Ms. Tupelo

Ms T Garden

From practically the first day that we moved here and ESPECIALLY once I started gardening, I have longed for a vehicle to assist me. I love our Kubota, but hooking up a little trailer and loading it up each time to garden is a time sucker frankly! And if hubby is bush hogging, I can’t use the Kubota. If I am cutting grass and hubby wants to haul something he cannot. Once we got bees and started adding boxes, hauling out gallons of water and sugar bags along with smokers and gear, we agreed that sooner rather than later was the answer!

While I was out of town enjoying our new grandbaby, hubby found a Kubota Diesel RTV on eBay of all things.  It was from a dealer that has great ratings on eBay and he is in the tractor biz and has a couple stores dealing in them.  After placing a pretty low bid and email communications with the owner, hubby felt like this was a great deal for us. Our bid was low though and we had a couple of days to wait and frankly with my obsession with the grand baby, I forgot about it.

The hour came and we won the bid! So exciting! I could not wait to see this wonderful orange vehicle. “Where do we pick it up and when?” was my question. And that was the challenge. It was in southern Georgia.  Now you might recall that grandbaby was born outside of Atlanta, so unless you are familiar with Georgia, you might think that is perfect! But the location of our new family member and our new equipment were 6 hours apart from one another. 🙂

It was too good to not figure out though, so instead of flying home as planned, hubby drove down to Atlanta. ( I am lucky that I was to fly SW Airlines, because I have a full refund to use on another flight.) He arrived on Saturday and Sunday we headed down to pick up a trailer to haul her and our new orange buddy. We arrived late on Sunday and the guy was so nice; he met us late and we finalized everything.  An added bonus was the fact that he used to work for UHaul and hooked our new RTV up for us on our rented car trailer.

Ms T Haul

As we drove to our hotel for the night, I shared with hubby that I wanted to name her. I did not want to just call her the Kubota (already taken) or the RTV or the little car or the whatever. She and I were going to spend a lot of time together and I felt names were more appropriate for our budding relationship.

We were in southern, hot, humid Georgia where Tupelo grows readily. We were headed to Asheville for an overnight where Tupelo Honey is a great restaurant. We had just gotten our bees so honey is on our brain and hearts. So it seemed like a natural fit for our new orange friend to be called Ms. Tupelo.

It fits her great as she is sweet, sweet, sweet. She is a work horse just like a little bee and Ms. Tupelo has such a nice, polite feel to it that it seems a great fit around the flowers and veggies.

Ms. T

I got letters last week at TSC and made if official. Isn’t this great?

Ms T

So do you name your equipment? I cannot be the only one here. Confessions please. 🙂

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

 

 

 

 

Playing in the Dirt!

sprinkler garden 3There are few things I love more than a freshly tilled and planted garden.  I know it is exciting and oh so pretty when stuff starts coming up, but that moment I look at a newly planted area gives me a thrill. I love the smell, the look, the crud under my fingernails and the sweat I feel dripping down my back which all says in chorus “Good Job!”

Over the last few days we have planted two new beds.  One is actually a combo of Garden 2 and Garden 5 from last year.  We put them together to make one biggie plot-43 ft x26 ft. Hubby tilled it up with our Kubota and then we marked off rows and we planted using my handy dandy Earthway Seeder. We planted a variety of beans, peas, beets, cucumbers and flowers. I know you can’t see anything yet, but isn’t it pretty??

butterfly1

garden 2 planted

A little butterfly enjoyed hovering over it while I was finishing up.

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The second one was more challenging. We had a mini hill that was nothing but hard dirt, glass, trash, weeds and more.  Mostly stuff we didn’t want. Hubby took to it with a hand held hoe, our rototiller and a bunch of man power and got it to the point of workable soil.

Hubby potato hill3

Hubby potato hill2

Hubby potato hill1

Since it is a hill (not real noticeable here, but it is elevated) we decided to put potatoes in here.  I know potatoes are risky right now as it is July. BUT I had bought them and was out of town during much of May and most of June so they did not get planted.  It was either give them a shot now or toss them. We chose to let them see what they could do and we are optimistic they will return something to us for the opportunity. 🙂

We added some eggplant in here as I understand that is a good companion for potatoes.  I sprinkled some bee friendly seeds in as well. I sprinkle a bit of those in all the gardens.

By noon yesterday we were watering our newly planted areas. Looking at them soaking in the water makes you feel so hopeful doesn’t it? I imagine the little seeds are happy to be in the soil, getting water and nutrients and are planning their grand entrance.

garden 3

 

I can’t wait until I see them popping up and I get to meet all of my new green babies. Are you still planting? What’s your favorite part?

Happy Unleashing in your garden!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #165

apronHappy Friday and welcome to the blog hop!  This has been my first full week home in a very long time and I have LOVED it!

We have been outside alot this week cleaning up neglected gardens.  You can read about my first clean up in my flower garden.  Have any of you ever gotten so far behind you thought you’d never “catch up” and then simply had lots of fun trying!?!

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That brings me to my new mantra of I am not behind, I am just starting.  I adopted this last week when I came home and I started fretting over all the gardening stuff I had missed.  I opened up my Indiana book and saw there were still lots and lots of things I could do starting now, so my planting season kicked off this past weekend.

That is why I loved the blog last week from Back to Basics! She shared the 2014 Planting Guide by zone and I have lots and lots and lots of things I can still do!  So rather than focus on “what could have been”, I will look to “what is now and gonna be.”

I have tons of fun stuff going on with the gardens, bees and our remodel which is underway, but are we farmgirls ever “done”?  Do we want to be? We thrive on what’s happening next. I don’t think any of us can imagine being “done” and not having anything else to do!  We have too many interests and things we love.

Let’s come along and blog hop and share all that groovy stuff you are up to this week. Visit over at Deb of Dandelion House (our blog hop founder and hostess primo) and see what she’s been up to.  She has been finding all kinds of bargains lately that are adorable!!!!

So, do a little bragging on yourself, your homestead and your doin’s!  We are so excited you are here.

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!
You don’t have to live on a farm to join this hop!

 Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart~ MaryJaneButters

Garden Clean Up: Part 1-Flowers

IMG_20140702_200924305I garden more veggies than flowers, but I have a little spot out back at Big Sky Acres that was a junk pile when we moved in. Hubby worked tirelessly hauling stuff away and cleaning it up last year and when we were done we had a little piece of ground and a “charlie brown” tree left.  We left the tree as I had hopes for it becoming majestic some day.

 

I weeded my little plot early in the spring and then then travel began. When I finally returned last week and took a little ride out there to see the gardens I was very overwhelmed and distressed.  Obviously things were overgrown and I had a feeling of failure and never being able to “catch up.”  Not just in the flower garden but in every piece of land we have.  We have had perfect weather for growing and the weeds have responded appropriately!

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I thought “HELP!” when I saw that every garden was overgrown and you could barely see what and where the “real” stuff was.

BUT then I thought–“It’s a 3 day weekend!  I can play in the dirt and sunshine all weekend!”

So I loaded up Ms. Tupelo (my Kubota RTV that I have named, but that is another blog), and we began our step by step process of freeing the beauty that we knew was in there!

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So little by little I started clearing the way. I could begin to see progress and lots of pretty stuff in there.  The hydrangeas, hibiscus, day lilies, salvia, sage and more were all in there, just waiting to bust out!

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Hubby came back and cut the grass and used the weed wacker around the border and it started to come together.

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Jasmine hung out, enjoying a place to lay that was cut and mowed.  She didn’t mind that it wasn’t quite done yet; but it was looking possible!

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Here is my little flower garden all cleaned up and mulched.  I suspect my hydrangeas and hibiscus will now bloom. They already have new buds on them.  I fed them some fish emulsion and they see really happy.

mulch

done2

done

done3

The sun was setting by the time I was done; it was a great boost to see this all fresh again.  The next day brought the reclamation of our tomato and pepper bed.  Another blog…

Happy unleashing in the soil today!

FGU

Adjusting to Four Seasons

I love living in an area with four seasons.  I have loved the fall colors, the snow, the lillies in the spring and hot, humid days of summer. BUT I still don’t seem to really be in sync with the four seasons.  In the south, on Jan. 2, you basically are blowing leaves off the driveway, ordering your pinestraw to put in the beds and if you plant you are planning and getting going on the garden Feb/March. My friends in the south are posting pics of veggies and garden fresh dinners and I am feeling behind!

We are at May 15th and I have been in a panic about getting my tomato babies outside!  I “feel” like I am behind.  My brain is still on the schedule I have had for 20+ years.  Last weekend we prep our big bed for them at BSA (Big Sky Acres).  It is 33 x 25 (Garden Bed #6) and had a cover crop on it during winter.  We went out and turned the cover crop, we laid out a wonderfully measured grid with string, I laid out the plan of what tomatoes and what peppers where going where in a beautifully color coded spreadsheet.

garden grid

 

Yes it is a little geeky, but I am in technology by day don’t forget. 🙂

It has rained this week and now we have cool temps.  AND I have been in this upheaval about getting these tomatoes in the ground (like yesterday!).  It had to happen NOW! I mean it is about the middle of summer (isn’t it?)

This morning, when the temps were showing 48 degrees and my forecast didn’t look much better, I took a breath and paused and asked myself if my tomatoes were worrying about leaving the warmth of the pole barn and their heated mat or was it just me who wanted to throw them into the cold because I was on an old time frame in my head. I mean look at my forecast!

weather

 

I had not even checked my soil temps yet!  I can just about guarantee that they are not in the 70’s yet and certainly not approaching 80 degrees.  Then I asked myself “when did I plant tomatoes last year?” Well…. that would have been June 10th I said to myself sheepishly.

THEN I MADE A DECISION!  I need to remember I am in Indiana.  My Indiana guidelines say NOT to plant until after mid May (which I am just now approaching and my hubby’s mamma said her rule of thumb here was Memorial Weekend).  I am NOT in the south.  I love Indiana. My mantra became–

I love and embrace my planting schedule!

So for today, my tomatoes and peppers will stay with their heat mat and lights. I will begin to harden them off next week. Garden Bed #1 that is also prepped will today receive seeds of spinach, chard, peas, lettuce and radishes.  ALL of which love 45 degree soil and planting at this very time in Indiana.

I am in Indiana. I am not late on my garden. I am in perfect timing!

Happy Unleashing in whatever gardening zone you are in!

FGU

 

My Green Babies Are Growing

Green Babies GrowingJust like a proud mama, I am so excited about watching my little seedlings grow from seed and prepare themselves for their life in my garden soon. This weekend was time for all the tomatoes to move into bigger pots.

After a semester of school and working full time, you cannot imagine (or maybe you can) how excited I was to have 70 degrees, sunny and time on Saturday to play in the soil!!!!

The “before” shots show they are ready to move out!

 

Green Babies Growing

If you recall it wasn’t long ago that they looked like this:

Seedlings

I think one of  the best things about being outside with the green babies is getting a farmgirl manicure!

Farmgirl mani

Transplanting began and it went so smoothly.  They all popped right into their new “digs” (like the play on words?), I added a bit of started mix and before I knew it I had 60 tomato plants in new pots.

Transplanting begun

New digs

They got a drink of water, had a little sunshine left and got tucked in for the night.  Of course, I had to go check on them before I tucked in last night!

Today was another beautiful day, so we moved them outside this afternoon for some sunshine.  I cannot imagine how they must have felt with real sunshine rather than the lights they have been sitting under!

Photosynthesis here we go!!

Sunshine

Sunshine

This is my first time starting tomatoes from seed.  Next stop is the garden which should be in about 10 days.  Peppers get transplanted next, they are ready, but I ran out of pots yesterday.

Peppers

I have not started my own peppers from seed before either.  It is another venture and experiment that seems to be working out well.

What is your favorite thing to start inside from seed?  Doesn’t it make you feel like you are helping spring along a little having a bit of green going while the earth is thawing out?

Hope you are unleashing in the soil today!

FGU

Patience Pays Off- The Tomatoes Are Red!

When I blogged on patience in regards to my green tomatoes I did not know for certain that it was only patience that I was lacking in my lack of getting red tomatoes. Being a first time gardener I was still pretty convinced that it was me.  BUT patience has paid off.  My tomatoes are turning red!

We were gone for 3 days so I guess that did keep me from watching them and waiting for them to turn.  We returned to this:

basket   window sill yellow pear

So we will be eating a lot of tomatoes—BLT’s, tomato sandwiches, greek pitas with tomatoes and cucumbers, roasted tomatoes, pasta (or course), grilled pizza, salad and on and on.  I canned a few yesterday just in case I don’t get anymore…. 🙂

 slicingcanned tomatoes

But I have a feeling that will not happen and I will be picking some more!  Oh happy day the tomatoes are in!

Gardening Joys

tomato love When we moved to the country and got a bunch of land (almost 6 acres) from a sub division plot, we had (and still do have) lots of dreams.  Gardening was one of them.  Last year we dabbled with 2 square foot gardens that were each 4 x 4.  That got our hands dirty and I guess gave us courage to go bigger.

This year we broke ground on three 25×12 beds, one flower bed and two more beds are standing by for fall veggies that are started as seeds right now.  Our soil wasn’t conditioned, it is full of clay (although not as bad as Georgia clay) and where we wanted the flower bed was a junk pile that came with the house.  Lots of fun and lots of work are paying off.  It has not been without challenges; we are gardening organically so throwing miracle grow and round up on things is not an option.  We are learning about natural pest control, natural plant food and how to condition the soil—all of which will take time.  But it is exciting, we are eating what we are growing and we are going to continue on with a year around garden (yes even in Indiana) using plant blankets and covers.

This morning I was out in the gardens, spraying the squash plants with baking soda and water because they have powdery mildew.  My CSA coordinator says this is common in the Ohio Valley and the farmers deal with it too.  That made me feel like I was in good company, so I looked in Rodale and discovered the simple spray that will contain it and hopefully keep it from affecting the plants that don’t have it yet.

BUT JOYS and SUCCESSES!  There are many.  🙂 Here are some pictures I took this morning.  You will see a pollinator or two in my squash blossoms, my cucs, my tomato bed (that has peppers and basil too) and my squash bed (which also houses the sunflowers and green beans).

And my handsome hubby, (who is also a farmer in the making like me) on the tractor this morning scooping and moving compost.  We have started our own compost pile but this year are still relying on purchasing good compost.  We had a truck load to unload!

hubby

So dreams are coming true, more are in the making.  And speaking of dreams coming true… that tomato at the beginning of the article is going to grace an awesome BLT later today. And yes, it is from our garden.

What will you unleash today?

Pole Barn!

A few years ago, I didn’t even know what a pole barn was let alone want one.  But living rural and having a lot of stuff for our land that is piling up has me so excited about starting on our pole barn project this week.!

Our patio under the deck has become resting ground for our tractor and its implements.  Our basement has stuff strewed all over it that is associated with outdoors, but does not really have a home—birdseed, yard and garden tools, buckets, pots, shoes and boots, etc.  Our garage has more stuff in a cabinet that I use when working outside.  Problem is we have all the stuff we need, but we look for it every time we need it since it could be in one of three places.

Solution—pole barn. We are working with a great Amish group on this project.  Levi has been so patient as we change our mind and ask what are probably silly questions at times.  But we have finally settled on something (except for a few minor tweaks) and tomorrow is the day that our site will be prepped for our pole barn!

To help you understand my excitement, I can only say that our downstairs air conditioner has been out for a couple of months.   Even with temperatures peaking 90’s, I still prefer to have my pole barn more than my AC.

Here is the layout on our land.  If you look close you will see our pink outline.  I will post more pictures over the next few days as trucks make their way in to start!

layout

Pole Barn layout- look for the pink lines!

Food From Seeds

I am the first to admit that I am a novice at gardening.  I have grown a few things in my life, but at a small scale.  Herbs in pots on the deck I am definitely good at.  Gardening food that we are going to eat at mealtime is a new, exciting experience.

We built some raised bed gardens last year following the Square Food Gardening methodology.  I loved it and it was just the right start.  We are committed to growing organically, so learning the best ways to fight weeds, add nutrition to the plants and keep bugs away has been a real learning experience and will continue to be for years to come.

This winter, we started some seeds inside.  In a short period of time we had so many starters that we felt like it was overtaking us in our basement under the florescent lights that we set up for the little guys! 🙂

In April, we set our new babies outside and we are now reaping the benefits.  We are eating from our garden and what a thrill that is.  Here are some pictures of our beautiful food!

Red Romaine    Berry      Chard     Kale

  Red Romaine             Strawberry (look close)        Rainbow Chard                    Kale

We intend to begin gardening into the ground this year with our new tiller and our acreage.  I will share more pics and experiences as we move forward.

Do you garden?  What is your favorite to plant and eat?  Do you have tips for growing organically?