Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Goat giveaway!

Yes, believe it or not, we are going to do a giveaway for two doelings-little girl goats.  You have to be local so you can come pick them up although I guess if you want to pay all the money for shipping you're welcome to it lol!  These babies are a la mancha/boer cross and their mother is an amazingly good producer of milk.  The babies are about 2 months old now and very friendly.  They're good eaters, which is why we weaned them so young.  They practically skeletonized their mother and now they are eating hay without a problem.
So why would we give away two goats that we could just as easily sell?  
Well, our family was sitting around the table discussing our mission as a family and as a business.  Our mission is basically to encourage people to be more self-sufficient and more in touch with farming.  What could we do to achieve this mission?  We want to encourage others into farming and we decided a great way to do this would be to give people farm animals!  It's the price that is prohibitive to a lot of people and there's no cheaper than free.  Each of these babies would probably sell for $75-100 so this is a pretty awesome giveaway.  Plus we'll give you a free tour of the ranch when you pick up your baby.
So what do you need to do to get your goat?
To enter to win:

1) Like Flip Flop Ranch on Facebook (if you already like our fb page, share the post on your own page)
2) Sign up to follow us (via email, bloglovin', Google +, pinterest, etc. options on right sidebar)
3) Leave a comment below as well as a way to contact you if you are the winner
4) We'll announce the winners on Friday Aug 9!

Here's some extra credit!  If you want to win a free breeding for your goat to one of our bucks, get one of your friends to enter to win and leave a comment saying that it was you who twisted their arm to do it!

The two winners will be chosen at random from all entries on Friday, Aug 9th.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Monthly To Do List for Desert Gardening

Your Desert Garden - Monthly Do List for July

  • Plant your Bermuda lawns if you haven't already.
  • Fertilize Bermuda grass lawns with 1/2 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
  • Apply iron to your lawn once per month.
  • If it's time to dethatch, do it during May through August. Dethatch every two or three years to rejuvenate the grass.
  • Pick early-maturing deciduous fruit, which are particularly prone to bird damage. Pick before full maturity. Ripen the fruit at room temperature.
  • Prune palms when flower spathes show or delay pruning until after the palm has finished flowering to prevent infestation of Palm Flower caterpillars. If palms are pruned in the spring, leave the top five rows of peels so the caterpillars have a place to hide.
  • Cut off dead blooms to stimulate rebloom.
  • July is a good time to plant desert shrubs and trees such as red bird of paradise, fairy duster, and Texas ranger. Shrubs and vines such as bougainvillea also may be planted, and these do well in the sun and heat. Be sure to water all new plantings for at least two weeks before you cut back.
  • Bougainvillea will produce more blooms if you reduce the water. They are drought-tolerant. Less water, more blooms.
  • Apply mulch to the ground around heat sensitive plants keep the roots cooler and prevent evaporation.
  • Apply chelated iron to bottle brush, pyracantha, silk oak, and other plants with iron deficiency symptoms.
  • Heat tolerant plants can be planted right through the summer months. They will need to be watered on a regular basis until fall.
  • Transplant palms in the heat of the summer for best results.
  • Protect newly transplanted trees from heavy winds and dust storms by staking.
  • Water mature trees deeply about every two weeks, every week for younger trees.
  • Cut back on fertilizing established roses to encourage plants to slow down for the hot summer.
  • Water roses deeply as temperatures rise. Fertilize roses at half rate every six weeks during the summer. Water deeply both before and after fertilizing to prevent fertilizer burn damage.
  • Hose off roses in the early morning to increase humidity and control spider mites.
  • Flowers for summer color include: celosia, coreopsis, cosmos, gazanias, globe amaranth, portulaca, zinnia, salvia, vinca (periwinkle), gomphorena and verbena.
  • Flowerbeds will need irrigation every other day through the summer.
  • Use ammonium phosphate in flower beds to increase and keep flowers blooming.
  • Stake taller flowers to prevent damage from summer winds.
  • Nurseries still have summer flowers, but you will have to water them every day in the morning for about two weeks before you can reduce watering to every other day.
  • Tomatoes don't do well when it's over 90°F. Nurse the plants through the summer while providing shade and they will begin producing again in the fall. Alternatively, pull them out and plant new ones in the late summer for fall production.
  • Plant seeds for beans (pinto and snap), corn, Armenian cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, winter squash, sunflowers
  • Plant transplants: peppers, tomatoes.
  • Keep plants moist. Wilted leaves in the morning are a sign of moisture stress. Late afternoon wilting may be heat stress.
  • Shade tomatoes, squash, peppers and cucumbers to reduce the heat and help them survive a little longer. Mulch on top of the soil also cools it and helps retain moisture.
  • Use sunscreens that offer no more than 50% sun reduction.
  • As your melons come in, place a board beneath them. This will keep them off the moist soil and prevent insects from attacking them.
  • Solarize vegetables plots. Water the area to be solarized deeply and slowly, then cover with clear plastic, anchoring the edges to contain the moisture. Don't use black plastic. Leave for four weeks. The heat beneath the plastic will be intense, upward 140-150 degrees, cooking many of your gardening problems and weed seeds.

Your Desert Garden - Monthly Don't List for July

  1. Don't prune citrus or other sun sensitive plants during the summer
  2. Don't over water. Water slowly, deeply, and infrequently. Let the soil dry between watering.
  3. Don't shade corn, squash, melons.
  4. Don't add fertilizer to dry soil. Always water first, then apply fertilizers to moist soils, and then continue with the rest of the water.
Information contained herein was obtained from the The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and John Chapman's Southwest Gardening with their permission. Keep in mind that soil and conditions vary from location to location. Check with a local yard or landscape expert for specific issues with your garden

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Time To Plant for Fall

Most people don't realize that gardens are a year round deal.  Typically we think that we plant in the spring and then that's it.  If you miss the spring planting, you have missed the boat and have to wait until next spring for a garden.
Gardens are year round.  There is a vegetable you can plant every single month out of the year.  Even in the hottest month of summer and the coldest month of winter.  Especially here in the desert.   As a matter of fact, some summer plants prefer the coolness of fall or winter over the blistering desert heat.  And late plantings might thrive by missing the bug infestations of early summer.  It doesn't get so cold in the high desert that certain winter varieties can't make it either. Even in Vermont you can have a garden in the middle of winter.  Carrots for instance, love to be covered in snow and it ev en makes them taste better.
So now that it's summer, that means it is time to start planning your fall garden.  The first thing to be aware of is how long it takes your veggie to mature.  Here in the desert, you only want short-day varieties.  Short day refers to the amount of (ironically) darkness the plant gets exposed to.  The more darkness, the better these varieties do at flowering.  Scientists used to believe that it was the amount of light the plants were exposed to that caused flowering, but discovered it is the darkness.  However, the short/long day designation stuck.
Short day plants are also quick growers.  Just like very cold places like Vermont, we in the desert have short growing seasons.  In more moderate climates, there is three growing periods: spring through mid-summer,  mid-summer through early fall, and late fall through winter.  In the desert, we have four growing periods: spring, summer, fall, winter.  This makes the amount of time we have to grow plants much shorter.  For the most part, a plant started in march doesn't have until July to grow.  It needs to be done by the end of May.  Plants that do good in cold areas usually do good in the desert.
You can start planting fall varieties next month.  July is just WAY too hot in the desert for sensitive plants like carrots, radishes, beets, etc.  However, August has usually cooled down and is humid enough for these plants to spring up happily so that by the time fall rolls around you have tons of fall plants for harvest.
 Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company is currently offering 25% off seed purchases with the code FALLGARDEN13

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I have had the fortune to be given three copies of Joel Salatin's CD Getting Your Hands Dirty: How to Teach Your Children to Love Work.  I'm going to keep one and figured why not share the love?  Three winners will be chosen to receive one of these. Keep reading to find out how to enter to win...

Getting Your Hands Dirty: How to Teach Your Children to Love Work.  In this practical lecture, world-renowned entrepreneur Joel Salatin shares keen insights into getting your children to love work and to embrace your family's vision for entrepreneurship. Salatin explains that children tend to rise to the expectations set for them, and he encourages parents to integrate them into every aspect of the family business from the financial and business side, to the day-to-day implementation; to give them a personal stake in the process; to praise their successes; and to create a joyful atmosphere of family labor. Salatin offers great advice for parents to eliminate dawdling, cultivate persistence, and stimulate innovation in their children.

To enter to win:

1) Like Flip Flop Ranch on Facebook
2) Sign up to follow our blog (via email, bloglovin', Google +, etc. options on right sidebar)
3) Leave a comment below as well as a way to contact you if you are the winner

The three winners will be chosen at random from all entries on Friday, July 26th.