Archive for the ‘Growing’ Category

Getting Ready For Fall

It feels much too hot out to be worried about fall. That said, with longer germination later in the year, it’s time to put those newspaper seedling cups to use. I want to grow produce year round, not just at the peak of summer, so as we approach cooler temperatures I’ll be replanting a number of things that we grew in the spring. Currently being sprouted indoors for planting after temperatures drop off a bit are beets, spinach, radishes, arugula, carrots, and lettuce. I’ll be adding kale, swiss chard, turnips, and bok choy once I have more seedling cups made.

I’m also trying to get a few blueberry bushes and peach trees going as a bit of an experiment. They’ll be grown in containers.

We’ve started trying to put away extras for the winter when possible. Tomatoes are being canned one jar at a time as they ripen, and blueberries have filled the freezer a couple of gallons at a time.

The shed is also coming along. With any luck, the goat side (not really visible in this picture) will be completed within the next week. All the rafters are in place, hurricane clips have been attached (to prevent the roof from blowing off in a storm), roofing is going up, and siding will soon follow. I think Cai and Vi are ready to move into their more long term home.

A Sea Of Green

Summer has hit for sure. It’s now hot and mostly dry. The garden isn’t growing at the phenomenal rate it boasted in late spring, but it continues on.

The no till, permaculture based, companion planted method we’re trying leaves the garden looking more than a bit wild at times, even when well weeded and neatly tended. My pole beans are as virulent as ivy or kudzu. They, more than anything else, have made me rethink what qualifies a plant as a “weed”. The whole garden looks like a sea of green, with summer breezes rolling leaves a bit like waves. It is producing fairly well, however, and I can’t say I have many complaints about the system. Pests have been minimal (a few beetles, some worms on my tomatoes, and strange ants that are very fond of eggplant have been it), wildlife has kept out, and the weeds have mostly provided excellent mulch. I’ve also found myself with so many peppers that in addition to eating them, pickling them, and using them in relishes and salads, I’m now finding myself participating in a time honored southern tradition of pawning off unused garden grown produce to unsuspecting relatives before it can go to waste.

That and the one where we fry things. Green tomatoes in this particular instance.

Green isn’t the only color to be found in abundance. Lilies, marigolds, and hydrangeas are in full bloom. Everything is awash with color.

If only it weren’t for the the heat. As things stand right now, I’m trying to stay out of the midday sun, but otherwise am continuing on as normal, just a bit closer to dawn and dusk. I can’t complain too much. It’s allowed me to witness some stunning sunsets.

There is nothing quite like the hum of crickets in the garden, a beautiful sunset, a homegrown meal, and a good night’s sleep.

How To Make Newspaper Seedling Cups

When I first started this whole blog thing I had fully intended to post a ton of tutorials and patterns as a way of giving back after years of learning that way myself. I’ve kind of failed in that area, but better late than never.

You can make biodegradable seedling cups out of misprinted printer paper, old newspapers, even junk mail. These are fantastic because when your seedlings are ready to go in the ground, you just stick pot and all in the dirt and let it grow. All you need it some kind of paper and a couple of cups about the size you want to make that fit together well.

To start, cut or tear your paper into strips that are a bit wider than the depth of the cup you plan to make. Mine are approximately 6 inches wide for roughly 3 and a half inch tall cups.

To start, fold over one of the long edges, just to give it a bit of stability.

Next, fold side at the top, wrap the paper around your cup.

Next, fold the ends below the bottom of the cup over to close the bottom.

Slide the second cup over this and press them together to mold the paper into the desired shape.

You now have a seedling cup that is perfectly usable, but for a little added strength, we’ll go a bit further. Take the seedling cup out of its mold and you will find there is a sort of loose edge.

Carefully fold the top edge of the cup down towards the inside of the cup, then slide back over your mold to really get a firm crease.

Now your seedling cup is ready to use! You can sandwich it between the cups you used for a mold overnight to get it really good and set into a cup-like shape, or you can fill it with some soil, drop a seed in it, and begin eagerly awaiting the first glimpse of green. Whatever you choose, enjoy!

Rainy Memorial Day Weekend

The weekend was on and off rainy. It would stop from time to time, but everything was a muddy mess. The garden has been growing with leaps and bounds due to all the wet weather though!

While certain things just had to be done, rainy or not, for the most part I stayed in. There was a little crafting done..

..but I mostly stuck to the kitchen. I was on a quest to use some of the radishes from the garden so they wouldn’t turn peppery and pithy before I got to them, to use up some of the contents of the fridge, and to stock up on some edibles to leave for the guys while I’m away (the birth of my second favorite little girl is imminent!).

The radishes themselves became pickles.

The radish leaves became pesto.

The pesto (about half of it) became muffins.

I was thrilled with how these came out. They’re a bit dense, but have a good flavor and freeze really well.

On Saturday we went to visit Pop-pop and Nena who were hosting a pre-Memorial Day crawfish boil. Mellie got to visit, touch a crawfish, and pull Pop-pop’s beard.

It was a pretty decent weekend, despite the weather.

A Hint Of Summer

Summer is sneaking up on us quickly! I got a reminder of this in the form of a sudden explosion of bright colored blooms around the house. I’m fighting a bit of a summer cold, but I managed to snap a few pictures yesterday before taking myself and a cup of tea to bed.

The gardenias are already starting to wilt a bit and no longer make for the loveliest of photos, but the air in the garden is thick with their fragrance.

We have also had an explosion of mint which I can’t really smell right now, but I know I normally like too.

The vegetable growing outside the kitchen are starting to mature as well. We’ve already picked some of the radishes with others to follow soon. The yellow crookneck squash, zucchini, tomato, and some of the eggplant varieties are all blooming. Some of them even have small veggies on them already.

Some of the beans have reached the tops of their poles as well now.

I hope it’s a fruitful summer. It’s certainly looking like it will be.

A Rainy Morning

I had big plans for work in the garden this morning while I had help. The plan was to finish mulching the pathways in the front of the garden, set up more poles for the beans and some morning glories that have popped up, transplant some of the eggplant seedlings that need thinning to an empty space on another row, move the small pen to a spot that’s rather overgrown so the goats can clean it up for us after they arrive, and get a little experiment with growing onions in a vertical, green wall inspired set up going. Nice, clear plan right? Unfortunately it was dependent on the weather.

It stormed all night and i s continuing to sprinkle this morning. The water is good for the plants at least. Check out the blooms that are popping up on one of my sweet banana pepper plants!

Since gardening was out, I made breakfast and we hung out inside eating pancakes and catching up on reading. Cal is trying to learn some programming, so he read his manual and occasionally did a little experimenting on our laptop while I cooked.

I also did some fresh henna on myself while I had the free time. The last round was getting pretty faded, though you can still see the faintest impression of it on my second toe.

I was kind of hoping that the sun might come back out and be drying things up by the time I finished the henna, but that isn’t the case. I suppose it’s just going to be an indoor kind of day. Time to catch up on some crafting!

Playing Catch Up

Yesterday was CSA pick up day, and I realized that I never posted last week’s CSA contents. Mellie has been ready for a nap right after getting home both weeks, so neither box has been photographed before being put away. In any case, the last two weeks have included radishes, strawberries, spinach, oyster mushrooms, lettuce, onions (green last week, sweet yellow this week), sugar peas, beets and green beans.

Out of our own garden we’re also getting radishes now. The first eggplants of the year are visible of the plants now too! I love eggplant so much and am really looking forward to these.

I haven’t been giving the garden the love and attention it deserves lately in favor of other projects (though I spent a good portion of yesterday catching up on weeding, thinning and moving seedlings, and laying out some fresh mulch). I’ve been finishing up half finished sewing projects (I had a box full of them) so I can start some new ones.

I have a bunch of fleece remnants I’ve been collecting that I’d like to turn into a small horde of plushies, some for gifts and others for sale. I keep my fabric scraps to reuse as stuffing, and I’ve accrued enough that it’s really time to use some.

I also got word yesterday that there is a Dwarf Nigerian doeling available for us to reserve from Flights of Fancy Farm (dam: Indy, sire: Koda)! I was hoping to get a pair of does, but we’re going to get a pet wether to keep her company instead.

She will be our first dairy goat. No name yet, but I think she looks like a “Violet”. We need to do a little more work to get every thing ready for her, but there is time. She’ll be staying with her mama for a few more weeks until she is weaned. I can’t wait to have her join our little setup here. In addition to being super cute, she will give us milk and manure in trade for a little space, hay, and grain.