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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a very
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Coming Soon-Topic of the Month-Rosemary

I know I have not really kept up lately with the Topic of the Month. I got busy for awhile and did not get a chance to work on it, and lately I just could not think of a topic of the month since we do not have very much growing right now. But I just thought of something that I would like to make the Topic of the Month for January, Rosemary. I have just started using it, and love it. I was very surprised how much taste one sprig of Rosemary can add to a dish. So next month the Herb of the Month will be Rosemary.

I plan to grow Rosemary next year along with many other new herbs to sell in bunches. I have wanted to grow more herbs for awhile now, but just haven't. I have never really cooked with herbs much but the more I use them the more I like them, there are so many different herbs that I jut can not wait to try next year.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fall Chores

The past few days I have been trying to get a bunch of things done for fall. Everyday I have been saving seeds for next year, from tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers. I still have a bunch of seeds to save yet.

Yesterday I finally got my collards, kale and leeks covered so that they will be protected from the cold weather to come. They are so beautiful I would like to have them last as long as possible. Plus I need the kale and leeks for my pumpkin stuffing on Thanksgiving. In fact I really need to cover my celery so that it will hopefully be around for Thanksgiving also.

Collards and Kale under cover.

A couple of days ago I dug up my dahlia tubers, and they are now drying a little and will probably divide them tomorrow and store them away for the winter. This year I am going to try storing them in ceder chips. Last year I just wrapped them in newspaper and put them in brown paper bags, they did ok, but I thought I would try something different this year. This is only the second year that I will be saving dahlia tubers so I am still new to dahlia saving. I was very surprised when I started to dig up my larger dahlia tubers and discovered that the dahlias that I started from seed actually formed very nice sized beautiful tubers. The ones pictured are actually the ones that I started from seed. I did not think that they would form tubers, so I learned something new.

Dahlia tubers waiting to be stored away for winter

The last picture is of my cold frame. About two weeks ago I planted a bunch of stuff in there hoping to have some lettuce, greens and other things soon. I should have planted these things sooner, but they should hopefully have a chance to mature. I really do not think the beets that I planted will have time but at least I will hopefully get some greens out from them that I can eat in salads and use as cooked greens. We will see, and hope.

All kinds of things in the cold frame (lettuce, greens, radishes, beets, and baby pak choi)

We still have lots to do before winter and before the ground freezes. Such as till some of our garden areas, and hopefully work on putting up the hoophouse that I have been talking about. I really wanted to have had it up already, but I guess, better late than ever, that is if it ever gets put up. I also need to recover our tiny hoophouse so that the snow does not break the plastic like it did last year. Since I am not using plastic for greenhouses (just the plastic from home improvement stores) it does not even last a whole year before it just starts to crumble.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Bread Stuffing

I was looking at Allrecipes.com for pumpkin recipes and ran across a recipe for pumpkin bread stuffing. I thought it was a really good idea, so I thought I would give it a try, and did. I think it came out really good. I do have some ideas for some changes that I will make next time, but first I will tell you how I made it this time.

Ingredients that I picked fresh for the stuffing, just before making it. Celery, Red Russian Kale, Leeks, Pumpkin Bread, and a stem of Rosemary (between Celery and Kale).

I basically used whatever ingredients that I had available to pick, that I thought would be good in the stuffing. So here it is:

Pumpkin Bread Stuffing

4 cups pumpkin bread
1 medium size leek
3/4 cup celery
10 leaves red russian kale
8 tbls. butter
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 eggs
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tbls. fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

I think it is best to make the pumpkin bread almost a week ahead, before you make your stuffing since pumpkin bread can be kind of moist just after it is made. That way it will be a little drier before you make the stuffing.

Cut pumpkin bread into cubes and let dry overnight, may have to bake in oven at 250 degrees to make sure bread is dry enough.
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add celery, leeks, and kale, cook till tender.
Mix in rosemary, salt, pepper, and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in bread cubes. Add eggs and then vegetable broth.
Transfer to buttered baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes covered with foil, at 375 degrees.


Once again I thought this came out really good the way I made it but here is what I am going to do differently the next time I make it.
  • Will make it next time with at least 6 cups pumpkin bread instead of 4 cups
  • May use 2 leeks instead of 1
  • Will use a little less kale, maybe 8 leaves instead of 10
  • If I make a bigger batch I am sure that I will probably have to add more vegetable broth also.
  • Instead of drying the bread overnight and then putting it in the over to make sure it is dry enough, I will toast it in the toaster oven first and if I need too I will put it in the oven for the rest of the time.
  • Since I will make a bigger batch next time I will probably be able to bake for 40 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered, which is what the recipe I found said to do.

I will definitely have to play around with this recipe for awhile till it is perfect. Anyway, I am sure I will be making this for Thanksgiving, for sure.

Friday, October 16, 2009

What's Available- Saturday October 17th

There are only two more markets left! We have not gone to market for the past couple of weeks. But we will be attending tomorrow's market! I had planned on baking a lot, but so far have not made as much as I had hoped to. I did not get any pies made so far, and since it is so late, I do not believe I will have time to do so. Hopefully next week I will get a lot more made. It is sooo hard to believe the end of this years market is almost here. Any how here is a list of the what we plan to have available. I wish it was bigger, but for this year it will just have to do. Next year our list should be a lot larger at this time of the year.
  • Collards
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Leeks
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Golden Delicious Apples
  • Red Delicious Apples
  • Jona Gold Apples
  • Pumpkin Bread
  • Pumpkin Apple Streusel Bread

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What to Grow Next Year?

I have already started making plans for what to grow next year, and I would love everyone's help. What would you like to see us grow next year? Is there something that you love but you can never find anywhere? Is there something that we grew this year that you really liked? We would love to know what you would be interested in.

As I have mentioned many times we love growing different things. I already have plans to grow many different things next year. Such as okra, yard long beans, kohlrabi, and many different types of greens.

I have had several people ask us about okra and even though I did grow some okra plants this year I did not have enough to sell. But next year I have plans to plant much more of it, I will also be planting it in a different location since I do not believe the location it was in this year was the best. I also believe it was just a really bad year for okra. I am not too familiar with okra, since this was my first year growing it, but from what I have read about it it likes it quite warm. I t seems to like temperatures similar to eggplant, and our eggplant did horrible this year due to the weather. So if you are an okra lover check back with us next year and hopefully we will have a better year for it.

I also grew a small section of yard long beans this year and though they were pretty cool myself. So I do plane to grow enough to be able to sell next year.

I love growing greens and lettuces, and there are sooooo many different kinds out there to try. Next year I will be growing many new kinds and hope to have a lot of greens and lettuces available throughout the season. Especially if we get our hoop house put up (which we need to get working on).

So let us know what you like.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pumpkin Picking Time!

My mom showing off some of our pumpkins.
She thinks she is allowed to drive the tractor, but she isn't.

Sadly I do not think we are going to be selling any of our pumpkins, we just don't really have enough. We will probably keep them, and have lots of pumpkins to carve for Halloween. But we do have a bunch of pie pumpkins that I will be using to make pumpkin breads and pies. I will probably start baking my pumpkin breads and pies for Valley City Farmers Market, not this Saturday but the following Saturday.

We tried lots of different kinds of pumpkins this year, like white pumpkins, blue pumpkins (we only got one of these, not sure why we didn't get anymore, I know the plants came up ok, oh well), and Knucklehead Pumpkins which did really well for us we got more of these than anything else. The only thing that was disappointing about the knuckleheads is, they are suppose to have a lot of bumps on them, and most did not have as many as I had expected, they were still pretty neat though.

I wish we would have thinned out the plants a little or would not have planted them so close together. I think we would have ended up with a lot more pumpkins if we would have done so, oh well, next year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Plans for Fall

Sadly were not able to get any of our fall greens and lettuces planted, but there is a reason for that. We are planning on building a hoop house in the location where we plant our greens. Yes we had to sacrifice planting our fall crops but it will all be worth it in the long run. We will not only be able to start our greens earlier, but it will also protect our crops from bugs. Which should make it possible to grow things that were either impossible to grow (pak choi and mustard greens) or very hard to grow (arugula, beets, radishes, and a lot of other greens) before.

I am very excited about our plans and can not wait to get started with them.

We are still hoping to sell at the Valley City Farmers Market, hopefully till the end. The following is what we plan to have available after a frost stops us from harvesting anymore warm weather crops.
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pumpkin Bread
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Apple Bread
  • Apple Pie
  • Pecan Pie
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Corn Stalks
  • and possibly some other things
This year has been a really big challenge, the temperature for much of the season has been much cooler than normal. Making it difficult for crops such as eggplant, okra and caused most crops to be harvested much later in the season than normal.

We have also had issues with bugs that we never had before. We have always had trouble with flea beetles but this year was the worst yet, posing a problem for eggplant, radishes and our spicy greens. We also had major problems with beets and spinach which was something we never had a problem with before, leaf minors. In the past we were always able to pull beets with beautiful tops with hardly any problems, but this year was very different.

Another problem that we had this year was with rodents. Never before have we had our bean plants just cut off from the ground by rodents. The monsters also whipped out our beets overnight.

Considering how difficult of a year it was I am also very grateful for what we were able to harvest and the support of all our wonderful customers. Even though the year is not yet over, I can feel it coming to an end, since many of our warm weather crops are ending and the weather is getting cooler. So I just wanted to say thanks, to everyone.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cherry tomatoes and pear picking

Pictures of our table at last weeks market at Valley City.

It is pear picking time! Here at BAFarm this is how we pick our pears, no ladder required. Believe it or not I am actually afraid of heights.

Below are three of the heirloom cherry tomatoes that we currently have available in our heirloom cherry tomato mix.

IsIs Candy Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Black Cherry Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Dr. Carolyn Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Vegetable Pictures

Just thought I would take some pictures of some of the things we have available. Here they are:

Picture of some of the different kinds of eggplant we have available this year. We will also have some other types available, and will have to take another picture when the other kinds are ready.

Fairy Tale Eggplant
They are so cute, only about 3-4 inches long. It is a beautiful mini eggplant.

Baby Bush Zucchini
These are also a mini vegetable. They are only about 6 inches long, and barely have any seeds. They are great if you wish to add some zucchini to your meal, and do not wish to use an entire regular size zucchini.

Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato
We have just started picking a bunch of these, things had a late start because of all the cold weather. Some of them are a really good size.

Baby Romaine Lettuce and Butterhead Lettuce
I am planning to pull some Romaine Lettuce heads for Saturdays market.

I know it does not look like much but these are the first two purple beans that I finally got to pick today. They are so beautiful. They are also very very long, in fact they were too long to fit in a quart container, so I think I am going to have to sell these in bags instead of quarts, like I usually do. I think that these beans also have a really good taste to them also. I am very excited about them and can not wait till I have enough of these to sell, hopefully soon.


Right now we are in the process of getting our "greens garden" ready for our fall plantings of lettuces for salad mixes. Right now it is a disaster, and we need to get it tilled and planted within the next week.

We are also in the process of making plans for a hoop house, that we are planning on making for our greens. We had some really bad problems with flea beetles and leaf minors. The hoop house would keep the greens protected from these bugs. I hope it works out, because if it does I should be able to grow some nice pak choi, since they normally get completely destroyed my flea beetles. If everything goes well with the our plans we should have lettuce and greens for spring, summer, fall and may be a lot of winter.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Valley City Farmers Market Pictures

Some Pictures of our table at Valley City Farmers Market

Valley City, Medina County, Ohio

The Valley City Farmers Market is located in the parking lot of Liverpool Township Depot, 6615 Center Road. Pictures below are of the train which is parked at Valley City Museum, and after that is a picture of the museum, which the market is located at.

Over all view of Valley City Farmers Market.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Very very angry! NO MORE RAIN!!

It has rained 3/5 market days so far this year! Today I have been watching the radar since 3:00 AM in the morning and a very large storm has been getting closer and closer. My prediction was that it would hit around 10:00 and be over around 12:00, and it is looking more and more like I am going to be right. So it looks like no market today. That means it will have rained 4/6 markets so far this year. I am just too sick of dealing with the rain to go today. I am sick of having to sort through a bunch of soggy market stuff and I know my mom (who sells for us at Valley City) is sick of coming back soaking wet from market.

We do have a lot of vegetables ready and some of which I have already picked. I am hoping that things will clear up this weekend sometime and if they do I am hoping to set up a table at our home. I may even set up a table during the week, weather permitting of coarse, and it would be after 1:00 PM. If you would be interested in some of our vegetables this week feel free to give me a call. To see what we have available right now check out our list on the right titled: What we currently have available.

Thanks for letting me vent, and hopefully, it better not rain next week!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July- Vegetable of the Month- Collards

Before this year I have never grown collards before, nor did I ever cook with them. I decided to grow them this year since I wanted more kinds of greens that would grow will during warmer weather. Collards are most often grown by southerners because of their talerance to the southern heat. My collards are still producing really well, and hopefully will continue to do so for awhile.

Our favorite way to use collards is to make collard rolls, which is just like cabbage rolls except with collards. Here is our recipe that we have been using but can be changed depending on what vegetables are in season.

Ingredients 20 collards leaves (reserve liquid from the slightly cooked leaves)
1-pound baby cut carrots (slightly cooked)
½ cup precooked rice according to package
3 Yukon golden potatoes (slightly cooked) Approximately
3 pounds ground meat (80% lean ground chuck beef) 2 cans 10-3/4 oz Campbell’s tomato soup 3 eggs
The following four ingredients are what I had available (in season) to add, you can add whatever you may have available that sounds good, instead of the following:
½ cup chopped broccoli raabs
1/8 cup chopped garlic scapes
1/8 cup chopped scallions
1/8 cup chopped beet leaves
1/8 cup BA Farm Seasoning Mix
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup ketchup
Cooking time in large crock pot – 6 hours on low
Prepare rice, carrots, and potatoes as above and set aside.
Trim off the thick back part of stem of the collards as you would the cabbage leaves to make cabbage rolls. Place the collard leaves in water and heat just a few minutes. Reserve 2 cups liquid from cooked leaves; to this mix add the 2 cans of tomato soup. Combine broccoli raab, garlic scapes, scallions, and beet leaves mix together and add 1/8 cup to the meat mixture, reserve remaining to be added in to liquid mixture in crock-pot at the end.
Place in large bowl ground meat and combine the following: eggs, BA Farms Seasoning Mix, breadcrumbs, ketchup and rice. Mix together. Add the above 1/8 cup (reserve) of broccoli raabs, garlic scapes, etc. and mix.
To form collard rolls place meat mixture on the large end of leaf and roll up set each roll aside until all leaves are used. If there is left over meat, roll as a meatball. Place some carrots & potatoes on the bottom of the crock-pot. Add some liquid mixture. Then place a layer of collard rolls. Keep alternating carrots, potatoes, and liquid mixture then the collard rolls until all are used up.
May also be cooked in oven at 375 degrees for 1-1/2 hours (approximately) until done.

Health Benefits:

The following site names and describes the different health benefits of collards, such as improving bone health, and can also aid in preventing certain diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Also mentions how collards can help to prevent some vision problems, and may also help to give you more energy. Of coarse like most vegetables and greens can help with weight loss.
How Stuff Works- Collards Health Benefits

NutritionData.come- Collards

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Next market- What's available

This Saturday July 4th, there will be no market at Valley City, due to the holiday. The next market at Valley City will be on Saturday July 10th. Here is what we are expecting to have available:

~Beets- Regular and Forono (longer than regular beets
~Radishes- Regular and French Breakfast
~Bagged Salad Mixes- I will post what types of mixes when it is closer to the market date
~Loose Leaf Lettuce Heads
~Head Lettuce- Should have some ready for next market
~Red Russian Kale bunches
~Collard bunches
~Sweet Basil bunches
~Red and White Scallions
~Red Cherry Tomatoes- may possibly have some ready for next market, if not we will have them soon after
~Bell Peppers- coming very soon, not sure if we will have any for next market, but will be coming soon
~Zuchinni and Summer Squash- coming very soon

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Greens

This year I hope to have bagged greens for salads and stir fry mixes available throughout the summer. Right now I have spinach, butterhead lettuce, baby romaine, collards, red russian kale, swiss chard, and radicchio planted. They are all suppose to be heat tolerant, so I am keeping my fingers crossed, and hoping I will have a nice selection. I also plan to plant some dinosaur kale and Tatsoi (a type of mustard green). I think I will also replant some mizuna and possibly some arugula. We will see how it goes.

So hopefully I will have salad mixes and mixed greens available all summer. I will let everyone know how all my summer greens are doing and of coarse will have to post some pictures.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Collards- July Topic of the Month

I have decided to make Collards the next Topic of the Month for July. I have really come to love both Collards and the Red Russian Kale that I grew this year. Before I grew both of them I had never used them before, and really had no idea what to do with them. But since I have read so many things about others who love them I decided to give them a try. I am assuming that everyone else also does not know what to do with them since they have not been selling well. I really want to grow them again next year so I am hoping the sales of them begin to pick up. So in an effort to let everone know about Collards, it will be the Topic of the Month.

I just thought I would mention that you can use Collards to make Collard Rolls. It is just like Cabbage Rolls but instead of using cabbage you use collards. In one way, it is actually better because the collards are not tough like the cabbage can sometimes be, when you make Cabbage Rolls. It is very good!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pictures from the market

I just thought that I would share some pictures from our market on Saturday.

Diakon Radishes, White Scallions, French Breakfast Radishes, Looseleaf Lettuce Heads, and Garlic Scapes
Picture of some of our bagged salad mixes. Just Lettuce Mix, Spicy Salad Mix, Red Sails Leaf Lettuce, and Black Seeded Simpson Leaf Lettuce.

Red Russian Kale Bunches, Collard Bunches and Some of our potted plants we have available for sale (such as Dahlias, Tomato Plants and Fairy Tale Eggplant).

Berry Bread
We also had Berry Bread available, which was made with strawberries and mulberries, and was very good. I am hoping to be able to make some more Berry Bread for this coming weekends market. I may actually have some raspberries to add to the strawberries and mulberries. I am not sure but am thinking that next week may be the last week for the Berry Bread because the mulberries and strawberries may not be producing for the following week, but we will see. I am almost positive that I will be able to make it this weekend.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First market of the year

Valley City Farmers Market
First Market of the year
We are the first table on the right

Yesterday was our first market of the year. We had lots and lots of lettuce available, and still have lots that we did not have time to pick.
Sadly we did not have any spinach available since it decided it wanted to bolt. Sometime within the next couple of days I plan to get rid of the row of spinach that I have planted and plant some spinach that I just bought the other day that is suppose to be heat tolerant. It will be the first time I try this variety, but we shall see. Hopefully it last longer that the one I have planted now. I almost forgot that I also have some Malabar Spinach planted. This will be my first time trying this also. It is actually a vine and it suppose to love the heat, should be interesting.
I also plan to pull the last of my arugula, since some of them have just started to go to flower. I am not sure what I will put in its place yet. Maybe some more kale and collards to be picked for bagged greens during the summer.

For next week I should for sure have more Red Russian Kale and Collards available, which I must say they both are very very beautiful.

Of coarse we will for sure have red and white scallions available.

I am thinking that I should also still have available my bagged lettuce mixes.

I should also have some beautiful full heads of leaf lettuce available.

The radishes should hopefully be ready just in time for next weeks market also.

Some of my dahlias are just beginning to bloom so I should have some of them to bring next week.

I am also hoping to get together some of my extra tomato plants.

If we get some rain this week like I believe we are suppose to things should get a growth spurt, so we may have other things available also.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What's Available (Market date 6/13/09)

Valley City Farmers Market
Saturday June 13th, 2009
First market of the year!!!

I will be posting updates as we get closer to market day, so be sure to check back.

Our main thing that we will have available for sale for this week is our bagged salad mixes. Everyday when I walk through the gardens I notice that it seems as if the lettuce and greens are getting more and more beautiful by the day. I think one of the most beautiful things are the collards. They are getting so big and beautiful. I am dieing to pick them and make some collard rolls with them. I am hoping that I have some collards left after the market on Saturday to make some collard rolls with.

  • Red Scallions
  • White Scallions
  • Bagged Salad Mixes: Just Lettuce Mix, Mild Spicy Mix, Super Spicy Mix, and A Little Bit of Everything Mix
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Collards
  • Bagged Spinach (possible, depending on how much we have to pick)
  • Bagged Arugula (also a possible, depending on how much we have come Saturday)
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Broccoli Raab
  • Mulberries

I am not sure exactly what I will be bringing, but I do know that I have lots and lots of plants. Listed are some of the possibilities.
  • Large potted Dahlias (depends on which ones may be blooming by Saturday)
  • Geraniums (also depends on which ones may be blooming by Saturday)
  • Hanging baskets (with Sweat Peas and Carnations in them)
  • Tomato plants (many different kinds)
  • and others
I am not positive yet but I am thinking about making pizzelles (maybe mulberry, vanilla, and or almond). I am also thinking about some kind of bread (maybe mulberry).

We should have radishes available for next week also, if not this week. We have 4 different types of radishes growing right now. The beets are also getting closer to being ready. The head lettuce is growing bigger and bigger every day.

I have not posted any pictures in awhile, (been pretty busy) so hopefully I will get a chance soon to get out there and take some pictures, especially of what we will have available to sell.

Monday, June 1, 2009

June- Product of the month- Greens and Lettuce Mixes

I figured what would be better to make as the topic of the month than Greens and Lettuce Mixes, since most of what we will have available for the month of June is going to be just that.

I just picked my first few bowls of greens and lettuce the other day, and had my first salad of the year. I must say everything was very delecious!

Here is what mixes I plan to have available for the first market at Valley City (which I must add, is coming very, very soon):

Just Lettuce Salad Mix

~The Just Lettuce Salad Mix will consist of lettuce only. Some of the types of lettuce will include Red Sails, Black Seeded Simpson, Red Oak Leaf, Salad Bowl, Prizeleaf, and others.

Mild Spicy Mix

~This mix includes about half lettuce and about half mild spicy greens. Such as Red Oakleaf Lettuce, Salad Bowl Lettuce, Mizuna, Mustard Spinach, and others.

Super Spicy Mix

~This mix contains mostly spicy greens and a little bit of lettuce. Such greens include Arugula, Mizuna, Mustard Osaka, Chicory Red Treviso, Salad bowl lettuce and some others.

A Little Bit of Everything Mix

~The name of this mix says it all, includes a little bit of everything. Such as all the different types of lettuces we grow, spinach, and some spicy greens such as Mizuna, Endive, some Arugula and others.

Plus I also plan to have availabe:

Bagged Spinach

Red Russian Kale


~I also plan to sell a stir fry mix with greens such as Kale, Collards and Swiss Chard. You can also add this mix to your favorite salad mix.

I may also have some other Mixes available. I will know for sure when it is closer to the first maket. I will be posting (when it is closer to the first market) what we will have available at Valley City on June 13th.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pictures of lettuce and other greens

Our lettuce and greens are starting to look really nice, so I thought I would take some pictures. I have already been picking some kalea and collards, and they are very good. For sure we should have a nice variety of lettuce mixes, kale, collards and spinach available for the first market at Valley City (coming very, very soon). I will be posting a complete list of what we will have available at the first market, very soon.

This picture was taken when it was getting very dark and was about to storm.

I can't believe it, but we have actually got or main crops already (tomatoes, peppers, eggeplant, beans, squash, etc.) planted. I am so happy. This is the earliest we have been able to get all these things in. I do still really need to plant some more beets and radishes along with some other things. Once it is done raining hopefully I will be able to get that done.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cold, cold, cold. Why is it so cold?

Tonight we have a freeze warning!! One week before Memorial Day weekend. Not frost but freeze warning. We are suppose to be planting all our tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, beans, and flowers, next weekend! How can it be this cold this late!! That is the thing about the weather it can be so unpredictable and you never know what is going to happen. Oh well, as long as it gets warmer fast, stays warmer, and our fruit trees do not get ruined, it should all be ok.

As a precaution I decided to cover my beets. If they were a little bit bigger I would not worry about them, but since most are still so small I figured it would be best to just play it safe. How horrible it would be to loose all my beets. I would have liked to have covered some other stuff but it should be ok, most of what I have planted already can tolerate a frost without a problem.

I think that tonight before I go to bed I am going to turn on the heater in my hoophouse. My clothes drier vents into my hoophouse, since my hoophouse is right next to our house off of our basement. So I have my drier on now to heat up the hoophouse. Last I checked the temperature was 60 degrees in the hoophouse and close to 40 degrees outside, not bad. They would probably be fine without any heat, but I can sleep better tonight if I know my plants are nice and warm and happy. I tend to spoil them.

Well, anyhow all I really wanted to do was vent. I am just itching to get those plants into the ground, but planting time will be here before I know it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wildlife Pictures

Yesterday, on Mother's Day, was the first day that I noticed that there were two ducks with about 11 or 12 babies each, they are so quick and impossible to count. Here is a picture of one of the moms and some of here babies. They are sooooo cute. They seemed to be having so much fun swimming around as fast as they possibly could, and they can move fast too.

I know that this picture does not look like much, but when I walked up to the creek about 6 goldfinches flew out of the water. They were taking a bath. I wish I would have noticed that they were there so that I could have moved a little slower, and could have possibly got a picture. That would have been a really, really good picture.

I didn't get a picture of the goldfinches in the water but I got this picture of a male (right) and a female (left) goldfinch. They are such pretty birds.


Aphid Problems
When I was bringing in my flats of plants today, for the night, I looked closely at a flat of my peppers and noticed an aphid! I hate aphids!!! They are such a pain. Unlike other bugs aphids do not actually eat parts of the plant, instead they just suck the life out of them. So if you do not look closely at the plants you may not notice that they have aphids until they have multiplied a lot. Luckily, I looked over a lot of my plants and only noticed a couple flats of peppers and some eggplant with aphids. I dealt with most of them and will look everything over really well tomorrow.

Here is what I usually do when I notice that I have an aphid problem:
  1. If you do not have as many plants as I do you can usually had pick a lot of them. I usually get a cup of water, sometimes I put a little dish soap in the cup. Then I take a q-tip and dip it in the water. You can then take the aphids off of the plant using the q-tip. The aphids will easily stick to the q-tip and you can dip the q-tip back in the water to get the aphids off. This is much easier than trying to remove them with your hands.
  2. Today I hand picked some aphids off, when I got sick of that, I took a spray bottle put some dish soap in it and filled it with water. I sprayed the plants, mostly under the leaves and in the middle of the plants (that is where they like to hang out). I let them sit like that for a few minutes.
  3. I took another spray bottle filled with just water and sprayed the plants again, holding them upside down to wash off some of the dish soap so that it would not bother the plants. If you spray them lightly with the dish soap water mix you may not have to do this but I put a good amount of dish soap in the spray bottle, because I wanted to be sure to kill all the aphids. If you spray them with too much dish soap it can hurt the plants, probably will not kill them, but could put them back a little bit.
I am not too worried about the aphids, since I will be planting them outside in a couple of weeks. I usually do not have to worry about aphids once they are outside, I think that nature takes care of them then.

Signs of aphid problems
There are some things that you can look for that could give you an idea that your plants may have aphids. Here is what to look for: Stunted growth and sometimes leaves may curl or turn yellow. Usually it is a lot easier to notice these signs in very very young seedlings, larger plants may just not seem to grow or become stunted. Look under the leaves and in the middle of the plant, they do not like to just sit out in the open. You can easily see the aphids on the plants if you look often. I tried to get a nice close up picture of them but was having a hard time getting my camera to focus on the plant, and just wanted to get rid of them so I gave up on the picture. If I have anymore aphids left I will try again tomorrow, but hopefully I got rid of all the aphids. Really when you think of it aphids are probably one of the better bad bugs to have, because once you get rid of them your plants will be just fine, they are just a pest.

Friday, May 8, 2009

My soil making experiment (Part 2)

Well, there were some things that I did like about my soil mix, and some things that I did not like. So I have decided to modify it a little. I have done some more research, and this is what I have decided that I will try:

2 parts organic humus and manure,
1/2 or 1 part perlite,
1/2 or 1 part vermiculite,
and 1-2 parts peat moss.

I have decided to cut out the top soil completely. It is just too clumpy for my little seedlings. At first I wasn't sure if it would be good to use the organic humus and manure in a potting soil, but after reading up on it, it seems like there shouldn't be a problem. I picked up a bag of vermiculite today, so I will be adding that to my mix.

I have plans to do a lot of experimenting this winter with different potting soil mixtures, so that I can come up with a mix that I am very happy with. What I will be doing is growing a bunch of the same type of plant under the same conditions except put them all in different potting mixes and see which ones do the best. I figure that the best time to do this is the winter because not only will I have the time but, will have the light space to grow them under. I plan to experiment with different fertilizers also, and I will be sure to post all my results. I am excited that I will actually have something to look forward to during winter (I do not like winter very much).

Tomorrow I will try my new mix. I hope that I like it better than what I was mixing before.

My soil making experiment (part 1)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Pictures and what I did today

Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

Red and White Scallions



Today we finally got to cleaning up the branches that we cut down from out fruit trees. Boy was it a mess back there. Branches, branches everywhere. That being said our monster brush pile is growing. I do not think we could ever get rid of it. I think it would take us the rest of our life to do so.

On my way home from work today I stopped at Gales Garden Center, I had to pick up a few things. One of which was some seeds for bitter melons. I have been looking at these with interest for awhile now, and finally decided to grow them. I was looking for information about something else, on the garden web forums, and just happened to come across some threads about bitter melons. They are suppose to have many health benefits. I may just have to make this a vegetable variety of the month, because it is a very interesting vegetable.

Tomorrow is going to be transplanting day. Yes I still have a lot of things that need to be transplanted. Some of those include: basil, zinnias, asters, and coleus (lots and lots of coleus). I am very much behind on transplanting and I have many things that need to be transplanted very badly. Hopefully, if I spend most of the day down in the basement I can get most things transplanted.