Saturday, April 25, 2020

Spring is HERE - 1 week until the last Frost

It's almost here!  All winter we have been looking forward to this, but we still need to be cautious.  Many years we have had frosts into May including snow on May 5th in the past!!  So keep an eye on the weather reports to see if you will need to do any covering of your plants.  Chances are you won't.  However....

This will be the last week that you will need to sow indoors the first list.  Know that if you haven't sown your zucchini, etc indoors, you will be able to find plants in most garden centers and hardware stores.  Or if you are local to me, be sure to ask, I may have oddles of extras!

Sown indoors:
  • Cucumbers
  • Melons
  • Pumpkins
  • Summer Squash (Zucchini, Zyphr, Yellow Crookneck)
  • Winter Squash (Acorn, Buttercup, Butternut, Spaghetti)
  • Leaf lettuce
Sown outdoors:
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Beets
  • Radishes
  • Head Lettuce
Transplant:
  • Leaf lettuce

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

I love animals...

I have always loved animals. When I was a child I loved animals.  I was "destined" to have a zillion animals.  I would be taking the dinner bowl out to our dog, Pedro, and it would take an hour as I wandered around the yard feeding all my pretend animals.  Yes, I had imaginary cows, too!

Fast forward to 17-18 when you are REALLY looking at what you want to BE.  I loved animals so much there was actually no way I could be a vet.  It would break my heart to see them in pain, have to put someone's pet to sleep, or even "give a shot!"

Fast-fast forward thirty-mumble years.... yes I still love animals. So much so, as I've had to put beloved pets down. I have seen my pets hurt or sick.  I have bawled while taking animals to their ultimate goal of nourishing our family.  And I've given shots... lots of shots.

Funny how life works out.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Spring is coming - 11 weeks before last Frost

This week we will actually start sowing some of our cold weather crops inside to get them started for replanting outside.

You should be sowing the following:


  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower 
  • Leeks
  • Head Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Parsley
We will be growing our starts in the cellar for the next few weeks as it has some of the heat from our home.  Once we actually see sprouts, we will turn on the grow lights. 


CABBAGE

Cabbage is a cool-weather crop. Grow cabbage in spring so that it comes to harvest before the summer heat or start cabbage in mid to late summer so that it comes to harvest during the cool days of autumn, winter, or early spring.
  • Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost in spring.
  • Place cabbage transplants in the garden when they are 3 to 4 inches tall as early as 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost in spring.
  • Direct sow seed outdoors when the soil can be worked in spring.
  • In mild-winter regions, start seed in late summer for a winter or spring harvest.

WHERE TO GROW CABBAGE

  • Grow cabbage in soil rich in organic matter that is well-drained. Prepare planting beds ahead of planting by covering beds with 2 to 3 inches of aged compost or commercial organic planting mix and turning it under to 12 inches deep.
  • Cabbage grows best where the soil pH is between 6.5 and 6.8.
  • If clubroot disease has been a problem, adjust the soil pH to 7.0 or slightly higher by adding lime.
  • Add plenty of well-aged compost to planting beds before planting. In regions where the soil is sandy or where there is heavy rain, supplement the soil with nitrogen.
  • Adding a moderate amount of nitrogen-rich blood meal or cottonseed meal to the soil ahead of planting will enhance leafy growth.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Spring is coming - 12 weeks before last Frost

This week we will actually start sowing some of our cold weather crops inside to get them started for replanting outside.

You should be sowing the following:

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower 
  • Leeks
  • Head Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Parsley
We will be growing our starts in the cellar for the next few weeks as it has some of the heat from our home.  Once we actually see sprouts, we will turn on the grow lights. 


BROCCOLI SOWING AND PLANTING TIPS

  • Start broccoli from seed.
  • Seed is viable for 3 years.
  • Start seeds in individual pots
  • Sow seed ¼ to ½ (6-8 mm) inch deep in the seed-starting mix.
  • Keep the mix moist but not wet.
  • Seeds should germinate in 5 to 10 days at an optimal temperature of 77°F or thereabouts.
  • Transplant seedlings into the garden when they 4 to 6 inches tall with 2- to 4-leaves.
  • Grow broccoli in full sun for best yield, but broccoli will tolerate partial shade.
  • Add 3- to 4- inches of compost and well-aged manure into planting bed, before transplanting; broccoli needs friable, moisture-holding soil.
  • Avoid planting where cabbage family crops have grown recently.
  • Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart; plants spaced 10 to 12 inches ) apart will yield smaller heads.
  • Space rows 36 inches  apart.
  • Protect seedlings from the cold for 2 to 3 weeks after planting covering them with a cloche or plastic tunnel or cold frame.
  • Fertilize with an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion at half strength.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Spring is Coming - 13 weeks before the last Frost

This week, I'd like you consider joining our CSA for the 2020 season.  Soon the "early bird" pricing will end, so let me know if you have any questions!!

In 2020, Wallace Homestead/Cackleberry Hollow will be expanding our CSA offerings!

We will offer a 20 week C.S.A. season, which will begin in June (May if weather permits) and will run through the October. 

Pick ups are coordinated on Tuesday in the Polaris area. Pick up on Thursday at the farm.

The number of shares will be VERY limited.  We will only be taking 15 weekly shares. 

NEW THIS YEAR: In conjunction, with The Spotted Pig Ranch Meat CSA Program, we will be offering a monthly shared delivered along with their meat deliveries!!   

4 Shares from August 2018
4 Shares from September 2018

Individual Share ($325)--The individual share is designed for an individual or a family of two and will include approximately $20-$25 worth of fresh, seasonal local produce each week.  (one basket-usually)

Family Share ($550)--The standard share is designed for families of three or more, and will include approximately $40-$50 of fresh, seasonal local produce each week. (two baskets-usually)

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL:  Sign up and make your first payment by December 31st, and you will pay 2018 prices ($275 & $475)

Sign up and make your first payment by February 1st, and you will pay 2018 prices ($300 & $525)

The Spotted Pig Monthly Delivery:  $150 for a single share delivered monthly with your meat delivery. You can sign up for multiple shares. (18 shares available)
Payment plans are available, feel free to ask!

The dollar value examples for the weekly shares are simply meant to give you a rough idea of how much produce you get. During times of bounty in the season the shares are considerably larger than these estimates. However, in farming there are risks, and inevitably there will be a very few slim weeks. I am confident that you will find at the end of the season that your share was money well spent.

There are also planned events for the CSA/Herdshare members including an “on the farm” open house day, possible “U-Pick” opportunities, and our “really LOCAL” craft / produce market in the fall.

  You are always encouraged to come be a part of the farm and spend some time working in the sun and the dirt! The quantity and quality of food is directly impacted by the amount of support we receive--thus the phrase Community Supported Agriculture. We especially need extra help on some of our bigger, time consuming projects.  "Many hands make light work."  We are doing all we can to carefully manage farm related expenses.  One of the unfortunate realities of many of our cost saving  efforts is that they become time-consuming projects.  We have plans for making inexpensive farm improvements but often just don't have the time.  

We are hoping (and praying) that our produce year reaps enough for our family and our CSA members, with enough extra bounty for the produce stand in order for us to add a greenhouse to the farm so we can extend the growing season to almost year round!! But we can't do it alone.

 WORKSHARES: Unfortunately, the workshare program just didn't work out last year, so we will be not be offering it this year.  



Occasionally, we will utilized produce from the local farm growers & Amish growers in our area (still locally grown in Morrow County).  This is only to round out produce that has been requested but we are either not growing currently or for crop failures. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Spring is coming!! 14 Weeks before the last Frost.

I posted our CSA information late last year and will be reposting next week....and we hope that you will become one of our CSA families....but even if you don't...

I think everyone wants to garden...either a little or a LOT!  One of the things about doing large scale gardening is to PLAN!  And pretty far in advance too.  I thought I would share a weekly post on what I am (and you can be) doing to get ready for the official beginning of gardening season (the last Frost date.)   Here in central Ohio (zone 5b) our average last frost date is April 30.

This week and next are fun weeks in that you should be looking trough all your seed catalogs, websites and dreaming of warmer weather.  Decide the seeds / plants you want to plant and get them ordered.  Or know that your local hardware stores and nurseries will have seeds and plants starting around the April beginning of May.

Below is a chart if you are wanting to grow enough to can for you family for the whole year.  Or maybe you just plant a few pots on your patio.  Either way...DIRT THERAPY is Great!


CropsHarvest Needed (lbs)Row Length (ft)Plants Needed
12246
82718
255
1248144
122418
6050150
604080
60120144
141060
121015
323222
243222
604027
404048
363624
162741
123
888
10012594
322714
122
161610
455
41632
643
444
6816
4927
244842
24227
4816
443
323296
146
121236
123090
122015
100100100
404012
82060
161648
6510
123030
402714
24249
523823
121211
121518
969639
684635
202754
48245


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 Month of Nothing!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I am working on hitting some serious goals in 2020.  (You can look at my 101 if you are interested in seeing all of them).  One of the goals is to save money to work on paying down our debt, but also to utilize our food stores.  I am a bit odd, in that, having very full shelves makes me feel secure.

This is the challenge I posted on Facebook, and I wanted to respond to some of the comments I received....
Image may contain: food

New Years food challenge from our family to yours. We will be doing a 30 day
PANTRY/FREEZER CHALLENGE
Starting tomorrow we will be eating only food from our pantry, or freezer. We will purchase only a few fresh veggies. Everything else comes from our supply. We won't buy any food items during this time.
I invite all of our Facebook friends to take this challenge with us. It will show us the importance of storing food, and using what foods you have. If you can't do the 30 day challenge do whatever you think you can do.
This will help us to utilize our storage, and menu process. I'm going to try several new recipes that I've always wanted to try.
Along with this "Month-of-Nothing" challenge, I'll be blogging how it's going and some of the new recipes I'll be trying. I'd love to hear what/how you are doing!!
\
Numerous people said that this would be easier for me because I live on a farm....
That is both true and false.  I have been doing "Month-of-Nothings" for over 12 years.  I usually do two a year.  We have only been on the farm for 9 years and the first couple of years, I didn't produce much.  We did it living in the suburbs.   We did it when funds were tight and it was actually a necessity to be sparing with our cash.  We have done it to save money for a special occasion. We did it more often with both of us working full time and not able to garden and not having chickens in the back yard. 

Everyone buys canned goods and then somehow it keeps getting pushed to the back of the pantry because there is something else that "looks better."  Or you don't plan ahead, come home from work tired and it's just easier to go through the drive-thru or order a pizza.  (I get it, we had pizza two nights ago!) 

The challenge is to use those things up.  To look at what you do have and come up with a meal plan to utilize what is actually in the freezers and pantry.    Yes, because I have been farming and canning, I am set up so that I could actually go a few months with buying very little from the corporate grocery stores and just eat out of what I have produced.  I AM VERY BLESSED that way.  But it has been work to get to this point too.

It's just the beginning of winter.  It makes me a bit nuts when I see the craziness right before a predicted storm. People going and wiping out the grocery stores of items because they feel like they don't have enough on-hand.  

With this challenge and with this blog, I want to help others understand not only WHY you should have food storage, but HOW to do it economically.  And once you have it, utilizing it from time to time to rotate fresh canned items into it.  And the added bonus is that it is also a money saver in the long run.

You can look at the posts that have the "tag" Month-of-Nothing" to see some of the posts from the past. 

The plan is to share what we are doing with our Pantry/Freezer Challenge so maybe it will spark some ideas for someone else.  I welcome your questions either in the comments here (I love knowing I'm not just "shouting in the wind" over here.) or on Facebook.  

I haven't blogged much in the past two years for many reasons.  Mainly because it seemed as the social media platform has changed and people don't like reading as much as I like to write....lol.  I will still be posting on Facebook the short messages, but I hope you'll spend a few minutes over here and share in the "behind the scenes" of our lives out here on the farm.

Pictured above is a perfect example.  We had more than half of our Christmas ham (bought from Meijer with an awesome sale!).  So I took what was left and with $2 worth of beans, a bunch of celery that was on it's last days, and a $1 bag of carrots and made 7 quarts and 7 pints of bean soup to enjoy through the rest of the winter.  A two serving can or Campbell' Ham and Bean soup (about a pint) is currently $1.79.  So generally I made about $37 "worth" of soup for about $8 and my time.  Plus I know everything that is in those jars.  (And to geek out on the math....Mine is $0.023 an ounce, Campbell's is $0.094 per ounce)


If you look though the tagged posts, you will see that almost every January has been a month of nothing...so this is nothing new.  But I'd like to share a bit more so maybe others can join in!!