Day 320: Sprouts!

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After only three days the little kale and cabbage have sprouted.
Look at the life erupting from the earth here!! It is an amazing amount of effort that goes into emerging from the dirt…at least in my opinion.

They have started stretching to one side. Yearning for as much sunlight as possible. Of course I want to move the seed tray every time I see them leaning, but I must hold back.

No word from the tomatoes yet, but I will be patient. They are fairly fast to sprout.
This part of gardening always makes me want to grab an old battered umbrella and make the plants grow higher. I want my plants to grow just like they do for Totoro (forest spirit) and the little girls in the cartoon. Wonderment

Good green post for St. Patrick’s Day!
I hope you are wearing or growing your green today.
Take care—Kat

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Day 319: Seeds!

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Quick photo of some of the seeds we bought from Sustainable Seeds and Park Seed respectively. Not all of the seeds because by the time I took this picture we had already planted four trays of 72 cells each.

Already planted are the three varieties of kale–Winterbor, Red Russian and Siberian Dwarf.
We also started the Kellogg’s Breakfast, German Johnson, Roma, and Hungarian Paste tomatoes, and some golden acre cabbage.

What’s left are what you see here. Pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, honey dew, cantaloupe, birdhouse gourd, spaghetti squash, loofahs gourd, peppers, one tobacco variety, herbs, and a coupla flower seed packets.

Not pictured/purchased will be corn varieties, limas, okra, Derby green beans and more that I can’t remember.

So excited. If we get a better harvest this year then we won’t need a garden next year. Last year, the drought was so bad that some of our stuff didn’t come up. 

Day 149: In Bloom

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This post I am going to double up on some pretty flower pictures. There are just so many pretty ones out there!

The first is a bloom on my okra plants. This is our first year growing okra on the farm. Now Kit may have known what their blooms were going to look like but it was quite a treat for me.

Okra grows on thick stalked plant a about five or six feet tall. We have a non-spiny variety….supposedly. I have to wear gloves or I’ll feel like I have been playing in stinging nettles. Maybe not quite that bad but close.

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My next wild flower may not bring everybody joy. Even ragweed looks pretty from a distance. Kit usually refers to this flower with some colorful adjectives because he has pretty severe allegies to everything outdoors.

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My final flower is a landscaped plant. I saw these pink and purple blooms in a box at SIU’s campus while I was in Illinois.
I don’t know what this booger is but it sure is beautiful.

Any flower experts want to take a stab at it?
I haven’t even done your basic Google search so you Magellan easily be able to turn up something.

Day 119: Largest sunflower

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There was a contest for the largest sunflower. I was quite impeased as they were all HUGE!

The blue ribbon winner as seen above was about double the size of a serving platter.

Even though they are plants they looked like some underbelly of a great beast all dried from the sun. Strange and alien looking.

I remember having sunflowers around the front porch at my house buy I doubt any of ours were medal winners. Sunflowers are such a happy flower to have outdoors. Maybe next year I will get my flowers starts earlier and they will actually grow.

Garden Update

Through the last couple of months we have been battling many things to keep our garden going and I think it is finally paying off.

Drought
Machinery breaking down
Time Management
Bugs
Weeds

It’s been a crazy whirlwind of fun and hard work, but I suppose that is no different than any other farmer’s challenges.

The only crop that has pretty much failed was the catnip I had growing in buckets. I’m not sure what creature ate it but it was growing quite well before it was demolished.

 

Our neighbors had a couple of peach trees that were loaded down with fruits and they had already picked everything they needed. We picked and picked and picked some more. Cut and pitted them and into the freezer bags they went. I have made two peach cobblers and I would like to can some jam soon.
The blueberries in the cobbler picked above were just frozen store-bought berries. Our blueberry bushes won’t produce for another 1-2 years.

I am so intensely grateful for my neighbors. They have shared peaches and corn (they planted some earlier) with us already. I hope they enjoyed the blackberry jam we shared with them.

Just some of the jam we put up not long ago. This is just about all the blackberry jam that we got this year. Right as the berries were ripening and ready to pick was when the heat began skyrocketing. It dried up all the berries before they were all ripe enough to pick.

 

Our tomatoes are finally doing well. They are even blooming again because of the recent rains. We picked enough of our Hungarian Paste and Romas to put up some sauce. We have just over a dozen jars to date. Awesome tangy thick pasta sauce. We used a bit on some pizza I made last week and it gave the whole pizza an amazing flavor. I will probably share the recipe and our own changes to the original we found.

Our pumpkins are planted very close together so I’m not sure if this is our sugar or field pumpkin. We have two that have ripened at this size. Kit picked one yesterday and I am beyond tempted to slice it open, bake it and make some killer pumpkin pie mid summer. :)

I am so excited to make pumpkin butter this summer/fall. I need to look into some ways of canning it safely. People can apple butter though right? Do you have to add lemon juice or other things to increase the level of acidity? hmm…

I’m so so so happy that we planted corn (as time allowed) staggered throughout the late spring. Because of that some of corn is producing now. It looks like a lot of the ears will be pretty small, but I don’t care as long as I see that silk.

Kit picked one okra pod yesterday and there are several getting close to perfect for picking. I want to pick them a bit small so I can pickle them. I better start looking into pickled okra recipes!

I will get some more garden update pictures soon and share them with you all. As well as some recipes that I have been using my harvest in.
Our beans are just….starting to come in but we probably have a few more weeks before they begin coming along steadily.

 

 

Day 114: Garden update–New Arrivals!

Spaghetti Squash emerging

Kit and I planted two 72 cells full of veggies on Monday. And then at them now! We actually noticed green coming up yesterday (Thursday) but the pictures today were more impressive.

In one of our sets we started Spaghetti Squash, cushaw, sugar pumpkins and hatch peppers. Peppers are not nearly as exciting as the squash families because they are so slow and have yet to appear. Our yellow squash has a few pushing through the dirt.

The other set of 72 we split with two different types of tobacco. We’re growing this more for the experience and variety rather than to sell commercially. We don’t have the tax stamp to sell and for only 72 plants we don’t intend to buy one.
tobaccoThe reason Kit is so interested in growing tobacco is because they are some interesting heirloom varieties.
One of the varieties is called Hopi Tobacco. And according to the Sustainable Seeds website the effects from smoking this tobacco can result ” in hallucinations.” Source.

The second variety of heirloom tobacco–also purchased from Sustainable Seeds–is called Ancient Tobacco. This seed was found in a 1,000 year old archaeological site. And get this, they’re selling this seed and don’t know anything about it other than it has large leaves. I don’t know if it was more silly that they are selling an unknown or that we bought it. Source.

The cat bucket garden that I posted about several days back has produced amazing results! I have tons of things coming up but…I won’t be taking pictures until this Sunday so I can share what one week of growth looks like. I’m sure it will be a more impressive jump. Calm down, just a couple more days until I share the kitty litter bucket updates.