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Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Wild Side

What a busy weekend this has been. I have different gardens here at Bois D' Arc and I have native plants planted in various areas. I planted some Wild Plums a few years back to give my garden a windbreak and to also give some of the wildlife in the area some food. The wild plums are now about 6 few tall in front of the garden and spreading. I got a bumper crop of plums so I decided to pick some of them and try making some Wild plum jelly. It ended up be rather easy to prepare and has a lovely color. The sample leftover taste test tells me it will be a good jelly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

West side of garden

West side of garden
Originally uploaded by Lakenvelder
Picture of greenhouse sitll in progress, squash, cucumber and beans.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cold Day

It was rather cool most of the day. The weather reported it to be 10 degrees below normal. It made it nice to get a long completed.

I finally got the corn and cucumbers planted. A little late but with the weather being on the cool side this year it should work out. I picked the first strawberries today. The herb garden looks so much better this year. The sage, oregano and thyme are going extremely good. I did plan some more different varieties of thyme to add color. I planted some lavender and I am hoping they do better in this location than the location last location.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

April Showers

"April Showers bring May Flowers".

We have not had the normal amount of rain so far this year since it seems storms are just blowing past including today. I am not sure of May flowers but I suppose the Day lilies might start blooming. Right now the Irises are in bloom. I was looking at pictures of Irises and may start collecting other types. Right now I mostly have the regular old fashion purple variety. They do very well in Kansas and look great in groups.

I still have to complete the set up the the irrigation in the vegetable garden. I have rows that hand water each day and I want to be able to weed while watering.
So far the poatoes are doing well. I wans hoping to get the Benje potatoes so I could palnt them but they still have not arrived. The lettuce and other vegetables have sprouted and are growing. I a week or so they should be large enough to take a picture of.

Jim Kennard just worte an article on growing your garden vertical. I gardened vertical a lot of my vegetables. I would like to try to grow cucumbers vertical later.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spectacular Tulips

The tulips the classic spring bulb planting are blooming now in the Flint Hills. Tulips are not a real popular bulb to many gardeners do to the fact they must be planted in the fall, prefer sandy soil and thrive best in cold-winter climates. If your soil is heavy add plenty of organic material, sand or plant in a raised bed making sure you plant them the correct depth and space apart. Because tulips are a spring flowering bulb you can plant other flowers on top or next to them to fill in the area after the tulips or done flowering. In cool climate areas you can snip off spent flowers and then fertilize with nitrogen. Go ahead and allow the leaves to manufacture nutrients and then cut off when they turn yellow. If you want to keep producing larder tulips you will need to dig them up in two to three years to separate them. In warm areas like Florida and Southern California it is best to dig up and replant new bulbs every year..

The above pictures are my first tulips for the season. Check out bulb catalogs and your local nursery to find all the different types of tulips for color shape and scents. Then plant and enjoy your spectacular tulips blooming in the spring.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fruit Trees Blooming & Prairie Fires

It was a very warm day today but really windy. The Flint Hills has a fire advisory so controlled burning is at a halt in this area. I really dislike controls burns because smoke gets in my eyes and lungs but controlled burns are an absolute necessity. A few times I have been in areas where the fire has made driving hazardous and almost the burning gave Wichita EPA compliance issues last year. Hopefully the EPA can exempt the Flint Hills from the EPA standard at least for this time of the year.

Read more: Kansas prairie burns could violate new EPA pollution limits

It is interested to see the cattle so unconcerned with the fire burning around them. I will try to take a picture this year.

Some of the fruit trees are blooming and I am hoping that the storm in the west does not come this way and create another snow storm.

I did manage to get some of the potatoes planted. There are close to 4000 different varieties of potatoes and the Washington State University has a website with a Comprehensive Alphabetical List of 575 Varieties. Today I planted Red Norland, Yukon Gold and Goldrush Russet. What I am really excited about and I am still waiting for is my order of Benjie potatoes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

First Tilling

I finally was able to go out into the garden today since it stopped raining for a few days and the wind has dried out the soil. Still have a little to go and then I can set the beds up and begin planting. As you can see I still need to rake out the weeds. The structure in the front is the greenhouse I still need to complete.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

More Spring Planting

Raimi and I did some more planting today. Last night I cut up the seed potatoes to get them ready to plant soon. They are pictured to the left of the stand. I have a feeling it will be a couple more weeks until that happens. The soil is still too wet to work but at least the temperature has gone up around here. It is still possible to get a hard frost this time of the year so I am still a little cautious.

This year I am planing to cover the potatoes with straw "straw potatoes" after they start growing. I have had better luck in previous years using this technique because it helps to keep the soil moist and prevent scab. In wetter areas it is better to wait until it gets dryer to put the hay on because you might have problems with rotting potatoes and mice. I am also planning to utilize row covers to help prevent the potato bug problem I had last year too and help keep the potatoes warmer before the warm temperature comes.

We got the broccoli and cauliflower planted today. I am so far on schedule with planting this year and hoping to be able to do so. The chard and cabbage is going into the cold frame as soon as cauliflower and broccoli germinate. They have been started them a heated mat without lights right now. I am hoping using the cold frame and row covers will allow me to move the plants more quickly and not get backlogged. I still do not have the greenhouse completed due to the weather. I really need to get it completed.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Four Species Added to Kansas Forest Service Conservation Planting List

I was elated when I discovered they added new species to the Kansas Forest Service. I ordered my Osage oranges (hedge or Bois d'Arc) trees to continue the windbreak around the home,gardens and livestock areas. I really wanted to order all of the new species but I knew their would be not way I would be able to care for 144 new trees and shrubs so I went with the Elderberry bundle this year.

I ordered a bundle of 17 and will plant them along the woodlot and windbreak for lower windbreak coverage and food for the wild birds/animals. I think the Persimmon will be next year if still offered but not sure where the plantings will be. The Kansas Forest Service’s Conservation Tree Planting Program offers tree and shrub seedlings, as well as other items for use in conservation plantings and is a great way to add to your farm or property as long as you are able to follow the guidelines for usage. Plantings may function as wildlife habitat, windbreaks, wood lots, timber plantations, or Christmas tree farms, among others but cannot be resold or used for landscaping. They offer a couple of mixed species bundles for making a bird feeding area if you are interested in such an endeavor.

The Tree trail: Persommons

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Potatoes and Onions

This weekend I purchased Norland Red , Yukon Gold and Goldrush Russet potato seeds. I generally plant around St. Patick's day. The Norland is a round red skin type that is good for salads, canning and baking. The Yukon Gold is a yellow flesh type that is good for boiling, soups, mashed and baking. The well know russet poatao is the champ potato for baking and making French fries. I jus ordered the Bintje from Seeds of Change. This is an all purpose potato with superb culinary qualities.

I also purchased Red Wethersfield, White Ebenezer and Yellow Stuttgarter onion bulbs. The Wetherfield is a red onion is one of the Renewing America's Food Traditions (RAFT) Grow-out varieties considered to be the red onion Jefferson grew at Monticello. The Ebenezer grows to a mild flavor large onion but is also good for green onions. Stuttgarter Onions are a sweet, smooth and very mild-tasting onion. It is a very common but important onion.

I needed more trees for windbreak and to also avoid chemical drifting and killing my grapes when farmers spray so I ordered more Eastern Cedars. I also ordered 25 elderberry bushes to plant along the cedar for the wildlife and maybe if I am lucky I can get a few berries too.

Lastly, I ordered some sweet potatoes. This will my first attempt to grow these. The Beauregard is the most common variety that out yields the others so I decided it would be a good one to experiment with. I also ordered the Vardaman which is another Heavy yeilder with light skin and dark meat with no strings. It is a bushing type so is good for small gardens.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

About this Blog

This blog will be about my garden beginning in 2010. The planning has been completed and seeds purchased. Today I planted cabbage and chard which are the first seeds I have planted this year. I use been using the Mittleider Method and it has been working extremely well for me although I have gotten a lot of useful information from Eliot Coleman and his book "New Organic Grower". This is where I discover soil block and began using them to start my seeds. They are so much simpler, more effective and less expensive than any other method I have used. It is quite amazing how well compressed potting soil will keep together. Right now I am using only the 3-inch size block.