Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

March 30, 2010

Goings on.

Still much happening around the homestead. I'll narrate, while letting some pictures tell most of the story...

Plants have been in the seed starting unit in the east window for almost a month now and are coming along nicely. Lights under reflective material. I used one of those .99 cent survival blankets that you can pick up in the outdoors section of may stores to concentrate the light back onto the sprouts. This picture was actually taken 10 days ago and the difference is impressive. (I'll try to get some more of them up soon.) I started running my oscillating fan over these a couple of days after this picture was taken. It simulates the weather that the plant would be exposed to outdoors and helps to keep the legginess down and build stronger plants. Iceberg lettuce sprouts under the lights. Starting these indoors let's me get enough of a head start that I can get some from them before they bolt. Last year they did OK. Hopefully even better this year!For those following the progress of my last robust little cutting from last years tomatoes. I've now got it split into the original cutting and two other "daughters". I placed the cuttings into soaked vermiculite and let them sit for about 2 - 3 weeks until I began to see roots along the edges of the cups. They've now been transplanted into soil and are coming along well. She's a tuffy!Here's a little plot of salad greens that I'll be using for cut and come again salad harvests until I can get more from outdoors.
LOOKOUT!! ALIENS!! OK I'm a dork, we all know that, but don't they kind of look like the invasion of the body snatchers or something? These are some "Garden Cloche" that I picked up at a local thrift store for 1.50 each last year. I've seen this same exact type of Garden Cloche for sale for 20.00 a piece so I was pretty happy to find these. So is my Chinese Cabbage I think.Here's a close up. The only noticeable difference with these is that they don't have the neat little glass knobby thing at the top. I think they were for displaying figurines or something originally. See, just goes to show, a little imagination goes a long way.I finally got out and got the greenhouse cleaned up over the last weekend too. It needed a lot of work but is in a much better state now. Soon the nights will be warm enough I won't feel bad putting out the sprouts! Those are recycled buckets of water to help hold some of the days heat through the night.Did you notice that little bit of green in the back of the G-house? Those are one of my biggest greenhouse successes and for some reason I have yet to mention them. Last year I tried to grow Artichokes in two largish pots. They didn't do well. Didn't die, but never thrived. I did, however, manage to overwinter them in the pots in the greenhouse. As soon as the weather started to warm at all, they started to throw up new shoots and really took off. This past weekend I split the second of the two plants into new starts and now have a total of twelve! The four on the left were split from the first plant a couple of weeks ago. I have a place I'll be planting these babies out by the potato garden this year and with any luck, I should have at least enough artichokes to enjoy fresh through the summer and then can get them thriving enough to over winter again!This weekend also had me cleaning out and prepping some of the harvest baskets that we use. Just seeing them there makes me excited about filling them!
As you can see, Things are coming along. There's more queued up, but just not enough time to get to them.

Hope Spring's coming along well for you all as well. Care to share your progress with everyone? Drop a comment and feel free to link to your own blog if you have one too. This is a community isn't it?

Namaste all...

March 25, 2010

High Density Pea Planting

I had quite a bit of interest in my high density PEA planting last year so I thought this year I'd go into a little more depth about it.

Peas are one of the true harbingers of spring. They're cold tolerant to the point of pushing through snow in some cases and later, when they plump and fill their pods with the sweet little green bites of goodness, you can be assured that the growing season is here. Like many beginning gardeners one of the first crops I was interested in growing years ago was peas and, also like many new gardeners, I failed miserably for the first few years.

As I mentioned, peas are cold tolerant. This isn't just a convenient truth, it's a cold fact (pun not intended) that we have to take into consideration. The truth of the matter is, peas aren't even so much "cold tolerant" as they are "cool mandating". What I mean by this is that they actually need that cool weather to do well. The first year I planted peas I did it when I felt the gardening season began...late May. I planted, watered, watched with excitement as they sprouted and started to grow and then stood back scratching my head as they abruptly wilted and died in the heat of late June's heat. I did a little research and learned that they like cool weather. The next time I planted them it was early April and they did much better. My few little rows of peas grew proudly and filled nicely and in the end we had peas for dinner... one time! While I had planted them correctly, I didn't plant nearly enough. Following the directions on the package, I spaced them as instructed and got a harvest of about one full bowl.

The last few years I've managed to work out a way that has yielded us very good results, has given us enough yield to can peas that we can eat through during the winter months and manages to get the peas in, grown and out of the garden to make space for the next crop rotation in good time.

Everything starts for us with pre-germination. This isn't something that's generally instructed to do, but I think of it as mandatory. I'll go into why in a few minutes. What I do is to put the peas that I figure I will need, plus a few percent more just in case, into a large container and completely fill the tub with luke warm water. This I leave to sit overnight. The next day, I strain out all the peas and return them to the container, which now has a paper towel liner in it, and cover with plastic wrap with a few breathing holes in it.
After a few days I check the peas and if they look dry I will mist them just a bit and re-cover. After less than a week you should be looking at something that looks like all the peas have stuck out their tongues and are daring you to plant them. Take them up on that! Wait too long and they'll start to rot.

Looking at the picture below you'll see that by high density planting I don't mean only that they're planted close in the row, which they are (about 4.5 to 5 inches), but that the rows of plantings are just as close. it's like planting on the corners of a 4.5 inch square.

Here's where that pre-germination comes in handy. Because I will be planting my peas in a high density way, I need to know that most, like 95+% of them, are going to come up. When the seed has germinated successfully you know fairly surely that that is a viable seed. Some will rot or die in the soil, but most will emerge successfully.

The other reason for pre-germinating seed is for situation like I had this year. I had a good bit of seed that I needed to use because it was from 2007 and was getting old. By pre-germinating I was able to identify whether the seed was still good or not. Because I wanted to make sure I still had enough time to get new seed if I had to I did the whole process a few weeks earlier than usual. Luckily the weather's cooperated and I had this handy cold frame that I built last fall that I could insulate them from any extreme nights with.

The peas have now come up and are out from under cover. If all goes well I'll be able to start my harvesting of these a couple of weeks earlier than last year even.

Peas are a great crop. They're sweet right off the vine, easy to work with and with a little planning can really yield a good harvest. I hope this sheds a little more light on how I like to do them on my little backyard farm. What's your favorite way?


March 14, 2010

Let's try again...

Well, I don't know Belani, and I'm really sorry to have to do this, but I don't want to miss out on the opportunity of giving someone the Food Dehydrator and I have yet to here from Belani.

Again with the random generator and this time it looks like it's Paige! So I'll be waiting for some word from you then Paige. Hopefully in the next couple of days anyway.

Looking forward to it, and from your post it sounds like you could use one too.

March 11, 2010

And the winner is.....

... Balani !!

And here's the real kicker, she's from right here in Northern Utah. (And I swear I didn't play local favorites.) I took number of posts I got, subtracted out the few duplicates and spams that I got, and used a number picker.

So Balani, here's what you need to do. Send me an email, and I'll reply with the details. You can find my email address on my profile page (listed at the top right side of the page). The email address is written out in my "ABOUT ME" section
Looking forward to hearing from you.


TO all others, Thanks for participating, I have a couple of other ideas for some smaller scale give-aways as the season progresses, so keep checking in.

March 10, 2010

Going once, going twice...

Just in case you've been on the fence about it, here's your last chance to get your name in for the give-away I'm planning for tomorrow.

I've been enjoying hearing from so many of you. Honestly I've been a little embarrased at the love fest. I guess it is my fault, I did say "let me know what you enjoy about my blog" after all. I was mostly looking for some constructive critisism and wanted to learn about what kind of stuff you all enjoyed reading about, but hey, who am I to turn down a couple of compliments huh?

Anyway, because I've been able to root out a comment from so many of you, I now know you're really out there and it's not just some random person popping in from all over the globe. I hope you'll continue to chime in from time to time even after the give-away.

I'm going to give it until I get home from work tomorrow afternoon so that will be about 4:00 Mountain Standard time tomorrow. If you haven't put your name in yet, better head over there and get it in.

See you tomorrow.

March 3, 2010

A new Food Dehydrator...FREE for you!!

Last week I mentioned what happens when opportunity knocks.

Today I'd like to help it knock on your door.

Part of what I told the representative from CSN stores was that I was not willing to endorse a company to the people that trust me enough to take the time to invest in what I have to say, without having any experience with their company. Well, I did. I ordered the Dehydrator you see on the right from their housewares store and have actually been amazed with the service. After the order was placed, I received quick confirmation. Then, shortly after, I was informed of the shipping schedule; order would ship in 3-5 days... I figured I'd have it this week some time. What surprised me was the notification that I got the next day that my order had been bumped up (free of charge) and was on it's way. The next day it was on my doorstep! I would never have thought it would come so fast.

So then, the next part of what I arranged to do was to pass on the giving to you! If was happy with the service, then I was willing to share that with you in the form of another FREE food dehydrator. It's my first give away, and I can't think of a better item. With the upcoming season upon us I just know there has to be someone out there that could use one of these babies. After all, it may only come with 4 trays but it's expandable to 12!

So here's what I'm asking for from you. Don't just leave a comment on the post, share a little something with me please. If you've been a reader for some time, let me know what you enjoy about my blog. If you're a new reader, I'd love to know what led you here or what you're looking for. Help me be a better blogger and get a chance at a FREE FOOD DEHYDRATOR!

I'm Looking forward to it. Share with your friends or link to this post if you like, but either way one entry per person please. I'll announce a winner in one week, so that's March 11th.
Good luck!