Cherry Blossoms & Pollinators

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle

Cherry Blossoms

One of the most anticipated times around Washington D.C. are the cherry blossom trees blooming in the spring. When you see blooms, think pollinators.

David Proctor


From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.





Cherry Blossoms & Pollinators

by David Proctor

March 15, 2018

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

We have changed our clocks forward an hour, the weather is getting warmer and the cherry blossoms are coming into bloom. March 20th is the first day of spring. What does all this mean? It is time to get ready for our outdoor growing season! 

One thing that we take for granted when we see our flowers and trees bloom, is the pollinators that are required for our plants and our survival. Without our pollinators we would not have the beautiful flowers that produce the fruits and vegetables that we need for our survival.

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms
Washington D.C. Cherry Blossoms

We can help our pollinators by planting plants and trees that occur naturally in our region so that the pollinators will have the food that they need to eat.

We can also help our pollinators immensely by limiting the herbicides and pesticides that are applied to our lawns and gardens. When a bee flies across a green lawn that may look great to us, the bee sees a green desert with nothing for nourishment. 

We love to look at the cherry blossoms, the apple trees and other fruit trees that are coming into bloom. As pleasing as the blooms are, I would take a cherry or apple pie any day over just having blooms with no fruit to consume. There are many pollinators that need a hand nowadays but I would like to point out the mason bee that is going strong. I did an interview with Dave Hunter, owner of Crown Bees, if you would like to read again, I will provide the link here for Part 1 Mason Bees and Part 2 Mason Bees.


Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC

I enjoy reading his newsletter which has very good information on starting your own mason bees. The mason bee is considered a super pollinator. Even though it can easily out pollinate a honey bee, the mason bee does not produce honey. Here are some excerpts from this month’s news letter:


Blooming Cherry Blossoms. I so want to go to Washington DC during cherry blossom time


Spring Bee House: Setup Tips from the Pros

You can think of bees as being cold-blooded and they need the warmth of the sun to get going. Your bees will have more time to fly and do all their work if they have a warm place to live that faces the morning sun. They also prefer a home that is stable, not swinging in the wind.

Choose a good bee house location:

• Within about 300ft/100m of your fruit & nut trees and berry patches.

• On a solid wall, fence, or post.

• Facing the morning sun (S or SE).

• Height: about your eye-level for easy viewing. Don’t give raccoons or other critters easy access to your bees.

• Avoid installing the bee house right next to a bird feeder or a birdhouse.

• Remember to keep plants trimmed for a clear bee-line to the house.

After you install your spring bee house, place only the 8mm sized nesting holes into the house. Spring mason bees prefer the 8mm sized holes. (The 6mm sized holes included in your BeeWorks kits are meant for summer leafcutter bees.)

Worried about birds?Birds might be attracted to the bee house and keeping your bees safe is easy. Get some wire cloth with 1″ openings and attach it to the front of the bee house. Make sure you give the bees space to move inside the house by bubbling the wire so that it’s 2-3″ away from the nesting holes. This keeps bird’s beaks from being able to get to the bees.


Check It Out!



I’m really proud of this new invention we’ve produced to ensure mason bees get the right type of moist, clayey mud.

Place your mud (or use ours that’s included) on top of the “black water transporter”. The water stored below is wicked up to the clay and lasts for a week or two. Four mason bee doors are just the right size to prevent frogs from eating them on the ground. What could be cooler than this?

In our NW bee-raising grounds we’re going to conduct an experiment to see what type of bee cocoon increase we’ll have this season. On Vashon Island are 225 bee raisers. A random third will get the Mud Box… We’ll report those results to you in a future Bee-Mail.

I’m confident mud is the number one issue impacting mason bee returns. I’d try it out if I were you. We have it at a fairly low cost!

While our Guatemalan wood raindrop was a great seller, we found that about one in twenty cracked earlier than we’d like. Quality is very important to us and we needed to replace it.

We found a wonderful pottery shop in Colorado who could make the same raindrops in clay then bake them to stone. We love the design and durability. Each is unique and handmade.

We’re substituting the stone raindrop into our previous kits. You’ll have a choice of either white or chocolate colors!
Our 4mm tubes for the smaller eastern US states is shipping to us this week. We should have them available on our website by end of next week. Consider placing these out amongst your 8mm mason bee tubes/reeds/trays this spring.

Quick Tip


✓TIP Placing out mason bees. Only place out mason bee cocoons if you have these requirements met:

Mason bee house, holes, and mud are set up correctly.
Adequate pollen is available. (Dandelions are out, cherry trees or similar fruits are beginning to blossom)
Weather for the foreseeable week isn’t stormy or snowy. While bees can handle small weather bumps, you will be more successful to wait a few days if in doubt.

Placing your bees out to emerge is easy! We want your mason bees to memorize where they came from. If they crawl over the nesting holes, it’s helpful. So, place your cocoons either loosely or in a small container (dixie cup) behind your tubes/reeds/trays, or on top of them. Don’t place your cocoons on top of the house as things might blow over.
Think through wind protection and beware of the cocoons as perfect “bird treats.” If it’s windy, ensure your cocoons won’t blow out. If you are concerned about birds, place chicken wire (3/4″ holes) on the front of your mason bee house.
By placing the cocoons out in the evening or early morning, We believe they’re more likely to hang around.
Many of you may be concerned that your bees may not be coming out when you want them. Please, rather than call us, read this web page I wrote this week that answers a lot of your questions about when should they emerge, what to look for, etc. 

✓ TIP Pre-emerging mason bees
If you have an early blooming tree, such as a plum, that might be too early-blooming for your mason bees, you have three choices.
1) Do nothing 2) Hand pollinate your tree with a feather duster or mittens 3) Pull a few mason bees out of hibernation early.
To pull mason bees out of hibernation early:
Using sharp scissors, you can cut the cocoons and let the bees out early.  
A simpler method can be to place a portion of your mason bees into a small container in a dark warm room (like a furnace or hot water heater closet) for a week. Check on your bees periodically. When most bees have emerged, cool the container in a refrigerator for 10 minutes and then place the mason bees on the top of your nesting holes. (Cool bees are less likely to fly away when you open the container. You can then easily place them on your nesting holes.)”


CrownBees; Bee Mail News Letter

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Posted in Apiary, Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with: ,

Genetically Modified Organism

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle


In the discussion on GMO, their seems to be two opposing sides in the debate. Do you embrace the practice of GMO or does it send a chill down your spine?  Do you believe that the future of mankind hinges on the use of or ban of GMO in our food chain?

David Proctor


From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.





Genetically Modified Organism “GMO”

by David Proctor

March 8, 2018

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

Their has been a lot of debate about using a genetically modified organism in our food. Research has shown little to no harm; the FDA, USDA and EPA give it their approval.
So why is it even a discussion at all?  Is this just another attempt being made to slow down our farmers from feeding the world? Can this be compared to when people didn’t believe in global warming before they were provided with proper information?
I would like to ask my readers a few questions so that I can make a consensus on the general thoughts towards GMO.
What is the problem with labeling our seed and food products so we can make informed choices of what we are putting into our bodies?

Sticker Code

If we did not support GMO, then the food industry would have to consider other alternatives, maybe even move towards becoming natural again. Our watermelons would have seeds, tomatoes would ripen naturally, etc.

Do you realize that in 2015, 92% of corn, 94% of soybeans, and 94% of cotton produced in the US were genetically modified strains? (

While there may be different opinions on what is good and bad in regards to GMO, there is simply not enough research yet to explain the full effects of GMO on our crops and overall health.

I would be interested to get your opinion of whether you think GMO is harmful or not. Feel free to do a little research or check out my infographic below.

Please take the following quiz and let me know what YOU think of GMO. If you would like to really open up about this topic, I would encourage you to go to my blog site at and post your opinion.

Thank you for taking the time to take the survey.
In conclusion, it will probably take decades of research to begin to understand the full effects of GMO. We are the guinea pigs.  It will take close observation to determine what changes if any in the human body, good or bad, can or will be contributed to GMO in our food source.

I would encourage you to continue to watch the news and research regarding GMO and its effects on our health and food sources.

Check It Out!

Always Buy Informed – With so much discussion on GMOs lately, here’s the why, where and what it means to YOU! #GMO Click here to find out what you need to know. Sponsored by @followyrheart:

Found on

Quick Tip


Buy informed, read the labels.  If you don’t like what you are reading then tell the store manager why you are not buying the product.  Vote with your dollars, you will be heard all the way to the top.


GMO Brands

GMO Brands


Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.

infographic: Found on


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Posted in Health, Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with: ,

Baby Chicks

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle

Baby Chicks

If you have thought about having some chickens in your backyard, or keeping the baby chicks that you give to your little one for Easter, then this article will help you prepare for your new adventure.

David Proctor


From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.





Raising Baby Chicks

by David Proctor

March 1, 2018

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

After deciding on a breed and who you are going to buy your chicks from, you will need to set up a brooder for your baby chick’s arrival. 

A brooder can be nothing more than a box with a cover over the top or you can get intricate with your chick’s new home.  I think it is best to keep it simple and inexpensive.

Now that you have your box ready the main thing that the chicks will need is adequate heat, water, food source, and space as they grow.

TAKING CARE OF BABY CHICKS WEEK 01  by Vlada Vladic  6:41


You will want to be able to keep the chicks at a 95 degree temperature at about 2” off the floor of the brooder.  Be sure to have a heat lamp or heat source that is securely hung above the chicks. 

Do not use a heating pad because they cannot get away from the heat source.  If the chicks stay huddled together, they are too cold.  If they are all pressed up against the walls of the brooder, they are too hot.  If they are spread out then the temperature is just right. 

Try to drop the temperature about five degrees per week till you reach ambient temperature.  This is so the chicks will start to develop feathering and can warm themselves.

Use a red bulb in your heat lamp, so they do not have to look at an intense bright light and this will help keep them from picking feathers out.  Remember, heat lamps are made to produce heat, be sure to have them secured so the chicks are comfortable and no fires are started from the heat source being too close to the bedding.

Use an 85 watt heat lamp for warmer areas, in colder areas you may need to use a 125 or 250 watt heat lamp bulb.  There are heaters made specifically for this purpose you may want to invest in. 


Next thing that you will need to plan for is adequate space.  A box that is big enough to keep the chicks warm but also gives them room to move around will make for a healthier living quarters. 

The chicks will grow quickly so be prepared to move them into a larger living area as they mature. A rule of thumb is a half a square foot of space per chick for the first two weeks of growth. 

You may want to use a plastic tote that is large enough to accommodate your chicks and then move them to a larger plastic tote as they grow. 

Eventually you will want to build a chicken coop.  You can get an idea for a design from my Volume 1 Issue 9 Backyard Chicken Primer.

One of the most important things to provide is a supply of food and water.  You can start your chicks on commercial chick starter or just make your own chick food from cooked eggs and food scraps. 

It is very important to have a clean water source for the chicks.  You may need to change it several times a day to keep it clean.  Place small stones or marbles in the watering dish or even place rubber bands around it so they are able to stand on top and get to the water but not fall in.
Next is to be sure they have clean bedding so they do not get health problems from ammonia that is given off from the manure. Pine shavings can be used along with newspapers so the bedding can be kept clean. 

Baby Chick

Clean bedding, clean water, warm safe surroundings, and plenty of space will allow your chicks to grow and avoid problems with diseases and ailments that occur when conditions are not as they should be for your baby chicks. Never use cedar shavings since cedar gives off oils that can be toxic to chickens.

Take time to just sit and watch them scratch, peck and eat. Try interacting with the chicks, slowly.  You will find that at first they may try to get away from you but after they know you, they will almost expect you to pick them up and hold them.

Check It Out!


Quick Tip


  • Many sources say that you can’t keep a flock of mixed ages. We never had a problem with older chickens picking on younger ones or vice versa. Our hens raised their chicks happily in the flock. Most picking is the result of overcrowding. Give your chickens lots of space.
  • Young chicks need to be close to water and food at all times. Spread a 4-inch layer of pine shavings on the floor, then lay several layers of newspaper over that. Scatter lots of chick feed on the paper and also have feeding troughs filled in the pen. Remove a layer of paper every day, and by the time the last layer is gone, the chicks will have found the feeding trough.
  • Always use red bulbs; injury doesn’t show under red light. Under white light, any bloody spot immediately attracts pecking. Chicks will cheerfully and efficiently peck each other to death.
  • Block corners of the pen with cardboard to make wider angles that are harder for chicks to pack up in. (You could also make a circular pen.) This prevents suffocation.
  • Ensure that waterers are shallow and cleaned daily to avoid having chicks drown. My hatchery recommends one gallon-size waterer for every hundred chicks. I always had two or three, even for fewer chicks, so that they wouldn’t crowd.
  • With pullets, I used one waterer for every six to eight chickens and a feed trough long enough to accommodate all of them at once.


Lofgren, Eric. The Backyard Chicken Bible: The Complete Guide to Raising Chickens. N.p.: Betterway Home, 2014. Print.

“Raising Chickens 101: Bring Up Baby Chicks.” Http:// Almanac Staff, n.d. Web.

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Posted in Animal Husbandry, Chickens, Magazine Issues Tagged with:

How to Treat Spin & Itch

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle

How to Treat Spin & Itch

About twelve years ago, I woke up one morning and the room was spinning.  I didn’t know what was going on.  I later found out that I was experiencing Vertigo.  The only thing I was told that could be done was to take motion sickness pills. I am not a doctor nor am I giving medical advice, but for entertainment purposes I will talk about my own experiences.

David Proctor


From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.




How to Treat Spin & Itch (Vertigo & Poison Ivy)

by David Proctor

February 22, 2018

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


I experienced these symptoms again about a month ago.  Again, I went to a doctor that told me that they could prescribe motion sickness pills. 

After turning to Google and YouTube I came across several treatments for Vertigo.  I tried those treatments that involved eye movements and turning your head back and forth, right to left.  All with limited success. 

I then came across a video from Dr. Carol Foster.  She had the symptoms of Vertigo and decided to try and figure out how to treat herself.  She found out that by putting you head back, then tucking into a half somersault, then turning your head to a forty-five degree, then raising up, that the particles that attach in the inner ear that cause Vertigo would go back into their proper location in the inner ear.

Getting Rid of Vertigo
Getting Rid of Vertigo


I tried it and low and behold it actually worked.  That is why I wanted to write this article and share with others something like this that is non-medicinal and works.  It doesn’t mean that it will get rid of Vertigo forever, but the motion sickness pills didn’t even help.  At least this treats the cause not the symptom.
Please watch video below.



The other treatment I wanted to share comes from a pill that I found out about from a contractor many years ago.  I have always been very susceptible to poison Ivy.  I tried all the traditional treatments, Calamine Lotion, Ivy Dry, whatever I could find to buy off the shelf, but they all had limited effect on my symptoms. 

Then I tried Rhus Tox, a homeopathic treatment for not only relieving the symptoms but can help me from even getting the itch and bumps to begin with.  I haven’t had poison Ivy in years.  The treatment doesn’t mean that I won’t ever get it again; but it works for me.

Poison Ivy Pills
Poison Ivy Pills

These are just a couple of treatments that I wanted to share, just so others are aware of the possible alternatives for spin and itch.

Check It Out!


Dr. Axe

Dr. Axe Vertigo Remedies

Quick Tip


poison ivy always never chart



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Posted in Health, Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with: , ,

Get A Jump On Spring Planting

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle



Cold Frames and Hoop Houses

Building a cold frame or a hoop house can extend and or provide an early start to gardening.  This week we will look at various ways to build both along with the pros and cons of each.


David Proctor




From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.





Get A Jump On Spring Planting

by David Proctor

February 15, 2018

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

Cold frames are found in home gardens and in vegetable farming. They create microclimates that provide several degrees of air and soil temperature insulation, and shelter from wind. In cold-winter regions, these characteristics allow plants to be started earlier in the spring, and to survive longer into the fall and winter. They are most often used for growing seedlings that are later transplanted into open ground, and can also be a permanent home to cold-hardy vegetables grown for autumn and winter harvest.
The typical cold frame is (3) foot wide by (4) foot long, but they come in as many shapes and sizes as one’s imagination. They can be built as a temporary structure or as a permanent one. The structures can be built from leftover materials to help reduce cost or they can be purchased from many places online.

The concept behind the cold frame structure is to allow the sunshine to come through a transparent top, which provides light and also will heat up the inside area to help plants to grow.  The structure can be placed over areas that you want to get a jump start on germinating seeds or early planting. Common produce to plant in cold frames are salad greens and root vegetables.

These structures can be built to where plants or seedlings are moved in and out as the need arises. One of the problems that should be watched out for is overheating of the plants. The roof or top of the cold frame is normally attached to the body of the structure with hinges so the top can be propped open to insert or remove plants, and to let out excess heat.

It takes a watchful eye to be sure you do not cook your young seedlings. It can be surprising how warm the inside can get even during the winter months. One way to take care of this problem is to use an automatic opener that will open the top of the cold frame when it gets warm and will close as the temperature starts to drop.

You may think that this would be something that would require batteries or an electrical source. Actually, it is accomplished by the thermodynamics of wax or other materials that will melt and expand as the temperature increases and will contract as the temperature cools.

The material in the cylinder will expand and contract, thereby pushing one rod which will pull another to open and close the top of the cold frame. Be careful to not let the wind grab the top of the cold frame by attaching a small chain or cord that will prevent damage to the cold frame top and possibly your plants inside.

The first method on cold frame construction comes from Vegetable Gardening For Dummies.

 How to Build a Cold Frame for Your Garden
ByCharlie NardozziandThe Editors of the National Gardening AssociationfromVegetable Gardening For Dummies, 2nd Edition

“A cold frame is, essentially, a mini-greenhouse. By growing plants in a cold frame, you can harvest cold-tolerant vegetables year-round, even if you live in zone 5 where winter temperatures can dip as low as –20 degrees F. Cold frames are also great for hardening off seedlings, growing cold-tolerant flowering annuals like pansies, and rooting cuttings from your garden.

Build a cold frame to extend your growing season.
A cold frame usually consists of a wooden box covered with windowpanes or clear plastic. The frame rests directly over the soil in your yard. You can purchase a premade cold frame for $100 to $200, or you can create your own simple cold frame by following these steps:

  1. Build a 3-foot-x-6-foot box from untreated lumber. Cut the box so that the back is 18 inches high, sloping to a front height of 14 inches.

This sloping angle enables more sun to reach the plants, and it sheds rain and snow as well.

  1. Hinge an old window sash over the top of the cold frame.

If the window sash has no glass, use fiberglass or polyethylene to create a sealed growing environment You can insulate the cold frame by adding rigid foam insulation around the insides of the cold frame and by weather stripping along the top edge. In extreme cold, cover it with heavy burlap or an old blanket. Remember to uncover the coldframe when the sun comes out so the plants can warm up again.

  1. Position the cold frame so that it faces south.

If the south side isn’t practical, then use the west, east, or north side in that order of preference. It’s best to put a cold frame next to a structure, such as a house, to protect it from cold winds.

Even though the purpose of a cold frame is to trap heat, on sunny days, even in winter, a cold frame can get so hot that it burns the plants. Check your cold frame once a day on sunny days, opening or venting the top slightly to allow hot air to escape. You can even provide some shade by putting a piece of shade cloth over the glass.” (

The next method is found from Bonnie Plants. You can download their instruction pdf by click this link:

  download our printable PDF guide to building your own Raised Bed Cold Frame

This pdf is a good tutorial on building the cold frame for raised beds and is only fourteen pages long.


A similar method to provide a climate for your growing plants is a hoop house.  This is a very easy and cheap way to protect your plants.  The structure is not as rigid as a cold frame but assemble is much easier.

A hoop house also covers the plants but the difference is in construction.  PVC pipes are used since they are cheap and easy to bend.  The pipes are cut to length then bent over the garden area.  They are anchored to the ground or the side of the raised bed.

Hoop House
Hoop House

A center tube is attached between the tubes to provide rigidity.  Then plastic is placed over the tubes and attached and anchored so the wind will not blow it away.

Access to the garden is normally through one end of the tunnel made by the hoops and plastic.  This structure will allow the sun to reach the plants, maintain warmth and keep the snow off of plants.

Bonnie plants has a good tutorial on building a hoop house and they also provide a material list:

Make a Row Cover Hoop House


  • Flexible PVC pipe
  • Rebar stakes
  • Spun-bond row cover material or frost blankets
  • Twist ties or twine
  • Bricks

Step 1. Lay out your design with the hoops approximately 2 feet apart to avoid sagging. Measure the lengths of PVC pipe you’ll need and cut the pipe using a PVC pipe cutter or hacksaw.
Step 2. Hammer the rebar into the ground at the crossbar points according to your design, leaving approximately 4 to 6 inches sticking out of the ground.

Step 3. Slip the lengths of PVC pipe over the rebar stakes, gently bending the pipe to create arcs, or hoops, that are secured on both sides.

Step 4. For added support, run a length of PVC pipe across the top of the hoops and secure it to the tops of the arcs using twist ties or twine.

Step 5. Drape the row cover over the PVC structure. Secure it to the ground using bricks or other heavy material you have on hand.

Step 3. Slip the lengths of PVC pipe 

As you can see, both of these structures will help you get a jump start on planting this year.

The cold frame is sturdy and can be built over a raised bed.  The top can be automated to raise and lower with the temperature.

The cold frame takes more skill and materials to assemble.

The hoop house doesn’t take near the skill and materials to assemble, is rather sturdy but doesn’t have automation for temperature control.

The hoop house is taller and can be easily built. This structure is easy to  take down and move.

My money is on the hoop house.  But I really like the cold frame.

You decide what works best for you.

Check It Out!



How to Make a Hoop House for a Raised Bed 4:41


Quick Tip


  •  If building a cold frame, use the cylinder shown above to take the work out of raising and lowering the frame.
  • If building a hoop house, keep a thermometer inside to know the temperature.
  • Be sure and make the One Call (811) before digging or driving rebar into ground.
  • Have your local supplier of materials make your cuts for you so you just do the assembly.
  • Use split rubber tubing and clamps to secure the plastic on hoop house.
  • Add a chain to the raised window of the cold frame so the wind doesn’t blow and damage the window. 


Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.

“How to Build a Cold Frame for Your Garden.” – For Dummies. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.

“How to Build a Raised Bed Cold Frame.” Bonnie Plants. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.

“Make a Row Cover Hoop House.” Bonnie Plants. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.


Posted in Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with: ,

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