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Prairie Views

~ Dreamy abstraction in Four Square House on the Pairie

Category: Growing Your Own (page 1 of 3)

Messy Garden for Wildlife

Fall is usually the time for cleanup. This year I am planning to do as much clean up as I normally do. This year I will leave more area messy to provide more food and cover in wildlife. I am leaving a messy garden in the following various ways..

  • Leaf messy. No raking will be done. Right now the maple is dropping leaves looking horrible to many of us gardeners. Most likely what will happen, like it did last year, is the leaves will be blown into the woodlot.

 

Maple leaves on grass

 

  •  Leave flower heads. I usually deadhead most of my flowers because it helps it create more flowers but this is the fall when flowering will slow down for most plants. 

    Planted pine trees and wild area. Large pyracantha bush provides winter food and shelter.

  •  Let the grass grow tall and go to seed. I will mow around the house but will let the areas farther away to grow tall and seed. I will most likely cut the grass around the trees planted to prevent them from getting shaded. It is important to note if you have too tall of grass close to your home you can encourage rodents and snake to enter.
  • Build a Brush Pile. I have two large brush piles on the property but plant to put on in the area I planted for quail and pheasant.
  • No Chemicals. I will use some chemicals in and around the beehives this year but the will be organic types to help control the varroa mite and hive beetles. Not doing so will likely result in the death of the hives.
  • Leave snags. I will do some cleanup but will leave a few snags to provide a home for many of the insects helpful for the environment
  • Cleanups. Any cleanup will be delayed until the first freeze to give time for the native insects to leave or find a safe place to overwinter.

Prairie Views Updated Plans

Some times change is needed. I needed to do three changes to my plan. First I needed to add the quail and pheasant nesting, food and protection area.  I also needed to update my pasture paradise plan. Lastly I had to the way water moves in the property. I need to make plans to better get the water to move to an area I could make a very small pond for the dry seasons.

 

SPRING IS HERE AND THE BEES ARE HAPPY!

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Since it was a very nice weekend, weather wise, it was very important to put a bee hive inspection at the top of the TO DO list. The hives are looking great. They are strong without any signs of swarm development. So you might wonder what I look for in my inspection. 

  • We look for the queen. If we cannot find her we look for brood and the brood pattern.  After inspecting to first brood box we put that one aside and take a look at the second brood box. Most frames on the second brood boxes were empty or had a little honey on them.  This is what we expected.  I was surprised that the  stronger hive had some brood in the second box. We set this box aside and then check the bottom screened board. This board was really clean on one hive but had quite a few bees on the first hive we inspected,  We scraped any stuff and dumped any dead bees into the grass. This is not something we would worry about this early in the spring since we have just started having spring weather except for the rare January warm up. I think this might of happened becasue we had very warm weather in January that turned to snow the next day. 
  • After inspecting the hives it is time to put them back together. We moved the top box to the bottom and the bottom box to the top. The reason we do this is we want to give the queen more room. The queen usually likes to work up so it you switch it around she has move room to move up while making brood. 
  • On top of the hives we added one supper since we are already having pollen and nectar flowing from the flowering bush and pear tree in the Food Forest. The apple trees and more pear will bloom soon too. It it looks like they are not getting anything I will put syrup out for them. The only problem is if you have suppers on you take the chance of getting sugar water honey. Not good honey at all!  Most of the supers were in the freezer all wither with a mix of capped and uncapped honey so they will have honey available if it gets a little too cool to go our or it rains too much.  
  • You might wonder why I have honey frames. The reason is you do not want to take uncapped honey from a hive becasue it will contain too much moisture. Later we will add more suppers to collect honey. 

 

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I like to watch the bees and noticed they had to go all the way in the red flowers to get the pollen and when I saw them going into the hives they had their pouches full of red pollen. Many had white pouches too which is from the pear tree. Dandelions are blooming  too but I suspect that they prefer the other flowers. It made me remember to make some dandelion jelly this year. It was interesting to see the red and white pollen patterns in the combs. An interesting note during the inspection is I did not find one hive beetle walking around. There were some in the hive beetle traps.  Getting rid of them would be great but I am only hopeful at this point. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

 

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. 

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.

tot ziens

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