Category Archives: Oak Cliff

It’s Mint to Be!

March 28th, 2014

Urban Acres has a great surprise for its members this weekend. The produce bins will be full with the fragrant smelling mint. Urban Acres provides new recipes in its produce finder on a weekly basis, but for today’s blog Barbara Bailey, our marketing coordinator, will share her thoughts. Barbara begged for days to be able to write this blog and we are curious to hear her information.

As soon as I saw the produce list for this weekend, I immediately volunteered my recipes for the Urban Roost. Of course, I was inspired by the lovely herb ~ mint. I started to write my prize winning recipe for the best Mojito on the planet when I realized, that …(ahem) I do work for a health conscious company. And since I haven’t found any organic rum, I had to slightly alter my Mojito recipe to be acceptable by the standards of Urban Acres.

The best way to create the fizzy taste of a virgin Mojito is to use the ~ oh so delicious ~ kombucha. Kombucha not only will make this drink refreshing but also will calm your gut.

Kombucha Mojito (serving size for one)

- 11 mint leaves
- 1/4 lime, halved
- 1 tsp raw sugar
- 2 oz HOLY green apple ginger kombucha *
- 1 cup ice, crushed
- mint leaves, for decoration

* You can buy this and many other flavors by the growler at the Farmstead.

Muddle the mint leaves, lime, and sugar until the mint flavor releases. Add the ice and pour the kombucha over it. Stir with your muddler, decorate, and enjoy.

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Barbara’s virgin Mojito

After drinking a glass of this tasty drink, you might start to think what else you could use the rest of your mint leaves for. Well, if you like to pamper yourself after a long day of work, you have to try my homemade body scrub. I love the smell of mint and coconut, so I came up with a recipe to keep the fragrance lingering with me all night.

Coconut Mint Body Scrub

- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped

Mix all ingredients together and keep it in an air-tight container for up to a month.

Barbara's natural body scrub

Barbara’s natural body scrub

Use in the shower by gently rubbing the sugar scrub over your body. You will love the smoothness and smell of your skin after using this natural body scrub.

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Well friends, we promised Barbara that if she gets enough requests on our blog, she can share with you her prize winning Mojito recipe.

 

Container Gardening

March 15th, 2014

Finally the good weather is here and we are impatiently awaiting the arrival of the first seedlings at the Farmstead. Anita Mills, the Urban Acres master gardener, has been busy planting bulbs and seeds in all the containers around the Farmstead. And even though bad weather conditions tried to delay the planting process,  Anita has been unstoppable. The UA containers don’t look alive at this time but they will be a colorful addition to the urban landscape by the middle of April.

UA container gardens along Beckley Avenue.

UA container gardens along Beckley Avenue.

Pallets cut down and reformed into planter. Potatoes were planted on Wednesday.

Pallets cut down and reformed into a planter. Potatoes were planted for early July harvest.

Container plants lend instant color, provide a focal point in the garden, or tie in the architecture of the house to the garden. Place them on the ground or on a pedestal, mount them on a windowsill, or hang them from your porch.

Courtesy of Barbara B.

Courtesy of Barbara B.

Follow this easy Step by Step Guide and your containers will be full of happy plants come Spring and Summer

Choosing the right Container for Planting

Size: When choosing a container, keep in mind that it’s easier to grow plants in large containers than small ones. That’s because large containers hold more soil, which stays moist longer and is less subject to rapid temperature fluctuations.

Drainage: Whatever container you choose, drainage holes are essential. Without drainage, soil will become waterlogged and plants may die.

Materials: Each type of container has its pros and cons.

  • Clay or terra-cotta containers are attractive but breakable and are easily damaged by freezing and thawing.
  • Cast concrete pots are long-lasting but very heavy, so they are difficult to move and not suitable for using on decks or balconies.
  • Plastic and fiberglass pots and planters are lightweight, relatively inexpensive, and available in many sizes and shapes.
  • Wood is natural looking and protects roots from rapid temperature swings. You can build wooden planters yourself.
  • Metals are strong, but they conduct heat, exposing roots to rapid temperature fluctuations. Metal must be lined with plastic for growing edibles.

Preparing Your Containers

Since containers are heavy once they are filled with soil, decide where they will be located and move them into position before filling and planting. If keeping them watered during the day is a problem, look for sites that receive morning sun and are shaded during the hottest part of the day, even if you are growing plants for full sun. Afternoon shade will reduce the amount of moisture plants need.

Selecting Plants

Almost any vegetable, flower, herb, shrub, or small tree can grow successfully in a container. Dwarf and compact cultivars are best, especially for smaller pots. Select plants to suit the climate and the amount of sun or shade the container will receive.

Vegetables and herbs: You can grow vegetables in individual containers, like a single tomato plant or put several smaller vegetables such as broccoli or cabbage in one pot.

Annuals: For containers that remain attractive all summer long, look for warm-weather annuals that bloom all summer or have foliage that remains attractive. Geraniums, marigolds, wax begonias, scarlet sage are all good choices.

Perennials and shrubs: Containers planted with hardy perennials and shrubs can be grown and enjoyed from year to year. Hostas and daylilies are great container plants, but many other perennials work as well.

Caring for Container Plants

Water container plants thoroughly. How often depends on many factors such as weather, plant size, and pot size. Don’t let soil in containers dry out completely, as it is hard to re-wet. To keep large containers attractive, spread a layer of mulch as you would in the garden. This will also help retain moisture. Be sure to keep mulch an inch or so away from plant stems.

Container plants need regular feeding. Fertilize them by watering with compost tea (Worm Shine is available at the Farmstead).

Courtesy of Barbara B.

Courtesy of Barbara B.

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Anita will be offering gardening classes at the Farmstead in the next couple of weeks. Make sure you check our class schedule often.

Courtesy of Organic Gardening

Meet the Ladies ~ Dolly

February 10th, 2014

Our ladies have been quite a troopers these past few days. They kept close to each other to keep warm. We saw them all bundled up together in the Farmstead coop through these cold winter nights.

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The ladies in the coop

You have been reading about our ladies the last few weeks and today, you will learn to love the last lady of the coop, Dolly…

Dolly

Dolly is a Barred Rock, and is the oldest of our coop flock. Her coloring is a speckled black and white. She is our grand dame, the alpha hen, who loves to push the others around. Dolly is the first to emerge at feeding time from the safety of the coop. She always comes out clucking to find what goodies have been spread out in the run for sampling and is always the first to claim a piece of pear.

Dolly

Dolly

Dolly has been very vocal since arriving to the Baileys many years ago. After many days of listening her clucking away, she got named after the most popular country singer of our time, Dolly Parton. She didn’t disappoint the crowed visiting the coop the other day. She delighted both young and old with her “music”.

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Visitors at the coop

It’s always a joy to see young children connect to these lovely ladies. The purpose of the coop and its residents to educate the community about the lives of farm animals. Come visit and say hello to Dolly and her sisters next time you visit the Farmstead in Oak Cliff.

Meet the Ladies ~ Winnie

February 4th, 2014

Another cold week to pull through for our ladies at the Farmstead. We are so thankful for Anita, our Urban Acres grounds keeper, for her dedication to keep these lovely ladies comfortable under these insanely frigid conditions. Anita prepares the coop for the night not only by covering the run with a tarp but also heating a brick in her oven that she later wraps in a blanket and puts in the coop for the ladies to stay warm.

Let’s meet the third “sister” in the group, Winnie…

Winnie

Winnie, just like Penny, came to us from Peace and Love Farms and is still young. She is an Araucana, has a noble gray color and a long neck. Naming Winnie was easy; she got her name after the Baileys’ daughter’s favorite cartoon character ~ Winnie the Pooh. After watching many episodes of the “tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff”, naming her came naturally.

Winnie

Winnie

Winnie is shy of people, especially strangers. When it comes to feeding time, she is the last one to emerge after the greens (chard, bok choy or tatsoi), scratch, and pears have been spread out in the run. She lays green eggs and was the first lady to lay eggs in her new home – producing 4 eggs in one week.

Winnie's green egg

Winnie’s green egg

Please, be patient around Winnie when visiting the coop. Although, she will surely warm up to you after a few visits.

Meet the Ladies ~ Cee Lo

January 21st, 2014

Have you had the chance to visit the chicken coop at the Urban Acres Farmstead yet? Our 4 grown ladies have been busy clucking away. As the weather gets warmer, they have more and more to say. It’s a great feeling to provide these hens a home in an urban setting. Today, we’ll start a four part series to introduce you to the ladies of the Farmstead’s chicken coop.

Courtney Lorraine, a.k.a. Cee-Lo

It was a beautiful spring day when the Baileys, the founders of Urban Acres, made a visit to Gecko Hardware, which also happens to be our Lake Highlands produce pickup location. It was love at first sight when the Baileys’ young daughter spotted a chick with tiny fluffy, feathered feet –  a Black Cochin.  She hopped into their hands and was there to stay.  They named her Courtney Lorraine, a.k.a. Cee-Lo, because something about the Black Cochin‘s feathered swagger reminded them of the famous flamboyant pop artist.

Baby Cee-Lo with her new family, the Baileys

Baby Cee-Lo with her new family, the Baileys

The Baileys couldn’t stop loving on her. She settled into her new family and loved walking around the house while perched on Steven’s shoulder to get used to her new environment.

Checking out the house with Steven

Checking out the house with Steven

Fed on organic, non-GMO feed, Cee-Lo grew quickly.  She loved pecking and foraging in the Baileys’ backyard, and soon it was time to move her into her new home at the Farmstead.

She is a pullet, which means she is pre-egg-laying age. We’re expecting eggs from her any day now. Out of the four ladies, Cee-Lo is always first to investigate when fresh water is put out and loves to be the first to drink.

Cee-Lo

Cee-Lo perching on the ramp in the coop

Make sure you say hello to Cee-Lo when you visit the Farmstead. She will definitely cluck back to you.

What Is Kombucha?

December 30th, 2013

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Now on tap at the Urban Acres FarmsteadHoly Kombucha!  We’re thrilled to be able to provide our members and customers with this great health drink.  You can buy it by the cup to enjoy with your sandwich or in half-gallon glass “growlers” which are jugs that can be purchased and refilled at the Farmstead whenever you like.

{Random fact: kombucha can never be put in metal containers as it can damage the drink.}

So what is kombucha and why is it so great?  Kombucha has a uniquely tangy taste with an abundance of probiotic cultures in each bottle. Once referred to as the “elixir of life,” the health benefits of kombucha have been enjoyed by many cultures for centuries.

8 Things to Know About Kombucha:

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Ready to try some?  Come see us this weekend!