Category: featured

Field Trip to McGregor

Mark and I took advantage of a day off  and decided to take ourselves on a field trip up to McGregor, TX where Derksen Portable Buildings are constructed.  We toured the Derksen facility and watched as buildings were framed, sided, painted and finished out.  Because we’ve been impressed with the overall quality of the Derksen buildings, we weren’t surprised to find the Derksen facility clean, organized and extremely busy.  In the photo above, Mark is standing outside a cabin painted in one of Derksen’s new color options.  The buyers of this cabin chose to have the electric package installed as well as an air conditioner.  As you can see, we interrupted the carpenter as he was finishing up the porch.

Here are a couple pictures taken inside of the Derksen facility.  The buildings pretty much go from frame to finish in here.  It was fun to walk through and see all the different options people had chosen for their buildings.

I thought this was a charming cottage shed.  It features a new style door with small transom windows and a fabulous dormer window above the doors to let in extra natural lighting.

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I’m fascinated by the tiny-house movement and have often thought a Derksen cabin would make a good tiny house shell.   Turns out there are a lot of folks thinking the same thing.  Derksen can frame out walls, add electric and A/C, frame for a commode and shower, spray in insulation, and finish walls and ceilings.  Pretty impressive.

Many thanks go out to Dave for showing us around the facility.  W had a great time and feel like we know a lot more about how the buildings are constructed and all the options our customers have in designing their own storage shed, cabin or barn.

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Organic Lawn Fertilizer

Although I’m not opposed to the judicious use of chemical fertilizer, I am a much bigger proponent of organic fertilizers.  When you put organic fertilizer on your lawn you are feeding your soil not just your grass.  And soil health is crucial to any type of gardening.

Organic fertilizers use natural ingredients like compost, bone meal, feather meal, molasses, corn gluten meal, and  potash among other ingredients to create a mixture that contains a blend of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K).  Just as important as the NPK blend are the extra micronutrients and beneficial bacteria organic fertilizers impart to your soil.  Unlike chemical fertilizers that deliver the NPK on inert ingredients, organic fertilizers use beneficial material like compost for the foundation of their products.  Plus the organic materials have staying power, providing long-term benefits for your plants.  It is a win-win situation for your lawn.

Benefits of organic lawn fertilizer:

  1. Beneficial bacteria and micronutrients are added to your soil.
  2. Increased bioavailability of nutrients to your plants.
  3. Organic matter stays in the soil for a longer time than chemical ingredients.
  4. Very difficult to ‘burn’ plants when using organic fertilizer.
  5. Environmentally friendly by decreasing nitrogen and phosphorous ‘run off’.

ladybug fert

One of our most popular organic fertilizers is the Ladybug Brand 8-2-4.  It’s a great all purpose fertilizer to have on hand because it can be used on the lawn as well as in the flower bed or vegetable garden.  Gaddy’s carries it in 6# or 25# bags.

As some of you might have noticed, we’re in the middle of rearranging the store at Gaddy’s.  To make shopping the organic gardening products easier, I’ve put them all in one spot.  Come by and check out our new line of Jobe’s organic products.  Jobe’s has a fabulous line of organic soils as well as organic fertilizer spikes.

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What do the numbers on fertilizer bags mean?

The three numbers on a bag of fertilizer represent the percentage of three elements commonly found in fertilizer–nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K).  Nitrogen is used for leaf growth and helps plants stay green.  Because of this many lawn fertilizers have a higher percentage of nitrogen, like in a  15-5-10 fertilizer.  Phosphorous, represented by the second number, helps plants form new roots, fruits and flowers.  Many ‘super bloom’ type fertilizers have a high phosphorous number like a 9-58-8.

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Potassium, represented as the third number on a bag of fertilizer, promotes overall plant health.  Soluble potash is a source of potassium.

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A common garden fertilizer is a 13-13-13 blend.  There are equal amounts of N, P and K in this fertilizer blend.  So what’s the difference between a 13-13-13 and a 10-10-10?  They both have equal ratios of N,P and K in them but the amounts of N, P and K compared to the inert ingredients in the bag is different.  The N-P-K numbers also represent the percentage of each ingredient by weight.  A 13-13-13 bag has 13% N, 13% P, and 13% K.  In a bag of 13-13-13, 61% of the weight would be due to the carrier ingredients, often clay.  In a bag of 10-10-10, 70% of the weight would be due to carrier ingredients.

15-5-10

Organic fertilizers will also have a N-P-K number.  The numbers are usually lower than on a bag of chemical fertilizer, but the carrier products are often times beneficial materials for your yard such as compost.  Plus many products such as the Ladybug garden fertilizer shown below, have added organic micronutrients and beneficial mycorrhizal fungi.

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Asparagus

Mark and I planted two long rows of asparagus in the market garden yesterday.  Asparagus is a wonderful vegetable for Pflugerville because it actually enjoys the slightly alkaline soil in our area.  However asparagus appreciates looser soil than our black clay so be sure to amend your soil with plenty of organic matter and maybe some sand when you prepare asparagus beds.

We planted our asparagus at the edge of our garden.  Asparagus goes well at a well-drained edge of your yard or garden because the bed will be there for a long long time.  It will probably take two or three years for the asparagus we planted yesterday to be producing at full capacity.

Asparagus is propagated by planting 1 or 2 year old roots, called crowns, into 4-12 inch deep trenches.  Gently separate the roots so the center of the crown will lie in the center of your trench like an octopus.  (See picture below.)  The trenches can be gradually filled as the plant grows, or filled in all at once if your soil is loose enough for the plants to break through easily.

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I recommend choosing a male variety of asparagus like the Jersy Knight that we planted.  Male varieties are hearty and good producers, plus they do not produce berries and seeds like the female plants.  (‘Washington’ varieties are generally female.)

Keep the new asparagus bed well watered and weeded throughout the spring, summer and autumn.  In the winter, after the first freeze, cut the ferns off at ground level and remove them from the bed.  Ferns left in the garden over winter provide good shelter for asparagus beetles which could wreak havoc on the plants in the spring.

It’s best not to harvest and asparagus for the first two years after planting.  The idea is that all the plants energy should go back into the plant’s root system, providing for a better harvest in subsequent years.  However, I have picked just a few spears on the second year  and didn’t have any long term problems based on my impatience.

Asparagus is usually the first think ready to pick in our home garden in the early spring.  When you are finally able to start harvesting your asparagus, snap the spears off with your hand at ground level.  The sprouts should be about 4 to 10 inches in height.  Don’t let the spears get too big or they will be tough and fibrous.  When the weather gets warmer and the spear heads start opening up, stop picking and wait for next year.  Asparagus is best when eaten fresh, but will save in the fridge for up to three weeks.

 

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Asparagus crowns remind me of something Prof. Sprout might be planting at Hogwarts.  BTW an old feed bag makes a great knee pad when planting.

 

 

 

Show Your Poultry Pride

chick-boots

I, myself, am just a couple chickens shy of becoming a crazy chicken lady, so these boots are right up my alley.  They’re great for garden work or egg-gathering or simply running around town.  They’re available at Gaddy’s in sizes 6 to 10 (note:  they run a little small).  Can’t wait to try mine out.

Also, we just received our first shipment of Socksmith socks at Gaddy’s.  I’ve been a Socksmith fan for a couple of years now.  They’re the only crew sock I’ll wear when I’m working 12-hour shifts as a nurse because the tops don’t cut into my calves.  Even better, they come in the most adorable patterns.  I ordered every farm or garden theme sock Socksmith makes.  To make these socks even more irresistible, I’ve priced them at just $5.99 each (suggested retail is $8.00).  Really, I’m just hoping we sell through the socks quickly enough so I can order even MORE cute socks.

Picking up Chicks

Mark and I picked up the first order of chicks today.  Here’s what happens when we get chicks.  First, we get a call from the post office early in the morning.  Then we leave home early to get to the post office before the store opens at 8 am.

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We knock on the door at the pick up window.  Usually the post office staff are ready for us.  We can hear the chicks from outside the pick up door.

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Aren’t they cute?

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We put the chicks in the preheated brooder at the feed store.  Food and water are waiting for them.  It’s important that the chicks get quick access to food and water after their long journey.

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Monthly Planting Guides

Find the first of our monthly planting guides for Pflugerville vegetable gardeners under the Garden Tab on the menu bar above.  February is a big month for planting cool weather crops.  Many must be planted from transplants in order to harvest them before the weather warms and the plants bolt.  March will be the month for starting many warm weather crops.  Stay tuned for the March planting guide.

feb-planting-guide

Chicken Feed

Twenty years ago we sold four different Purina chicken feeds–starter, layer, scratch and broiler feed.  I’m glad to report that today Gaddy’s offers a much wider variety of chicken feed.  Here is a brief overview of what we carry.  Click the link below for a easy to read pdf table of available chicken feeds.

chicken-feed-list

texas-natural-feeds

Texas Natural Feeds.  Located out of Elm Mott, Texas, Texas Natural Feeds produces a quality line of non-soy, non-GMO feed using peanut meal, sorghum grains, oats, brewer’s yeast, fishmeal, probiotics, diatomaceous earth and a vitamin/mineral premix.  Texas Natural Feeds boasts a 50% increase in vitamin content over standard commercially-grown feeds.

Texas Natural Feeds Scratch.  4# bags.  50# bags.  Ingredients:  wheat, grain sorghum, oats, trapper peas, and black sunflower oil seeds.

Texas Natural Feeds Chick Starter.  4# bags.  50# bags.  This is a complete feed with 20% protein recommended for layer-type chicks up to 10 weeks of age.

Texas Natural Feeds Pullet Grower.  50# bags.  This complete feed with 18% protein is formulated to nourish your flock after they are finished with the starter (around 10 weeks of age) until they lay their first egg.

Texas Natural Feeds Layer Pellets and Crumbles.  50# bags.  This is a complete feed with 18% protein recommended for laying birds throughout egg production.

Texas Natural Feeds Layer Pellets Elite Formula.  50# bags.  This elite 18% protein feed contains fishmeal organic alfalfa meal, organic kelp meal, Redmond’s natural salt and Fertrell’s Nutri-Balancer.

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Bluebonnet Feeds. 50# bags.  Scratch.  Ingredients:  steel cut corn chaps, whole wheat, whole milo.  9% protein.  Grain is triple cleaned and polished.

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Purina Feeds.  Gaddy’s is proud to have been a Purina Dealer for over 30 years.  The majority of our Purina Feeds come out of the Purina plant in Gonzales, Texas.  Purina delivers a consistent quality backed by a tradition of research in animal health sciences.  Purina also has excellent web resources for backyard birders.

Purina Scratch.  4# bags.  25# bags.

Purina Chick Starter.  4# bags.  25# bags.  50# bags.  This 18% protein feed has everything your chick needs up until they lay their first egg around 18 weeks of age.  This feed is medicated to aid in the prevention of coccidiosis and should not be fed to ducks and geese.  Gaddy’s also carries non-medicated chick starter feeds and feeds appropriate for ducks and geese.start and grow medicated.jpg

Purina Layer Crumbles.  4# bags.  50# bags.  This 16% protein feed is specially formulated for laying birds.  It is non-medicated and contains oyster shell and vitamin D and manganese to ensure an adequate calcium supply for egg production.

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Purina Layer Pellets.  4# bags.  25# bags.  50# bags.  This is the same formulation as the Layer Crumbles in pelletized form.  Chickens tend to waste less feed when eating pellets, however birds often take a while to get used to the pellets after eating crumbles.  We recommend mixing the pellets with the crumbles for a bit to help the birds transition to a pellet feed from a crumble.

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Purina Flock Raiser Crumbles. 4# bags.  50# bags.  This is an excellent all purpose type poultry feed.  It is a 20% protein complete feed with no preservatives, antibiotics or animal by product fillers added.  It can be fed to ducks, geese, turkeys, broilers and mixed flocks.  It can also be used as a non-medicated chick grower feed.

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