Stock My Pond visits J & N Feed and Seed in Graham, Texas on October 30th from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. The truck will have channel cat, large mouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, hybrid bluegill, red ear bream, and fathead minnows. The truck provides containers for all fish but the 11 inch channel cats, so please bring your own containers for them.
It is not necessary to pre-order the fish, but if you are looking for a large quantity we suggest you call. Questions? Call Stock My Pond at 501-676-3768.
It can be tricky to get hummingbirds coming to your yard, but once you have the right environment you’ll have the visiting and coming back for more! Here are the top 8 things the hummingbird society recommends for success:
Provide a place for bathing:
More than most birds, hummers need to bathe regularly, due to the sticky nature of nectar.
They prefer very shallow, moving water, or a spray mist.
Placing nesting material near a feeder may attract female hummingbirds to nest near you, so you will be more likely to see them during the 5-7 weeks they are brooding or caring for their young.
“Hummer Helper®” is a practical nesting material and is available at many bird stores and garden centers.
Hummer nests are often re-used, wholly or in part.
Leave a nest in place; it is illegal to possess a nest or any part of it without a permit.
Hummingbirds don’t use “birdhouses” for their nests, because they are not cavity nesters.
Hummers return to sites where they found good food supplies the year before. Give them a reason to come back to you!
Now is the time to get your hay crop seed. We have over 40 types of seed including 3 Way Cross Sudan Seed and Bermuda grass seed. We also have bagged and bulk fertilizer available. Stop by J & N Feed and Seed or call us for delivery at (940) 549-4631.
As we continue to deal with drought conditions, it’s important to know how to keep your yard and plants looking good without wasting water. Here are 8 options to consider:
1. Soaker hoses put water where you want it. Lay out a soaker hose alongside rows or through beds to deliver water gradually without waste. Soaker hoses can be damaged by sun, though, so cover them with a layer of mulch. Also keep in mind that soaker hoses are more efficient than overhead sprinkling, but not quite as efficient as drip irrigation. In the winter, take up your hose and protect it from freezing weather, again to avoid damaging the material. It sounds odd, but the soaker could spring a leak; then too much water might ooze out in one place and keep it from moving through the entire length of the hose.
2. Try drip irrigation. This is a little more trouble because you have to run a tube to every plant, but it works great in small gardens and pots. The tubes and emitters deliver water where you place them (at the base of each plant) and nowhere else. This is the most efficient method of watering.
Use a distributor to section off parts of the garden so that you can water them independently of each other. The distributor allows you to control the flow to whichever hose you choose.
3. Water in sections. Some parts of the garden may get thirstier than others, depending on the soil, amount of sun, and how the crop grows. For example, deeply planted tomatoes (two-thirds underground per Bonnie instructions) may have access to deep soil moisture while the pole beans are hurting. In this case, it helps to water the garden in sections, connecting more than one soaker hose to a distributor that provides adjustable outlets off one faucet. This lets you turn on one section and turn off another. Most soaker hoses and drip systems are sold in varying lengths.
4. Water deeply. Let water get way down into the soil. Frequent, shallow watering is tempting, but it’s not good, as it encourages roots to stay near the surface and makes plants more susceptible to drought. It is better to water plenty (which means deeply) once or twice a week than to water a little every day. By deep watering we mean applying at least an inch of water at a time. You can measure this by placing a container where it can catch the water. When it is filled to an inch, you’ve applied enough. Standing in place while you water with the hose, although tempting, is not usually a way to water deeply. Time or patience usually run out and water runs off. Use soaker hoses, drip, or sprinklers.
5. Mulch around plants. A 2- to 3-inch layer of straw or other mulch around your plants helps keep the soil moist longer by providing a barrier between the soil and the drying effects of sun and hot air. The mulch also helps keep weed seeds from sprouting. You can mulch with straw, pine straw, homemade compost, or even sheets of newspaper (4 sheets thick).
6. Use a timer. A timer on your spigot will turn off the flow of water without your having to depend on your memory or schedule. You can buy these at garden centers and home improvement stores at prices starting about $20. They’re worth every penny, as they make it easy to have a garden and a job, too!
7. Add compost to improve the soil. Heavy clay can hold lots of water, but it really does get as hard as a brick when it dries. So compost makes it easier on plants in heavy soil. It also helps sandy soil, which absolutely does not hold water. Sand is actually tiny grains of rock that are impervious to water, so adding compost, which sponges up moisture, increases the ability of a sandy soil to hold water from the hose or the heavens. If you don’t have a compost pile going, it is never too late to start one. You can also buy bagged mushroom compost (a byproduct of mushroom farms) that makes a good soil additive.
8. Collect water in rain barrels. Rain barrels are an increasingly popular way to collect rainwater to use later in the garden. You can buy official rain barrels with spouts or you can fashion your own from many types of barrels or large containers. Use these to collect water from gutter downspouts or other areas where water runs and is easily collected, then save the water for a not-so rainy day. Just be sure that whatever container you use can’t be reached by small children, and place screening over the opening to keep mosquitoes and litter out.
Stop by our garden center for all your gardening needs!
By weeks four and five, you begin noticing that your chicks look a bit “unkept” as their fluffy appearance slowly disappears and their fuzzy down is replaced with feathers of a mature bird. Chicks will usually be fully feathered by 5 to 6 weeks of age. You also observe their wattles and combs growing larger and taking on a deeper red color. Your babies are growing up!
As they mature, chicks naturally establish a “pecking order” which determines each chick’s social position in the flock. Their place in the order will determine who eats and drinks first and ultimately who “rules the roost.” This order is determined early in life and is completely normal.
Although establishment of a pecking order is normal behavior, you should be watchful for excessive pecking in chicks as it may indicate a more serious problem, cannibalism. This is when birds peck the feathers and other body parts of other birds and if allowed to get out of hand, can lead to bleeding, open sores and even death. Cannibalism can occur at any age and needs to be controlled as soon as it rears its ugly head! It is costly and can spread through a flock rapidly if left unchecked. Cannibalism is usually the result of stress, which can be caused by poor management. Some of these stressors may include crowding, excessive heat, bright lighting, noise, hunger, thirst, the presence of sick or injured chicks, and parasites as well as any other factor that causes stress. Providing the correct living environment in terms of these factors will help reduce the potential for cannibalism from occurring in your flock.
things to do this week
Your chicks require less heat as time goes by and they grow larger and more able to regulate their body temperature. Continue reducing the temperature each week to keep them comfortable to a minimum of 65°F.
Continue providing clean fresh water each day and providing unlimited Sunfresh® Recipe Start & Grow® in their feeders.
As your chicks grow, adjust the height of the feeders and waterers. A good rule of thumb is to keep them adjusted to the birds’ back height while standing. This will help to keep litter out of feeders and waterers, as well as curious chicks!
Around 4 weeks of age, ducklings and goslings will thoroughly enjoy the addition of a swimming area. Be sure if you provide this to keep any resulting wet litter cleaned up! Because of their water-loving, messy nature, it is best to separate ducklings and goslings from chicks.
tips to grow on
Maintain good sanitation practices to reduce the chance of disease. Bigger chicks make bigger messes!
As the chicks grow, make sure they have sufficient space to prevent crowding. Additional feeders and waterers may need to be added now to allow adequate space for all chicks to eat and drink at the same time.
Keep a close eye on your chicks for signs of possible health issues. Chicks that are sick may appear droopy, listless, have diarrhea or be unwilling to eat.
Your chicks will soon be mature enough to leave the brooder and move into more permanent living quarters, the chicken coop. If you don’t have one ready, now is a good time to start looking into getting one and preparing it for new occupants. You’ll be surprised at how fast your chicks will grow and how quickly moving day will arrive!
Many types of poultry housing are available for purchase or you can venture to build your own.
April can be a tricky month with the weather here in Texas. This year we had some cold nights in March, so you may have delayed your tomato planting. In order to get a nice summer harvest we recommend getting them planted soon. But if you’ve delay until mid-April, here are some tips:
Which varieties are best? Choose your varieties carefully. With a late planting date, it becomes most important that you avoid the huge types like Big Boy, Beefsteak and others. They simply aren’t going to set fruit when temperatures climb above 90. There’s some type of physiological issue that prevents them from doing so, and that same problem stops fruit set when it’s below 70 degrees at night. You’ll be doing well to get five or six fruits from these types that were bred for the Midwest.
Thanks to seed company mergers and the ongoing quest for something new, you’ll also find many of your old favorite tomato varieties are no longer available. Carnival, Merced and 444 are just a few of the types that have disappeared from the market.
What are the best types? Small to mid-sized fruit. In order of increasing size, your shopping list should include Red Cherry, Red or Yellow Pear, Sweet 100 and other super-sweet types, Porter, Roma, Super Fantastic and Celebrity. Look for stout transplants in 4-inch pots. They should be 6 to 8 inches tall, and they need to be toughened to withstand sunlight and wind. If you’ve already planted tomatoes, and if you don’t have any of these smaller types, you still have time to add a few in.
How should I prepare the soil? Set your plants into well-prepared garden soil to which you have added several inches of organic matter (compost, pine bark mulch, rotted manure and sphagnum peat moss, among others). Plant in beds that have been raised by 5 or 6 inches to ensure good drainage should we have extended periods of rainy weather. Set the plants out 42 to 48 inches apart in rows that are 60 inches apart. If you have transplants that are slightly leggy, dig a shallow trench for each plant and plant it at a 45-degree angle. It will form adventitious roots along the portion of the stem that you plant below grade. Water the plants as soon as you have them all set out.
What are some key points for growing? Keep the plants off the ground as they begin to grow. Cages you can buy in stores are usually too small for Texas tomato plants. Your plants would probably grow up and out of them before you really started to harvest your crop. It’s much better, instead, to put 5-foot-tall wire cages around every plant. Concrete reinforcing wire works best. Cut it into 54-inch lengths, so that each cage will be approximately 17 inches in diameter. Allow all the “suckers” (branches) to develop, and keep them pushed back within the cages. They will shade the ripening tomatoes and protect them from sunscald.
You can also grow tomatoes in patio pots, as long as they’re large enough to allow normal root growth. In most cases, that will mean 7- or 10-gallon pots, and you’ll want to fill them with a lightweight, highly organic potting soil. Remember that potted tomato plants will dry out much more quickly than their in-ground counterparts, so prepare to water them frequently. Tomatoes that are allowed to wilt badly, whether in pots or in the ground, will typically develop blossom-end rot. The ends of the fruits away from the stems will have brown, sunken spots that will ruin the fruit quality completely.
What about pests? The prime pests of spring tomatoes, in order of their appearance, will be aphids, early blight and spider mites. Aphids are already showing up. They’re small pear-shaped insects that congregate on the newest growth. They’re not the worst pests you might encounter, but you’ll still want to keep them washed off with a hard stream of water. You can also eliminate them with most general-purpose insecticides that are labeled for vegetables.
Early blight usually shows up in mid-May. Thumbprint-sized, bright yellow blotches show up on the bottom-most leaves. Left unchecked, it then spreads up the stems. Keep the foliage as dry as you can, and apply a labeled fungicide to stop its spread. When grooming your plants, take care not to carry the fungal spores to healthy plants via your hands.
Spider mites typically appear about three weeks after you see early blight, so that usually means mid-June in our part of Texas. Lower leaves will have fine light tan mottling, and the discoloration will quickly spread up the stems. By the time you see fine webs between the leaves, you will have waited too long. If you want to confirm early outbreaks, thump a suspect leaf over a sheet of white paper. If you see tiny specks starting to move about freely, those are the mites. Most general-purpose insecticides will offer some degree of control.
We all look forward to spring, when the trees bud, the birds sing and the grasses are that beautiful, rich green. It’s a time when nature can help undo some of the damage that bad weather, low-quality forage—and yes, even less than perfect management techniques—may have inflicted on your herd.
Spring pastures deliver the maximum levels of protein and energy, according to Ted Perry, Purina Animal NutritionBeef Nutritionist. While spring grasses are loaded with nutrients, a balanced mineral supplement should always be offered, he explained.
“In the spring, you want to make sure the cows are getting enough magnesium,” Perry said. “Spring forages are high in protein, energy, phosphorus and potassium, but they can be lower in magnesium. This mineral imbalance can cause grass tetany.”
When preparing cows for calving and rebreeding, there are clear benefits from utilizing as many of those spring grass nutrients as possible to increase body condition, especially in cows that have become thin over the winter. Rotational grazing is one method that helps us take advantage of the nutrients in spring grasses. If a farm is set up to accommodate this practice, moving cows through different pastures, he recommends allowing them to graze down to 3-4 inches before moving them to other pastures where grasses are 8-9 inches high.
Forage analysis can also be helpful in determining mineral needs, Perry explained, but they only paint a “wide brush stroke”. You can’t rely on such analyses alone to prescribe exactly what’s needed.
Many variables affect the results of forage testing,including different species in the pasture and different times of the year. And, even when a broad cross-section of samples is diligently collected, you still may not get an accurate picture of consumption.“
In a study we conducted in the 80s, we used a lawnmower to collect samples which represented all the forages in a given area,” Perry offered. “Then, we compared those with what the cows were eating. We found the two samples to be very different. Cows are selective about what they eat, so forage analysis tells you what’s out there in total, but not necessarily what the cows are eating.”
Approximately 40 percent of cows in the United States never get any supplemental minerals, according to Perry. And, minerals are key to a cow’s production efficiency, both in terms of feed efficiency and milk production.
“Minerals help make all of a cow’s biological systems work better and more efficiently,” he stated. “We know that when cows receive adequate minerals, their rumen function,feed efficiency, and reproduction all improve. You can’t really measure milk production in beef cattle operations, but we know milk production drops in dairy cows when they do not receive adequate minerals. So, we can presume a similar correlation in beef cattle.”
“The cost of a mineral program is minimal—only $35-40 of the $400-500 it will cost you to keep the cow,” he added. “Without it, you take the chance that the cow will not produce a $1,000 calf. The minerals assure she will be as efficient as possible. And, in the drought conditions we’ve had the last couple of years, we need to do everything we can to enhance cow production. Mineral supplements with the appropriate additives also give us an easy, economical way to deliver fly control and antibiotics to prevent anaplasmosis.”
Purina Animal Nutrition offers more than 100 different formulations of minerals that target different seasons, different forage and pasture types and different weather patterns. The Wind & Rain® Storm® minerals have been specially formulated for consistent, predictable intake and also resist losses due to wind, rain and even storms.
Talk to us all the mineral supplement options available to you and how we can help you choose the mineral program that’s right for your operation at any given time of year.
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