good to go!

Bird is the word. We are good to go!

You Really Can Grow Buckets of Potatoes

Back in April we began an experiment to see if growing potatoes in buckets was as easy and foolproof as so many Pinterest pins and blog posts have made it sound.

The suspense was killing us all here on the DIY Backyard Farm!

After just 3 weeks the plants were looking green and vibrant. Every couple of weeks we added a few inches of soil to cover up more of the plants. In no time at all the bucket was filled to the top with soil and green plants were spilling out over the top.

Then it got boring. Yes boring! Plant growth slowed and we wondered when we would get to dump the bucket and see the results. Most articles I read said to wait until the plants turned yellow before picking the potatoes. Our plants did not begin to yellow until late July. They also did not yellow evenly.

By the second week of August the kids were bugging me to, “DUMP THE BUCKET!”. So we did!

The video below is proof that growing your own potatoes in a bucket is not only possible, but positively potato pleasing too! If we had waited a bit longer I am betting some of those “small fries” would have gotten much larger. No worries, we still have two pots full of our “ketchup and fries” potatoes to go!

I apologize for the shaky video work. My 9 year-old videographer was feeling a bit too energetic with all the anticipation of mini red potatoes slathered in homemade chive butter.

How to “Kid” Around in the Edible Garden

Engaging kids with their food is a great way to create healthy, lasting eating habits. Just look at the fun and excitement we share in our backyard edible garden. Even more exciting is all the feedback I have been getting on this topic. People keep telling me how amazed they are that their children are eating their veggies, fruits and herbs!

One parent recently told me her son will only eat what he picks. He will eat picked string beans, but won’t touch store bought. Smart kid!