Thursday, April 29, 2010

P is for Potatoes!!

     Yep, trying our hands at potatoes also. We have a few experiments going . . . well, actually our entire garden is an experiment, I guess. I was commenting the other day about an "experiment" I had going and one of my kidos said, "Mom, what isn't an experiment in your garden?"
      Anyway, back to potatoes. I am trying the barrel method with 3 cardboard barrels that were on their way to the burn pit. The idea is to toss the starter into the bottom and cover it with dirt. Every time the plant peeks out, more dirt gets thrown on top of it. Once we reach the top of the barrel we let the plant flower out and then dump it over and dig out all of our goodies - potatoes. We'll see how it works.





We also have about 6 plants growing in mounds.


Updates will come, Lord willing, as the plants get bigger.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

M is for . . . MAGGOTS!!

I think my kids are right . . . "Mom is weird" . . . yep, that's me. I tend to agree with them as I find myself digging into a pile of maggots and feeding them to the chickens. Are maggots really what these chickens of ours are getting excited about?
You got it! Maggots (and other insects) are a great source of protein for chickens. Last year I tried hanging a maggot bucket in the chicken yard. It produced a few maggots that would fall through the holes in the bucket only to be devoured by the birds below. 
             But, this is even better, I had a small wagon full of some yucky meat that the chickens were munching on (along with the grasses and weeds we pick and throw in their pen). One day, I took a shovel and stirred up the meat and there were thousands upon thousands of maggots. What a discovery! The chickens went bonkers as I uncovered piles and piles of maggots!! So, now the morning poultry routine involves a few things: filling the waters, picking several handfuls of grass AND stirring the maggot wagon. Look at this:
You would not believe how fast the hens and Mr. Rooster eat these little, slimy wormies up! It is amazing.

What is even more amazing is that they can eat something that is totally disgusting and convert that into energy and an egg eventually!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Raised Beds and Cold Frames

Well, it all started with an idea . . . how to make a raised bed without much work. It then morphed into research about cold frames . . . miniature greenhouses . . . raised beds. As I looked at the old, non-working freezer at the back of the barn, the idea grew. I found one other person online that had made a cold-frame out of an old freezer. If you can get past the looks of a junky, rusty, old freezer or frig, then you have the ability to grow year round.
           Here is a picture of the first freezer after my son cut some holes in the door:
Not really knowing what I was doing, I had him drill some drainage holes:


Then I filled it with some of the "black gold" I had - a mixture of horse poop, llama poop, local dirt amd bunny droppings:
Here are a few pics of the freezer filled up with soil:




Since then, I have gathered more freezers and frigs. I now, put a layer of rocks in after the holes are drilled, just to help it drain better.



Okay, so are you wondering if my experiment is working? Well, the pictures above were actually taken more than a month ago. Here is a recent pic of the first freezer bed:
Carrots and lettuce!! I think we will have to have a salad pretty soon!
         Here is another freezer that I planted in last week - this one has a Mr. Stripey tomato plant in it along with some jalapenos and red onions.

So, what does it my garden look like now? How's this - 






Junky looking? Well, maybe just a little but, you must look to the inside of each container . . . that is where the food is. Anyway, I'll keep you updated on how my freezer experiment is going over the months.

Monday, April 19, 2010

BROCCOLI!!!!

You got it! We got our first ever broccoli out of our garden tonight. One plant had bolted so we picked some of the others. There was enough to let everyone have a little taste. Hopefully we will get more and then try our hand at planting it later in the summer for a fall crop.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Flashback to Snow

Now that the warmer weather is fast approaching, I thought I would put up a few pics of some of our snow adventures this past winter.













Molly Update

Little Molly, my son's English Shepherd, is doing really well on our ranch. Today she actually went after the 2 sheep we recently got and was able to chase them into the pen. She is an obedient little doggie and fun to have around.
     Here are a few pics from by the pond the other day:


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rainy Day Gardening & Staking Tomato Plants

        Well, I was planning on being outside on the 15th to plant some of my plants but, other things came up. The 16th also passed without me getting out in the garden much.
        So, today was going to be the day but, it is raining now. This just gives me more time to look online for more ideas to try once the rain goes away. Personally, I would be out in the rain planting but some of my smaller kidos are just that . . . small . . . HA!
       I have lots of varieties of tomatoes to get into the ground so what better thing to do than to research about the different methods of staking up the plants.

      I have quite a few old freezers in the garden area that I am turning into raised beds/cold frames so I think I might try this with a few of the freezers that I hope to put tomatoes into: http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=19552&start=30

      What about tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets? Check this out: http://www.kwaree.com/blog/tag/tomato-growing/

       I tried the string method last year and it was way too much work. I don't think my strings were strong enough and I was always tripping over the maze of them in the tomato beds! I'm kind of afraid to stake them up. Last year we had lots and lots of tomatoes and that was with them growing on the ground and many getting rotten. But, how can anyone have too many tomatoes . . . I think it's another ebook coming, Teresa . . . The Salsa and Goat Milk Diet!!

I like the topless table in this write-up: http://www.gardendesk.com/2007/07/how-do-you-support-your-tomato-plants.html

What about tomato teepees? http://carletongarden.blogspot.com/2007/06/tomato-tepees.html

I still hope to do some home-made-upside-down-bucket-planters . . . just have to get a hanging pole in the ground somewhere . . . look at all of the ideas I can come up with on a rainy day! Hopefully I will get some pics up if I get to putting these tomatoes into the ground.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It Was Bound to Happen . . .


Yep, the picture above says it all . . . sheep . . . have entered the ranch now! It was a great trade that I couldn't pass up, thanks to Mary over at Mary's Lil' Acre. We now have 2 Katahdin ewes. One of my daughters has been researching sheep for sometime now and so it was worth the trade, just to see her smile.
        So much has gone on the past month. I will try to catch up over this upcoming week.