Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners
For the home seed saver, this might be the most useful book you can have. Since we’re growing all open pollinated and heirloom varieties, this book has been particularly helpful to us.
Seed to Seed provides essential information on how to germinate, grow, and save seed from almost any plant you could want to grow in your garden. This book is a necessity for the home gardener that’s just getting started with saving seed from heirloom and open pollinated varieties.
Chickens lay best in their first year of production after they’ve begun laying. Most chickens will slowly decline in production until they stop laying sometime in their 5th or 6th year, though this can vary a bit by breed.
Our long term goal is to have a gradient of ages among our flock, so we’ve always got some at the peak of their production, and some that are tapering off. Those that are culled will be put to good use, and all new birds rotated in will be hatchlings that are certified as pest and disease free.
We have 13 hens at the moment, 7 that appear to be laying, 3 that are old enough to lay but don’t appear to be, and 3 that should begin laying by October. Our judgement of the number that appear to be laying is supported by the fact that the highest production for a day yielded seven eggs.
This brings about the question of how to determine which ones are laying.
Each year, we get fresh mountain huckleberries from McCall, Idaho. They are fantastic fresh, in pies or tarts, or made into jam or syrup. We really enjoy them, and like to stretch them out over the course of the year.
This is our recipe for huckleberry jam.
When laid, an egg is coated with a protective coating called “bloom” which dries on the shell and seals it. The bloom helps protect the egg and keep it fresh by blocking gasses and bacteria from passing through the porous egg shell. Eggs also get other material on them from the hen’s feet, or the bedding they’re laid in. Commercial eggs are washed so as to remove anything on the shell, including the bloom. This is another reason for the difference in freshness between commercially produced eggs and home produced eggs.