Sunday, May 27, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow

It is Sunday morning on Memorial Day weekend.  Our garden was planted about two weeks ago and we are starting to see plants sprout now.  It looks like radish, green beans, and sweet corn are all starting to grow.

This past week I picked up some garlic and asparagus that Lowe's had on clearance.  Cost me $1.50.  We have an existing asparagus patch but at some point it will cease to produce.  I figured with a two year lead time, I better plant before I notice we don't have enough asparagus.  And .50 for three garlic bulbs was too good a deal to pass up.  We can never have enough garlic in this house.

On Friday I went out and bought some tomato, green pepper, and sweet potato plants.  Those are all in the ground now.  Some time ago, I learned that newspaper is good for preventing weeds, it holds water, and you just till it into the garden at the end of the year.  Normally the tomato cages will help hold it in place, but I haven't put the cages up yet.  As the previous night's watering was wearing off yesterday, you could see the papers flapping in the wind.

I got a lot of grief from my brother-in-law Rick and my friend Chuck as they watched newspaper blow across the field towards the pond. Luckily, it was only the extra paper, not the ones I used.  That only stifled their enjoyment slightly.

This picture was taken earlier this week.  This great blue heron seems to be making a home around the pond.  I see him three or four mornings a week right in this spot between our garden and pond.  One morning I caught Addie, our lab mix, watching him.  Then when Addie took off after him, he flew around in circles for a while fairly low. If I had to guess, he is actually a she and is guarding eggs somewhere close by.

This morning while writing this on the back deck, I saw a raccoon at the back edge of the garden.  I had seen him earlier by the pond when I was out by the garden and again on the north side of the pond when I was heading down to the chicken barn.  I love watching all the different animals and listening to them in the morning while enjoying a cup of coffee.  However, if I find out that raccoon is the reason we are missing four chickens, I'll be enjoying my morning cup of coffee with a loaded .410 close by my side.  When I see him headed for the barn, I will make sure he has enjoyed his last free chicken dinner on the East Half of the Southwest Quarter.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Farm Life Fun on Friday Night

Well, we did it.  Finally.  Our schedule, and the weather, finally opened up a window for planting our garden.  So last night we planted green beans, peas, cabbage, brussel sprouts, lettuce, spinach, carrots, cucumber, zuchini, garlic, green onion, radish, white onions, strawberries, and four varieties of sweet corn.

The first thing Susan and I agreed on is that next year we are sowing all our seeds indoors.  We would prefer an earlier start, plus we can accomplish the thinning task when we transplant.  We are still novices at this, so we were a bit unsure of some of the directions.

For example, they kept referring to drills.  We googled it, and found that just means a row or furrow, which we already knew and had done.  I hope that the amount of time between our final tilling and our planting didn't hurt us too much.  This ground hasn't been tilled since at least 1976 and six times through still left a few clumps.  That worsened with some rain.  The ground seemed better the deeper we went so I think the plants will root well.

We still need to go buy some green pepper and tomato plants and get those in.  We plan on doing a watermelon patch as well.  I went out to water this morning before checking on the goats and chickens.  I was pleased to see that last nights post planting watering was sufficient for most of the areas.

I tended to the goats and chickens, which continue to increase in number.  We brought Gus home this week and picked up a bantam rooster as well.  All told, we should have eleven chickens.  However, I only saw seven or eight.  I am afraid more have gone the way of Bud and Helen, whom we are pretty sure were eaten.  The only thing that makes me sad about that is I wasn't the one eating them!

I thought of posting a picture of the garden, but decided to wait until things start to pop up from the ground.  With the exception of our garlic starters we planted, everything else was seed.  So the only thing you would see would be the few weeds we already need to pull.

By the way, my sweet potato experiment is failing.  I am going to have to look that up again and find out if I have done something wrong.  Anyone with advice on growing potatoes and sweet potatoes from eyes, I would appreciate you sharing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sweet Sweet Potato

In the previously mentioned garden (still yet to be planted) we are trying some new stuff.  One of which is sweet potatoes. So today I took a sweet potato from the pantry, and placed it in a mason jar of water.  My understanding is that it will begin to grow vines, which I can remove and transplant to the garden.  Stay tuned for the results.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Asparagus Omelettes

As I type this, I've been inside now for 41 minutes.  I finished tilling the garden at 9:42, after a day of working on some landscaping around the property and doing some mother's day/birthday shopping.  My wife shares her birthday with Mother's Day occasionally, and this is one of those years.

Now, I may be very late in tilling my garden.  In my defense, I am a part time farmer with a day job.  In addition I have two sons playing high school baseball, one son in middle school track, and my daughter plays softball.  So Sunday is my only true free day and given the rain we had lately, it was the first time I could do it.  Plus, I put priority on the purchase of gifts for my wife.  

Which, I might add, she has apparently found one of them, and is asking my son why it is in his closet.  Apparently, she can't remember she asked for it.  Let's give her some time and maybe she'll forget she saw it.

Anyway, back to the farm.  Today Jared found a new hiding place for our egg layers.  20 eggs was the bounty.  Using the "does it float" test, we determined them all to still be good eggs.  We are still harvesting asparagus, and I think breakfast tomorrow will be asparagus omelets with Parmesan cheese.  

It makes me a bit sad to think that if I just plant the garden this week we will be waiting patiently for a harvest from that endeavor.  In the mean time, I will concentrate on the cherry tree and try to beat the birds to them for some wonderful cherry pie.

I also notice the black raspberry bushes in full bloom, so I am getting anxious to see them begin to fruit.  I can't wait to begin to reap the harvest.  Patience is a virtue, but not one that God gave to me.  Next year I am definitely going to have to start my garden indoors so that I can be enjoying it sooner.

Up next, I'll begin posting pictures of the cherry blossoms and black raspberry bushes.  As soon as the plants in the garden begin to grow, I'll post pictures of that too.