Are My Seeds Still Good?

If you are like me, there is so much joy experienced in planning your spring garden in January and February when it is cold outside.

I love to bring in my seed carton (yes it is a bit on the large side) and I start the inventory of my seeds.

I really get excited to see them all again and I get really excited about browsing through my seed catalogs and wondering what to order for the coming season.

I am a bit of a “seedaholic” and can find myself ordering (and spending) more than needed on seeds each season. I have been attempting to save seeds and use previous year’s seeds.

When I see the dates on seed packs and I wonder how accurate it is. I debate if I can use something past that expiration date. For example, last year I planted pepper seeds from the previous year and they did not germinate. BUT on the opposite end of the spectrum I have a huge bag of pension green beans and have been planting from that bag for four years and I always have more beans than I even hope for.

Or maybe you have started saving seeds like me. I don’t have confidence in this area yet so I wonder if they are really good or not after I save them.

An easy way to test your seeds is to conduct a little germination test. It sounds complex but is so simple. So, if you are like me and looking at all those seeds from previous years wondering if you can plant them try this:

Pick some seeds out you would like to test. I chose a favorite tomato seed and some pepper seeds I saved myself. Like I said, I had trouble germinating peppers last year from older seeds plus I saved these myself, so I needed a little confidence builder on these before I plant them.

Dampen a paper towel and then lay out some seeds. I use 10 seeds per paper towel. That way the math is easy for me– if 2 fail I have an 80% germination rate. You can use more seeds (I just find the math more complex then) but use at least 10.

Fold the towel and pop it in a ziploc bag. Be sure to attach the seed packet somehow so you know what is what in there.

Place the bags in a warm place. I chose our sunroom on a chair that is near our heater in there. The heater doesn’t really get hot it just warms the room at a constant temperature. Then you wait about a week (7 – 10 days is good).

After 6 days my tomato seeds look like this:

My pepper seeds are not germinated yet.

BUT peppers can take 2 – 3 weeks so I am not concerned about these at this point. I will keep an eye on them.

Do you check your seeds for viability? Do you buy new each year? Do you save your own seeds from year to year?

Hope this was helpful if you didn’t know how to check your seeds.

Happy Unleashing today!

FGU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #235

Welcome to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! 

And Happy New Year!

We are about TWO weeks into the new year. Are you a resolution maker? Do you like to kick start the new year with a new habit or do you like to try something new?

Since I love to cook, I have been looking in my cookbooks and Pinterest for new recipes to try out. I have made some new soups, tried new things with spaghetti squash and made my own enchilada sauce this week instead of using a bottled one when making enchiladas. OK– they were delicious!

What about you? Is there something new you want to attempt in 2017? Something you want to brag about doing? This is the place!

Brag about your cooking, farming skills, gardening, crafting, sewing, painting and whatever else you do to connect with your inner farmgirl. It can be a new endeavor for 2017 or one that you have mastered!

Let’s blog hop!

Here’s some simple guidelines:

  1. Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals,  quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!
  2. Leave your entry in the Linky tools space to your  Farmgirl Friday post.
  3. Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
  4. Enter up to three entries per hop

I am happy to journey with you again this year! Here’s to a lot of fun and a lot of sharing in 2017.

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart – MaryJaneButters


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

December was a wonderful roller coaster ride of so many fun things.

It started the 1st of December with a “mimi only” visit to my cutie pie of a grandson. I was so happy to be there early in December and see him decorate the tree and play gingerbread house with him on our date nite.

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On that trip I also got to catch up with a dear friend that I don’t see often enough and have a dinner date with my oldest daughter. It was such a great trip for visiting and laughing.

THEN off to Universal with my daughter and her hubby. Yep no kids – an adult only trip to Universal, Islands of Adventure, Disney and Epcot. It was so much fun. I thought it might be a one shot deal, but now I am thinking visiting Orlando before Christmas every year might be a really good thing to do!

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Then Christmas! We spend it in Atlanta with all the kiddos and their families. We have not all gotten together on Christmas for 5 years! I was in heaven. Here is our beautiful group photo on our ugly Christmas sweater Christmas Eve.

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We went to concerts over the holiday and saw lite and tree displays in a variety of places. We had friends over for desserts and drinks. We truly took some breaks to enjoy the holiday season.

We were then back home for New Year’s Eve. My mom and dad visited for a few days, we had a New Year’s Eve party with family and friends which was so much fun! We ate yummy food and laughed a lot. We watched a lot of football and slept. It was all good!

Christmas decorations are down as of yesterday and we are 9 days into 2017! I for one embrace the new year with all of it’s uncertainties and challenges, but mostly because of my family and friends that I have in my life – that love and support is constant and the holidays remind me of that.

So Happy New Year to you. I hope that it brings you much love and laughter, peace and joy and something in the way of a new challenge that will brighten your life.

Happy New Year!

FGU

 

Hello Again!

Happy Fall!

I have been on a bit of a hiatus. For me it is a good thing to do now and then. It is nice to focus on what I am doing and not be so concerned with camera angles while taking pictures and making sure that I am not missing a picture or redoing something just to capture the picture. I am pretty certain that if you blog you can relate to that! So every once in a while I put the camera aside, take pictures just for me and detach just a bit from the electronics.

We have had a full and fun late summer however. Much of me still feels I am in summer. The temperatures are cooler and the fall garden is planted but the summer garden is still producing heavily. So canning and eating summer food is still in the forefront. Canning is on the calendar again this week. Last Tuesday I canned 55 pounds of tomatoes. It makes me so excited to think I will be able to enjoy them all winter long!

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The produce is still coming in!

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I have lots of winter squash coming in now, but no pictures. Like I said, my electronics and I have been working on practicing a little separation.

Kitchen! Yes, kitchen is progressing nicely. Cabinets on the walls now and gorgeous counter tops. I am super excited about the counter space I have now and the big sink!

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And of course life would not bring quite as many smiles without a visit to this little guy!

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I hope you are enjoying the transition of the seasons! What are some of your favs this time of year?

Happy Unleashing into Fall!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #234

FGF LogoV2Hello and welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Although I must admit I should say the “every other Friday” blog hop as that is what has occurred in August. Between gardening (at peak time!), canning, kitchen remodel and the day job there have not been enough hours for it all. So I begged forgiveness and hope you will join in today!

I had a grand time outside early this morning. I planted our four coldframes. These things feed us through the fall and winter and into the spring as we begin to have spring veggies. I love them! Wood and doors that we reused were all it took to build them and this is our 3rd year with them. Hubby freshened them up with some compost earlier in the week and they are now planted and ready for fall.

Here are two pictures from last year after they were producing.

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From Annie last time we got some great tips on keeping all of this produce fresh. When you bring in buckets of cucumbers and corn it is nice to have some tips on keeping stuff fresh until you can eat it all! (or make pickles and pickles and pickles…) Thanks Annie!

I hope you are all tuned in and ready to share! Have a great weekend!

Let’s blog hop!

Here’s some simple guidelines:

  1. Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals,  quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!
  2. Leave your entry in the  Linky tools space to your  Farmgirl Friday post.
  3. Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
  4. Enter up to three entries per hop

Thank you for joining and sharing and visiting each other! It is not a hop without you.

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart – MaryJaneButters



Perseid Showers and Feeling Blessed

Image result for perseid meteor shower 2016WOW! I am hoping that many of you saw the Perseid Shower last night. This is not my photo but we did have a great view of the sky last night.

I recall several years ago, while living in the city, driving with my girls for a couple hours so we could get out and see the show in the sky. It was such a thrill to  count them all together as we saw the meteors shoot across the sky.

This year I felt so blessed living in the county away from city lights. We had eaten a late dinner and it was about 10 PM. We made some tea – Midsummer Nights Dream (I love a good theme) and turned out every light in the house so nothing would reflect.

As we wondered outside we first noticed how bright the moon was. We thought we had left an outdoor light on but it was simply moonlight.

We grabbed a seat on the deck and immediately one shot across the sky. We both yelled “there was one!”. It was so incredible to see from our own home that I could have went to bed then and been satisfied.

We knew the peak was after 1 AM. We had no expectation of staying out that long but grabbed a seat, drank tea and stared at the sky. The Big Dipper was so low we felt we could almost touch it from the deck. The Milky Way was above us. Stars were EVERYWHERE.

One after another they streaked. We didn’t count and had no idea how many meteors we had seen. BUT we did know it was a magnificent show. After what seemed a short time, we stated we really should go to bed. We looked at the time and it as 12:58 AM! Oh my goodness! Had we really been watching this for 3 hours!? Me who cannot watch a movie without falling asleep had sat outside in the dark with calming tea and I was still awake?

Seeing that it was about 1 AM we decided to stay longer and continued to see the beauty above us. It was a night to remember! We are so blessed to live somewhere that allows us to experience this in the comfort of our own home (and jammies).

Did you see the Perseid? If not, tonight is another opportunity!

Happy Unleashing while star gazing!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #233

FGF LogoV2Welcome back to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! I was slammed at my day job last Friday so unfortunately blog hop did not happen. BUT we are back this week and we are in AUGUST!

Wow I cannot believe it. I love this time of year. This is when, for me, the hard work from spring planting comes to fruition and we have more food than we can eat. Preserving and sharing it begins!

Pickles were on the agenda this morning. Early this morning I picked over 11 pounds of cucumbers!

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The smaller ones got scrubbed and 8 pounds found themselves waiting to be pickled.

IMG_20160805_090510989We now have seven quarts of yummy, garlicky, “pickly” goodness.

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This is an easy and delicious recipe that I have used for the last three years. It is from DIY Natural and it is amazing.

I hope you are having an amazing summer. I know for many of you this is the time of year that your children are either headed back to school or you may be gearing up for a new homeschooling year. Cheers to a great school year!

So, let’s hop! I am sure you have been doing much over the last couple of weeks, so start your bragging on yourself!

 



Becoming a Farmer

I shared in February how at the Small Farm Conference we agreed that farming was something we wanted to pursue.

So the research and planning began. We have been visiting farms, reading great books like “The Lean Farm” and “The Accidental Farmers” for frameworks and inspiration. We have scoured the USDA, NRCS and FSA websites for information to help beginning farmers and to explore programs and grants offered. We have learned what all those acronyms (and more) are. Purdue Extension Services offers webinars, seminars, blogs, email and phone support. We have found tremendous help no matter what resource we have turned to.

After writing our own requirements and objectives for becoming farmers we reached out to NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Services) and invited them to come out to our place to visit. We wanted to share with them our plan and our dreams for a tunnel that we hope to get via an EQIP Grant We hope to irrigate via our pond dependent of course on how our water tests. We want to power our irrigation and electricity in the tunnel with solar power. We fantasize about providing fresh produce for our community year around using our outside resources and extending our growing season using the tunnel.

Two folks visited and walked our land with us. They spent a good amount of time listening. They were quite awesome and they left us with our next steps and a plan to help us on our path. Of course that meant a bunch of paperwork!

We are happy to share that our paper work is completed, signed, sealed and delivered. We are now in the hopper for tunnel next spring. HOW EXCITING!

Now the fun part begins (although it really is all fun). We are figuring out how to prep our land this fall to get it ready for the tunnel. We are positioning the tunnel where we currently grow, so after the season we will dump compost and plant cover crop. We are reading about planting in tunnels and visiting farmers that have them. I need to adopt my garden plan which is based on outside planting and elements and create a tunnel planting plan. It is all new stuff to learn- what varieties, when to plant, when to rotate, etc.

So we are becoming farmers. Not overnight, but we are on our journey and moving forward.

Happy Unleashing today!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #232

FGF LogoV2Welcome to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

Last week we were on a farm tour with Purdue extension services so there was no Farmgirl Friday blog hop that occurred. The tour was really good as it helped to clarify some things for us. That is ALWAYS valuable. We turned in our paperwork this week for our tunnel from the EQIP program from the USDA. Exciting times!

Whoa is it hot! How about where you are? We worked outside for 3 hours this morning before work because the heat index is expected to peak 105 degrees today and tomorrow. That is too hot even for me to work outside! I think this weekend will be filled with the kitchen remodel since that happens to occur in the air conditioning!

We got our first little summer harvest this week. It is such an exciting time of the year when that occurs.

How are you staying cool? What are you harvesting? What are you up to? Let’s get to the hop!

Here’s some simple guidelines:

  1. Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals,  quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!
  2. Leave your entry in the  Linky tools space to your  Farmgirl Friday post.
  3. Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
  4. Enter up to three entries per hop

Thank you for joining and sharing and visiting each other! It is not a hop without you.

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart – MaryJaneButters



Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #231

FGF LogoV2

Welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

You may be coming off a long weekend like we are. I love having the extra day from work to work in the garden and do other things around here. We are busy in the garden and busy in the kitchen with our remodel still going. Hubby got the sink out this week and by end of the weekend the new sink cabinet that he is building and our new apron sink should be in! Yipee!! For now we are using paper plates and cups and cooking on the grill. We have a sink in the basement but we figure the less dishes we make the better for a few days.

Last week I loved reading the blog on Hibiscus. I have Hibiscus and yet I buy tea with Hibiscus. Michelle from Seeking Joyful Simplicity shared a tea recipe and more on Hibiscus.

And who doesn’t like to put something old to good use. Lyn from Repurposed for Life showed us the new life her couch has received and boy is it pretty!

There were so many good link ups last week on the hop! Keep ’em coming as I love reading them.

Let’s blog hop!

Here’s some simple guidelines:

  1. Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals,  quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!
  2. Leave your entry in the  Linky tools space to your  Farmgirl Friday post.
  3. Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
  4. Enter up to three entries per hop

Thank you for joining and sharing and visiting each other! It is not a hop without you.

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart – MaryJaneButters