Monday, May 26, 2014

Tips for transplanting veggies in your garden

Now is the time of year when I am "arranging" things whether it is a volunteer that needs to be moved, or an extra seed that sprouted.  Right now I have three beds of corn and in those beds I had many extra seeds come up as well as bare spots where seeds didn't take.  So this morning I began the process of moving the extra corn plants around to fill in bare spots in my corn beds where seeds didn't sprout.  Technically corn and squash don't like to be moved around.  So one has to do this very delicately and give them plenty TLC.  Over the years I have gotten better at this due to the wayward squash, tomato, potato, sunflower, etc volunteer plants I have had to move around.  I thought I would share some tips on how to do this successfully yourself.

First thing you need to remember is that any disturbance of plant roots, regardless of the hardiness of the plant, will make them irritable.  Your goal in all things is to keep the disturbance to a minimum.  Remember that above all and the rest of the tips fall into place.

First and foremost, when I go to move a plant I will first dig the hole where the plant is going.  Dig this hole deep and wide.  I have a hand spade I use for transplanting and I will dig the hole about the depth of the spade and about twice the width.  I would rather have the hole too big than too small.

 Once the hole is dug, go over to your plant.  My plants are moved when they are still seedlings.  They tend to do better that way.  For a seedling I will dig my spade in about an inch or so away from the plant and go straight down.  Go way deep.  You want to miss the roots.  Scoop upwards so you are bringing the plant and dirt with it.  If need be, place your other hand over the dirt coming up to insure it stays around the plant.  Take your plant over to your new hole and place it in.  Pull the dirt around it well, but try and keep the level of soil about the same as it was in its old home.   Also would be a good idea to have the same side facing the sun as was facing the sun previously.

There is no way to move a plant and not disturb the roots at least some.  What you need to do is protect the plants so they can have time to adjust their root system and recover from the roots being disturbed.  There are a couple of ways you can do this: either cover the plant as soon as it is transplanted,( use straw, a planter pot, etc) or transplant on a cloudy day preferably in the evening as the sun goes down.  If I disturb a plant too much I will do both.  Once the plant is covered, let it stay that way for a few days.  Check the plant after a few days and if it seems happy, you can uncover it.  Uncover your plant in the evening around sunset to let it adjust to tomorrows sunlight gradually.   The object here is to keep it out of direct sunlight until it has had a chance to recover from being moved. This is one I transplanted a few days ago.  I checked it last night and uncovered it cause it seemed happy.

Water is essential when transplanting.  As soon as you move a plant and get the dirt around it, give it a good long drink before you cover it.  That water will help settle the dirt around the roots as well as give it plenty to drink on while it is adjusting.

Now I need to tell you that you will lose some.  It happens.  With experience you will lose fewer, but there will still be a few who can't take the pressure!  I always give my plants a stern talkin to when I move them.  It goes like this "  I know this isn't your first choice, but  I am giving you the best chance you have.  It is up to you to take it or leave it".  I have to say the vast majority of my plants opt to take it.  Very smart of them I must say. 

For the very adventurous gardener, you may one day try separating multiple plants that have intertwined their roots.  I did that this year with cucumber plants.  The only way I could find them in the store was in one pot and about 4 or 5 growing together.  I took them out of the pots and submerged the roots in water washing away the potting soil.  The water also allowed the roots to untangle themselves.  Very slowly and gently I moved them apart, replanted them in pots with potting soil and kept them in the house a few days.  Once they had recovered from that (after about a week or so) I transplanted them to the garden.  I lost one of the 5 I had, but since I only wanted 4 I was out nothing.  They are thriving now.

So there you go!  An actually helpful post!  Who knew!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Some spring garden pics 2014

Okay, now you have to know ahead of time that this is early for my garden and so not everything is as visible as I would want it.  I am sure, if I have time, I will be able to post more pics later, but here we go for now:

We have harvested an estimated 21 heads of broccoli, equivalent to 3 bags of lettuce/spinach(maybe more), and these 6 beets. 

This is my young little garden.  In the back row you might be able to see some young tomato plants.  Next bed up contains beans and tomatoes.  The beds in front of those are my mystery squash plants, and in front of them is my oldest bed of corn.  Anything in front of that is too small to see, but it consists of corn as well.  Aunt Peggy and Uncle Tom there is the compost bin and turner being used as we speak!  Thank you very much! 

This is the right top side of my garden and it contains broccoli, cabbage, beets and butter beans (the butter beans are babies so you can't see them."  The bed in front of that has peppers and I have a baby pepper.  Saw him to day.  Sooo cute!  In the bed in front of the peppers are my watermelons and in front of that are egg plants. 

In the top of the picture left to right we have tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes, and butter beans and a volunteer mystery squash.  Bottom of pic left to right is cabbage with a few herbs, and my herb bed with herbs,peppers, a volunteer squash, and once again butter beans.  I know seriously I love butter beans!  To the extreme right you can see two beds not in cinder block.  Those are my sweet potato plants.  Thanks again Jimmy!

I know it seems like I have a lot of tomatoes, but that is only cause I have a lot of tomatoes.  He he!  I'll use them!  How do you like my rock walk way?  I mean it isn't something to grace the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, but I would say it deserves an honorable mention in this months Redneck Gazette.  The Frugal Farming and Fashion section.  Not a beauty, but practical and free.  These are rocks I have collected over the years from digging, as well as some broken cinder blocks carelessly tossed aside years ago when we got a foundation. 

So there you have it!  More to come I hope.  I also hope your garden adventure is going well.  Feel free to tell us about it!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Not all sugars are created equal...

Over the years I have tried to incorporate more healthy alternatives to our diet.  While I am not slim by any stretch of the imagination, I feel like the choices I have made have helped our family over all.  Unfortunately over the years the damage of highly processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and junk have taken their toll.  That is damage not overcome over night, but I am satisfied in that over all I am in better shape than I was.  What changes I make, or have made, have to fit in our limited budget and give me the most bang per buck.  Things I can't change I can't worry about.  It is just a process, a journey if you will.  Changes I have made over the years are: more whole grains, less processed items, more lean meats, etc.

One of those changes has been incorporating raw honey into our diet when I can.  I use it in granola, my bread, and as a topping for peanut butter sandwich, toast, etc.  I first looked into the benefits of raw honey because of Rubic, my youngest son.  Poor guy has so many pollen/out door allergies, spring can be a misery for him.  This year has been worse than others.  As a result I am looking for more ways to incorporate raw honey.  Why do you ask?  Well you probably have not asked, but what other lead in do I have.  I am gonna tell  you anyway.  Raw honey, bought local to you, is great for helping with outdoor allergies.  It is full of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, and it also has antibiotic, anti fungal and anti viral properties.  Cool right?  You can also use it for wound dressings.   Now the same can't be said for pasteurized honey.  If you are using pasteurized honey you might as well use sugar.  It's cheaper.  Another interesting tidbit.  If you are diabetic, raw Tupelo honey is a good sweetener to  use.  A good way to have a little sweet and not use anything artificial.  Now honey is still a carb and so a diabetic will need to figure that into their daily allotment, but Tupelo Honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar.  Ask your doctor or dietician about it and get their OK before trying it.

 !!!!  Now fair warning here, Raw honey is not and I do mean NOT appropriate for children under 2 years of age.  It puts them at risk for infant botulism. 

All that being said, I tried something new tonight.

1 quart of raw honey
2 tsp of butter flavoring
1 tsp maple flavoring
1 tsp vanilla

Warm your honey, then whisk in the flavorings.  Makes an awesome pancake/waffle syrup.  Try a half recipe if you don't want to commit so much raw honey.

Call your Mother!

Grown and Raised or still on the apron strings, we kids have it good.  Let me tell ya!  Bless the Lord for inventing Moms cause they are awesome.  Who else can kiss a boo boo away, sing a lullaby in just the right tone to make you sleepy, make you eat your veggies, etc.  Some moms have to work outside the home; while some work all day in the home,  and still after a long day will be home fixing dinner, doing laundry, etc while still making time for their wee ones (who may not be wee anymore).  As we get older they are a phone call away and still can make the hurts better.  They are the Therapist, Nurse, Financial guru, cook, party planner, seamstress, maid, CEO of the home.  A fierce combination.  There are no paid days off.  Even vacations are working. It is hard work, exhausting work, but the impact you have on your children is everlasting.  To all moms, you affect more than you know.  To all children:


Saturday, May 3, 2014


Shhhh!  the babies are a sleepin. 

So here is the whole sordid story for those of you with nothing better to do than read my blog.  We collected 12 eggs over a 5 day time period to put in an incubator a friend (Jimmy) loaned us.  Things were going well, but being new to all this incubating things I was nervous and when I found the temp was lower than ideal I turned it up a little.  I mean little.  Barely move the darn thing.  I checked the temp once and it was fine.  I got busy outside doing chores and forgot to check it for a couple of hours.  Yea, came in and checked the temp and it was 120 degrees!  YIKES!  I really quick took the lid off to get the temp back down to 95.5, but pretty much felt the chicks were lost.  I am still beating myself up on that one.  The eggs are still in the incubator.  I am keeping a sharp eye on the temp now and it is staying at the 95.5.  I have probably lost them, but will give them a chance in the hope I might get one or two. 

So we started collecting eggs again.  First day was 2 eggs.  Then on day two DH went out to the coop to gather eggs and found they were clear on the other side of the coop out of our reach unless we detach the run.  Our little white hen

has been sitting on them.  This afternoon we took the first two eggs and added them back into the clutch.  I was afraid she would ignore them, but it was so cute to watch as she nudged the eggs all together and sat on them.  We have 6 right now under her.  I am sure they will hatch at different times.  Each egg that is laid she takes under her whether it is hers or not.  I am actually glad this is happening because I knew if the eggs hatched with a brooding hen, that hen would watch out for them and it might be easier keeping them as part of the flock.  I was not looking forward to introducing chicks to hens and a rooster that don't know them.  KWIM?    So alls well that ends well.  Now watch, I will have chicks in the incubator and under a hen.   That would be a blessing for the wallet one way or the other.

In the garden front, I was mistaken with my tomato plant tally.  I thought I had 71 plants.  Well I have had some volunteers in the garden.  My tally now is 90.  Yep...90.  Will I plant them all?  You betcha.  I also have 2 potatoes, 7 sunflower, and 8 squash type mystery volunteers.  I can't wait to take a picture of this years garden.  It is coming along.  I am hopeful in maybe two weeks to take and post a pic.   Blueberries and blackberries are happily growing as well as my herbs.  I still have more corn, lima beans, and okra to plant.  I will also succession plant more green beans, squash, and lima beans.  Make the most of my little garden. 

So anyone else got their garden off and running?