What's happening at Daisy Duke Farm?

Daisy Duke Farm is a small, family owned farm in Mechanicsville, Virginia offering naturally grown flowers, fruits and vegetables. My focus is on heirloom varieties of non-genetically modified plants (non-GMO). I faithfully believe in sustainable growing practices so I save seeds to replant excellent varieties, I don't use pesticides or herbicides and utilize all-natural fertilizers. Yep, this means I work a lot harder at what I grow, but I think this greater effort results in a greater reward in quality, healthy plants and produce. As a gardener for over 30 years, I'm expanding my efforts to grow a bit more than we use this year to be able to sell the extras. Hopefully this will fund future expansion of our 5 acres in the years to come.

We also sell eggs and a few chickens. Our egg layers free range to get the very best bugs and weeds available. This makes their yolks very dark, rich and healthy.

Once upon a time, farmers recycled most things around the farm; they fed their excess or imperfect produce to their animals and recycled manure as fertilizer for the crops. They didn't use bug killers, powerful chemical fertilizers or weed killers. They used leaves and straw to mulch where needed to retain moisture and reduce weeds. They didn't purchase genetically modified seeds, such as those that cross a tomato with a flounder. They grew produce, saved seeds from the best specimens and replanted the next year. Wow, that seems so simple! Now you've got pharmaceutical and pesticide companies patenting seeds, you have to pay the government to use the term "organic" and the FDA is all over farmers. We don't buy genetically modified seeds and I refuse to pay the government to use a word. So let's just say we produce plants, food and chickens the old fashioned way.

Around these parts, Hanover County farmers have been famous for over a century for "selling their best, and eating the rest". We promise to uphold that tradition in everything we bring to market!  Check with us during the growing season to find out what's available.

  

 

ON THE FARM THIS WEEK

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THE TOMATOES ARE ARRIVING!

The happiest day of summer is when the tomatoes start coming in! My neighbor Cathryn was happy to supply me with some before ours arrived so we've been enjoying lots of yummy BLT sandwiches, egg and tomato sandwiches, salsa and salads.

I grow some Brandywines to get a big, juicy, traditional tomato but I love to try out other varieties for different colors, shapes and flavors.

Like most people in the south, early blight has hit our tomatoes again this year. I just keep planting them in hopes of having a continuous supply from now until frost.

 

Chicks for Sale

We have adorable bantam cochin babies ranging in age from 2 weeks to 9 weeks old. There are about 15 of them and most are frizzled, $5 each.

We also have some plain old barnyard mixes (BYM's) in the barn and ready for new homes.  These will include some Easter Eggers (mixed breeds that lay colored eggs such as green, blue or pink). These are fun if you aren't persnickety about what your chickens look like or you're not trying to raise a specific breed, and just want some cute chickens to give you eggs. These are pullets and will be laying in a few weeks and are $10 each.

Egg production is way up. Nice farm eggs from happy, free range girls are $5/dozen or $7 for 18 eggs. I know you can get them cheaper at the grocery store, but our girls are fed on fresh Hanover county insects and table scraps supplemented with high quality chicken feed. Free range eggs have rich, dark yolks and are lower in fat and cholesterol and higher in Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Omega-3's. If you call first, you can visit our farm in Mechanicsville to pick up eggs, or I'll bring them to work with me at Victorian Fireplace Shop (1022 N. Boulevard) and you can pick them up.

We started keeping chickens to have fresh eggs. But now our poultry flock has grown by leaps and bounds! I just can't help it - the more birds I get, the more I want. There's always just one more breed, one more egg color that I think I can't live without. At any given moment we likely have 100 or more chickens plus eggs in the incubators and broody hens sitting on eggs.

Keeping pet chickens is allowed in most areas of the city or suburbs, although on smaller lots you'll be limited in quantity to perhaps 3-6 hens and roosters aren't allowed. I've taken such delight in our chickens and have come to have my favorite breeds, so we're adding more of certain breeds to get better genetic diversity and be able to produce enough chicks to sell.

Custom chicken coops built just for you! Mike is quite the talented coop builder as he's designed and built several for us. If you're interested in a coop built like Fort Knox then give him a call at 804-238-5799.

 
 
 

Plants for Sale
 

We have a limited supply of  thornless blackberry plants $7 each available now.

You don't need a ton of blackberry or raspberry bushes to get started raising your own berries! I originally planted 3 of each and as they grew they have multiplied tremendously. Next year's fruit will appear on this year's new canes, and next year they should give you tons of new canes and your first pail of berries.

Get our full list of tips and tricks for growing BLACKBERRIES.

We also have some Rose of Sharon ready to go. This is a member of the hibiscus family that can be kept pruned to a shrub, or it will grow to a tree about 12' tall. The variety you get will be a surprise; they could be single or double blooms in shades from pink to purple to white with red centers. a I much prefer growing these over roses - they're easy to grow and don't have thorns! $5 to $7 each.


 

 

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Here's what our new Blue Slate turkeys will look like in a few months (photo courtesy BackyardChickens.com)