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Posts from the ‘In the Garden’ Category

Garden Update | Week 4

It was a balmy 40 degrees outside today. I’m not letting the cool weather stop me and have managed to get a jump on a garden this year turning my kitchen into a stand-in greenhouse.

Today, I decided to replant the overgrown lettuce in my Bounty Elite Aerogarden and started 8 pods of various heirloom lettuces including Deer Tongue, Red Sails, and Black Seeded Simpson. In the last pod, I transplanted my chives from my Aerogarden Farm Plus as it was being overcrowded by my humongous basil plant.

I finally transplanted the first seeds, various tomatoes plants, I started in the Jiffy peat pellets to bigger 3″ peat pots. I should have transplanted them several weeks ago and I think I starved them for nutrients leaving them in the pellets too long causing the leaves to turn yellow slightly. I will just have to see how they do.

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In my Aerogarden Farm Plus, the dill and basil are out of control and I need to get them cut and preserved somehow. I’ve tried to preserve herbs before in a dehydrator with no luck, so this time I might try freezing them. My two cherry tomatoes plants are growing and have blossoms on them; however, I am seeing a lot of curled and discolored leaves. What I have concluded from some research is this might be a nutrition deficiency, and while I’m following the recommended nutrient schedule, I might need to up the amount a bit.

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What I’m most excited about are the seeds I started in the Farm XL seed starting system a few weeks ago just kind of messing around. I started cucumbers, eggplants, zucchini, and Brussel sprouts and they are actually doing really well. I’m worried that they will get too big and tangled before I can get them into the garden. I just received my seed order from Baker Creek Seed Company and started those seeds yesterday in the seed starting system. I can’t wait to see peppers, tomatoes, and some luffa grouds starting to pop up!

Now, if I could get the weather to warm up enough to get some stuff in the ground outside…

Starting Seeds with my Aerogarden

I recently splurged and purchased an Aerogarden Farm Plus, which I put together on the kitchen table (…my kitchen really isn’t big enough for it, but neither is anywhere else in the house). The Farm Plus has two growing bays. In one side, I’ve planted a herb kit with basil, dill, and cilantro and two cherry tomatoes plants that I plan to keep in the Aerogarden system. In the other bay, I’m trying out the seed starting tray which allows you to start 85 seedlings at one time.

Goose and I found some older seeds in the house and decided to play around and see what would sprout. We planted tomatoes, peppers, swiss chard, Brussel sprouts, eggplants, zucchini, and cucumbers. Unfortunately, none of the tomatoes and peppers germinated (I think the seeds were just too old and had not been stored properly). What did sprout was every. single. eggplant, zucchini, and cucumber. Not only did they sprout, but they have become quite large seedings in a very short period of time. I am working to get them transplanted into 3″ Jiffy Pots.

This is the first time I have had any success with starting seeds. I’m afraid that I have started too early and these plants are going to be too big to manage before I can get them into the garden, especially since I don’t have a greenhouse to move them too.

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I purchased another round of grow sponges and some new tomatoes and pepper seeds. I’m going to start them this weekend.

Please send your eggplant, zucchini, and cucumber recipes.

Blueberry Pickin’

Blueberry season has been in for a while and Amy and I finally got a chance to head over to my good friend’s farm, Frostmore Farm. We only had about an hour to pick but managed to fill up a couple of gallon baskets. Everyone in our household loves blueberries so they aren’t going to last long. I think they are going to be eaten before I even get them into any muffins or pancakes. I am hoping to make it back over to Frostmore Farm next week to pick enough to freeze for this winter.

If you get a chance to visit Frostmore Farm and pick some blueberries, be sure to grab some maple syrup to top off your blueberry pancakes!

What is your favorite way to use blueberries?

Mushroom Farmers! {Back to Roots Musrhoom Kit Review}

One thing that I want to try next is growing mushrooms. I have attended several workshops, but just haven’t gotten around to doing it. This spring I hope to purchase a few logs or maybe try to inoculate a few logs of my own.

In the meantime, I stumbled upon the Back to the Roots oyster mushroom kit, which looked pretty neat and would provide a fun project for the kids and I to do. I ordered one of Amazon, got it started, and we are about half way to harvesting our first crop of oyster mushrooms.

I was worried at first because it didn’t seem to be growing. However, around day four, they took off and I swear they are growing so fast that I notice a difference every couple of hours. The kids really dig this too, because every time they wake up in the morning or come home from school, the mushrooms are noticeably bigger!

I predict some delicious stir-fry in the near future!

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Sweet End of Summer {Farm Update}

The air was fresh, sweet and a bit nippy this morning as summer begins to wind down here in the mountains. The nights have been cool, queuing the leaves to turn from deep green to golden amber and burnt orange in the higher elevations.

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While this summer has seemed to fly by, it has been very enjoyable and relaxed. I have been resisting the urge to embark on any new projects and instead have been focusing on buttoning up what’s already been started. Read more

Summering Away {Farm Update}

In just two weeks school starts again. It’s hard to believe. It feels like summer just got started, especially with the rainy start the season got. May and June brought nothing but rain, with around 47 out of 50 days straight having rain. But the weather finally broke, and July has been sunny and hot. Here’s a quick round-up of what we have been up-to lately.

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Asparagus, Oh How Delicious {Daily Harvest}

Spring has finally arrived. For the last couple of weeks, the mercury has slowly been rising. However, this morning was a throw back to colder days, as the temperature hung in the upper 40s and the wind was wicked. Cora and I strolled up the garden this morning, and I was ecstatic to discover dark green and purple spears of asparagus shooting up through the overgrown bed. Even though I was only able to harvest a handful, it was a welcome and delicious addition to our dinner tonight. I can’t wait to enjoy pounds and pounds of asparagus over the next few weeks!

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Eggs, Eggs Everywhere {And Other Summer Happenings}

What a whirlwind this summer has been. I can’t believe that it’s September. The air is starting to cool and the leaves are leisurely turning an impressive palette of crimson, gold and burnt orange. This is always a favorite time of year for me, but I can’t help but feel a little melancholy thinking that Old Man Winter will awaken soon and slap me in the face with what The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting to be another cold, brutal winter.

Most of my “to-do list” remains uncrossed as free time eludes me between full-time work and tending to the littles. Even so, I wanted to do quick update about what’s been happened this summer.

My garden boxes have actually produced some vegetables this year. From the start, I intended them to be a learning experience, so I was happy with anything they produced. We are still getting some peppers and tomatoes and harvested quite a few squash and cucumbers before powdery mold killed those boxes off. The tomatoe plants are falling over with fruit but none of it seems to want to ripen; I’m thinking that this has something to do with it being so shady. At this point, the large garden is still producing more than enough for all our households, so I’ve left the boxes to the goats and chickens. Next gardening season I think I will move the boxes to the larger garden plot since they are just to shaded at my house and with the animals roaming freely around the property I would need to invest in some fencing to protect it, which probably just isn’t worth it.

The goats are doing well. Our plan to fence in our entire three-acre plot is still on the fence (ha, ha, right?). Once our budget permits we will tackle this improvement, which will most likely be in the spring. Until then, they are living in the temporary enclosure, which they don’t seem to mind. Although it’s heavily wooden and doesn’t have pasture, the goats are allowed to free range most days and enjoy the fresh grasses and brush on our neighbor’s property, who has graciously granted us access to his field. All five of this season’s kids are growing, most coming in at 65+ pounds. We have decided to keep the doelings (Gwen, Ginger and Walnut) and have the two bucklings listed for sale as room necessitates that they find a new home.

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And finally, the chickens! They are very happily free ranging all over the place, and after about five months, we are getting our first eggs. Only problem is the chickens are laying all over the place. We have found eggs in the brush pile, the goat barn and even in Cora’s stroller. We have tried keeping them confined until mid-morning and putting golf balls in the nesting boxes to no avail. So, until further notice, we’ll continue the daily egg hunt. I do have to say, frustration aside, my preschooler thinks it’s a blast to hunt for eggs every morning.

As the seasons transition once again there is so much to do and look forward too. Hopefully, Old Man Winter will be kind and spare us a harsh winter. Until then, here’s to fall!

My Garden is Actually Growing! {Garden Update July}

I’ve heard that you either have a green thumb or are good with animals. Well, most days I feel like I’m pretty middle of the road with both, but I keep at it and each season I gain more skills and do just a little better than last time.

Last summer I got into place four, 4′ x 8′ cedar garden boxes and planted a variety of vegetables, none of which, for one reason or another, grew. This year, I’m at it again, and the garden is looking much better. I have three of the four boxes planted with tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and peppers and all of the plants have vegetables on them currently.

Peppers! The banana peppers are almost ready for picking and will be the first produce harvested from my own garden. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them, since I’m not a big hot pepper person, but it’s a big milestone and I’m pretty excited.

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The Blueberries Taste Like Blueberries {Pick-Your-Own Blueberry Farm}

I forgot how good fresh blueberries taste…

A couple days ago the kids, Chad’s grandmother and uncle, and I made a trip to one of the pick-your-own blueberry farms located just a couple miles up from the homestead. I can’t believe I’ve lived here all my life and not once went to pick blueberries.

We drove up to the owners home, grabbed some gallon buckets and headed to the blueberry patch where we spent the next couple hours picking plump, ripe blueberries from the bushes. Even with the dry spell we’ve had these past couple of weeks the bushes were overflowing with berries, which I figure will be prime for a couple more weeks.

Tanner was the official “berry-toter”, and somehow his bucket was always full while the rest of us seemed to be making slow progress. Even Cora came along, sitting quietly in her stroller and observing as we picked. When it was all said and done, we picked about four gallons of berries. The berries seem to be disappearing out of the fridge very quickly, so I think we’ll make another trip at the end of the week to restock and hopefully get enough for freezing.

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