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Did You Know?

Conventional farmers use around 300 different pesticides to grow foods that are sold in supermarkets everyday.

Urban Gardening - 2014

Chickens! I've always wanted to raise chickens. There's a ban on backyard chickens where I live (Toronto), but I said 'fuck it' this year and went out and bought four of them from a farmer's market. Here's a pic of the home-made, custom-built chicken coop that we built over a couple of weekends out of mostly recycled parts because I'm frugal. Made from recycled wooden pallets and scrap shingles that I got from a local roofing company (for free). I think I spent a total of around $50 on the coop - most of that went to the wire mesh, the rest went to screws and a few pieces of 1x2 lumber.

We used heavy-duty wire mesh to protect the chickens from raccoons. I think raccoons can tear through regular chicken wire fencing.

Wooden slats cover the floor of the coop. The chicken poop falls between the slats into a pull-out 'drawer'. We feed the chickens a combination of rice, wheatberries, potatoes, greens from the garden and left-overs.

My cat, checking out his new friends.

The reward - fresh eggs! It's always fun to collect the eggs from the coop. Compared to store-bought eggs, these are smaller, but way tastier.

Kale seedlings, growing in soil blocks.

Tomato seedlings (from seeds saved last year).

Tried growing blue corn this year. It was surprising how quickly they grow. Used a combination of chicken manure and compost to fertilize. I only grew one row of 6 plants; I think you are supposed to grow corn in 'blocks' instead of rows (I didn't know this when I planted it!) , to help with pollination since it's pollinated by wind. I ended up pollinating them by hand.

You get a couple of ears per plant.

The harvested corn. These were harvested when the corn stalks and leaves were turning brown. The cobs/kernels will be ground into cornmeal.

Blueberry, blue corn bread - made using the cornmeal milled from the blue corn.

'Wild' wheat, grown from leftover/undigested wheatberries that were fed to the chicken.

Wheat - my favorite resource in Catan...

A nice looking garlic bulb. Garlic is probably my favorite crop to grow - low maintenance and relatively pest-free.

A freakishly large and weird-shaped tomato.