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We spy a chrysalis! Once this monarch butterfly emerges, it will have plenty of flowers and nectar to choose from!

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Eggs on the Urban Homestead

Life on the Urban Homestead includes hens and roosters. Fresh eggs are nutritionally more superior than eggs purchased in a supermarket. The moment you crack open the egg, you will be surprised by the golden yoke and the thin veil of egg white. If you cook the egg via scramble or in an omelet, the delicious fragrance will almost be overwhelming.

Chickens are also provide great benefits to the soil. They provide a daily source of nitrogen source and are very efficient in turning the soil, eliminating weeds and creating compost in place.

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Basil flowers Provide a Feast for Pollinators

Pollinators like bees, humming birds, and butterflies love flowers. The next time you prune the plants in your garden, instead, consider letting them grow through the seasons and bloom. Pollinators will love it and your other crops will benefit.

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Mighty Little Moringa Leaves

Moringa leaves are jam-packed with nutrition. They are one of the rare vegetables that contain all of the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein).

Are you a vegetarian? If so, moringa leaves will be your new best friend. Their high concentration of amino acids provide a great source of protein.

So why did I plant a Moringa tree?

Oh, for so many reasons. As food prices continue to rise and water becomes more scarce, it is more important than ever to grow and harvest a variety of food options. A moringa tree grows quickly and has a bounty of leaves and seed pods. The leaves have a very high content of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin C
- Calcium
- Chromium
- Copper
- Iron
- Magnesium
- Manganese
- Phosphorus
- Potassium
- Protein Zinc

A moringa tree doesn't just produce leaves. Once a year, the tree grows seed pods. The seed pods can be sautéed and eaten as a delicious side dish.

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Make your own Orange Blossom Tea

Do you see what I see? Kumquats and orange blossoms.

When making fresh orange blossom tea, choose leaves and blossoms from a citrus tree that has not been sprayed with chemicals. For best results, pick your blossoms and leaves in the morning before the sun dries the orange blossoms. Gently wash and separate the blossom, the buds and leaves. Place 2 cups of water in a pot and bring to boil. Once the water boils, add 5 flowers and 5 leaves. Simmer for five minutes with the lid on.
Strain the tea and enjoy.

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Something spectacular is about to happen...

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An easy way to grow Green Onions

Green onions are one of the easiest onions to grow. After prepping your meal, take the leftover green onion roots, drop them in a glass with enough water to cover the roots, and move the onions around so the roots are pointing down. If you are lucky enough to have a container or backyard garden, drop your roots into a small container with 2 inches of soil.

Green onions will grow almost immediately. You'll see regrowth in about 1 week. If you grow them in water, change the water two times a week.

The green onions here are pictured with fresh oregano and a few runaway mint leaves.

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The pomegranates are ripening!

Pomegranates have been touted to be a superfood, aphrodisiac, cancer fighter, and memory booster.

I grow pomegranates purely for the seeds. These tiny, juicy bits of pleasure will certainly delight your taste buds.

How to eat pomegranate seeds?

Give me a million seeds, and I'll give you a million ways to eat them. Some of my favorites:
- Add pomegranate seeds to cold pasta dishes.
- Add pomegranate seeds to cold salads.
- Freeze the seeds and add them to cold lemonade or your favorite cocktail.
- Eat the juicy, external, fleshy part of the seed (aril) and spit the crispy, fibrous portion out as you would when eating seeded watermelons or citrus fruits.

Plant a pomegranate tree today.

Don't forget the water. Water your pomegranate tree the moment you plant it. This will help settle the soil around the newly planted pomegranate. Then, water the tree daily until it begins to grow new leaves. New leaf growth is the sign that your plant as settled into its new home and is establishing a good root structure. After this, gradually transition to watering your plant every seven to ten days.

When your pomegranate tree is flowering or producing fruit, give it a deep watering every week. A new pomegranate tree will produce fruit in 1 to 3 years and nothing tastes better than homegrown fruit.

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Lure pollinators to your garden

You've planted your trees, staked your vines, filled your garden boxes, and set up your compost bin, now the wait begins. To help ensure robust crops, add a variety of flowers to your urban homestead. The best yielding crops are aided by pollinators. Bees and butterflies and hummingbirds, oh my.

Bees are one of the most efficient pollinators. This is a bonus for humans because 1 out of every 3 bites of food is made possible by pollination. Attract bees to your garden year-round with herbs. Bees especially love lavender, thyme, mint, oregano, and borage.

Hummingbirds are the best-known and most beloved bird pollinator. Hummingbirds must eat several times their weight in nectar every day to maintain the fast pace of their beating heart-more than 1,000 beats per minute! They especially love tubular, funnel-shaped flowers such as lobelia and nasturtium.

Butterflies are not powerful pollinators, but they definitely contribute. Butterflies prefer flowers that are:
- In clusters and provide landing platforms
- Brightly colored (red, yellow, orange)
- Open during the day
- Ample nectar producers, with nectar deeply hidden

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Look, a baby Grapefruit!

Meet the newest addition to the Urban Homestead, a grapefruit tree! This specific fruit tree was chosen because of the size it will reach at maturity. Peaking at almost 15 feet, grapefruit trees offer shade for fall crops like lettuce and kale.

When choosing an area to plant your grapefruit tree, make sure the location is at least 12 feet from buildings, walks, and driveways. This will allow for adequate growth.

I can't wait for this baby to grow! It should be ready to harvest during late winter/early spring.

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