Thursday, March 26, 2009

Life On The Mini Farm - Part 1

Everything is going great on the Mini Farm. There are quite a few things growing now and we have plans for more to be put in. We've changed a few things as well. All-in-all we've been having a good time of it. Enjoying the weather, it's been very easy to work in.

The produce is all turning out wonderful. The meals we've enjoyed from our own fresh food have been incredible. They are far more flavorful and so we've been inspired to try new recipes and there's been some experimenting going on in the kitchen. What there's not been a lot of is leftovers.

Of course we're always learning as we go because we're trying new things and it makes it all very interesting. Here's a look around at what's been happening.

There's quite a variety in the seedling nursery. We've started Cantaloupe, Zucchini, Moon and Stars Watermelon, Marigold (to keeps bugs away), peppers (Bell, Jalapeno, Poblano, Pepperoncini, and Anaheim Chilis,) Heirloom Tomatoes, and herbs (Thyme, Basil, Sage, and Epazote). Epazote is a new one for us and we're looking forward to using it in some of our Mexican dishes.

The one strawberry plant that made the move from our urban micro farm is starting to bear fruit.It's hard to see them, but this is where we put in all our strawberry plants. Parallel to these rows we have three blackberry plants and one grape vine growing.

This is where the collards and cauliflower were over the winter. They've since been composted. We fed the collards to the rabbits and the chickens. They grew well we just had not planned on growing any. We accidentally picked up collard plants instead of brocholi last fall. So no loss there. I think the animals really liked it. The cauliflower didn't do well because of the aphids.

This is the new crop of lettuce. From left to right we have Mesclun, Swiss Chard, Romaine, and Leaf Lettuce. This was the herb bed over the winter.
This is a brand new row of Peas. The row runs north/south. This is our east side fence. You're looking south. :) The peas can catch the morning shade here.

The celery is looking good. Mom grew them from celery bottoms saved from grocery store celery but we've not tried this before so if you're planning on growing some you might want to try seeds. The pot was used as a cover to protect them from frost. Now that the last frost has passed we're thinking about gumbo...

The red cabbage you've seen before. It was supposed to grow last fall but it taking it's own sweet time. It's starting to form a head now and is looking really good.

The spinach is still going strong. We have a couple separate spinach patches. We pick the leaves as we need them and allow the plants to keep producing. Click the photo above to check out our organic pest control.

A garden fresh snack

We've put in 4 rows of potatoes of the russet and red varieties. We started them from store potatoes. The plants are down in the ditches and we will cover them as they grow up in order to get more potatoes off them.

Our neighbors have a couple of pear trees that will be loaded with pears. In previous years they've gone to waste. This year, if we can save them from the squirrels, we'll be canning pears for both families. We're really looking forward to it. It's been a while since we've had a pear tree.

The figgy fortress. Our little fig tree is hanging on.

The first planter box that has been built was the home of the seedlings seen above. They've been moved out and now we've planted a small bit of carrots.

Inside we have a couple sweet potatoes that we are using to create slips.

Here's a slip working on growing roots. Once it sprouts some good sized roots, we'll plant it in the potato garden.

New garden beds on the west side. The sod was removed and oak leaves will be turned into the soil. After that happens this may be where we grow the corn. We're going to plant popcorn this year; something that we've never done.
Andrea is turning the oak leaves into the soil getting it ready for the tomatoes and peppers that are in the other small seedling nursery on the front porch. The broccoli was very good better than store broccoli. It has now bolted and is going to seed. Once we've collected the seeds we'll compost the plants and save the seed for next fall. A small crop of peppers will grow where the broccoli is now.

We have one grand oak tree that we saved the leaves from when they fell in the Fall. We were able to use them for insulating the garden over the winter. They worked great. Since they are already in the garden area they are easy to turn into the soil.

More later....


Marci said...

Y'all have really been working hard. Everything looks great!!!

Mrs. Pear said...

Can you please tell me more about how you started the sweet potato slips? I am sure I can guess accurately from the pictures, but we have already had one failure this year in this area and I would hate to have another!

Our oldest daughter is allergic to regular potatoes but can eat (and adores) the sweet ones. Her little sister just started eating sweet potatoes and loves them too, so we would love to grow some!

Miss Kelly and Miss Andrea said...

Mrs. Pear,

We had some sweet potatoes that had sprouted, so I found online that you can just put them in a container with water, pointier end down up to about the bottom third of the potato. They will grow sprouts out the top of the potato and you just pick them off and put them in a jar of water where they will grow roots. The potato will continue to sprout and you just keep doing the same thing until you get enough slips for your garden.

You can also start them in soil, I have just never tried it. This is only our second time growing sweet potatoes. Here is an interesting and simple looking tutorial on starting them in soil-

Hope that helps!