April 20, 2015 Garden update

Most of the garden action lately has been in the greenhouse. I’ve started eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, flowers and various herbs from seed. When the little plants grew tall enough I transplanted them from the 2″ seed starting trays into a Dixie cup, burying the stem up to the first leaves. This makes for nice, bushy plants. Instead of leggy, spindly ones. I also keep a gentle fan on the seedlings, which will help them grow nice and strong. The fan serves to keep the air circulating and mimics a gentle breeze. Plants are like children. They need to be outside in the fresh air, in order to grow rosy and robust. If there is no breeze or air moving around the seedlings, they will be weak and floppy.

Tomatoes that are ready to go in the ground. The almanac suggests transplanting them on the 30th. So that's what I plan to do.

Tomatoes that are ready to go in the ground. The almanac suggests transplanting them on the 30th. So that’s what I plan to do.

Sunflowers that are overdue for setting outside. But everytime I transplant them into a bigger cup I bury the stem deeper. I think this is why they are so nice and strong.

Sunflowers that are overdue for setting outside. But everytime I transplant them into a bigger cup I bury the stem deeper. I think this is why they are so nice and strong.

Peppers. All different colors. Chocolate, purple, orange, white. I love colored peppers.

Peppers. All different colors. Chocolate, purple, orange, white. I love colored peppers.

Chamomile, calendula, cilantro, basil, dill, borage and more. They are going to be transplanted into my raised garden bed behind the greenhouse, instead of the main garden.

Chamomile, calendula, cilantro, basil, dill, borage and more. They are going to be transplanted into my raised garden bed behind the greenhouse, instead of the main garden.

Remember I tried to start sweet potato slips in a bed of sand laid over hot manure. Only about 20 slips came up. But they look healthy. I will tug them off the mother plant soon and root them in water. I will not set them out in the garden until mid- May.

Remember I tried to start sweet potato slips in a bed of sand laid over hot manure. Only about 20 slips came up. But they look healthy. I will tug them off the mother plant soon and root them in water. I will not set them out in the garden until mid- May.

The main garden is doing fabulous as well. I love to sit on the deck and look out at all the different shades of green growing out there. We have been out to weed a couple times. All this rain has made the weed seeds sprout. But it is not to soggy to work out there, or plant. So I am thankful for that!

Potatoes are up! I saved enough potatoes from last year's harvest to plant again this year. So I didn't really need to buy any, although I did!

Potatoes are up! I saved enough potatoes from last year’s harvest to plant again this year. So I didn’t really need to buy any, although I did!

Snow peas on the left and beets on the right. I haven't had to water them at all with all the rain we've had.

Snow peas on the left and beets on the right. I haven’t had to water them at all with all the rain we’ve had.

Carrots on the left, more snow peas on the right. Carrots are notoriously hard to sprout, but you can see how well these came up!

Carrots on the left, more snow peas on the right. Carrots are notoriously hard to sprout, but you can see how well these came up!

Spinach that overwintered in the garden. Love these early spring salads. So do the cows! I share with them.

Spinach that overwintered in the garden. Love these early spring salads. So do the cows! I share with them.

Onions. They are planting in the poorest soil of the garden. Right on top of the hill, with the smallest layer of wood chips. We'll see how they do.

Onions. They are planting in the poorest soil of the garden. Right on top of the hill, with the smallest layer of wood chips. We’ll see how they do.

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Drunken woman frizzy headed lettuce on the left. Romaine on the right.

Corn. An heirloom variety gifted to me from our worm farmer friend. This will feed the animals. It is not a sweet corn.

Corn. An heirloom variety gifted to me from our worm farmer friend. This will feed the animals. It is not a sweet corn.

Garlic. 'nuff said.

Garlic. ’nuff said.

Spring babies

Aren’t these little ones cute? Baby piggies are one of our favorite things here on the farm. They squeal, scamper and squirm all around. There are 11 altogether. IMG_6800When it came time to move the pigs out of the orchard, Jeremie called them with a scoop of food and they all came running like he was the Pied Piper of Hamlin.IMG_6811

A new space of their own.

IMG_6716So, I kicked the kids out of their garden space. You know, the whole mud kitchen idea. But my children must have a place to plant and to garden. So Jeremie and Tommy put together some raised boxes for them. We recycled some wood from garden boxes that our friend gave us, and garden boxes that his mom gave us. IMG_6719Then we filled them with composted pig manure/bedding. And topped them off with sawdust shavings to keep in moisture and to keep out weeds. They are conveniently located directly south of the greenhouse.IMG_7037 It was such fun for the kids to transplant sunflowers, and zinnias that they had started in the greenhouse. They also direct seeded lots of veggies. After all the rain we’ve been enjoying, there are many neat rows of tiny green things appearing! IMG_6724

Now I know my A, Bee, Cs…

DSCF7298Tommy, our young entrepreneur, has entered the exciting world of beekeeping! He has labored to build his own top bar beehive. A top bar hive is a more natural habitat for bees, than the traditional square box-like hive. His top bar hive is unique because it will house the traditional square shaped frames. These square frames will fit in a traditional honey extractor, making it easier to enjoy the sweetness of success. DSCF7302There is a “bee school” that is taught by a local master beekeeper that covers all topics relating to raising bees. It was free, even offering a gourmet lunch. Tommy and Jeremie attended this year and learned a lot and met a lot of neat people.IMG_6905 Then today, Tommy went and picked up his “nuc” from the same local beekeeper that supplied Jeremie’s first bees. It is an exciting venture for this young beekeeper. One that he hopes will supply him with a little cash flow to support all his hobbies, or to invest in more lucrative opportunities.IMG_6968

Garden in April

Just a few shots of things that are growing around here in early April.IMG_6706My favorite tree blooming by the red gate.IMG_6946Happy romaine in a container on the deck.IMG_6892Strawberries already with lots of blossoms.We need a couple hundred more plants.

Katie had a little lamb

IMG_6876And loved him so much, she’s ready for another go round. She decided to buy from the same breeder again this year. She did her research and visited another breeder all the way in Bowling Green. But after looking over his stock, she decided to stay with Crabtree club lambs. The lambs this year were quite a bit smaller than we expected and cost quite a bit more money.IMG_6885 Katie knew right away which lamb she wanted… a wether, still awaiting the perfect name. Leave Katie a comment with your suggestion! We also picked up a small white goat to keep the lamb company. Herd animals are happier and put on more weight when they have a buddy. Now the training, special feeding, grooming and exercising begins! IMG_6888

Take a man at his word

The kids interviewed another friend for their personal history requirements. This young man was born in 1922 and had seen something of life. A war, the depression, the death of a spouse, the death of a child, the paving of roads, another war, electricity. He told us stories of his grandparents that were born in 1840. Showed us some letters written by his kin, while they lived in the wilds of the Oklahoma territory. Recounted stories of them fighting Indians. These memories are priceless. He painted a picture with words of “trading days” at the general store. Of riding a mule to the gristmill that ran off a motor that only the local blacksmith could start. Of people of the “north” stilling whiskey. The “north” was the area about 3 miles down the road from us. We laughed together over stories of “Box dinners” and of making 25 cents a day. He grew tender as he shared how he fell in love with his high school sweetheart, married her, had 3 children with her, and buried her. We loved to hear stories of practical jokes played on him while he was a child, because we know what a sense of humor this man now has. Loved to hear stories of childhood friends that stayed close for over 80 years. Loved to hear stories of a daddy that was “so good to me.” It was precious to hear him say, “Well, I haven’t thought of these stories in years. I could go on talking forever.” One of the questions the kids have on their list is, “tell me what kind of things upset you or make you angry.” This is sometimes a sensitive question and we don’t ask everyone, but our friend today told us it makes him upset when someone doesn’t take his word for something, doesn’t believe him or have faith in him. He is from a generation when a man’s word was honorable, was worth something. Makes me wish for those times again. We pray we get to enjoy time with this dear friend for many more years to come.SDC10020