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Ah, the harvest; there’s nothing like the feeling of bringing the fruits of your labor (literally), to the kitchen. But before you get your pruners ready, there are a few things to understand about harvestings, such as time and other environmental factors.

Firstly, it’s crucial that you understand when the best time to start harvesting is. This not only depends on when your crops ripen or not but the complete period of growth and whether the upcoming frost will have an effect on your yield.

Despite the sound of the word frost, it can actually have a beneficial effect on certain crops such as parsnips, cabbage, carrots, and kale. These veggies have an improved, sweeter taste after a light frost and can remain in the ground without getting damaged.

On the other hand, certain crops can’t really stand the cold temperature and a frost would mean risking your entire yield. If the fruits and vegetables aren’t ripe enough for picking yet, you can simply cover them with burlap sacks or old sheets.

If you live in an area where the winters start early, you may want to look after your tomatoes, considering that almost every home garden has them. An early frost means that your tomatoes won’t be ripe enough for picking so you should pay close attention to their size. If they’ve almost reached the desired size but are still green, you can pick them and let them ripen on their own.

However, you should only use the aforementioned approach if a heavy frost is coming; covering your plants with row covers or sheets will be helpful in keeping them safe from a light frost through the night.

After the harvest, you’ll be worried about how you’ll preserve every fruit and vegetable. The great thing about growing your own crops is that you’ll be reluctant to lose even a single fruit to spoilage, so you take extra care that nothing goes to waste.

Three methods come to mind. You can either store your yield in the fridge, can it or dry it. To store yield in your fridge, make sure that the temperature is cool to prevent the crops from losing moisture and exposing them to attacks by fungi. Make sure to keep the fridge well-ventilated since the crops require oxygen to breathe and retain flavor.

Another way to use up your home-grown fruits and vegetables for a long time to come is to simply put them in sanitized jars for canning. Lastly, you can dry them, a way to preserve your yield without worrying about them spoiling. This method had been used before, numerous times because of the benefit that it doesn’t require extremely high or low temperatures. Plus, dried foods taste better since the flavor is concentrated as well.

You’ll also be getting the same nutrition with regard to minerals and vitamins. Remember that you can only preserve the freshest food and be careful that you aren’t using crops that are over-ripe and bruised. Happy Farming!

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The Best Farm Animals to Keep In the City

If you’ve ever visited the countryside, you know the joy of having animals on the farm that you can take care of. In the city, you’ll never see a cow except for on a milk carton and the same applies to other farm animals. The obvious reason for this is that larger breeds of farm animals need a specific environment to live in; so the city’s pollution and noise are a big no-no. Luckily, you can keep a few kinds of farm animals at your city home. While it does depend on your area’s jurisdiction, these animals pose the least problems.

Chickens

I’ve already written about the basics of how you can raise chickens from chicks and then move them into a coop. Chickens are also very quiet (not talking about roosters!) so you won’t get in trouble with the neighbors either. Not only will you be raising home-bred chickens that taste better, you’ll also get fresh eggs at home. You can choose to sell these products to your neighbors or consume them yourself. Moreover, they also provide high-quality manure that works well as fertilizer or an addition to compost. You can choose from a variety of breeds, based on whether you’re raising them for the eggs or meat.

Quail

For city dwellers, quail are the best farm animal to keep if you have minimal space. Though they mature a little slowly, you will find that they’re much more fun to keep than chickens. When 24 weeks old, quail begin to lay eggs so if you want to grow some chicks, you’ll require an incubator. While the bird itself tastes delicious, their eggs are too; you can raise a fine amount selling quail eggs.

Ducks

If you can handle their sometimes-aggressive attitude and loud quacking, I recommend that you raise ducks. Now, most people don’t consider duck meat and eggs to be a delicacy, but they are expensive from their ordinary chicken-based counterparts.

Therefore, whether you have a taste for duck eggs, want to make some extra money on the side, or simply think ducks are adorable; you have your answer. You’ll find that a few rare species can even lay almost as many eggs as a chicken, which would be a score. You’ll need more space for these ducks, not to mention a small pool, but other than that you’ll be fine.

Pygmy Goats

Enough about the birds, you want a herd, don’t you? Pygmy goats aren’t just your ordinary petting zoo animal, but they make great urban farm companions as well. Although they don’t serve as a large source of meat and milk, you can’t underestimate certain breeds like Nigerian Dwarfs.

If you’re interested in drinking fresh organic milk, you’ll be happy to know that they can produce up to a liter of milk every day, as long as you feed them good quality produce. However, if you are not interested in keeping them for their meat, there is always the option of having them as pets that produce manure that is rich in nitrogen.


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