New farm plans for this year

runningtrailsFebruary 22, 2009

What new farm plans and changes in your garden are you going to make this year?

I have so many new things planned to grow, I don't know where I will put it all!

1) I am going to grow potatoes in trenches on cardboard, covered with straw. They should be easy to pick up without digging and fairly clean. That's the plan, anyway. Read about it here (also Google "growing potatoes in straw")

2) I am going to use a cold frame for the veggies I start indoors early.

3) I am going to plant some things in rows far enough apart to drive the tiller between. Otherwise I will use cardboard between plants. I WILL conquer this run-away weedy garden problem.

4) I am going to plant the luffahs and some small winter squashs by the deck, on the south side, and grow them on the railing. This is a snowy pic but I think it'll look great covered with thick vines and hanging veggies in the summer. (We never use this deck. Too hot!)

5) I am going to grow some of my own chicken feed. I intend to use sunflowers, millet, flax, poppies, curly dock, sorghum, amaranth and QAL. In this mix I will put ground egg shells too, for calcium and maybe a little protein. I am drying egg shells and saving them for this now. I'm not growing the QAL in the garden, ditto for the curly dock. I already have a field full. Can chickens eat goldenrod seeds?

6) I going to grow goji berries, also called wolf berries or marraige vine. I got a few seed from trading on the internet. I am going to plant them early indoors. I hope they do well. I don't yet know where I'm going to put them.

7) This year I will thin the carrots!!

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Well what do you know. I thought luffahs were sea sponges dried out. I had no idea they were grown in a garden too till I looked it up just now. Live and learn. Thanks

This year I have plans that I have already started working on. Running along one side of my property is a creek and next to it is OVERgrown with kudzo vines and brush. I am going to continue cutting that stuff back till I get rid of a major part of it. I usually have a burn pile so high on the nice days and I am finally starting to see progress.

When I do as much as I can before it grows back I will be making a raised garden to cover the view. On the garden junk forum I found this idea that I love. This person (jrock) who I am not sure if they are a man or woman, must have the neatest yard ever.

(I have to go dumpster diving to get the wood!!) I think I will use longer pieces of wood and not sure if I am going to do a goldfish pond in the middle. Seems like a lot of work to keep clean.

Make a separate coop for the guinea hens that I have yet to get (6)

Make a memorial for my Mom

make some kind of floor under the gazebo

Make a fire pit and a path going to the pit and gazebo from the house

start selling eggs

I also plan on finishing painting my house

Restore the wood on the barn the goats messed up and paint something big and BOLD on the side.

planting all the seeds and bulbs I have been collecting.

making a hay feeder for the goats

raise the fence on the chicken run.

train the chickens to go through a hoop

finish all my garden junk projects that I started.

Make some bird houses

and the list never ends!!

I will have to check back here in Sept to see what, if anything, I finished on this list or if I started a whole new list of UNFINISHED projects. .

Great thread idea

Me and my SO used to have a great system. I would start a project and he would put the finishing touches on it (like paint). Now it is like pulling teeth to get him to do that anymore. I admit when I realized he would help I did pump up the amount of projects. LOL. I hate to paint unless it is something decorative so all my stuff that needs to be painted is unfinished until I either nag him to death to do it, pay someone to do it or I do it myself. So Runningtrails do you mind if I put a second question along with yours? That question being if you plan to do it all yourself, make the plans and put it on the honey do list for your SO, hire help or what.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 2:17PM
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I need to
1. paint the barn, and it's going to be purple.
2. remake some raised beds ... the timebers need to be replaced
3. make a new bed by the shed
4. have my farm helper spread the big pile of donkey manure I have collected over the years, over the back pastrures.
5. make a road-side stand so I can sell perennials and daylilies when I am not home.
6. see if my pond is really leaking, hope not!
7. plant more trees in what used to be a horse pasture which is now my very own arboreteum
8. have the fencing in the donkeys pasture along my neighbors driveway replaced
9. my gardens will be on tour in July, so everything needs to be done by then!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 3:25PM
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That kudzu is really invasive! I love to make things out of garden junk too! I like what they did with the planter. I'd want a goldfish pond, especially down there where you live. It wouldn't need to be deep.

Sounds like you have a marvelous garden, Pamghatten! I hope your pond isn't leaking too!

I'd love to see pictures of these ongoing projects as they are built. WIPs they're called by artists (Work In Progress) shots.

OK I tried to keep it short but now I have to post all my pending projects too :-) As a reference for myself in another year, if for no other reason. Good idea misjay2u!

We both work full time in the city, so this is all done in our "spare" time.

I actually have 6 patio doors for cold frames. I don't know if I'll ever get that many made but I do want at least two. One will do to start this spring. The frame is made, just have to put it together when the ground thaws.

I have four small windows to frame and set into the chicken house before the heat of the summer.

I want to get a few specialty chicken breeds and start a very small hatchery. I just love chickens!

I have saved fencing to make large 5' tomato cages.

I have wood to make a large farm sign for the road and an A-frame sign already made to paint for egg and farm sales. I need to build a road-side stand for this too.

I have a super large and colorful rooster to paint on the side of the chicken house and already have most of the paint for it.

I have the logs to landscape around the chicken house with raised beds and the bricks for steps up the small hill to the door of the connecting shed and more bricks to make a small patio around the outdoor tap at the chicken house.

I have the already stained wood to make two garden arbors and I already know where they are going.

I have the wood to make three top bar bee hives, the tools and directions - just no time. I want bees!!

I need to make a bigger and better seed drying location, maybe in the shed or on the porch. I will need to get more screening for that. I think I'll look at the Habitat Restore for it. My Habitat Restore list is getting fairly long. My dream is to have a successful online seed business.

I have the location and size already laid out for the koi pond, just need to get it dug. We have good red clay soil under the top soil, perfect for a mud pond. Might have to add some bentonite. Won't know until I start digging it. I'm planning to start it by hand until I see how it goes. Will till it first. It'll be deep but might not be all that large. I'd like to start a small pond sales business, selling fish and plants, etc.

I have 50 perennial hibiscus seedlings, for sale, to spread out in their semi-permanent location as soon as the ground thaws, before they wake up.

As previously mentioned, I have an iron table bottom and four iron chairs to make matching tiled table top and seats for the garden. (Need to get the chairs off the front porch.)

I have to build semi permanent fencing for the raspberry bed as soon as I can get the posts in the ground.

I have to move the herb garden to a better location to give the raspberries more room to spread.

I HAVE to get doors on the bathroom closets. We have lived here for two years and they still don't have doors. (Two 8' tall closets in bathroom with shelves.)

I have shelving for the bedroom closet still sitting in the shop. I also need to paint the molding and doors upstairs. I have the paint...

I want to make a bird feeder or planter out of an old iron mailbox that I have.

And we'd like to raise our own feeder pigs. We decided "Not this year" as we are just too busy.

Wed also love to have one jersey milk cow and IÂd like some specialty sheep or goats for the wool. I want to learn to spin my own homegrown wool. If I can get enough milk from the goats to make lots of cheese, weÂll forgo the cow. If I can get lots of good thick wool form the goats, we'll forego the sheep too.

My biggest concern is getting the planting done as early as possible, with our short growing season. It's a huge job and will take up a lot of my time in May and early June. Thankfully I tripled tilled everything into the gardens in the fall so I don't have to do that before I can plant.

But to tell you the truth, I love this life! I would be so unhappy without things to build, grow and dirt to dig in! I praise the Lord every day for giving us this farm!

(And I so apologize for the length of this post.)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 4:08PM
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I'm lucky my list is very long and do to crippling arthritis am going to hire some college students for the summer to finish the landscaping. Want 2 ponds connected by stream and large waterfalls. Two bridges over the stream, a 30' x 60' vine covered arbor over large shade gardens and patios with outside kitchen and fire pits and a few water features...The list goes on and on.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 4:26PM
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runningtrails if you get all of that done by the end of the summer my hat is off to you. you forgot to say who is doing all that labor. if you do you will only weigh 60 pounds before its all over with...if that much. LOL

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 11:33PM
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dethride(7a / 6b GA)

runningtrails, you must have found my list and posted it! I'm amazed at the similarities, but we both are on a farm, after all.

I'm with seramas on hiring help. I have slowed way down due to being endocrinally challenged all my life. But I love to do these things and will never stop.

Now what did i do with my list?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 3:16PM
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We've extended the garden, next prepping the soil

Expand our canning varieties to diversify

Expand our canned food storage

build or buy a suitable greenhouse

build a dual smokehouse/syrup house

Improve the pastures

Grow our goat herd, investigate new markets

This is my list, hubby has his own.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 8:47PM
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islandmanmitch(z 8/9 FL)

When I was a kid we had kudzu growing everywhere. If you stood still for very long it would cover you up. It does not grow around here anymore. I don't know what happened to it. Now you have me to thinking about it. Add to my list: find out what happened to the kudzu.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 9:34PM
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I HATE IT!!! When it is green it looks like the blob and thats what I call it. That was one reason I got goats. I have very tall trees on my property and you see kudzo twirling all around them and some trees dying from it.

Oh yeah and I forgot to put my bottle tree on the list. soon as I can find some blue bottles.

oh and did I say my scarecrow? I am definitely doing that!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 10:22PM
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Islandmanmitch, have some friends that bought a place near Atlanta, Ga and had it all over the place. With 12 goats, 3 donkeys and 4 hereford cattle they eradicated it by overgrazing on it. They loved it. By what I know of it, it is 18% protein and is very good for grazing animals.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 10:33PM
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Dethride, I guess small farm work is pretty much all the same. We'll have to compare pics on the same projects. Are you called Deth Ride because you have a motorcycle?

I can't wait for hubby to get his out so we can tour the countryside and blow off the dust of winter!

I do plan to do most of those myself, but maybe not all this year. I guess I'll have to prioritize. If I didn't work full time, I would get it all done. I think.

Brendasue, I have looked into canning and would like to start, possibly, well maybe, I'm still not sure. I'm a little afraid of it. (I can picture the explosion of spaghetti sauce all over the kitchen.) I'd like to can meat when we start doing our own chickens next year, and vegetables too and soup and spaghetti sauce and...and...

Is the energy to run the stove when canning, and the cost of lids, cheaper than running the freezer when it's full? There's probably a lot of variables in that question, eh?

I am so going to use my cold cellar this year!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 3:17PM
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I am interested in learning to can as well. Just because it seems like the right thing to do. I have all sorts of fruit trees but I have never tasted any of the fruit because the animals around here, mostly deer and birds, get to it before I do. I have never had a garden where you actually eat what grows. I was thinking of trying something in the raised beds this year. I am not sure what I am going to try. My compost bin seems to be doing very well. I have food scraps in it, lots of chicken poop mixed in with shredded paper and pine shavings. If it is ready to go by the summer then I will try to grow some kind of veggies. Have to look more into it.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 6:45PM
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WE love to can, but recently my wife has to be careful of her salt intake so we freeze most now. Am buying a commercial dehydrator and dehydrate most of what we grow and store it in zip-lock bags for the chickens for winter treats and our share will be stored in sterilized canning jars for long term storage. I understand you can store it for as long as 15 years with very little nutrient loss. The military C-rations were stored for 30 years and was still 80% of the original nutrient values in them.

Plan on dehydrating the meats we raise also. There is so many ways to store food that have not been use in 50+ years. Seems every area and climate condition there are ways to preserve foods that require nearly no energy. Trying to investigate these 'lost' ways and give them a go.

Want to dig a deep storage cellar that is highly insulated and sealed against water leaks to store ice blocks that we make during the winter so by spring it will be near full and we can store perishables in there like a refrigerator. Been working on the exact size and amount of insulation needed so it can last until the following winter to replenish the ice giving us a year round natural 'green' cold storage system.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:48PM
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It's real easy once you get the hang of it! I recommend the Ball Blue Book for anyone canning. It is up to date with all of the standards for food preserving. Also many state extention offices have recipes, too.

Although grandma & mom did it the old way and noone has gotten sick, some of those recipes are not considered safe anymore. Follow the rules, follow the recipes until you get a feel for times for each food & variances, get a good seal, and follow the recommended times (especially for meats) and have fun.

Here are a few websites I use for new recipes:

Start with easy things like tomato sauce, jelly, & pickles. Oh, and those water baths don't cover the quarts very well. Use a large pot to get the 1-2 inches above the lid. Presto Canners are cheap & work very well for those foods that need pressure canning.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:52PM
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Have you ever tried keeping ice in wood shavings? I've read it keeps it cold for months & months. I've wanted a cold storage for about a year, probably won't get it for another 20 or so though, lol.

I'd love to see pics when you finish your CS!


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:59PM
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When I was a kid we used a foot of sawdust on the bottom of a 14' deep well pit, put blocks of ice we cut out on the lake and brought up to the pit on bob-sleds. Used a chain saw to cut the ice into 12"x12"x what ever thickness it was at the time. Put a layer of ice 3-4" sawdust then more ice...until it was full.

Want the building to be made of poured concrete-floor-walls-top and have it sprayed on the outside with that pliable plastic sealer to lock out water. Will use a drain in the floor to drain off the water from the melting ice. There is a sprayed on seamless polymer insulation that will be used on the inside of the concrete. While it is fresh there will be 1/2" thick 4'x 8' interlocking plastic sheeting that will be pressed onto the insulation while it is still tacky. No nails-no glue and they say very easy to do.

This way won't need the sawdust. Won't have sawdust on everything.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 11:01PM
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Interesting idea! I have a fieldstone root cellar under my porch. It stays cool all year, even in summer and has a drain. We use it for another fridge most of the time. There are a couple of months when it is probably not quite cold enough for that in the summer, but it's empty then and we have lots of fresh veggies to eat at that time. Its my egg fridge too.

If it's deep enough, will you need the ice?

I have looked at dehydrators but I didn't think they did enough bulk at one time.

I would like to get away from the dependence on electricity. How easy would it be to can on a wood stove?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 5:35AM
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islandmanmitch(z 8/9 FL)

I do a lot of canning using a wood burning stove. You have to had cooked on a wood stove in the summer to appreciate the saying "slaving over a hot stove all day". You need to be able to keep the stove at a constant temperature while canning. When it is just to hot to use the stove I us a propane cooker. If you are going to be serious about canning I recommend spending the bucks and buy ' All American' brand canner. Heavy duty canner that will last a lifetime. Excellent resale value.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 6:30AM
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Runningtrails, most root cellars stay cool but not cool enough to store meats and dairy products for longer than three days. Between 36F to 42F is optimum for maximum storage of mentioned perishables.

That is why we are buying a commercial dehydrator. It will process 120+ pounds of what ever at a time. There are many marinades that when you have thinly sliced what ever your drying can be dipped into to add that special taste. Most will be dried plain so it can be used for more recipes. The chickens I'm pretty sure they will love their's plain, also.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 10:48AM
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I hope we are all going to be as busy as we are planning to be as we sit on our couches dreaming of our spring projects and typing our lists out. LOL.

We should have some real lively conversations on different projects in the spring. Who was it that told me last spring they were going to paint their chicken coop but it rained every weekend? I am interested in knowing if she ever got it done but I can't remember who it was.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 11:43PM
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I think that was me. I was going to paint that rooster on my chicken coop last fall, but couldn't get to it because it rained every weekend. This year I will get it done but not until it warms and dries up enough to paint and all the planting is done. I can work on other projects on wet days when I can't get into the garden, but not outdoor painting, unfortunately, the paint will bubble. We had higher than normal rainfall in this area.

You're right! We are all gong to be really busy! I hope everyone has time to take pics of the projects as they go and post them here. I'm going to start taking my camera everywhere with me (not to work).

I am trying to get as many projects done now as I can, before spring comes. I hung up the bat house yesterday and am planning to start the chicken coop window installation today. I am trying to prioritize but it's hard. I really want to do that tiled table and chairs, but it's not necessary and the chicken coop windows are. One is, anyway. I have four windows.

I got the wood out yesterday to make the big fancy painted farm sign but decided the chicken coop window is more important. ONE THING AT A TIME!!! I have to make myself focus here and finish one before starting another.

I have also made the cold frame and just have to dig the hole for it to put it in place. I'm waiting for the ground to thaw. Don't have hinges yet for the top, either.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 6:46AM
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I hope you get that coop painted this summer. It was pretty rainy here too. It took months to get the house painted and it is still not finished.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 6:46PM
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