Thursday, May 25, 2017

My Potatoes!

Last fall my husband and I read a really great article on why and how to plant potatoes in the fall.

Planting Irish Potatoes

Funny enough it was posted in the Utah Backyard Homesteading group, Oct 3rd, 2016.
I fell in LOVE with the idea - especially since we'd just tossed a massive load of wasted hay from our rabbits into our compost heap.
Wanting to share the information I had my husband read it, he too decided that we needed to try it.
ONE small problem, it was October already and we were BROKE.

Now, you as a reader and not a person with a front row seat to the story of my life, you might find what happens next odd, however, it happens to me a lot.
My friend Lori called me up out of the blue saying she wanted to drop by and that she had a surprise for me, YAY!
(who doesn't love random surprises?!)
I adore surprises - especially from her!
She pulls into the driveway, asks for my husband to come out and help unload,
unload what you might ask?
A 100 pound box of Idaho potatoes recently pulled from the ground from a friend of her's farm.
NOT KIDDING, all in the SAME day!
That night we roasted up a few
(they were amazing)
And planted 6 in the ground!
So far three of six have come up from the ground - two plants just this week!
In 2014 we tried and failed HARD at growing potatoes
2015 we didn't even try.
Reading this article I had hope that this time things might be better.
I adore fall planting - my garlic harvest is amazing!
So I have hope of harvesting potatoes this year - maybe
(fingers crossed)
we might have enough to last us the year.
So far I've gotten both my garlic and my carrots to last us a full year, adding another massive crop to feed our family would be amazing!

Also up this year will be revamping my under the stairs basement storage from Christmas storage to a cold storage room.
Where I can store potatoes, garlic, onions, herbs and other various things.

Another article on fall planting potatoes

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Planting Tomato Starts

 For the past six years we've started tomato seedlings indoors.
Almost every year they die off when we plant them in the ground and we end up buying a large plant from a store.

This year, we've changed things up.

Moving them outside earlier

But adding their own mini greenhouse for them to grow in.

 If this works well and they do good this week
we may build a second for more tomatoes
and two more mini green house's for our peppers.

Our problem comes in when to transplant.
If you wait to long you can damage the roots,
move to soon and weather/temps can kill the small plants.

We really want to have a large tomato crop.
I'd love to can salsa, soup & spaghetti sauce.
Right now the only way I can see us doing so from seed is with a greenhouse.
Something both my husband and I want to build.
Its just both costly and lots of work.
For the moment we are hoping 
- fingers crossed -
 that the mini green house will work well enough until we can grow larger plants outside
in a green house.
Hoping for a better, larger, hothouse tomato/pepper plants like you get at the store.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring Gardening

 Blackberries growing in strong!
Blackberry stalks return to full life in Spring, as you can see in the photo the stalk is nice and green.

Next I'm thrilled to announce that all my raspberry plants lived!
They are growing back quickly.
I weeded and dug their spring water wells.
Raspberries don't retain the previous years stalk, they grow up from the root.
After they bear fruit, the stalk can die and more will grow from the root.

Today, was all about this part of the yard!

Nothing is wasted, all the weeds that had been growing in this spot went to our very hungry rabbits!

From front to back I planted
1. Cocozelle Zucchini (heirloom)
2. Connecticut Field Pumpkin (heirloom)
I still have a lot of pie pumpkin leftover from last year so this will be mainly for seeds and animals.
3. Italian Round Zucchini (heirloom)
Bonus the link also has a stuffed I.R Zucchini recipe!
4. Congo Watermelon (heirloom)
I'm not in anyway affiliated with any of the above sites, nor did I buy my seeds from any of the above. The sites linked had good information on the plants.
While the Congo Watermelon said it liked full sun I took a chance and place it in half sun.
The last time I tried to grow Watermelon the summer heat was far too much, so this year we will see.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Searching for the Perfect Pear

Searching for the perfect Pear!

Now on my previous fruit tree posts, I've only posted the tree's we've selected. 
I haven't gotten in depth as to WHY I've picked these as my fruit trees.

Main thing I look for are fruit tree's that will grow in my area.
Fruit tree's that are cold hardy (for us) or what ever area type you need.
Whether or not it needs a secondary pollinator or if its self pollinating.
How fast it fruits and if it will only fruit for a period of ten years and then go dormant.

Each fruit tree has its good points and bad points.
If you live in an established neighborhood (like I do) you most likely will have all the pollinators you need.
If you are bringing in a specialty type, you may want to think about getting a second or its suggested pollinator.

Next thing I want to look at is what type of fruit it offers.
I cook & can.
Therefore I want a fruit that will cook well and can well.
MANY pears do not.
Finding a Pear Tree type that was firm & sweet became a challenge!

I fell in LOVE with a newish Pear Tree called Concorde Pear Tree
Concorde Pear Tree

This tree had two main problems - it has zero resistance to fire-blight
and I couldn't find it for sale in the USA anywhere!
Fine, I found ONE site that had ONE tree left
but their ordering site was down and I couldn't actually place an order!

Back to searching for yet another good cooking variety

The downside to this tree is that you need to pick the fruit early and let ripen inside.
Also once ripe, its shelf stable for roughly a week.
Unlike the Concorde that was shelf stable for months!
Plus side?
Its one of the best on the market to be resistant to fire-blight
it was easy to order and will be here in roughly 4-6 days.

Its not self pollinating, but its top recommended pollinator is the Bartlet Pear Tree which is sold everywhere here in Utah.
So I'm not worried about it producing fruit.
I am not the type of person and goes to the store, finds a tree for sale and brings it home.
Tree's are a LONG term investment,
research is important.

Whether or not I like the Moonglow only time will tell, 
however I can say I've tried to get the best fit for both my area and my needs.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Pretty Bunny!

Our second kindling!
Mama is Flemish/Californian & Norwegian
Dad is Flemish/Norwegian 
If this gorgeous baby is a girl we may be tempted to keep her!

They are growing up so fast! Already starting to open their eyes!

The other kindling is weaning!
Today they nibbled spinach and drank water!
Tiny little fluff balls bouncing around the place!

So tiny! So cute!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Yellow Delicious Apple Tree

Yellow Delicious Apple Tree!

Our newest fruit tree is in and planted!

Apple close up, Plum in the back by the chicken fence!
Two fruit tree's planted, one more sought after 
(this year anyway)
and then we wait for them to grow!

This week sometime (rain expected) I will be planting pumpkin, watermelon & zucchini!
Then we start on building the trellis for my new Chinese Long Beans.

Our little urban homestead is growing more and more every year.
I can't wait for our first fruit harvest!

Thursday, March 30, 2017


This little cutie just can't seem to stop being given!
A young lady fell in love with him, gifted him to her boyfriend
who's family isn't set up to have chickens.
So the family gifted her/him to me. 

Already our little gift is fitting in.

Or standing out!

Now on to the fun!
What breed of bird do you suppose this is?
I've been told its a meat chicken.

I was told Brahma? However, this baby's feet is bald, not feathered.
So here are a list of white breeds that I'm thinking it might be. 

Let me know what you think in the comments below.
If you have another idea, let me know!
So far I've had a hard time finding pure white chicks, most chicks have more markings!
In the meantime we are guessing if its male/female.
If female if we will be getting our first white egg?!

*** Update ***

Breed turned out to be a White Broiler
we butchered it this week along with the rest of our older ladies who are currently chilling happily in my freezer.
Due to the nature of the breed they gain weight quickly - very quickly.
This causes them to have many health issues the older they get.
Old with this breed is one year.
Not kidding they are not for eggs, they are 100% a meat bird.
Next year we may purchase a few of these birds just to raise for meat - very moist, juicy and tender!