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~

April 25, 2010

a question answered (Plant Propagation)

I had a question posed to me today from a new(ish) reader. I thought I'd take a minute to give a quick answer.

Jasonbx asked...
Started reading through your blog earlier this spring. (I tried starting tomatoes from seed this year, and was looking for any info I could find.) I'm curious if your thinning cuttings dipped in rooting hormone made it? Also would this potentially work with larger tomato "branches" or only main stems?

Well Jason, Yeah... They did great!
As a matter of fact I'd even go so far as to say that they did even better than I would have hoped. I kept them very wet for the first week and a half, sort of to mimic the way that I had had them in water like I had done in a previous test. That trial ended up rooting them pretty well even though I hadn't used any rooting hormone at all. This time I was putting them into a soil-less medium so I thought a little hormone wouldn't hurt any.
Tomatoes tend to do very well as it is for setting new roots. You can see above that the roots have easily established themselves in the cell pack that I placed them in. Below is a picture of another tray of cuttings that I just did the same thing with last weekend.This tray has the extra cuttings from some bell papers, jalapenos, a few more tomatoes and even some eggplant.

That leads me into the answer to the second part of Jason's question. Can you do the same thing from regular "branches"? Yes, absolutely. In fact, if you've ever had a large tomato plant droop till it touches ground, you may have found that it will readily throw down roots mid-branch and start a new plant. As long as you don't cut too large a piece of new growth (it needs to be able to support itself easily) it will root fairly easily.

I hope to do some more interesting propagation trials as the season progresses. I'm glad to know that they've helped a little, or at the very least piqued some interest!

Happy propagating!

April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Just wanted to wish you all a happy earth day. It's not a holiday per se, but I like that I now find it on calendars. It's good that there's at least one day a year that we can take some time to focus on ideas, alternatives and possibilities.
This year, we went to a local nature park that holds an annual Earth Day festival. We ate some lunch there, took a look at the different exhibits designed to raise awareness and took a walk through a long winding forest trail. It was a great time to be together and I believe it helps to raise our children's consciousness about sustainability and alternatives to how we do things regularly.
We had to take a picture with the giant solar panel array that they have there right? This is a goal of ours. To have our energy provided completely off grid and in a sustainable way. It'll happen too, I can promise you that!
How can I be so sure? Because I believe in "A posse ad esse" - "From possibility to reality"... that's why!
Happy earth day all.

April 20, 2010

baby Chickens!!

How I managed to go since the 31st of March without mention number one of the fact that we've had "house guests" I'll never know? And of course, by house guests I mean we've got 8 new chicks in a Chicken Condo in the living room!

The current chickens that we have are just over two now and their egg production is slowing and becoming less regular. They've been keeping up their end of the bargain for sure, but rotating hens and how to deal with "end of life" issues is one of those pragmatic things that I think any keeper of livestock needs to take into consideration. It's also a place where there is a lot of difference of opinion to be found. I believe that as a steward of my hens I owe it to them to make sure that they are well taken care of. I don't spoil them mind you, but I make sure they have fresh water every day, constant access to food and grit and that I keep their coop clean and sanitary. That's my end of the bargain. I decided to add chickens to our nano-farm to do a couple of things. The first one, of course, was to provide eggs to our family. They've done that very well. The other was to help me close the loop so to speak. Chickens are great at turning scraps, trimmings and leftovers into two things, I already mentioned the eggs, but their excellent fertilizer factories too! By giving my hens a constant diet of trimmings, greens and grass they provide me with wonderful organic soil amendments that help me to further provide food for them and my family. A closed loop. At some point, the ratio of their inputs to outputs will get skewed to the point that they will need to be replaced. I anticipate that will be towards the end of this summer. Hence the second stringers in the living room.

Of course there are those that keep hens as "pets with benefits". They will keep them for companionship and eggs and let them run their natural lives before they replace them. This is of course totally valid ideology as well, it's just not the one I subscribe to.

So then, with that out out of the way, how about some cute and cuddly pics of our little ladies???Here's the lot of them. I thought it was the cutest thing ever! All eight were laying with their heads on another ones butt. Strangely almost completely in matching pairs by breed.
If you can tell breeds you'll notice that I have two each of white and brown leghorns, buff orpingtons and Rhode Island reds. This year we decided to include a couple of brown egg layers to see how that goes over. I had really really wanted to get some barred rocks but there were none to be had.This is a brown leghorn chick. They really are the coolest looking chicks I think. Particularly when they're compared to their very plain Jane white leghorn cousins. While I'm on the subject of leghorns; they really are the most flighty and easily spooked of the breeds that I've had before.And on the other side of the coin is the mellowest and friendliest breed so far... the Buff Orpington. I really look forward to this hen being a part of our flock.

But then... there's the Ugly duckling phase. Here's the ladies when they're having a "bad hair day" so to speak!It's amazing the difference in just under two weeks isn't it?
And here they are taking a little nap. I love how they just flop out, heads sideways, looking like they just came back from a long night out with the girls or something. I think they're about ready for a training roost.

So there they are. Cute, cuddly and fun but future hard working garden buddies!
Anyone out there starting their own flocks this year? Maybe you're working to change the laws where you live so you can have them. If so Check out Backyard Farming Blog for a really good article on how to get started with doing just that. Of course, I'm not biased because I was one of the main subjects of the article. :)

Till next time... best to you all!

April 19, 2010

Greenhouse work - transplanting

A couple days ago, when talking about the greenhouse and the work I've been doing in it, I mentioned how I had thinned out and transplanted the majority of my tomato seedlings. I also promised to go into a little more detail about that later on.

Well I can do you one better. VIDEO! I've been talking about starting to do more video stuff - well, talking to myself, but still talking about it - and I finally got around to it and of course your the first to know! I've just started a new YouTube channel where I'll be posting walk-throughs, how-to's and well, I guess just about whatever comes to mind. I'll be putting up new videos there as I make them and some will be posted here if they apply to what I'm talking about, but I hope you'll check it out from time to time and let me know what you think. Also, if ideas come to mind or I talk about something that you just need a visual of, let me know and I'll do what I can to get it online!

For now, here's one of the first new videos I've put up. I hope to make the "production quality" a little better as I go along, but it does get the point across.

Pruning out the excess seedlings from the tray...
The rooting hormone... Tomatoes are really good root starters, but I wanted to make sure they set root early to give them the best chance of survival.
The new cuttings set in the damp potting medium. This is a very vermiculite/peat rich medium that will hold a lot of water to keep the stems damp.

Coming soon, an update on the cuttings progress.

April 17, 2010


I received a surprising and significant email yesterday from a representative of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine. I felt obliged to post and share the body of it with you as it contains important and relative information to consider as our garden seasons (In the Northern Hemisphere) begin to ramp up.

As the garden season ramps up, we at Mother Earth News want to let you and A Posse Ad Esse readers know that you may want to screen any hay, grass clippings or compost you bring into your gardens, to assure the materials are not contaminated with persistent herbicide residues (most often clopyralid and aminopyralid). As our reports included below indicate, these chemical residues can kill plants or severely stunt their production, costing gardeners money and time.

What do you need to know about contaminated compost?
•Affected plants show signs of curled, cupped leaves, wilting new growth and poor germination in tomatoes, peas, beans, lettuce and other garden crops.

•The chemical residues causing the problem can be present in grass clippings, in manure of livestock that has eaten sprayed plant matter or in compost made from contaminated materials. These herbicides do not biodegrade during composting and can persist in your soil for several years.

•Contaminated materials have been found in municipal, organic and conventional bagged compost.

•To prevent contamination, ask questions before buying manure or compost that contains manure. If the seller doesn’t know if it’s safe, don’t buy it, or use this cheap and easy home test to be sure it’s safe.

•Anyone who suspects they have detected contaminated material should notify their local Extension agent and news media, as well as Richard Keigwin at the EPA and the product manufacturer (if purchased).

This information isn't new, as you can tell from the dates of the linked articles. However, it is still very relevant. I can't help to think how much of an argument this makes for continuing to make any little steps that we can towards becoming more and more "closed loop" in our own gardens. By learning to make our own compost or building lasagna gardens and growing polyculture gardens with attention to the natural world we can go a long way towards that.

A few of my related Links:
Cooking in the garden
New Additions (Worms and kitchen scraps)
Compost Day IV
Compost Day III
Compost Day II
Compost Day I
Starting a Lasagna Garden

Hope something in there is of some small help!

Thank you Brandy, I appreciate your concern for my garden and my readers as well!

April 15, 2010

Keeping up with stuff

Sorry for the absence, so much to do so little time. It's amazing how fast time slips away from me. So much to do so little time, you know. I guess after a week I'm about due for an update though. Some of you may remember I mentioned a while back that I have a test I need to take for work - Security Plus. It's honestly about as boring a thing as I can imagine having to put myself through, but it's required so I've been working on that. Of course there have been taxes to file, storms and other projects that, while I won't mention them quite yet, are pretty exciting but have taken some time! Excuses, Excuses... right?

In my last post I mentioned the big Spring storm that swooped in on my honey and I's date night. We ended up getting somewhere in the area of 3-4 inches of snow in our neighborhood - where we live in northern Utah the amount of rain or snow you get can vary greatly within a small area - but the next day, as is typical of spring storms, it was warm and sunny. In the picture below you can see how I covered over my cloches at the last minute with a couple of the recycled window frame cold frames that I put together. They were there mostly just to keep the snow from piling too deep over the cloches and making them like little freezers.
Luckily, it worked great as you can see from the healthy little napa cabbages under their individual greenhouses.

Thursday evening (Last Thursday), with a good weather forecast in mind (The lows have been between 36 and 40 and highs well above 50 - 60F for the last week.) I took the plunge and moved my plants to the greenhouse. It was not without reservation and some precautions of course, but they're there, transplanted and ready to really get going!

The main thing I transplanted was my, by now quite leggy, tomatoes. I took care too to try to maximize my work by attempting to root the cuttings that were trimmed out. I'll talk a lot more about that in another post in case you were interested.
Above you can see most of the plants that I brought into the greenhouse. Artichokes are in there at the back of course, in front of them are some mixed flats with early cucumber and squash starts and in the foreground are a whole bunch of tomatoes in 6 pack cells ready to get a new home.

********* F - L - A - S - H **********

And by using the magic of the blogosphere, here's a shot of a part of the tomatoes that I put in to plastic cup "pots". These should hold most of them over until they're ready to go into the ground.And here's a shot of a few of the larger ones that I put into 1 gallon nursery pots. I was able to pick these up a the local nursery used for .30 a piece.And in case you were wondering about my little heartland tomato plant that I cloned last year and held over... well, now there are three.
They're all doing great. All are about 6-8 inches tall at this point and just getting ready to take off I think.

I've more to share, but I'll have to get that up over the weekend. Till then, all the best to you all and Grow On!!

April 6, 2010

A blustery Date Night

This week is Spring Break for our kids. They all go to the same school right now so they all get to get off at the same time. Today they went down to Salt Lake City to visit family and get to see a concert. They were going to spend the night afterwards so tonight got to be an unplanned date night for A~ and I. We got some dinner at a local Mexican place where we haven't been in ages and then went and caught the movie "Clash of the Titans" courtesy of some free passes that we've had, literally, for nearly a year. I remembered this movie from when I was a kid and was really looking forward to watching a new version of it when they could really make it seem the way I think they wanted to back in the 80's but just couldn't. It was good, pretty much what I had expected. It wasn't spectacular, but it was certainly entertaining!

The real Titan tonight turned out to be the weather though! We went in and it was raining a little and dropping the occasional snow flake. It was forecast to snow a little but hey, we've heard that before this year. I expected a little snow over night, nothing to stress over. WRONG! An hour and forty-five minutes later we left the theater and walked smack into a whole new and very white world! There was already close to four inches on the ground and more on our car. ???Where the heck did this come from?

We drove home slowly and I went about the farmers duties. Its funny isn't it, that in our modern era of automated everything that when we make the decision to slow down a little and produce more of our own food it comes with a lot of responsibilities. I went out to make sure the chickens tarp was pulled down to keep snow from blowing into their run, ensured the portable greenhouse cover was pulled tight over the kohlrabi starts (that have already had a tough time thanks to some serious wind storms I might add) and added my recycled window frame cold covers over my cabbage starts and their cloche covers to keep the bulk of the future snow from burying it. They were already essentially covered by snow like miniature little snowmen in my garden bed. It will be a really good test of the covers effectiveness to see how they perform through this storm. Particularly since it's supposed to snow most of tomorrow too.

Well, I guess we'll see how it turns out... Wish me luck. How's the weather been this spring in your neck of the woods?
Stay tuned!

Well that was nice...

I was informed that I was given a little bit of a shout out today. One of what they consider to be the 50 best gardening blogs. Thank you for the compliment!
Still can't figure out what it has to do with physical therapy... but Thank you anyway!