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Category: Growing Your Own (page 1 of 3)

Fall On and Potato Harvest

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I got the Fall on. I only decorate the dinning room anymore although I really like fall colors. I know a lot of people already have the Christmas theme going on but I can’t until after Thanksgiving.

 

Today harvested the potatoes. It took about 3 hours to dig them all out getting this cart full. I tried and hope it will make for a good nights sleep. So now they are waiting for sorting. I boiled a few small ones for dinner and boy were they delicious. These will be great for storing, canning and drying later.

 

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Quail and Sweet Potaotes

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It occurred to me the other day that I had not seen any quail for a while around this farm. This is one the areas of primary range for the Bobwhite quail so I like to keep some areas for them. There have been reports of declines in numbers for this bird. These are delicate birds  need a variety of habitats. Today I looked outside of one window and noticed some around the carport. Elated I went to grab the camera but when I got back they were nowhere to be seen.

What do I do to help with habitat management

Nesting Cover

They like clumps of grass. Native prairie grasses with their clump-type growth form are ideal nest cover . They need clumps they can walk to but give overhead protection.

Brood Cover

Most quail dye during the brood period. Quail chick need to be able to move at ground level but still have overhead concealment and a variety of green plants or plant parts within pecking reach.  This is about two to three inches high. The ground cover needs to be very open with greens to also attract all types of insects they will eat. Beetles, grasshoppers and other insects are most of their diet for the first three weeks. This is why burned areas and just till areas are popular with the quail. The area I saw the quail I had just cleaned out  the day before. The garden area is next to the row of wild plum bushes giving cover.

Prescribed Burning

I do not do a while lot of burning but I just might burn the acre I am not using for agriculture. It is mostly grassland. Burning make me nervous so I will likely not do it but I have years ago done so.

Disking and Mowing

I just might do a path mow in the grassland area to give the birds an easy travel route. I am still in the process of deciding where a good place for a feeder would be. You want it accessible but in an area safe.

Legume Seeding

I am preparing the area of the garden for legume planting.  Korean lespedeza, ladino clover, white clover, red clover, and subterranean clover and alfalfa. These can be broad cast seeded in the winter.

Half Cutting and Shrub Planting

I have planted hedge rows in areas around my property for birds. In the future I plant to do half-cutting of cedar and other plants to create a living bush pile. You do this by cutting a tree 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through leaving a hinge of bark attached so that the tree falls. Hedging laying  is an old fence method used in europe to keep livestock in and has the added advantage of serving as a habitat for birds.

 

Sweet Potatoes

Learning to grow sweet potatos and potatoes are important for growing vegetables for calories.  I suggest everyone with a garden grow a few to have the skills needed to grow them.

My sweet potatoes were harvested yesterday and are now in the curing stage. Now the best harvest this year but with the potaotes I should have almost enough for the year. The soil was still very moist so the soil stayed on. When they get dryer I will clean them better.  I put them in a cloth bag in the car port to help the starches form into sugars.  As soon as they are dry enough to clean I will clean them better and bring insde to finish curing to avoid frost damage. If you live in an area that freezes you will want to harvest before a hard freeze. This can damage the potatoes if frozen and decay from frozen vines can affect the potatoes.

Curing can be done in 10 to 14 day.  It is best to have them in a warm area. The temperature should be around 80-85 F with high humility.  Afte curing you can put them in a cooler area with lower humility. 

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The Beans that went to Court

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As I was shopping today I saw some bean that sounded familiar, but I could just remember why. At home I did my favorite past time (google research) and discovered this way the bean that became under international fame as the first bean patented for its color. This was later thrown out because it was actually a bean grown by farmers for at least 100 years or more. It is said to be originally from Peru and grown by the Incas.

Trying to find out what type of grown pattern was more tricky. I finally came across the bean seeds for sale by Bakers seeds. It is also listed in A Bean Collector’s Window and Bohnen-Atlas. The bean I found is not so quite colorful so I planning on picking out the more yellow ones to plant next year and eat the others. I am curious if they are a good as they say they are. After I grow them out I hope to offer some seeds next year.  I did find that they are half-runners.

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Another Day of Apple Canning

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Yesterday I spent most of the day canning some more apples. I made one of the family’s favorite Sweet and Spicy applesauce and tried a new recipe. The Red Hot apples is an interesting recipe made with red-hot candies, vinegar, water, and sugar.  Can’t wait to try it.

Today was mowing. I spent a few hours working on the mowing. Mowing with a push mowing is a lot of work when you are talking about  two acres.

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captureyour365: In a Field of Green

captureyour365         In a Field of Green

 

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It still is  looking like spring today. Look at the lawn. Yikes, it needs mowing already. Time to get that mower really along with the tiller. The farmers are worrying about the wheat that has grown so tall  this month and then getting harmed by a freeze. The weather report is suggesting snow on Saturday which is a few days away so it might happen. I am fretting too with fruit trees blooming. Time to find the remay to try to protect them somewhat. Oh, I fancy some plumots this year. I only have onions out in the garden so far with the kale, broccoli, caulifower and cabbage in the greenhouse so I do not worry about a freeze with them  Right now, I will just enjoy the cool temperatures and the beautiful green grass and leaves starting to grow. The lilacs look like they will flower soon and give off their wonderful fragrants. I can’t wait.

 

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Spring Is Here, Well Sort Of

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Flavor Delight Aprium is in full bloom and it is still winter. This happens every year and it make we worry every times. Last year it bloomed and then snowed the next day. Oh Kansas the land of extremes in winter and early spring. Last year we did not get much fruit even with the apples that usually bloom later and miss the crazy extremes. Instead of having this tree in the orchard exposed it would had been better to plant it so it is shaded this time of year by a tree or north side of a house.  To get better pollination I need to get another apricot tree. That is one of my quests this year and planting trees to help shade it so it hopefully will not bloom so early. 

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New Facebook Page

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As I working on one of my Facebook pages I realized that this page was a personal one. I wanted everthing one page page. So I went in to see if it could be changed and I could not find a way to do so. Darn! I started a new page with the same name and then tried to merge the two. The merge would work but it would all be merged into the personal page and the other page would be delete. I am back to the statrt and pondering what to do.

I am hoping that soon I will be able to merge the two pages if I get more post into the new page. It is a hopeful idea, I know. . So to you new post will go to this new page Pairie Views (website)  and if you are interested in any of the old post you  can go to the old page Pairie Views (Personal). Still since all the page posts originated from this blog you can find it all here. So no matter which Pairie Views you visit I hope you enjoy the post and get the information you want.

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How And Why I Garden The Way I Do

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I answered a question yesterday on what two plants I would plant in my garden if I could only plant two. My choice was potatoes and sweet potatoes. It might seem like a really weird answer given all the knowledge of two nutritious vegetables such as tomatoes and kale are. They are also very delicious. However the are not very calorie and weight efficient crops. Of course, I am not taking about a garden for yummy vegetables but crops that can offer the total calories for a humans. It would likely lead to some nutrients deficiencies. No single vegetable or legume has all nine essential amino acids. Most will also experience appetite fatigue from eating the same every day. This is the reason I belive Americans weighted less before. We just did not have the choices we have now which helps us overeat. IMG_0721

It takes 15.7  100 sq ft. beds of potatoes to produce the 2,400 calories per day needed for the average person.  That is 1,600 square feet of growing space or 1/4 acre. I would think a lot of people do not have this much space. Still in some place if people worked together or found empty land to use they could grow their own.

 

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I have enough land to grow my own and I am working on getting up to 8,000 sq feet or 80 beds for two people and 2,400 calories per day. In these beds I will grow 60% carbon and calorie crops (e.g.,  grains) This would amount to 40 beds. 30% would be high-calorie root crops (e.g., potatoes for maximum calories. This would be 24 beds. The remaining 10% will be vegetable crops (e.g. tomatoes, kale ) for vitamins and minerals. This would be 8 beds. I have not got even close to that amount but I am still getting practice growing different crops so if the time came and I had needed to grow enough to survive I would knowledge plus experience. 

 

 

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Root to Stem Vegetables

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Following the nose to tail practice with meat is the root to stem trend to reduce waste. Still, in many cookbooks and recipes, you are directed to remove the tops from beets and radishes or remove the stalk from broccoli top. All of these parts with their unique tastes and textures can be utilized.  With some tops such as carrots tops one must be careful since they tend to be very bitter. Other parts, such as stems, require peeling the outside layer or for making stock.

Leek Greens-

Most recipes tell you to cut off the top and use the bottom potion. The leafy top can still be useful for flavoring soups or used raw in salad and even sauted.

Potato skins-

I am personally peeling less and using the potatoes but for recipes calling for peeling. I still prefer my mashed potatoes not to have peels, you can save the peels by tossing in olive oil on a baking sheet and then placing in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 425 F until browned and crunchy. Sprinkle with spices  for extra flavor.

Asparagus stem

When I cooked asparagus I alway removed the tough woody ends and put into the compost bin. Now I throw the ends into a storage bag in the freezer to make stock.

Beet greens-

I really like beets but never really used the greens. The trend now is to make a pesto or saute. Using them in a salad when making borsch is a way to use the greens instead of compost.

Broccoli stalks-

I used to buy mostly frozen brocoli to avoid wasting the stalks. If you peel the sides of the stack you can avoid the toughness and waste less.

Carrot tops-

I have never eaten carrot tops. Research has told me that they are very bitter are edible. The trick is to blanch them to remove some of the bitterness. Use for stocks, saute, smoothies and instead of parsley but be careful of amounts.

Cauliflower-

You can eat the stems and leaves of the cauliflower. Chop up the steams and cook with the flowers.

Celery

I have used most of the celery plant for years. It is easy to toss in the freezer for stock. They can also be dried but I found they are tough so I suggest grinding them for celery powder or making celery salt.  Celery leaves can also be used instead of parsley.

Chard-

I have aways liked the stem better than the leaves. Saute them to use in dishes.

Fennel-

I discoved fennel a couple of years ago and found them quite good. Try the fonds in salads for extra taste.

Radish leaves –

These leaves do not last long but makes great pesto.

Turnips-

There are many areas where it is common to eat the turnips green. You can also try eating the greens in a tossed salad.

 

I hope you are able to take the time to experiment with using as much as the vegetable as possible to prevent waste. Next time you touch a vegetable think about another way to use the part you tossed away before. You might be surprized how much less you can waste. If you find a part not to your liking then compost the parts.

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One Step Back But Two Steps Forward At Pairie Views

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As I sit here I am in shock. Somehow 2015 went by so fast it is difficult to comprehend. It was a year of some adventure and many failures. I have the need to reflex back on those falure but I am finding it very difficult.

“Fall seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams
“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” – Chinese Proverb
“Never give in. Never. Never. Never. Never.” – Winston Churchill
“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson

 

All of these quotes really mean they same.  No matter how many times you run into obstacles, what matters is you are able to overcome, one at a time.

A step is considered negative. It can be a weekend wasted watching T.V. , breaks in your routine, personal tragedies, injuries. Most, if not all people, think that you have to start over. That is a huge mistake in thinking. You need to move forward. Take that one or two steps ahead and you are still past where you were before.

If you expect perfection you have set yourself up for failure. It is the time now to not to start over but to continue forward two steps into the new year. If you were losing weight as I was and have gained a few pounds of the weight back just more forward.

My vegetable garden was a complete disaster in weed control. I live in prairie land and the land wants to continue nurturing the grasses and not the cabbage, carrots and tomatoes I so want. In between the vegetables grass sprout at an amazing rate. Most times getting me far behind in removing them before that choke out my vegetables. This year was no exception. With the added problem of a late winter and not letting my vegetables gain a foothold before summer weather they all struggled. This year is a new year and I will move two steps forward using a ground cover to prevent the prairie from moving back in.

I have enjoyed the variety of birds can Prairie Views home. My years of effort of creating habitats and food sources for birds have paid off. I have a number of cardinals searching for berries and other  seeds moving from bush to tree and then back to the bush. It is a lovely sight. With the cardinals are other native birds enjoying the feast and shelters my property has allowed them. Quails have enjoyed the wild plums and I see their coveys. Young quail also feed very heavily on insects and I hope improving their habitual will give me the added benefit of grasshopper control. It is a careful juggle between giving them areas and areas for my livestock feeding.

So you will not see a new years list from me. I will be stepping forward two steps at a time to continue my goals some of which fell short last year. I can only more forward but will not start over. They are listed below.

Sheep– I will get a new ram with the added idea to have dairy type sheep. I noticed that my Dropers might be excellent for milk production but mine are a flighty herd. Many adding Awassi ram  would word. If I am not able to get one then I might try a katahdin. This is another more common hair sheep breed. Sheep milk is great for cheese and it freezes very well.

Goat– We miss our goats and plan to add at least one doe if we can find someone who will breed her back. We do not have enough land to support a herd. Goat cheese is delicious.

Vegetable garden– Using fiber ground cover I plan to reduce the amount of weeding that takes too much of my time. I tried some with the tomatoes this year and it seemed to work well.

Windbreaks and Habitats-_ I have ordered some native plants seeds and I am deciding if I will order more Forest Service plants to add more bird habitats. I plan to transplant some of the wild plums that have sprouted to new areas to create more thickets and added windbreaks.

Food Forest I have been slowly adding new plants for this area. This year I will likely more forward to more wild and cider types of fruit trees. Apples and pears do well in this area but other type of fruits seem to struggle. Will more wild type of tress endure better. Food for thought.

Bees- One hive did really well while one struggles all year. I do not think it is strong enough to survive the winter. I will be adding another hive and most likely redoing the one.

Reading – I have not been reading as much this year. I need to continue reading the list .

Bucket lists– I had two bucket list that are lost from changing my blog site. They were reading 1001 books to read before you die and visit all of the National Parks. I will move forward on those.

Well in a few more hours it will be the New Year. Do you have plans to more forward?

 

 

 

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