Garden Fun

All I can seem to think about these days, as the temps hover in the high 60’s and low 70’s – is SPRING!!  I love, love, love spring!!

This year my focus is on our garden.  Making it beautiful to me, abundant in its fruit, and smart in its design – those are my goals.  So far we are truckin’ right along!

We have Kale making a come back, today I will plant some more Kale where a few plants died this winter.  Next we have cabbage starters that I planted, and other cabbage seeds that we planted.  Spinach and Lettuce went in as seeds about 5 days ago and are starting to sprout!!

garden rows

I’ve already transplanted my tomatoes into 3 inch pots, for more room and to make for stronger stems.  I have lots of herbs started in doors, and pepper plants too.  I did put my pepper plants under a low heat lamp today, trying to get them to sprout.

Whew. 

Meanwhile I have had some fun too.  I saw garden markers on pinterest, and while mine do not have the perfect lettering, I sure like them.  We have some bricks that we got from family,and I plan to make markers for each row.  My sweet helper even got in on the bricks, I outlined the letters and she colored them in!!

spinach markercabbage marker

Finally, in the back yard I want to put in a stone pathway – with garden stones – to get from the porch to the gate.  These kind of stones are not cheap, so I decided to make them myself.  I made them ages ago with little hand prints and kids names, this time I just wrote in some words that I will like to read as I walk along them.

cole stonelove stonejoy stonehope stone

These were made from a bag of mortar mix, some water (about a 4 cup mix to 1 cup water ratio).  Then pour into your molds. 

wet stone

Let sit for about 5 days – depending on humidity and how wet your mix ended up.  After 1 day of drying I used a paint brush handle to write my words in, and then brushed the stuff off with the paint brush. I could paint the letters for some color, but honestly, I think I like them they way they are. 

Fun on the Farm – never a dull moment!!

Barn-Hop

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Did you know? It’s Garden time!!

Yes, I know it is January, and well, you may not live in East Texas.  But, if you do it is time to be thinking about your garden!!  I have been thinking tons about mine.  Tonight I started 72 tomato plants, well, maybe 5 of those were basil – and 5 cabbage – so I guess 62 tomato plants – but either way I am thrilled!!  I have a few heirloom seeds (which if you do not know yet, those are the ones you want!!). 

seedlings

Also, onions need to go in now!

onions

Also right now, in Zone 8 (my zone) it is time to throw seeds into the garden outside as well!! Not all of them, mind you, but many. And in case you are not sure what to do for your zone in January, you should check out Organic Gardening – when you get there search for “what to do in January” and so on. I cut and pasted and threw all that info into my gardening notebook. So now each month, I will get it, and check out my list.

Meanwhile, my other Amazing idea – not so much my own, I think I merged a couple ideas to figure this out – but I am storing all my seeds in baby food jars. My friend graciously gave me about 100 last fall when she was feeding her baby. I held on to them knowing I would figure out a perfect use. And Voila!!

seed storage

I did! I had some seeds in a brown bag from the feed store and weevils got in and ate through EVERY one of my purple hulled peas!! UGH!! NO MORE!! And for peas, I will use smaller canning jars. Make sure your jars are clean and very dry, and your seeds are dry too!!

I also rescued an old soda crate at an antique store (my sister in law gave me one I use to hold tea, and knew I could find a use for another) and plan to paint the lids and then store the jars with lids exposed and their contents labeled.

holder

 

Okay – 2 more great ideas I thought I would share.  I was hoping Hobby Farm magazine would have the info, but online you cannot see what I am looking at.  So, if you get the magazine, check it out – if not, check it out at the store.  There is a tiered seed drying rack.  Where you make these “drawers” with screen bottoms, to put your seeds on to dry when you, say scoop out a squash.  Then they dry out in your dryer.  It has a base/frame that the drawers slide into.  This is going to be my big boy’s project this spring for me.

Can you tell I need this?  Because right now I am drying some organic pepper seeds this way…

old seed drying

The next one, my next son is going to make a rack to dry herbs on.  This has dowels that go across and you would bundle some Basil, tie it together and then drape it on the dowel, kind of in the middle of the bundle.  And it would dry out too, to save to use in foods or whatever. 

I cannot wait to get my new projects – maybe for my birthday!  A great excuse for Robert to work with them, teach them some wood working and have fun!!  I love it!

That’s all for now.  Off to think more about my garden and other fun projects blooming around here!!


{I’m sharing on The Prairie Homestead Barn Hop}

Barn-Hop[3]

Gardening

It is gardening time around here.  Hard work, but, so rewarding!

garden corner view

I think we will be outgrowing out 3000 sq ft garden this year, just a hunch, but time will tell!  So far we have lots of potatoes coming up – plants are about 8-12 inches tall! 

potato plants

We planted three times more of these than last year, to include Dakota Pearls, Red, and Yukon Golds.  We are hoping for a huge crop and a few more meals this year!

 

We planted a row of lettuce, but we only have a few random plants growing, we will plant more to fill in this weekend, more lettuce and spinach, I think.

lettuc

Radish are a family favorite (except me) and the kids planted these, can you tell??

radishes

(They are clustered a bit)

We also have onions and garlic that went in in Feb, and it is all looking pretty good.  Recently we planted (or replanted) Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Sugar Snap Peas, Purple Hulled Peas, Cucumbers, Squash, Zucchini, Cantaloupe, and lots of herbs.  Not sure what will do well this year, but after this year we should be able to forecast our needs and how much to plant a bit better.

I have finally kicked the cats out of  my raised flower bed.  They have been using it as a cat box, NO MORE!  I not have wire over the top to break this yucky habit, so that I can have some flowers grow.  I also put in a few herb seeds, hoping to have an herb garden for some great cooking!  Of course, the chickens may like my herbs too, and keeping them out may be tougher than the cats!

From this point, we have a bit more planting, we need to get the tomatoes we have started in the ground along with all the pepper plants we started inside. 

pepper starters

We have about 40 tomato plants – hoping they all live to go in the ground and then produce lots of fruit!

 

tomato starters

We took the plunge and invested in some fruit trees as well this year.  So far we have 8 peach trees, 4 apricot trees, and 2 plum trees.  I am so hoping we do not have a drought like last year and these trees make it!!  The promise of future fruit is worth it!

(Here is a plum tree in a wire cage, tough to see, but I see lots of green leaves, a good sign)

fruit tree - plum

Notice my hens in their community bath?  More on that later though….

Spring Garden : In

new sign in garden

 

I love this part of the garden, not as much as the final product, but I still love the planning, the excitement of what we are going to put into the ground, the hope of what will spring forth from the ground in the coming weeks and months!!

planting onions

We had a wonderfully productive day on Sunday!  We arrived home from church, and after we ate some lunch we all headed out to work in the garden!  The weather was so nice, almost 70’s, even though the wind was blowing like crazy!

planting seeds

We planted 2 rows of three different kinds of potatoes, hope that is enough this year.  Then, we also planed lettuce (bibb and romaine), Swiss Chard (my favorite), radishes (a family, minus me, favorite), beets, onions, and some Pak Choi, not really sure what that is!

Everyone planted something, which is another favorite part – they are all so excited about getting seeds in the ground and planting things!  They love to watch their row grow and occasionally help weed too!

 

Once we finished with our early seeds that needed to get into the ground, we moved into the garage to pick up a bit.  Robert built a new work bench, which I love!  Got the Miter Saw off the ground and cleaned things up a bit.

Then I found some old wood, a piece of fence I found somewhere many months ago.  I saw a sign somewhere that someone made, and decided I needed a sign too!  So here is our new garden sign!!

new garden sign

 

And with a few more fence boards, I cut them up to make signs for our garden rows.

garden signs

I am also pretty excited because we finally got around to ordering trees on Sunday!  We ordered many peach trees, a few apricot and then a bunch of Knock Out Rose Bushes.  I am absolutely so excited to get all these items in and into the ground!  I know fruit trees take a while to get going, but oh, the promise of our own fruit in the years to come!! I cannot wait!!

I am working on convincing Robert to put in a corn patch and a wheat patch this year too.  Just a small 12 x 12 area, to see how they do in our soil and in our yard.  If they both do well, then we can plant a bigger spot next year. 

I love all this gardening, it reminds me that spring is right around the corner too!!

Happy Planting, in your neck of the woods!!

Back on track

I need to get things back in order.  I think it is the spring bug!  I want to organize everything, I want to get back into a set routine, and I want order.  Ahhh, order – the thought already calms me!

Meal planning has been lacking unless we have company coming, and the family would love some real meals instead of what is on hand – sometimes resorting to ramen noodles (with peas to justify it).  I am ready for some new & yummy meals too!  So I am going to stalk THIS blog (thanks to Jenna) this week and get some recipes to try out with our family.  Healthy, yummy and cheap (relatively on all the above I think).

I need to get my room back to looking like a Master Bedroom and not a laundry room/mud room/man’s workshop like it does right now.  I am taking our bathroom back – I need to fix a spot or two on our walls (sand off the spackle and re-prime the underneath, and then re-spackle) but I can do all that while we are using the room!! So no more showers in the kids bathroom at some point this week!!!  That is the plan anyway!

I plan to get everything ready (together in one spot) for next year so I know what I need to find or track down.  I also need to check out a few more curriculum items that I may invest in in the next few weeks – that is the fun part!!

And finally we need to get some stuff out of the garden I think and some more seeds in before it gets too far into spring and we miss the window!  So far things are looking great though!  This weekend we put in watermelon, cantaloupe, more squash, and more green beans.  the potatoes are looking great and so is the lettuce and sugar snap peas!!  I am hopeful – but we need to get a fence up before the hogs realize what we have going on!! I would be devastated if the hogs hit our garden one night!!

We got 2 more eggs today – so we have 3 now – in a few days we will have enough to have a breakfast compliments of our hens!!  Cannot wait!!

Well, it looks like I have  busy week set before me, off to bed so I have the energy to do it all.

Did I mention I am behind on my scripture memory?  Yeah.  Just a bit.  So this week is our “free” week – I am calling it my catch-up week. I have 14 verses I need to get memorized if I plan to keep up – ugh!!  So I will work on my bathroom walls while repeating verses I think – the only way it will all get done!!  (that and I think I am not allowing myself to watch tv until I get these verses down – it may be a long week).