Friday, March 30, 2012

TGIF! Photo Friday!

Here's the progress on my seedlings. Awww they've all grown up - pretty soon we transplant! Tomatoes, tomatillos, Peppers, Luffas, Cabbage, etc.

Have a great weekend - I'll be farming!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Farm Ancestors made us STRONGER!


So last weekend I had a surreal moment out at the farm and I thought I would share it with my blogger friends. 

Let me see if I can paint the picture and give it the justice it deserves.  This may be slightly difficult but please bear with me. 

Imagine this, I am out at the farm and it’s an absolute gorgeous day.  Sun is shining (not a cloud in the sky - ok see photo above, I guess there was a few clouds in the sky), temperatures were in the  mid-70’s and there’s very little wind.  Absolutely gorgeous!  I am on the ATV towing a disc and getting ready to work a ½ acre field in preparation for planting lots of vegetables (Turnips, Rutabagas, Cabbage, Walla Walla Onions, Carrots and potatoes).  There’s a TON of chickweed growing in this ½ acre field and it appears to me like I might not be capable of handling this task by myself.  I’m wondering can the ATV and disc handle this job – do we need a full regular size tractor to work the fields? 


I received some very important instructions from my Uncle and my husband on how to do it the right way.  Grabbed the handles and started my farming…just like my ancestors did so many years ago.  My Uncle and husband walk away to work on other projects and let me do my new task at hand.


As I’m turning the corners, round and round, over and over, I had a very poignant thought.  I am plowing up earth that my family worked for hundreds of years.  In fact, in every direction that I look – to my left – to my right – if I drove down the road – it’s the same thing.  These farm fields have been worked by my family in preparation for whatever they were planting for over 100 years (since October 2, 1872 to be exact).  It’s probably silly but I don’t really like October 2nd as someone I loved dearly – my Dad – passed away on that date…but I have something positive to focus on with that date now.  It was an absolute surreal moment….it actually brought a tear to my eyes.  I was taken aback by my reaction.

I learned yesterday that my Great Grandparent's farm received an award on April 18, 1977 from the state – the Hoosier Homestead award.  I didn’t know about the award but I was one proud great granddaughter yesterday for that accomplishment. 



My ancestors came from abroad to this great land and had a dream.  The dream to live a good life, a healthy life, and self-sufficiency was a requirement all those years ago as I feel it is still today.  They made it through thick and thin – and survived and saved the farm for a long time.  Well guess who has that same dream – who has the same goal – who wants to live the self-sufficient goal.  ME! 
Things for me have come full circle!!!


Enjoy your day.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

BEAUTIFUL DAY AT THE FARM TODAY

Look around and see everything I saw today so far!!

First harvest of the season today - asparagus and lettuce! Yum! Pear and apple trees are blooming. Blueberries are budding. Chickens were free ranging and loving it. Garlic was thriving. Strawberries were growing like crazy. Disced up the East property and we are getting ready to plant some more stuff today.

Enjoy the sites of the farm....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tomato Trellising

I think I'm going to try using the trellis method this year for my beefsteak tomato plants.  My plants always seem to outgrow the cages and get really unruly.  Instead of using the wire/twine method I'm sure you could use leftover fence panels too (which I have readily available).

I am hoping that this will be my solution!

How to Make a Tomato Plant Trellis
  1. Choose the beginning and end points of your trellis.
  2. Don’t forget to leave room on each side of your end tomato plants.
  3. Drive Pole A and Pole B into the ground until secure (no wobbling).
  4. Tie a wire or heavy twine from Pole A to Pole B.
    1. Note: twine stretches, you may have to re-tighten later.
  5. Add more wire/twine up the poles at one foot intervals.
  6. I usually go up five feet, making five wire rows.
  7. As tomatoes grow, attach larger stems to each available wire.
  8. Use a soft foam twist tie or wide garden tape.
    1. choose a tie that won’t cut into the vine as the plants and fruit add weight
  9. Sit back and wait for you bounty (that is after weeding and watering and…)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

GUESS WHAT???!!!!

I cannot believe it! My "annual" herbs that I have planted in the city in my deck planter boxes are coming back!


They still look a little rough and have the winter blues but they lived so I think with a little tender, love and care they will be fine. Very exciting isn't it? How did your annuals do?


I brought oregano and rosemary inside and plan on transplanting those out at the farm.

SAGE (BELOW)
CATNIP (BELOW)
CHIVES (BELOW)

BEE GARDEN

I think I found a beautiful new idea for my planned bee garden I'm going to create.  I already have quite a few of the perennials in this photo.  I love the look of this garden and I think the bees would like it too.  Another addition to this would be something to sit on - either my swing - or a bench - so that I can observe my bees in action.  I also would surround this garden area with boulder type rocks - but not the huge ones.  You know what else I could add would be some hostas - but maybe that would change the look too much.

I'm not a flower expert but it looks like purple cone flowers, black eyed susans, lavender and mums are surrounding the bird bath.  Correct me if I'm wrong or if you see something else that you can identify.

I also have Bee Balm, Marigolds, Sunflowers and Cosmos that I am growing...and I know the bees will absolutely love those too!

I've got to figure this out pretty quickly - my bees are due to arrive the first week of April!! 

So if you have any suggestions or helpful tips or pointer  -  they would be greatly appreciated.

Have a fabulous day - and I hope the weather is great where you live.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

ON A DAY LIKE TODAY...

When it's going to be close to 80 degrees today - I wish I was at the farm!

The most peaceful place on the face of the earth....off to work I go... :-(

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

HOLY HABANEROS!!!



I thought of that title as I was watering all my plants this morning.  Kind of cracked me up a little first thing this morning. Habanero peppers were slow starters but are really getting sturdy now. California Wonder Peppers are getting pretty big now too. I am still so surprised as to how well all of our starts are doing in our greenhouses.
Tomatoes have really been going to town on the top shelf. Of course they are the ones getting the best natural sunlight.  They are soaking up all those good rays.


And after my leggy cabbage episode - I think I was able to fix that issue by repotting in bigger pots - they look great too. Seem a little leggy but hopefully will be ok - otherwise I might have to re-pot again.

Luffa plants actually have real leaves on them now. I didn't know what to expect from these seeds but so far so good!  Sorry not the greatest photos but I was up before dawn this morning!

Have a terrific day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

WEEKEND GARDEN UPDATE

What a weekend!!  It was absolutely wonderful.  We had beautiful weather – except for the high winds on Saturday – and it was in the mid-50’s. 

I began some yard work out at the farm on Saturday.  Unfortunately, we could only stay for the day so it was a whirlwind. 

Started cleaning out our garden - tore down the exterior fence seeing no need for that anymore.  Had to pull up some old corn stalks, brussel sprout plants and tomato cages and stuff.  Threw all the old plants in the compost bin.  We need to re-build support posts for the blackberries bushes...they are getting really unruly.  Also need some better supports for the grapes.  See below - I love this idea.    I'm hoping that we get a good amount of fruit from the grapes and blackberries, oh and the strawberries!  We'll see though.  Time will tell.



Here’s a photo of the garden after the cleanup -in preparation for the tiller…the dogs were following us all over the place and were quite excited to get into the garden (a place that had been forbidden).  They were also very excited to roll around in the freshly tilled dirt - can't say that I blame them.




We had such a mild winter that my lettuce actually survived!  I actually picked a little bit and ate it…tasted pretty good to me!  We'll see how it does at it starts getting warmer out.

Checked out my orchard too - and it looks like a deer may have nibbled on a few of our trees but all in all they held their own over the Winter.  I can't wait to see some new growth and buds possibly blooming this year! 

I was also excited to see my garlic, that I planted last fall, coming up.  I have it covered under about 2-3 inches of pine needles but they were poking their green tops out by a couple of inches.  So I uncovered a little bit for a photo shoot.  Here’s what they are looking like right now:



I checked on our asparagus and I didn't see anything coming up just yet.  We increased our asparagus last year by 25-30 plants I believe...so I'm patiently awaiting their arrival!

Lastly I went over the ½ acre to see about what we could plant out there.  My Uncle had worked hard to disc up the acreage and prepare the ground for planting.  He did a fabulous job as that was no easy task.  I was a little overwhelmed (yes I said overwhelmed) when I came to this part of the planting project.  I looked at the ½  acre and thought WOW can I actually plant this ½ acre myself (of course with my husband's help too)...it seemed HUGE.  We both got down on our knees since it was so windy out and the seeds would have taken off for the other side of the World if we hadn't got down.  We planted about 15-20 feet of Heirloom Walla Walla Onions and Rutabaga.  Well because of this experience I decided I think we need some sort of a seeder and ordered this for the remainder of our plantings:



It's a Earthway 1001-B Precision Garden Seeder with 6 Seed Plates.  That helped me feel less overwhelmed!  I can't wait to get it - we got a pretty good deal on Amazon.  88.89 plus free shipping.  I couldn't find it anywhere else cheaper.  I think it will be worth every penny!  Little or no thinning of seedlings, saves your back, and hopefully will be much more efficient.

I also painted my beehives with a first coat of exterior paint.  I hope it’s ok to use what paint we had – it was for the trim on our garage…and it wasn’t white.  It’s sort of a taupe color.  I will have to put another coat on next weekend or so.

Have a fabulous day! Get gardening...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

GARDEN CLOCHES

Just discovered the benefits of adding a cloche to my garden.  SEE HERE.  I think I might purchase a couple to try them out.  Has anyone else tried these with success?




The Large Garden Tunnel Cloche (shown above) is meant for medium to large plants that are more mature and have strong roots. These large plant covers will help with trapping in the moisture during the summer months and providing the ideal environment for the plant to produce vegetable/fruit. Vegetable/fruit on the plant will be protected from pests and animals, such as caterpillars and rabbits. Large Garden Tunnel Cloches have the benefit of covering multiple plants that are located near each other in your garden. These quality plastic plant covers cover much more area and allow ample coverage and protection.

Here's the other one I found:  CLICK HERE.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

HAPPENINGS AROUND THE FARM...

Well - there's a lot of "planning" going on around the farm ... but everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, seems to be pending due to the weather.  Today they are talking about "60" degree weather...but yesterday we had 2-3 inches of snow!

I am getting the gardener's itch...can't wait to till up the garden and get the soil ready for transplanting all of my tomatoes, peppers, luffas, cabbage, etc. etc.  Everything that I started in my two greenhouses seems to be holding their own.  The plants are getting bigger and stronger.  Everything should be very hardy by the time we are ready to plant them. Also, my expansion garden areas will be a lot of work but I'm sure that this will be totally worth it.  (Photos below are from last year's garden).


Next we are getting ready for the barn.  First step, DONE, we picked (and agreed on) a barn - that was no easy task to say the least.  It's nothing fancy - the barn will be 30 x 45 x 10.  Should have plenty of room for our vehicles and leave half for extra storage of yard tools etc.  Step two, obtain a builder's permit.  Step three, order the pole barn kit and that process takes 2-3 weeks.  So if the weather cooperates...we are looking at a start date of possibly May 1st.


I also need to prime and paint my beehive and get an area leveled and ready for my bees.  The bees should be arriving in April, I believe.  So that is really exciting...and that's all the buzzzzzz....LOL

And another thing that is happening around the farm, we are talking about adding some meat chickens. Jumbo Cornish X are the recommended chicken breed for this production.  However, I just learned that this type of chicken is a hybrid - and I'm not too keen on hybrids.  So I will do some more research today.  I think we are adding about 10-15 to begin with since we are newbies.




Well - that's about all the happenings off the top of my head this morning.  I hope everyone has a great day.