Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

052 Cut Flower Basics. Winter Chicken Care.

October 06, 2020 Fred Hoffman Season 1 Episode 52
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
052 Cut Flower Basics. Winter Chicken Care.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

If you have a pollinator friendly garden, you have all sorts of beautiful flowering plants. Why not bring some of that outdoor splendor indoors? Today, on the Garden Basics podcast, the appropriately named horticulture professor, Debbie Flower, offers tips on how best to harvest and prepare cut flowers for an indoor display (that's a combination of zinnias with garlic & onion flowers in the picture).
Also, for those of you living in colder climates, you might have some backyard chickens. How are you gonna warm this winter? Chicken expert Nicole Gennetta of Heritage Acres Market in Colorado has tips. And, as a retired firefighter, she has some very important advice on keeping your chickens and your property from becoming, barbecued, shall we say, due to heat lamp issues. And, how to keep your chicken’s water from freezing in the cold months ahead.
It’s Episode 52 of the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. Brought to you by Smart Pots. And we will do it all in under 30 minutes.
Links:
Help Your Cut Flowers Live Longer
Heritage Acres Market
Side Mount Chicken Water Nipples
Submersible Heater for Chickens' Water Supply
Sweeter Heater (infrared overhead heater for chicks)
Essential Nutrients chicken seed blend
Backyard Poultry Health Guide

More info including live links, product information, transcripts, and chapters available at the home site for Garden Basics with Farmer Fred.

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Farmer Fred:

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Farmer Fred 2:

Welcome to the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. If you're just a beginning gardener or you want good gardening information well you've come to the right spot. If you have a pollinator friendly garden, you have all sorts of beautiful flowering plants. Well, why not bring some of that outdoor splendor indoors? Today on the garden basics podcast the appropriately named horticulture Professor, Debbie Flowe,r offers tips on how best to harvest and prepare cut flowers for an indoor display. And for those of you living in colder climates, you just might have some backyard chickens. Well, how are you going to keep them warm this winter? Chicken expert Nicole Ginnetta of Heritage Acres Market in Colorado has some tips. And as a retired firefighter, she has some very important tips on keeping your chickens and your property from becoming, shall we say, barbecued due to heat lamp issues and how to keep your chickens water from freezing in the cold months ahead. It's Episode 52 of the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast brought to you by smart pots. And we're gonna do it all in under 30 minutes. Let's go.

Farmer Fred:

We always like to welcome Debbie Flower to the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. we like to answer questions and offer quick tips; and a quick tip Debbie, about picking flowers. when is the best time to pick flowers that they will last the longest in the house? And how should you cut them? And what should you do? Should you have a sink outside?

Debbie Flower:

Well, number one, the best time to pick them is in the morning because that's when they have the most sugar in them. plants make sugar in their green parts and then it has to travel to the other parts like the roots and the flowers that aren't green. And it takes time for that to happen. And a lot of that happens overnight. So in the morning as early as possible. You want it they are as full of sugar as they're going to be. And it's also cool. So the rate at which the plant is doing other things like using that sugar up is very slow so you go out in the morning, take a nice clean cutting device. I use pruning shears, sometimes I use scissors if the stems are soft enough for that. And I always take a container of water with me and cut longer than I think I'm going to want to use it indoors longer than I think it's going to be needed for the vase and put it in the water immediately. If I'm collecting something that has a daisy type center, I want to find that the flowers that where the daisy center is completely one color, or there's just a rim of yellow close to the pedals in the center of that Daisy is maybe a slightly different color. The center of a daisy flowers, a whole bunch of other flowers and they open from the outside in and so if the flowers newly open the first flowers in the center of the daisy to open will be on the outside rim. Cut them with a nice sharp cut, put them in my water, bring them in the house. I like to have floral preservative. You buy that at a number of places, but it's called floral preservative. It's a powder, the label tells you how much powder to put in how much water, mix it up, put that in the vase. And then when I'm going to put the flowers into the vase, I estimate take them out of the water I had him outside estimate how tall they want them. If possible, have a couple inches of water in a bucket or in the sink and submerge the stem under that water cut than the new length and then as fast as I can put it into the floral preservative in the face that prevents something that is called embolism and embolism is an air bubble in the plumbing of the plant and some flowers don't it isn't a big problem but in other flowers it is and it can shorten the life of the plant. So picking in the morning when it's cool and the plant is full of sugars using putting the plant the cut flowers immediately into water. cutting them underwater and putting them into floral preservative water are the things that will last make them last the longest. Be aware cut flowers use a lot of water the first day or two. So check them that evening. And you may need to add and now you just add fresh water to the vase. And if they're going to last a really long time if you have something like orchids which would not have been grown outdoors. You're going to want to change the water every three or four days because it gets kind of slimy and stuff grows in there. And you can cut new bottoms to the flowers at that time and that will Extend your floral bouquet in the house.

Farmer Fred:

Does the temperature of the water matters? Should it be cold water? Warm water? Hot water?

Debbie Flower:

Good question. The temptation with the floral preservative is to use hot water because it dissolves faster that way. But hot water is not a good thing for plants. So we just want it to be room temperature water, that would be the best.

Farmer Fred:

What about the eventual length of the stem that you're going to put in the vase? Is there a general rule of thumb as far as how tall that stem should be, compared to the size of the vase?

Debbie Flower:

Well, when in design, there's a two thirds rule. And it typically says that the container and this is for potted plants as well, the containers should be one third of the height. And that also applies to floral arrangements, that the base should be one third, the height of the finished floral arrangement. So the flowers would stick out twice, two thirds of the way.

Farmer Fred:

So for instance, if the vase was eight inches tall, you would want that stem to be a total of 24 inches long.

Debbie Flower:

Yes, eight plus 16. Yes. Now, of course, I don't know about you, but I don't follow those rules. If the flowers I'm being offered don't have stems that long, I don't have that choice. Or I might not have the right vase. Don't fret if if you don't have long enough flowers. But another thing I should mention is you should remove any leaves that are going to be in the water, those are just going to rot and cause bad things to grow in the water. So take those off before putting the stems in the water.

Farmer Fred:

And finally, best place to display plants. Should they be in a window? Or can they be near a vent?

Debbie Flower:

Yeah, some things are going to shorten the life of the those. The flowers in a vase and lots of air blowing on them is one of those things that will shorten their life if they're on top of something hot. used to. We used to recommend you not put them on top of the television but televisions have gotten much skinnier and so that's not likely to be a place where you would put them but near some kind of a machine that gives off a lot of heat will shorten the amount of time you have that beautiful display. blowing air will shorten that as well. Window doesn't really matter. These are no longer growing plants. If they can absorb some water in their vascular system. They're doing it but they are not making food anymore. So window would be a great place if you like the light or the view or the picture it creates, but it's not required to keep the plants the cut flowers alive.

Farmer Fred:

Well we learned about cut flowers We always love love to have Debbie Flower drop by and give us a quick tip for two. Thank you, Debbie.

Debbie Flower:

My pleasure, Fred.

Farmer Fred:

We're glad to have smart pots on board supporting the garden basics podcast. Smart pots are the original award winning fabric planter. They're sold worldwide. smart pots are proudly made 100% in the USA. I'm pretty picky about who I allowed to advertise on this program. My criteria, though, is pretty simple. It has to be a product I like; a product I use; a product I would buy again. And smart pots clicks all those boxes. They're durable. They're reusable. Smart Pots are available at independent garden centers and select Ace and true value stores nationwide. To find a store near you visit smart pots.com slash Fred. It's smart pots, the original award winning fabric planter. go to smartpots dot com slash Fred for more info and that special farmer Fred discount on your next smart pot purchase, go to smartpots.com slash Fred. Cold weather care for chickens? Now, out here in California, we don't have too much experience with that. So I thought we would talk to somebody who has to deal with it on a seasonal basis. Every year. We're talking to Nicole Ginnetta of Heritage Acres market.com. And she has an excellent website. She has a marketplace. She has a podcast as well. We'll find out about that, as well as chicken care in the wintertime and more. So Nicole, first of all, welcome to the show. And please tell us about Heritage Acres Market.

Nicole Ginnetta:

Well thank you so much, Fred. I really appreciate you having me on the show today. It's an honor. Heritage Acres is a online resource for hobby farmers. I kind of try to appeal to lots of different aspects of hobby farming, while my kind of specialty or expertise or focus or whichever word you would like to use is on backyard poultry and beekeeping. I do bring on some guests and talk about some other topics. Things like gardening or different different livestock or you know animal husbandry In a whole wide variety of topics.

Farmer Fred:

So here it is, we're going into October. Let's start with chickens, because I believe probably it's kind of like gardening in that you're going to have the best luck with plants that are native to your area, I would think that with chickens, you might be better off with having chickens that are acclimated naturally to colder weather.

Nicole Ginnetta:

Absolutely. So if you live somewhere that gets colder like we do, I would recommend when you're trying to figure out which breeds to add to your flock to choose ones that are more winter hardy. and a lot of hatcheries will be able to tell you that there. There's so many different breeds and that you could choose from that it'd be hard to go through and list them all but kind of some of the things to look for in a winter hardy breed are ones that have a small comb, or a pea comb. You basically you don't want one that has like a big giant comb like some of the leghorns might have ones that have, I would say normal feathering, so you would want to try and avoid silkies or frizzles or, or kind of those specialty breeds because they don't have that good layer of down that that can protect them in the cold months. And then sort of related is I would try to avoid having young birds during the cold winter months. Ones that would need the supplemental heat. If you can get birds in the spring and that way, come winter time. They're they're full grown and they can keep themselves warm, that would be better.

Farmer Fred:

Now what is interesting about your story is you're a retired firefighter and part of your job when you were a firefighter was putting out chicken coop fires. So I imagine you're not too fond of heaters.

Nicole Ginnetta:

I am not. I spent about 10 years of my life as a firefighter paramedic, and recently left on a medical retirement in an on the job injury. But in my tenure there we not only had chicken coop fires, but even full house fires because either a chicken coop was too close to the house and ended up catching the house on fire when they were using a heat lamp or in one situation. family had birds in the garage with a heat lamp, the heat lamp fell, caught the garage on fire kept the house on fire. Fortunately, the humans were all unscathed, but can't say the same unfortunately for the birds. So I'm not a fan of heat lamps for a number of reasons. The obvious being the the fire hazard, they are incredibly dangerous. There are some safer options. I would say that no. Anytime you're running electricity and heat in a chicken coop, it's not going to be 100% failsafe, but if I could have one takeaway, it would just be to please avoid heat lamps because they are so dangerous. But also, even if you were to use a heat lamp and and you weren't concerned about the fire hazard, which which I feel like everybody should be one of the other problems that people don't really realize is, let's say that we have a heat lamp in our chicken coop and the chicken coop is, you know, 40 or 50 degrees, because it's the middle of winter. If we get a winter snowstorm that comes in and we lose power, which is really common here in the Midwest, and that heat source goes out, that sudden change in temperature will more than likely, unfortunately, kill your entire flock because your flock hasn't acclimated to the cold temperatures. So going from 40 degrees to zero or whatever it may be outside in just a short period of time during the power loss. That's really going to shock the birds and it's definitely going to be an unfortunate outcome. So lots of reasons to avoid heat sources. If if at all possible.

Farmer Fred:

I would think that people hearing this in colder

climates might be saying:

well, electricity goes out, not a problem. I'll use a propane heater. But I imagine that as an ex firefighter, you would dissuade them from that.

Nicole Ginnetta:

Yeah, anything especially that has an open flame or you know, I've heard people putting those, like oil heaters and stuff out there. I mean, it's it's all dangerous, even if you think that it's an enclosed heat source and that it's not going to be a risk. You know, you have to worry about mice chewing on cords or chickens knocking things over because they're because they're clumsy and things like that. But if you absolutely have to use a heat source, let's say let's say you live somewhere that normally has mild winter, but you're getting just like a random cold snowstorm that's coming through or maybe an early season coldsnap like we just had here in Colorado recently. There is one product that I'm not affiliated with, but it's called a sweeter heater and it's an enclosed infrared heater that according to their website, they've never had a fire as a result of people using their product. So I would say that in an emergency or you know, if you if you had to use something, again, young birds in early September snow storm that would be probably your safest option. But again, nothing is is foolproof. There's always that potential.

Farmer Fred:

As I'm fond of saying on the show, all gardening is local. And I guess all chickens are local, too. So I guess the first good piece of advice to protect your chickens in cold weather is to choose those breeds that are built for cold weather.

Nicole Ginnetta:

Yeah, absolutely, like touching again, on on what we were talking about earlier, small combs, small wattles, and I guess properly feathered, you know, not not the decorative feathery ones like the silkies are definitely going to be your best. And then if you have a reputable breeder in your area, and I would emphasize the reputable, that kind of breeds some cold hardy or birds that are adapted more to your area. For example, we have a local breeder that breeds a variety of Easter Eggers that have some smaller combs and wattles. So they're good for winter, but they're also more comfortable in the heat because we do get some pretty extreme heat. So like hundred and five is not uncommon. So they're a good hardy breed for for all seasons.

Farmer Fred:

What about water? How do you keep water from freezing in the wintertime for the chickens?

Nicole Ginnetta:

Yeah, water is definitely a challenge. And when I first started keeping chickens, some days I seriously contemplated whether or not this was for me, because I'm not particularly fond of the cold and having to get up early before work and put on my snow gear and trudge out through the snow and break water and do that, at least twice a day was, it was not my favorite chore at all. And so I've had chickens now, Well, really for most of my life, but in my adult life, I've had them for about six years now. And a couple years ago, I came across a product that has made chicken winter water so much easier. And I use it with all of my birds, whether it's the chickens, or the turkeys, or even my pigeons use these and their side mount chicken nipples. And while they have a funny name, they're basically a watering device that screws into the side of a container. For my chickens, I use a 55 gallon drum and for everybody else, I use five gallon buckets. And then in that container, I drop a submersible heater. And it works really great. I only have to fill up my chicken water now, maybe once a month, usually more like once every two months or so. And because it's a completely enclosed system with those sidemount nipples, there's no algae. The nipples themselves don't freeze. So I use the the submersible heater to keep the actual water from freezing. But the nipples themselves don't freeze.

Farmer Fred:

Yeah, I would imagine that any nipple that's horizontally mounted has less chance of freezing than one that's vertically mounted.

Nicole Ginnetta:

It does. So the horizontal one also because of the way that it seals and itself drains, it doesn't hold any water inside of the barrel or the nipple itself. Whereas those vertical ones, the ones that you see hanging from the bottom of the bucket, those keep water inside of them. So even if you use a submersible heater, that nipple that's sticking out of the bucket that's not being heated by that heater, they're going to end up freezing and breaking, because they do hold the water inside of them. And then you know, there's some other watering options, the traditional water that you see kind of that open dish with the reservoir or the cups. But I really don't like those because they freeze. The chickens tend to break those cups. They hold dirt and algae and they're also not they can kind of promote the spread of disease because it's that open watering system. And if one bird that might be ill drinks out of that then they put bacteria in there that all the other birds are going to drink out so that the other birds are going to also consume and could risk spreading illness. Whereas those horizontal nipples there, they keep the water in close so when one bird drinks out of it, the water comes out and then when they're done drinking the water stops so you're not going to risk that spread of disease either.

Farmer Fred:

I noticed on your website that you have something that really intrigues me and that's a grow your own food for your chickens you have a seed blend.

Nicole Ginnetta:

I do. It's our essential nutrients seed blend and I like to use that year round with chickens. In the summer, what I'll do is I'll build a, a two by four planter basically in their coop and fill it with dirt and put wire on top of it. And I plant that seed blend and whatever sticks out above the wire the chickens can can pick up but they can't dig it and mess it up because the wire that's on top, and that seed blends really nice because we did a lot of research when putting that together. And it It provides some omega threes and micronutrients like vitamins A and E that can be lacking in the, in the traditional manufactured food that we feed the chickens and, you know, not everybody can free range their birds. So this is a really good way to kind of give them a treat, but also give them some additional vitamins and things that they enjoy. And in the winter, I'll grow it in either a planter or in a flat and then I'll I'll trim the tops off and go give them a handful and then in a couple days it'll have grown some more and it's just kind of a repeating process and it's a really good kind of treat and little addition to their diet that they really enjoy.

Farmer Fred:

What's kind of wire covering is it? it's not chicken wire, I wouldn't think.

Nicole Ginnetta:

No, the chicken wire you can use that but it doesn't work too well because it tends to sag. So I really like to use hardware cloth for really everything with chickens. So it's just a half inch hardware cloth over the top. And, and it works great. It keeps them from messing it up and they can just peck at it all day.

Farmer Fred:

Yeah, I would think too, that you can control digging critters that might try to get into a chicken coop by putting that half inch hardware cloth beneath your chicken coop as well.

Nicole Ginnetta:

Yeah, and I actually don't put it beneath the chicken coop. But what I do is I use that hardware cloth to make a skirt around the perimeter of the outside so that anything digging can't dig into it. And we have a lot of issues with predators from coyotes to hawks and owls and even badgers. Snakes. haven't seen any foxes yet. And we don't really have any bears. But that hardware cloth really works well to keep, especially like dogs and stuff from from digging in, they hit that wire and eventually they just give up because they can't get through.

Farmer Fred:

You have a lot at Heritage Acres Market.com and you have a chicken newsletter I hear.

Nicole Ginnetta:

I do. So we have a chicken newsletter that we provide, you know, seasonal tips. So I have one that's getting ready to come out in about a week for winter chicken care, actually. And it has a number of resources and things like that. And if anybody would like to sign up for that they can just text the word chickens to 244222. And that way, you can just put in your email address and get signed up. Or if you are not so tech savvy, you can also go just to the website and sign up for our newsletter there as well.

Farmer Fred:

Heritage acres market.com has a lot of interesting things available at your website too. You got books, you've got clothing, and you have bee gear closeout sale going on.

Nicole Ginnetta:

Yeah, I have a variety of products on there. The bee gear closeout is just some products that I had. So they're kind of one and done once they're sold out, they're gone. And we're getting a little low on stock there. But kind of probably our two most popular products would be the backyard poultry health Guide, which is an E book. it's about 60 pages long. And it covers a lot of the common chicken ailments and their diagnosis and treatment and you know some kind of home remedies and things so you know, not everybody has access to a poultry vet and this isn't necessarily meant to take away from that. But you know, maybe you just need some help with the sick chicken and hopefully that can offer you some suggestions and guidance and then the poultry nipples that I mentioned earlier. I actually do sell those on my website. I'm really proud to offer the original ones that are made in Europe. I import them from Denmark and they're the original ones. They've been on the market for chickens for about 10 years but the company has been making them for about 25 years and they're really high quality they're made in in Denmark and I offer a lifetime leak free guarantee on them. And any other poultry nipples sidemount poultry nipple that you would purchase from anybody else except for heritage acres. We also offer them on Amazon, but any of the other sellers they're made in China and there there is a noticeable difference in quality so I'm really proud to be able to offer the the premium quality with a lifetime leak free guarantee. So that poultry owners can know that they have the best for their flock.

Farmer Fred:

And for homesteaders, even if you're raising chickens or bees or whatever, or gardening, you have a great podcast, the backyard bounty podcast,

Nicole Ginnetta:

I do. The Backyard Bounty podcast covers a lot of topics. I like to invite people on the show that have expertise and things that I don't know about. And so then we can all learn together. So I have a whole variety of different guests, from university, researchers, honeybee researchers to people that that could raise ducks commercially. I've got some folks that have a sugar bush for maple syrup. I've got a gentleman that's supposed to be on here in a bit that talks about raising buffalo. And hopefully we can have you on the show here soon to talk some about gardening.

Farmer Fred:

Great, maybe I can talk about growing organic heirloom popcorn.

Unknown:

Oh, that would be fun.

Farmer Fred:

We're just about out of time here. So we're gonna have Nicole back to talk about winter bee care. And we'll talk more about heritage acres market.com as well. And Nicole, thank you so much for a few minutes of your time.

Nicole Ginnetta:

Absolutely. It was an absolute pleasure and I really appreciate you having me on the show and and I look forward to being back on again sometime soon.

Farmer Fred:

The Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast has a lot of information posted at each episode: transcripts links to any products or books mentioned during the show, and other helpful links for even more information. Plus, you can listen to just the portions of the show that interest you. It's been divided into easily accessible chapters and you'll find more information about how to get in touch with us. We have links to all our social media outlets, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Also a link to the farmerfred.com website. That's where you can find out more information about the radio shows. You remember radio, right? Now, if the place where you access the podcast doesn't have all that information, you can find it all at our home podcaster, Buzzsprout. Buzzsprout.com. Just look for the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. You'll find a link to it in the show notes.

Farmer Fred 2:

Garden Basics comes out every Tuesday and Friday and it's available just about anywhere podcasts are handed out. And that includes Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, I Heart Radio, overcast, Spotify, stitcher, tune in, and hey, Alexa, play the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, would you please? Thank you for listening, subscribing and leaving comments. We appreciate it.

Cut Flower Basics
Smart Pots!
Winter Chicken Care