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Posts Tagged ‘homesteading’

We had quite a wet spring but thanks to my brother Dave, the entire farm is planted (he’s on the 9N in the pic below). I couldn’t have done it without him, he’s the best brother a guy could have.

How is your garden coming along? How’s your weather? We had over 6 feet of snow this winter and I’m predicting a hot, dry summer here in the Midwest. Then again we just had a thunderstorm that dumped a couple of inches this morning. It hasn’t really rained in 3 weeks though….

Our new crop this year (drum roll please) cotton! I got a couple of packs of seeds from Baker Creek Seeds.  A wonderful company who donates seeds every year to our non-profit Project Garden Share. Speaking of Project Garden Share, if you’d like some free heirloom seeds sent to you, contact me! All we ask is that you plant one for yourself and one for PGS (so you can donate it to a local food bank for those in need.)

Here are some pictures of everything from pumpkin mounds, bonfires, happy chickens and a bean trellis made from tree branches that will be covered by pole beans soon (‘How to’ Post coming soon). We are also trying out weed blocking fabric this season, I’ll let ya know how well it does…..

Garden Rows with weed fabric pumpkin mounds planting vegetable garden bean trellis bonfire farm leaf lettuce garden close up chicken golden comet tomato flower brown eggs sunset

1949 Ford 9N golden comet chickens tight garden rows with weed fabricBeans sprouting tomato row chicken Garden Garden rows Sunny summer farm day

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Catbird – 35.4% of votes

Grumpa Joe – 25.77 of  votes

Congratulations! Send me your address and we’ll send you your prizes. $20 Gift Certificate to The Zoey Zoo (great 1 of a kind whimsical illustrations with themes such as animals, insects , vegetables and more!) and 5 packets of heirloom seeds from Baker Creek Seeds.  Runner up will receive a prize as well.

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The pumpkin patch is beaming with life! I love to watch the pumpkins grow. One day there’s a little pumpkin the size of a golf ball, 2 days later it’s the size of a softball. I hope your pumpkins are doing great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jack-Be-Little’s are turning orange already. How are your sunflowers?

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Here’s a list of my tips to grow more veggies, keeps animals away, water the right way and more!

  1. Make plant markers by using an old mini blind. Take the slats, cut them with scissors and use a Sharpie. Go to Goodwill if you don’t have any. You can get one for .50 cents.
  2. Keep deer away from your garden by using human hair. I save my clippings when I buzz my head or you can go to your local hairdresser and ask for hair, they may look at you weird but they’re happy to get rid of it. Sprinkle it around the perimeter and replace every couple weeks or after a big rain.
  3. Use coffee grounds to fertilize your soil. Go to a local coffee shop and ask for their spent grounds. They save them at my shop for gardeners and have a sack behind the counter.
  4. If starting vegetables from seed is intimidating, try radishes. They’re really easy and go from seed to fruit in 35 Days.
  5.  Also, to keep deer and other animals out of the garden, pee on the fence posts. This is easier if you’re a guy but if you’re a gal, be happy about multiple orgasms.
  6. To trap critters, I’ve had the best luck with the following bait; Raccoons love marshmallows and cat food. Rabbits like carrots (duhh) but love brussel sprouts and spray the trap with apple cider. Ground Hogs love apples and mice well…peanut butter is all you need.
  7. Don’t water during the day. It’s useless and a waste. Most of it will evaporate and if you water the plant, the sun can burn it up (think of water droplets as tiny magnifying glasses). Always water at the base. Keep in mind vegetables are made up of mostly water. A tomato is 90-95% water.
  8. If you want to get children interested in gardening, stay away from root vegetables. They can’t see the growth and understand what’s going on underneath the ground and can’t visualize it. Stick with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins and corn. The changes are visually stunning and fun to watch.
  9. Always plant flowers throughout your garden to attract pollinators. And besides, it atheistically pleasing.
  10. Grow organically and plant non-GMO seeds. Why put poison on something you’re going to eat. And if you’re growing organically, be sure your plants and seeds are not genetically modified. Why waste time gardening organically if you’re growing a tomato created by splicing fish dna and a strawberry?

On the topic of GMO’s….On Friday, The Farm Bill amendment that would have unambiguously given states the rights to label genetically modifiedingredients in food without fear of reprisal from biotech companies was been voted down in the Senate. The amendment, introduced by Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Mark Begich (D-AK), was voted down by 73-26. If your Senator didn’t vote for it, call their office. Here’s a link to all the Senators from every state Click Here.

It was all over every major news corporation, wasn’t it? Ohh wait, it wasn’t covered by anyone.

Plug: My wife created a site of wonderful artwork; whimsical themes for children in a variety of mediums. She offers original works, archival reproductions and can also create custom artwork for those who request it.  Please visit her site by clicking on the banner above.

and finally a quick update on the farm…….in pictures. Happy Sunday everyone!

Lady bug on a bush bean plant

I need to trellis the peas.

Orange is my favorite color

Pumpkin patch is blowing up.

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A double rainbow from yesterday. I think that’s a sign of a plentiful garden this year. Sounds good right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have been planting. Thanks to my brother Dave who enjoys waking me up before sunrise to get some seeds in before work. We’ve got corn, peas, bush beans, beets, radishes, carrots, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, basil, dill, parsley, and lots of flowers to attract pollinators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini is blowing up and my tomatoes are already flowering. Shouldn’t be long now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peas popping up and the peppers are doing great. They are already flowering! The rabbits are eating my beans so I have to take steps to deter them today. Maybe some Cayenne pepper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I planted the pumpkins a bit differently than last year. With the tractor, I made a long mound instead of individual mounds. Here’s how to Plant pumpkins in small mounds: https://soulsbyfarm.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/how-to-plant-pumpkins/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chives are flowering. I just found a great recipe on Barrows Farm blog: cut off the tops, fill a mason jar 2/3 full with the blossoms and cover in white vinegar. Place the jar on your porch or window sill as if you were making sun tea and you’ll have a fabulous dressing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Dave (again) he put in the Soulsby Vineyard this past week. Zoey helped manage and Jeff is installing the trellis. I’m still not 100% sure about the spacing. I’ve read everything from 4′ to 8′ up to 20′ between the vines. What do you do for concord grapes? Any tips?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great Sunday everyone! Happy planting!

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Chickens are getting big, should start laying any day now. They’re about 22 Weeks Old. Chickens usually start laying (depending on the breed) around 20-24 Weeks.

Spreading the manure with the neighbors Bobcat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rained all week but afterwards the sun came out and flowers bloomed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was able to get the fields disced again after the manure was spread. It supposed to rain again tomorrow so hopefully I can get some seed and plants into the ground before it does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a nice day for a swim in the pond as Max and Moose showed their talents off chasing the ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Balm is blowing up……and finally Max Photobombing and the plow after use (all shiny)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day to All.

 

 

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According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, Spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere on March 20, 2012, at 1:14 A.M. Let the countdown begin! If you live in the Midwest region of the U.S. (like us) you better get your seeds started inside to get a jump on summer. Now is the time to start: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Leeks, Onions and most importantly  Peppers, Tomatoes. A lot of seeds can be sown directly into the earth but these guys need a head start.

Get your order into Baker Creek (my favorite seed company that only sells heirloom seeds and NO GMO’s) There is also a really cool site that you type in your zip code and it figures out when you should start what veggie. http://sproutrobot.com/ If you don’t know how to start seeds inside I have to quote the movie Tommy Boy by saying “I’d have to hit you in the back of the head with a tack hammer.” Cause it’s that easy…. Get some seeds, some dirt, a couple of lights and wait.

Soon, it’ll be planted and you’ll have fresh veggies on the horizon, like these cherry tomatoes. I plant cherry (or grape) tomatoes just to munch them fresh off the plant while I’m working in the garden. They’re so sweet and delicious.

 

Corn you sow directly into the ground and in 75 short days it looks like this. Nothing is better in the summer than hand picked (in the morning) sweet corn roasted on the grill.

Ahhh Spring flowers from last season. I always plant a lot of flowers around the garden to attract pollinators  and of course there’s the aesthetic reasons…

 

 

I miss our goats. They were a funny pair around the farm.

 

Also, one quick question for any soil experts out there. We’ve had an extremely mild winter in Ohio. Usually at this time of the year, the ground is frozen solid 30″ deep. This year, it’s been so warm the ground never froze. My question is; What effect on the soil does this mean? Since it never froze did the insects never die? Did the bacteria never break down?

Not all bugs are bad. My upcoming post will discuss beneficial insects for your garden. Like this praying mantis I snapped a picture of in the rear field. After that post I’ll be going over “Making Your own Worm Farm” with Red Wigglers.

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