Monthly Archives: January 2008

When you think you know, but you have no idea

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For some odd reason I had it in my mind that looking through a seed catalogue would be a relatively easy task.  There were things that I had already taken into account, such as what zone I’m in and what grows here and what doesn’t.  What I faced when I had choices to make, I wasn’t prepared for.  Do you know how many hundreds of varieties there are for tomatoes?  It’s a very important decision to make, and I’m afraid to make it.Last year we had three different varieties of tomatoes planted.  We encountered issues with each as the season went on.  Some split, or developed diseased spots, while others were devoured by birds.  So it brings up all of these new things in my head, one:  develop a strategy plan and supply list to keep the birds out, and two: Figure out why those tomatoes developed those problems.  Maybe that’s why farmers kept journals and logs.That’s why I’m having issues deciding on what to plant this year.  I know what I want to plant, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce, basil etc., but gambling on certain varieties to produce.  That’s what this all is though trial and error.  If it doesn’t work this time, tweak it and try again.  It’s not fair.  Mother Nature needs to give me a hug. If anyone has any suggestions for me, or knows what tomato variety never fails, then let me know. be well. 

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A little background

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I thought I would post some pictures and talk briefly about what we’ve been doing since we moved in to this little homestead.  Paul and Roy have been working here and there trying to get our chicken coop to become a viable structure for habitation.  They have poured concrete and set posts, added some plywood siding, a roof and a window.  There is still more work to be done on it, we just need to find the right time to do it.  I am still working on my compost pile, even though it is the winter time, and things don’t compost as fast in cooler temperatures, but it’s rockin’!  we’ve been looking through seed catalogues getting our seed xmas list going.  We will be ordering our seeds this week sometime, and I just want to go crazy and get all of these exotic vegetables and flowers.  Only time and space can predict what will happen there.  About a month ago we had help putting in a cold frame to grow greens through the winter.  They’re growing, which is a plus.  So now I’m a cold frame advocate, where before I always thought ‘Yeah that’s a nice notion, but does it really work?’  It does.  Also, cyberspace, if anyone out there has any potato knowledge out there let me know.    Be well.     

Do you really have green thumbs?

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WE WILL SEE! Welcome to my new baby. I’m glad you decided to join me today. My name is Amanda, and I recently moved onto an 11 acre farm in northwest Arkansas with my boyfriend Paul and our two kids. We are so excited to take this land, that has only been cut for hay, and grow some produce to supply some local restaurants. Being a stay-at-home mother, I’ve felt that I haven’t had the best opportunities to make extra money for our family, until now. I’m so excited to get my hands dirty, and become a good steward of the earth.

We moved to this farm November of 2007, and since the move we have been really busy preparing for the upcoming growing season. We raked acres and acres of fallen leaves and heaped them up, we started a compost pile, and a chicken coop, and just yesterday solicited our neighbors for a couple hundred pounds of horse manure! It’s all coming together slowly but surely. We still need to slap together a suitable greenhouse, to start our seeds, but we still have a few more weeks to think about that since our last frost here in this region is mid April.

Paul and I have been really interested in the no-till method of gardening. Last season we had a modest back yard plot that we tilled, and it worked out just fine. However, more and more we’ve been learning that the no till method seems like the way we want to go this time around. With the no till, you build your own soil with organic material, and lay it on top of the ground, and plant right into that. That way, you don’t disrupt the natural layers of the soil by tilling it all together. You don’t worry about having to get your soil tested to see what it needs, because you have all of the elements that it needs right in the mix of materials. You also don’t have to worry about what’s in your soil that you don’t know about such as building materials (which we encountered in our backyard garden), or unknown chemicals (which seems to be a problem in Arkansas, you can burn or dump whatever you want.) So the collection of the right materials is important, and has also been time consuming for us, and we will see what unfolds ans the days go on.

This farm has awakened another side of me as well, and I hope I can find the time to keep it up. Over the Holidays I wrote and illustrated my first children’s story, in a series that I hope to complete called Oliver on the Farm: A garden’s delight. It’s about my son Oliver and I picking vegetables, and taking them to a local restaurant here in town. He liked it a lot. I feel like I have a million other themes in my head, and I just need to get them out, and find someone to publish them….any body? So I think I’m just going to write and write for now and work on the publishing part later, because I have a lot of vegetables to grow, so stay tuned! we’ll see if the green thumb emerges.

Thanks for reading, and get your hands dirty!field-of-dreams.jpgfield-of-dreams.jpgfield-of-dreams.jpg