Friday, April 29, 2011

True signs of spring

Lettuce in a blanket of snow
Broccoli keeping things cool.
Miserable. 

At least the greenhouse is warm. The top temperature is the greenhouse inside temp and the bottom temperature is underneath the floating row cover within the greenhouse.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hidden Cat.

 Did you hear the news?
Henry knows
Big party behind the entertainment center.
Only problem is that you have to come in from the top.
Silly cats.

Where does your cat hide?

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Look at what we found in the pond!

While working in the greenhouse on Friday I heard splashing in the pond. I assumed it was just Juliette again. She really loves the pond. 
 To my surprise I saw Pierre in the pond and Willis on the steps.
Then Sophie joined while Willis carefully observed from the steps.
Then Willis and Blue joined in too!
They seem so happy during swim time. Im glad they finally decided to go in!
Goose butt! Diving for fishes.
Pierre is sleeping. 
Even Henry got in on the action!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Seed Starting

I am running behind on posting! We planted a ton of squash and cucumbers this past week. 

We ended up planting 18 of each cucumber variety(3) and 18 of each squash variety(5).
One of the squash varieties that we planted last week was sent to us from Iowa by Kelsi's aunt Selina. It is a green and white crook neck squash. I was told this variety has been in the family for a very long time. We are very excited to sow some family heirloom seeds in our own garden.

What's your favorite squash to grow?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tomatoes Transplant Round 2

This past Friday we had to transplant the tomatoes for the second time. They were too big for their little pots (again). 
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The little forest was transported out to the greenhouse for the last time
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Pretty big huh?
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Hours later, this is what we ended up with.
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I am relieved to have finished the last tomato transplanting of the season. They are now in 1gallon pots which will give them enough space to grow big and strong before our sale coming up this next month.

We now have to heat the section of the greenhouse that the tomatoes are in due to the recently cold weather in the Spokane area.


How are you tomatoes doing?

Thanks for reading

For dinner this week.

Here is a good way to use up the greens from the top of your carrots instead of composting them or giving them to the chickens.
Crushed red pepper and carrot greens pesto. Delicious! It was a little bitter, but the hotness of the peppers covered it up nicely. Check out the recipe HERE.

Let me know if you try it!

Do you have a recipe for commonly discarded vegetable parts? Carrots tops? Broccoli stems?

Thanks for reading!


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Pond

We put in a pond for the ducks and geese who have refused to use it so far
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But Juliette doesn't mind. Less crowded that way!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Greenhouse Sale Tomorrow!

When I get home from school tomorrow we will be having our first greenhouse sale of the season. We don't have much to sell at this time. Just a few little things. We are just testing the demand for cold weather crops. Most people seem to be just interested in tomatoes and peppers. It will be interesting to see what is popular and not. Available:
Lettuce Plants-12
Broccoli- 12
Cabbage- 6
Spinach-10
Chard- 12
Onions- 30
Garlic- 6
Really not too much for sale, just a little.
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I love lettuce. Beautiful plants!

We also solved our pot dilemma! I was referred to another local grower's BLOG by MR. H, when we were discussing ways to add more shelving space to a particular type of greenhouse that we all have. I was looking around The Beer Garden blog and noticed they use paper cups for pots. This is the solution we were looking for. Economical, compostable, and you can write on the cup! No more stick labels. 
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Im not sure how well paper cups will work in the long run, but they are more than 10cents cheaper per each than the 4in square plastic pots. We usually don't get that many pots back from customers so we might as well use something that we won't miss.

Paper cups: Miracle solution to our problem? 
What do you use? 

An update on Tomatoes and Peppers

The grow station at the Halpern Homestead is a busy place this time of year. We have 72 tomato plants in 4in square pots under the lights now.
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The view from above is one of my favorites. Looks like a rainforest canopy. 
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This lil fella is already 8in. The stem is thickening up too which we love to see. Almost time to upgrade pot size again!
This starts have grown so much since 4/2/11 when this photo was taken. Tomato starts
We have this tray of peppers and egg plants which I mentioned in an earlier post. As a recap, all of the pellets of 3 different types of peppers never sprouted.
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So, today we tried to salvage what we had left.
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First I had to sort our the map! Sometimes it's not as easy as it should be!
The seeds that failed where the red pepper, Jalapeno, and Pasilla.
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Instead of thinning the pellets that contained multiple sprouts, as we would normally do. We broke up the pellets and planted all the sprouts that each pellet contained. 
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It took a couple hours, but anytime spent in the greenhouse is worth it!


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All of the plants are tucked back into the warmth of the grow station for the night.
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I feel like you can sense the plants' happiness after they have just been transplanted into a bigger pot. If plants could talk.......

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Swimming Hole

This past fall, Kelsi found this 300 gallon stock tank on craigslist for pretty cheap. We are going to use it now for the ducks and geese to swim. Later when we have bigger animals, we can use it for watering them. 
We installed this more than a week ago and we have still not been able to convince the webbed-footed gang to actually get in it. On the right, you can see the stair case we built for them. We even put a platform in the pond to help them get out.
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We had to wait for the ground to thaw before leveling a place for it to set. We choose right next to the garden so we can take the "mineral" rich water and use it in the garden if needed. Also, if for some reason our water supply is no longer available we can use this water in the garden to get us by for a little while. Ideally some day we can have it hooked into a rainwater collection system to further our goal of becoming more self sufficient. Baby steps.
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Look at that view! Why won't they just go for a swim? They liked their little crappy pond much better than this. They swam in it the first day!
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I even added a big bag of fish to coax them in. No luck yet. The only animals that seem interested so far are the cat and the dog.

Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

For Dinner this week

I love beets! They were reasonably priced this week at the store so we bought a bunch. A couple days ago we had oven roasted beats with sauteed beet greens and stems. We have made this recipe a few times before and it is so delicious! 
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I always add ingredients that aren't called for when I cook. If you try this recipe, I added mushrooms before the onions and garlic, and I added feta cheese at the end. I have added fresh diced hot peppers with the onions in the past and that is also good. You can add the stems sooner than the leaves if you want softer stem. I personally like the crunch of the stem in contrast the the wilt of the beet leaves. Serve over your favorite noodle. Red wine vinegar on the whole beets! Delicious!

We plan to grow a ton of beets this summer.
What's your favorite beet recipe?
Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Swimming Hole

This past fall, Kelsi found this 300 gallon stock tank on craigslist for pretty cheap. We are going to use it now for the ducks and geese to swim. Later when we have bigger animals, we can use it for watering them. 
We filled this more than a week ago and we have still not been able to convince the webbed-footed gang to actually get in it. On the right, you can see the staircase we built for them. We even put a platform in the pond to help them get out.
P1050937
We had to wait for the ground to thaw before leveling a place for it to set. We choose right next to the garden so we can take the "mineral" rich water and use it in the garden if needed. Also, if for some reason our water supply is no longer available, we can use this water in the garden to get us by for a little while. Ideally, some day we can have it hooked into a rainwater collection system to further our goal of becoming more self sufficient. Baby steps.
P1050939
Look at that view! Why won't they just go for a swim? They liked their little crappy pond much better than this. They swam in it the first day!
P1050938
I even added a big bag of fish to coax them in. No luck yet. The only animals that seem interested so far are the cat and the dog.

Thanks for reading! 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Poor lil Dolly!

Our Barded Rock Hen (Dolly) had been limping around for a couple days for an unknown reason. We thought she would just 'walk it off'.
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This never happened. We brought her inside for a closer look and noticed her right leg was very swollen and she had a wound to her knee area. 
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It appeared to have been very painful for her. She refused to stand on it.
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So, we went to work. Warm salt water bathes in the kitchen sink!
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She would watch herself in the mirror.
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She really didn't care for the baths. 
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She was very happy when we were done!
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and curious.
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All better!

It has been a few days now since we started treatment and Dolly is doing much better! Some of you may find it strange that we brought our chicken into the kitchen, but all of our animals are like family.

Thanks for reading!