9/3/16 – 9/14/16 | Headlines of the past week and a half:
Making pumpkin pie
Learning how to save tomato seeds
Mowing the buckwheat so it won’t go to seed
In case you missed it, last week I made a delicious pumpkin pie from a huge pumpkin Jan and Andy gave me!
I’ve also been saving seeds for next year. Here you can see two types of tomato seeds in little glass jars (I typically have the paper towels on top of them but I set them underneath for the picture). This is to ferment the seeds, which is the most common way of saving tomato seeds. On the plate I have seeds that are drying out after fermenting. Then the big seeds are pumpkin seeds from this project. But perhaps what I’m the most proud of is my little seed packets I made! They’re exactly the size of regular seed packets.
Since I didn’t want the buckwheat I planted in the new garden spot to go to seed and become a weed next year, it had to be mowed. The only (working) mowers we have are a push mower and tractors with bush hogs, so Judah mowed it with the tractor. And I may or may not have tagged along… 😉
And now for the chickens! Here they’re enjoying their non-GMO grain, hanging out in the shade, or pecking for bugs in the grass. Now that’s life! (for a chicken, that is)
These guys will be ready for processing the weekend of October 15th, so if you’re near Logan County, Ohio and would like to order some shoot me a line on my contact page!
On Wednesday of last week I got chicks in the mail! The post office must have called around 8:30am, but I was already gone for the day so the chicks didn’t get picked up until 4:30pm. Definitely not the best situation… so I had more chicks die in the first three days (of dehydration and/or stress) than I did with my first batch, which I was able to pick up early in the morning. But I learned my lesson, and next time I’ll plan better so I can pick up the chicks ASAP.
That said, I now have a brooder full of yellow puffballs!
This year I was experimenting with growing carrots. We have clay soil, so carrots have never done well. But this year we turned our old sand box into a cold frame and raised bed, so I planted half of it with carrots to see if the looser soil would be kind to them.
I think it worked! I definitely could have let these guys get bigger, but I was too excited. The cat was also excited… she looks awful proud for not having grown the produce, no? Cats will be cats, I suppose.
On Sunday Jan and Andy had their Garlic Festival! It was super fun – bluegrass, good food, gorgeous weather, and great people.
I spent the afternoon cutting up garlic for the garlic taste test (although I admit that I didn’t taste all 7 kinds. Raw garlic is something else!), dishing out samples of tabouli, and giving farm tours.
Also, back at home I have buckwheat in my new garden spot! I planted it about two weeks ago, but wasn’t sure it would do so great because it was super dry the following week. It’s pretty cool to see the sequence of events (using livestock and cover crops) that I’m using to prepare that area for planting next year!
Even though it’s technically mid-summer, the past few weeks has been a bit of a lull for me. Part of that is because I’m in between chicken batches, and part was because I went on vacation with my family and some friends for a week!
The day before we left for vacation I decided to tackle the new garden spot project. This is the spot we’d put fence posts around and run the chickens through in preparation for hopefully having a garden there next year. The next step was to plant buckwheat in it. Buckwheat is a cover crop, and while I don’t know exactly what it does I know it’s awesome for the soil! Here’s what the spot looked like after running chickens on it.
Although I could have waited for my dad to till it with his tractor, I wanted to do it all myself (typical) and so I mowed that thing with a push mower and tilled it. Looking back, it wasn’t the brightest idea… it took me several hours and my hands almost had blisters. But I did it!
Planting buckwheat is sort of an experiment, because I don’t have a seeder and I’ve never done it before. So I approximated the amount of seeds (in pounds) I’d need for the whole area and scattered it by hand in a somewhat even fashion. The interesting factor in this experiment is that I went away for a week right after planting, and it didn’t rain that whole week. So when I came back there wasn’t any buckwheat, just some weeds starting to pop back from where they were tilled under (I didn’t do a fabulous job of getting all the weeds). However, we’ve gotten a few days of rain since I’ve been back so we’ll see what happens.
I finally pulled all the wala wala onions, which I should have done a week or two sooner… but they were somewhat small so I was hoping they’d get a little bigger. Anyway, because I waited some of them were getting soft spots. Wala wala onions are super sweet, but they don’t store well at all! I ended up with about 14 pounds to sell/use/preserve.
Because I’m thinking about selling dried herbs and blends next year, I’ll need onion powder. So I’m turning those onions into powder! It’s pretty cool.
So that’s been my week! Coming up will be info on exactly how I’m making onion powder, and of course pictures of my chicks that are arriving this week.