Thursday, April 30, 2009

What I learned today

As I said this is to be a record of what works what doesn't. It may get long and boring. You have been warned!

It was funny last night I went out and there were kids from the neighborhood in the coop with the chickens with my son. It was funny to watch! They have been laying today and were very noisy. I took pictures of the eggs they look larger than they are.

I spent the morning with my coffee and a trowel planting. The first thing I learned is read the packs of seeds. My gardening book said to soak the seeds 2-4 hours the packet said overnight. I have decided to wait and soak overnight. Considering my hour of planting turned into 5 it is just as well. The almanac said the 30th is the most fruitful day to plant. I did not sow seeds just transplants I wonder what the difference is. Luckily tomorrow is okay to plant but then there are 5 barren days. Most of my time was running the string to mark the square feet. My youngest son was helping I was going to get to write things done for a "science journal". I also thought the measuring was a good exercise as well. We also measured the ph of the soil with a meter I bought. Not sure if working as all my soils register the same thing. He quit after getting the strings done saying it was hurting his back. He had no problems later on the slip and slide. I let him measure the squares for some reason they are not square or even. Luckily, I do not get to hung up on these things.

The other time consuming thing is trying to decide what to get in first since we are having to wait to build more beds as time allows. We are getting free dirt that has been drudged from a lake bottom and free mulch from another source. It just takes time going and loading it up. So I spent the time planting the larger plants that were purchased. Which reminds me I have a bag of Lima beans somewhere to plant. I did dig up a broccoli plant to put in pepper plant. We have different beds with different dirt mixtures from our free sources so I want to see what does well where. I will make notes of what worked best later.

My tomatoes- I found a site that had this procedure for planting tomatoes. It involved fish heads, aspirin, bone meal, and more. The only thing I had on hand was aspirin. I will add lime with water like the square foot gardening book recommends hopefully that will prevent fruit rot on the tomatoes. I planted tomatoes in the back beds, the front bed, the ground where my husband had dug holes and filled with the dirt we got, and in containers. I planted bush and vines. I have 18 plants planted so far. Hubby started some from seed I did not transplant. I do not know if they are vine or bush.

Two of beds are mystery beds. Hubby was tired and trying to hurry to plant the root vegetables by the moon chart and planted all the root veggies. However they are not marked. One bed is sprouting like crazy. He and I did not communicate on the square foot method the seeds were broadcast. Confession we have fought more over gardening than money. We both have our own ideas over where and how to plant.

I have about 16 strawberry plants. Four were purchased as larger plants in peat containers this year one plant has produced 3 berries. 3 plants can back from some I ordered online 25 plants in bag for 20.00 it was not worth it. The plants did not grow at all. I purchased a bag at Kmart with 10 plants for 3.99 they are producing leaves. This my way of learning how to grow strawberries. As usual I have big plans to have starter plants from these as well. Waiting is the hard part. I also moved all the plants down to full sun out of the driveway where they were in the way.

I also found out that the square foot gardener says to put one eggplant per one square foot. The package says to give the plant 3 feet. Confusion city--so I put some in the foot, one in a bed that only has 4 plants and one in the ground. The bell pepper plants Hubby bought 9. I could not bring myself to not plant them. Again I did in different beds to see what works and some in containers.

I am enjoying taking picture of what is going on around here. I was very happy with what all I saw this morning. The hives were all busy or so it seemed.

Hubby thinks one the hives swarmed it is very disheartening. It was our strongest hive last year. He has someone who has offered to mentor him in beekeeping we can't wait. There is a saying I have been reading on bee sites. Its says, "Ask ten beekeepers a question and you will get ten different answers." Like gardening it is a learning process that takes time and trial and error. I have a hard time with this. I like to how something should be done and then do it and have it work the first time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's a Beginning!

The main purpose of the is blog is to record our efforts at gardening, beekeeping, and raising chickens. Our dream is to one day be able to live off our land wherever that may be. Our hope is learn from small scale and be able to go "large scale." This will be my diary of what works and what does not work.

We started keeping chickens because our family reacts to store eggs. I am not sure if it is what the chickens have been fed or injected or if it is the processing of the store eggs that make us sick. However, we love eggs so to be able to eat them we are raising them. I could purchase them from others who raise in backyard or farms but we were offered free Bantam chickens. So why not try it. Here is some of our flock. We only have one of them named she is Alice. I think the rooster is gorgeous.

We also keep bees. This is our second year. It is amazing how the bees operate. I love looking at the comb they produce. Believe it or not I am allergic to wasps and other stinging insects. I have not been stung by a honey bee yet so I do not know if I will react or not. Yet I love to go watch them take off and land. I do not open the hives that is the work of my husband and kids.

Here they are busy at the front of the hive.

Our wild strawberries are benefiting from the bees this year. We have a cherry tree that for the first time in five years seems to be producing something. We have raspberry plants, grapes and blueberries from last year that are doing better this year.

We are trying a garden using the square foot garden method. I will be recording what works what does not. We will be growing tomatoes, eggplants, broccoli, lettuce, strawberries, beans, carrots, potatoes, artichokes, cucumbers, spinach, and whatever else we might come across. The almanac says this will be a wet year in GA. I am gardening on it! Here are the beds in the back. I will use posts later to record how things are growing.
Well my children are needing my attention.


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