Saturday, December 7, 2013

Reflections 2013

It's been a while since I posted on the ole blog...seems life has gotten in the way and I have become less disciplined to write what is happening in the garden.

But let me see if I can catch up to the present time.

I have gotten the fine art of starting seeds, transplanting and hardening off seedlings down pat. I have been selling my surplus which offset the cost of the seeds, seed starting medium and transplant cells. Basically I got all my plants for free!

What worked really well this year was being diversified in our growing methods.

The raised beds produced over 80 lbs of potatoes. We then planted collards ...and after harvesting the greens we planted peppers in them. Everything did great.

We grew tomatoes in self watering buckets, straw bales and our newly set up rain gutter system. For the first time our bale tomatoes did not do well. They got early blight from a cold snap we had early on ..and while the plants themselves looked terrible we were able to harvest some fruit from them. Luckily the self watering buckets and gutter garden kicked in and we were able to harvest lots from them before they too succumbed to the blight. I planted a second season bucket garden and they actually have been producing for us slowly. They are currently in the greenhouse...with probably 50 fruit on them. I am totally stoked we are getting toms in December!!!

I dehydrated quite a bit this season as well. Basil, celery leaf, squash, mushrooms, potatoes, and peppers. I have used them all...and know now I need to step up that way of preserving as well.

I canned way more this summer as well to the tune of:

Over 30 pints of tomato sauce which we have been using for pizza sauce(delicious)and chili.
100 pints of pickled peppers(great in salads, on pizza, and brats).
12 1/2 pints of Blueberry jelly

Need to step of the canning next season as well. Hope to have Kale for canning soon.

So, there you have it ... it was a prosperous summer season.

We'll see what happens with the winter garden. We lost the broccoli to a hard freeze along with the Romaine Lettuce. The Kale and Black seeded Simpson lettuce is holding their own. The strawberries look great!

I have ~ 24 collard plants to plant next week.

Seed starting time in Jan...will be here before you know it!

Hope you all have a wonderful Holiday is to us...Happy gardening in 2014!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Facebook vs The Blog

I have to admit that in my hectic world....short posts can be done quicker on Facebook than here on the ole blog.

For the longest time I blogged and resisted Facebook.

Now I find myself on Facebook....reading other's Facebook pages and reading Blog post's less and less.

Why is that?

Is my attention so that reading from page to page on Facebook is actually easier that going from blog to blog?

Is it because I find most blog post's too long?

Is it just me or are other's losing interest in Blog posts?

Now before I sound all doomsdayie....I still do read blogs. I just pick and choose the ones I do.

Such as Fresh Eggs her blog.

I like Young House Love...for inspiration.

But in the scheme of things...I just don't read them like I used too.

Anyone else in the same boat?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easy Potato Planting

I ran across this You Tube Video a while back. I actually think it would be something for me to try when I get a little more space cleared.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Seedling Care

Not saying this is the only way to germinate and care for seeds but it is one that has proven to be very successful for me....

1) Just in case you did not know this....seeds do not need light to germinate. As a matter of fact, after I sow my seeds in a small tray..I place the tray in a ziploc bag and cover with a newspaper. I then place the whole shebang on top of the shop lights to provide bottom heat.
2) Several days prior to the expected germination time...I start checking to see if the seeds have started to come up.... because as soon as the seeds break through the soil ..they need to be placed under the lights... as close as possible to the light source without touching. Not placing your seedlings under a light source ASAP can result in spindly and weak seedlings. Mine are on a timer ... 16 hrs on .. 8 off.
3) Do not over water...this is the kiss of death. Instead allow the soil to dry in between waterings.
4) Always water from the bottom.
5) Since I start seeds in small trays I have to repot them after the first set of true leaves appear. I try not to pot up but 2x. I use cell packs, small dixie cups at first....ending with a red solo cup.
6) After each pot up they go back under the lights until they are ready to be hardened which time they are moved outside for short periods ... eventually spending the entire day out.
7) I try to plant them in the ground as close to the recommended transplant times as possible.

Happy Seed Sowing!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Beeswax Cotton Wraps vs Plastic

We've been trying to eliminate plastic storage containers for sometime. It is a lot harder to do than one would think.

We live in a modern world where everything is disposable and plastic is abundant. You would think we could come up with an alternative.

I have switched to using paper freezer paper as much as possible. But nothing beats a Ziploc freezer bag for convenience.

Last year we also switched to mason jars for everything we could store in the frig or pantry. Even left overs go in mason jars.

But let's face it ... not everything will fit in a mason jar. I still find myself using ziplocs or little recycled plastic containers.

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a blog that has a tutorial for beeswax cotton clothes.

I want to order some beeswax, make some and see if I can get some practical use out of them.

Here's the tutorial:

Cross Pollination?

Worried about cross pollination of tomatoes?....I was relieved to read if precautions are taken...there is little risk. Whew...good. Since I am trying an heirloom tomato (Cherokee Purple) and want to save the seed to replant next year..I need to keep them pure.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Seed Germination chart

All in one place...I like!

Courtesy of:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Testing Eggs

Our hens are kicking it into high gear!! We are getting anywhere between 6-9 eggs a day....whoo hoo!

Last month we started selling them and hope to have a solid customer base built up in the next few weeks. Currently I am about 3 dozen ahead. We are planning on putting a sign up in the yard in case we have neighbors who would like to purchase them locally rather than at the market.

I always find it interesting what questions people ask about fresh eggs...questions always come up like: "Do you have to have a rooster for hens to lay eggs?" or "How long do fresh eggs last?"...or "Do fresh eggs taste better?". If you have chickens know the

If, in the event, we end up keeping our eggs for longer than a month...I test them by the following method. Have no idea who came up with this but it has always worked for me!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pallet Recycling Center

Whoo hoo, Monty deconstructed and remade the center this weekend. Nice!

Thinking of doing a color wash on it to match the house. But you know it is a recycling center...geez!

Next up ... maybe an outdoor sink where I can finally use the 50's old porcelain sink I've been hoarding. At any rate the sucker is heavy with large deep sinks...perfect for washing veggies before bringing them into the house!

Pallet Art

We've been collecting pallets for a while now...and I have lots of projects in mind...benches, tables, more art, potting table...etc. The list is endless

During Christmas I decided I wanted to do 2 art pictures. Monty deconstructed 1 pallet and remade it into 2 wood canvases of sorts. Next, I enlisted my son's girlfriend, Kayla to help me. Kayla has an art background and taking what I decided I would like, she then hand drew and commenced to paint. The end result is: I love them!