Monday, April 20, 2009

Homesteading 101

In the interest of full record keeping. I also spent time this weekend planting trees around the farm and pasture. I put a couple Weeping Willows in down by the river. I hope the deer or other critters don't get them. Those will be very cool if they are allowed to grow up unmolested. Little H.B. and I put in six hybrid poplars on some high ground in the pasture. Three blue spruce were planted to stabilize a steep bank in the pasture as well. I also put one Bald Cypress in on the yard. It is questionably hardy in this zone, but, if it makes it, it should be very dramatic. All the trees are tiny little twigs at this point, but, if they take hold, I'm looking forward to seeing them grow big and strong. Who says there are no trees in Iowa?

Gathering My Garden Seeds

It is Monday the 20th of April. It was another great weekend weather wise, so, I tried to spend as much time outside as possible. I got a chance to till the garden, and start another long-time-coming project, a play set/swing set for the kids. I'm pretty excited about both the garden and the play set. My Wife has signed on for helping with the garden, she's excited about the prospect of organic vegetables. I'm on my own when it comes to the play set. I'll post some pictures and plans of the play set when I'm finished with it.

We also took some time this weekend, to purchase some of the seeds we will be planting. We bought mostly organic, with the exception of a few plants that are either ornamental, or, I'm just not totally convinced we'd find them easily in an organic format. My next post will be a complete list of the plant variety, brand and whether they are organic or not. Maybe not all that interesting to you, but, I'm sure it will be very handy for me going forward. My started tomatoes are coming along nicely in their little growing setup, though, they are getting a bit spindly. I thought using the combo natural window light and CFL would keep them from getting that way, but, I guess that isn't the right mix of light. Nonetheless, they are growing like crazy. I'm sure they will fill out once I get them in the ground.

I'm coming up with a pretty extensive "To-Do" list as I'm typing here. 1. Finish purchasing the rest of my seeds. 2. Purchase greenhouse started plants. 3. Do a garden layout! (I'm sort of waiting to do this until I know what seeds I'm going to be planting.) 4. Till more garden space. I tilled up the 30' x 50' space that was a garden last year. My Wife took one look at it and said, "We aren't going to have enough room." She's right, so, I'll be tilling more space. We are putting in a lot of plants. It is going to be a HUGE garden!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Starting Raspberries Too Early? I'll Find Out.

It is April 11 and today was a gorgeous day. The temperatures reached into the 60's, so, I decided to work outside as much as possible today. It has been roughly a month (1 week shy) since I last posted, and I had started tomato seeds then. Well, those seeds are now little seedlings, up and growing strong under the bulb and light from the window. I had one pot that didn't have a single seed start, but all of the other ones had both seeds planted come up, so, I carefully transplanted one seedling from another pot into the pot that flopped. I'll see how that goes. I touched the leaves of the plant only, hoping to minimize the chance that I killed it by moving it.

Last week, my raspberries from Gurney's came. There were six bare root plants. They arrived looking healthy, and, even though, technically, we are not past the last date for potential frost, I plunked them in the ground today. I picked a spot behind an old livestock building on the property that gets full southern exposure to the sun, and, I'm assuming has seen it's share of "organic" fertilizer. If they don't freeze off, they ought to do well there. I'll watch the weather, and if it looks like we are going to get to freezing temps again, I'll cover the plants with a tent of plastic.