Welcome to my first attempts at homesteading!

There will be ups and downs of gardening, baking, cooking, parenting, and trying out homesteading. It should be interesting, a true learning experience!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Lili!

My little Lili turned one on June 18th! We had a garden party theme and it was a lot of fun. The weather was nice - it cooperated enough to be able to sit outside and play games.
Doesn't she look like she's saying "back off, this one's mine!" she cracks me up with her expressions. This is part of the activity table that Nana and Papa got her. She loves the music it plays! There are so many cute pictures to see of this fun-filled day...buzz on over to see more of our Garden party on my picture sharing site. Enjoy the weather, Summer's finally here!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Seeds are Amazing

Most of the plants that you have seen in my garden are transplants from my mom's house or she started them from seed for me and I am taking care of the plants now. Well, she lives 4 hours away :( so I have been starting my own seeds now! I put a picture of the seeds that I started on April 5th inside and a picture of what the grownup plant (or product) will look like! I am a visual so this really helps me out :)
Boston Pickling Cucumbers
Apparently they are very prolific and I should not have started them a week early since now I am facing the fact that they will take over my plant shelf way before they are supposed to go outside!
Mid-East Prolific Cucumbers (see there's that hint "prolific", I should have known).
Pastel Sunset Zinnias
White Profusion Zinnias (a short variety) Scarlet Zinnias (only one seed popped up!) Kablouna Mix Calendula (right) ZeoLights Calendula (left) Kablouna Mix (?) Calendula planted 04/02
Kablouna Mix Calendula Zeolights Calendula
I planted Moonlight Marigolds as well and I will be getting another variety that has already been started by my mom called Double Pinwheel.
Moonlight Marigold and Double Pinwheel Marigold
I never looked up what the moonlight marigold flower looks like until today and I think it's rather un-interesting. BUT, I know that marigolds are great to keep the pests away therefore I will plant these and next year, choose a different variety :) I also planted Orange Sun Bell Peppers, Pepperoncini Peppers which I will pickle for my husband who loves these, and Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers that all take a little longer to sprout. SO, there you have it...the very early beginnings of a healthier lifestyle for my family. I want to thank everyone for the extreme generosity they have shown me and my family so that we could start this garden. I have received FREE wood, chicken wire, beautiful plants, bamboo tepee poles, tools, boxes and planters, seeds, soil, and countless other things that would have cost me a fortune! Next post I will be showing which food is growing outside right now and what we've already enjoyed a harvest of! As always, thanks for reading and Stay Tuned!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blooming the day away...

We have a beautiful Magnolia tree in our front yard and it smells wonderful! But unfortunately, its blooming period is very short lived. This is one of the wonderful blossoms that we picked to see how long they would last inside. (Not even 24 hours). As you can see, Bella could not pull her nose away from the flower it smelled so heavenly! What else is in bloom you ask?
Deep Red Pansy, White Pansy, Purple and Orange Violets
Bleeding Heart and Money Plant
Grape Hyacinth, yummy smelling! Blossom on a Sweet Italian Fry Pepper
This is a Peony that is wanting to Bloom since our weather has been so mild! It's not supposed to bloom until May! Well, that's about it for now...strawberries are blooming too, and other things are starting to get ready for the warmer weather but for now, most things are working on getting rooted into this soil since most things out here are new babies, or transplants, or both! I hope to get a post up soon on the progress of my new seeds...stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are you jealous of my trellis?

I know, corny title, but I was so excited when my hubby built this that I thought as soon as my mom saw this she was going to be jealous so it just popped out! Here it is, not so much in all its glory just yet (please ignore the very dead Christmas tree and gardening paraphernalia in the picture)... ...imagine two very large tomato plants climbing on it on the left and right and a marigold in the middle and a basil on either side in the back of the box. It's going to be wonderful. It's not even attached to the box people! It is a free standing form...able to withstand winds up to 35 MPH, or so I hope since that's what we get around here :) Next up is my tepee...it also was just built and will need some kind of support like tent stakes or re bar or something to keep it from blowing away. Now, imagine this with Pole beans, snap and shell peas and beautiful hyacinth bean vines growing on it...even if you don't know what these things look like, use your imagination :) Okay, now I will blow your minds away...remember the box in front of the trellis, how empty it looks? Well look at it now: Did I blow your minds away or what? The frame you see made of PVC and plastic is to keep the plants from dying in case there is a frost at night. Unfortunately we are not in the clear yet, not until Mother's Day to be able to plant most things outside without the worry of a frost. In the two outer squares are Walla Walla onions, in the two back squares are Dinosaur Kale, and in the front two are Cosmo Savoy Lettuce (romaine type). I am very excited to see these things grow and be able to harvest fresh produce right in time for dinner! All of these will grow to fill/overfill the squares designated for them! Here is the 4'x4' box right beside that one which I just planted yesterday: There isn't much in either box yet since not everything can go out yet. Later in this post I will show you what else I am starting indoors from seed. The only thing that was not started from seed indoors was the Walla wallas, but I also have walla walla seed starts which you will see the progress of in a few scrolls down. I HAVE TO TAKE A MOMENT AND GIVE MY MOM THE CREDIT FOR STARTING ALL THESE SEEDLINGS HERSELF! SHE IS THE ONE WHO GAVE THEM ALL TO ME. I am going to take over the process since she lives 4 hours away and my husband built me a wonderful seed shelf! See look: (In the tray) there are tomatoes on the right, bell peppers and jalapenos on the left, basil in the front on the left and that empty looking 4" pot is the walla wallas. After a week of waiting (which is not long people) these came up...and in one day they went from this... ...to this: and now ONLY 4 DAYS later they look like this: Isn't that amazing! They were planted on March 11th (as you can see by the tag) and in less than 2 weeks they are 6 inches tall! They will be ready to go out next week I think...exciting huh? This is a perfect plant to grow from seed with kids because it has almost instant satisfaction. Oh yeah, remember that shelf in the last post I showed you my husband built me? It now looks like this: Never mind the piles of books on top of it or the pile of stuff underneath :) This stuff is my gardening reference stuff that should be in the garage, it's much more handy here...but hey, look at that amazing light system! Isn't it wonderful? Thanks mom!! (Sorry about all the terrible lighting...it really is sunny outside and my house is bathed in warm lighting but the point and shoot camera that I'm using uses it's own lighting choices so I get what I get, ya know?) What else has changed...EVERYTHING! I'll have to stop here for now though or I fear I'll lose you if I haven't already! More tomorrow...so tune in!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Is it spring time yet?

Okay, I'm annoyed. I wrote almost this entire post out and my internet crashed! Ugh. So, I'm going to make this short and sweet since I just wasted 30 mins of my time. This is a close up of the seed starting shelf my wonderful and willing (although slightly workaholic) husband built me last night after a long day's work. It's to show you how ridiculously easy it is to build your own shelf! The cost is broken down below:
  • 4' long wire shelves - $1.98 x4 = $7.92
  • 1"x2"x8' firring strips - $0.87 x4 = $3.48
  • 2"x2"x8' firring strips - $1.94 x4 = $7.76
  • Tax :( = $1.51
  • 3" through bolts - $0.20 x16 = $3.20
  • Package of nuts (not sure of price or qty. but husband said nuts and bolts came to a little over $8.00 with tax so we'll say $5.00 - pkg of nuts)
GRAND TOTAL SPENT ON SHELF: $28.87 +/- a few cents :)
Isn't it wonderful? The top shelf and the next one down will have shop lights with grow bulbs hanging from them and the others will be covered with house plants, pictures and things to make it look like part of the decor :) My husband didn't really like the idea of an industrial looking shelf in the dining room (for who knows how long) so I let him design how it went together (after I bought the materials - minus the bolts, they were a great addition to the plan) and now he doesn't mind it too much. This is my sad looking corner of my yard that will hopefully thrive to look beautiful! Take note of the awesome tools I use as markers for my dig site - Screwdrivers! Must find another way, husband doesn't like me using his tools like that. In this sparse corner is a butterfly bush with wild violets and a scraggly sedum towards the front right corner (I thought I'd point that out so you didn't miss it). It will all fill in with God's grace and mercy on me and the plants :) This is a silly story...I was on the phone with my hubby and saw a worm in that bed I was digging up in the sad corner of my yard. It seemed to grow right before my eyes! It was small at first glance, then when it started stretching itself out it was "like 12 inches" I said to my hubby on the phone, and he didn't believe me! So I told him I would take a picture for him using the tape measurer for proof. Well, after I handled the worm a bit, it didn't want to stretch back out again and I couldn't get it to stretch more than this :( It was longer, I swear! This is our huge 8'x8' sandbox that will be turned into a garden wonderland for our daughter, Bella. In those boxes and around the sandbox are going to be her favorite things to pick in the garden. Whenever we go to her Oma's house, she always picks the same things (when the season allows): Strawberries, cherry tomatoes, borage, and anything pretty she spies (even if it is just leaves (not the petals, the leaves) off a poppy plant!). So in the back of the boxes will be cherry tomatoes, around the outside of the sandbox will be all strawberries with a large borage plant where that board is. This is the right hand box as of yesterday. I was itching to get all the Square foot markings on, that I forgot that my boxes aren't all done being amended yet! So this is the only one that has jute on it so far, the others I just did the staples. (Notice the stray cat paw prints in the back half of the box...nice huh?) See the awful trench that the lack of gutters above it is creating in the MIDDLE of my box!!!! UGH! As far as I can see, I have two options here...put up some sort of canopy/gutter system, or put rocks/bricks/something in the trench to keep from splashing mud everywhere. I, of course, like the first option since it doesn't require giving up any gardening space, although I'm renting, (yes renting, and still making a garden paradise in the back yard!) so I'm not sure how feasible that would be.
So obviously I had no problem wasting another 30 mins of my time recreating this blog for you guys to read! I started out just wanting to put short captions by each picture and now I've wasted a few minutes of your time! Anyhow, thanks for reading about my recent garden adventures. This is only the beginning! I'm going to figure out how to put my garden plan that is in Excel on here so you can all (all 6 of you heh,heh,heh) dream with me. At least then you won't all think I'm crazy!