In the fall of 2010, 110 blueberry bushes were planted here at 47 Daisies. The plants did extremely well with almost 100% survival. 100% survival throughout the heart of the drought all the way into September........then doom. The very hot, dry weather of September put them over the edge and they started literally crisping like a fried piece of bacon. In an attempt to save some of the planting, 30 plants were transplanted out to their new location up by the asparagus bed. This is now their permanent home and we will assess the survival in 2011 prior to putting in additional plants. The new bed has been mulched very heavily to prevent moisture loss and eliminate weed pressure and will be set up with an irrigation system. The mulch will continue to decompose over the coming years providing needed nutrients for the growing bushes. Assuming that we receive even close to normal precipitation patterns they should do spectacularly and we should have oodles of berries by the 2012 season.
Blueberries are an interesting crop in that they are suited to all types of environments (i.e. shade, sun, poor soil, good soil, etc.). This being said they are a great addition to even a small yard. Using edibles in your landscaping is a great way to increase your own production of food. Blueberry bushes also provide a beautiful flame red color in the fall/early winter as their leaves change colors and the plants go dormant.
Hopefully we get some relief from this ongoing drought!!
If you read the last post then you know that it is definitely spring!! With the arrival of spring we are in full gear here at 47 Daisies. We got home from a meeting for the Ruston farmers market last night aroung 8 pm and sitting on the carport were the seed potatoes!! Five varieties are going in this year and it should be pretty exciting.....Kade insisted that we grow red, white and blue potatoes so all the colors of the rainbow are going in the ground. Hopefully they will be planted by the middle of February and we can expect to start harvesting around May 1st. We also ordered some fingerling potatoes. This will be our first time growing fingerlings and it will surely be awesome, pulling them out of the ground......150 pounds of seed potatoes all certified organic and naturally grown!!!!
We recently received a plant order from a nursery with a variety of different plants (raspberries, strawberries, grapes, horseradish, blackberries and rhubarb). I got all the plants planted weeks ago and didn't have time to plant the rhubarb that day so I stuck it in the crisper of our fridge. There is sat for ohhhh I guess about three weeks. Every day I heard from Harmony "When is this bag of rhubarb going to be planted....I would like the crisper back." So today I had some time and I decided that it was time to plant the rhubarb. I had to till a strip in the bottom to plant it and since it was a warm day I decided to take the hour or so to get it in. I fired up the tiller and headed down the hill behind the barn to the bottom garden beds where hopefully the rhubarb will get enough shade to thrive. I engaged the tines and put them down into the earth. If you have never smelled the fresh sweet earthy scent of the first tilling of the year you are missing out!!! It has to be one of the best smells there is....that earthy smell of winter decomposition wafting up to your nose.....IT IS HEAVEN!!!! I got the strip tilled and then the tiller ran out of gas so I stashed it in the barn and headed up the hill toward the house. I stopped to say hi to Norma and the goats (Norma is our barn dog who decided to show up here and apparently is here to stay). I was walking through the christmas trees planted along the hillside and looked up only to see the second DEFINITE sign of spring........Robins were flitting across the hillside in search of something to eat!!! I skipped and jumped the rest of the way up the hill, tore into the house and very excitedly pronounced to Harmony and the kiddos that SPRING IS SURELY HERE..........I love it!!
Organic apples in Louisiana?????? Some would say that this is simply NOT possible. Well we are going to give it a whirl here at 47 Daisies. With the recent explosion of interest in organic fruit and veggies across the country there has been a strong push to research ways to produce all manners of produce organically without the use of pesticides, fungicides and other synthetic chemicals. We have planted the first 15 apple trees at 47 Daisies and chosen three varieties (Liberty, Pink Lady, and Braeburn) with a multitude of different traits that will hopefully help us succeed in this endeavor. In addition to the pressure from pests and disease here in the south one has to pay particular attention to the number of chill hours needed for a particular variety. Low chill varieties have been developed for areas with mild winters and we will be planting some of these varieties as well in the years to come.
As you can see from the title of this post we are also experimenting with a little known fruit called a pluot. Pluots are a cross between a plum and an apricot and have the potential to grow and produce very well in our area. These pluots are strictly experimental and we will surely keep you posted as they get growing.
Here is hoping for lots of yummy apples, cider, apple sauce and pie in the coming years!!!!
142 is the number of varieties of produce my husband just got in his seed order. He informed me that with this shipment alone, there are 22 varieties on back order. This does not include any of the flower, herbs, potatoes and cold weather crops. If you haven't read the blog about him being a "seed a holic", now might be the time to do that.
What this means for you is a wonderful variety of produce for the CSA and at market. Never a dull moment at 47 Daisies. :)
We have started the process of cultivating shiitake mushrooms here at 47 Daisies. We are 1/2 way through the process, and hope to start harvesting possibly as early as this fall. When all is said and done, we'll have approximately 80 logs ready to grow mushrooms on our "mushroom trail" in the woods (even though it looks slightly like something out of "The Blair Witch Project").
I really had no idea what the process was to grow mushrooms until Dylan started this project. When I first saw the amount of logs he'd cut to grow them on, I started to get the idea that this was much bigger than I'd imagined (like most things involving Dylan). We ran into a problem when we had to wax the holes that the mushroom spawn was inserted into. The night prior to the process, Dylan says to me, "So do you think I can either use your griddle or crock pot down at the barn to keep my wax warm?". I just looked at him, I'm sure, with this blank look on my face...then finally said that probably wasn't going to happen. Things have a way of disappearing when they go to the barn, and I'm kind of fond of both my griddle and my crock pot. The solution was to move the whole process up by the house and have Kade run in at pretty close intervals to melt the wax, since it was pretty cold outside that day (go figure...). It all worked out well in the end, even with Eilah trying to pull all the wax plugs off the logs once they dried.
Shiitake mushrooms are a great addition to our farm. There are endless things you can do with them, fresh or dried. I was actually reading an article about pickled shiitake mushrooms! Kade and Dylan would LOVE that, I'm sure. I think I could even get Kade to eat a mushroom if it was pickled. :)
For more information on the process, feel free to contact us!!
The other day Dylan was watching the kids while I was making dinner, and I decided we need a salad. This is nothing new, but Dylan usually goes and gets the stuff for a salad. He said, "Why don't you go out and get the stuff? It'll be fun". I grabbed a bowl and a knife and practically ran out the door, happy for a little break from "house duty". I went to the hoop house and cut the greens, which felt amazing because it's January. I thought about how great it was that we have had fresh salads for a big part of the year. Then I headed to the gardens in search of the carrots....
I found the patch and grabbed a handful of greens thinking to myself "these carrots are going to be tiny". There's really no way to know what you're going to get when you start to pull them. I pulled, and rocked them back and forth, and pulled...and felt a release...and I had a handful of nice, normal size carrots! It was the best feeling in the world. I tried again, and each time I expected to get little baby carrots, and got big beautiful multicolored carrots! On one of my "pulls" the tops broke off and the carrots were left in the ground. I couldn't just let them stay there, after how hard I'd worked to try to get them out....so I dug in the mud until I pulled up 3 nice sized carrots. It was great!! I kind of went overboard and ended up picking way more than what we needed for the salad, but they were quickly eaten anyway, so it all worked out.
After the carrot patch, I grabbed a few radishes (which was fun as well, but not as awesome as the carrot picking!) and broccoli florets. Our salad was delicious, as usual.
As we open the new year we are slowly dwindling down the crops that are still producing. This is for a number of reasons. Some crops have simply been harvested out (i.e. turnips.....we will plant more in the spring) and others have ceased their growth due to the frequent cold snaps we have been experiencing. There are a few crops that are hanging in there outside in the garden beds and still looking good (collards, carrots, kohlrabi and surprisingly the hardy little herb....cilantro). Beds of salad greens are hanging out waiting for a warm spell to shoot up to harvestable size. In the hoophouse we have greens aplenty but the cold has also set them back (they are growing extremely slowly) but we have had a few salads from the sown mixes. I keep telling Harmony that a high tunnel is in our future and then nothing will prevent the year round growth of fresh local produce. January is also the month when we start planting seeds inside for the coming growing season. We already have collards, broccoli, cabbage, chinese cabbage and leeks coming up in the seed room in the barn. Spring is just around the corner!! Can't wait for the growing season!
Until then....Enjoy the first month of 2011!
In past years, we have always started seeds in our house. Dylan would build a "seed rack" and put up lights and it would sit like a glowing bookshelf in our living room, or kitchen...or wherever we could fit it. This was before we had a CSA, market, farm visits and 3 kids to think about. This year, it was pretty clear early on that we were not going to be able to start seeds in the house. Dylan's solution was to build a seed room in the barn. This, I thought, was a GREAT idea. We have plenty of room and electricity in the barn...so the seed room started to take shape.
At first, Dylan decided to build a framed room and then add plastic to the frame, much like a greenhouse. This was a great idea except for a few things...2 in particular...wind and barn cats. Dylan actually started the room and had a good majority of the plastic stapled to the boards when a gust of wind came through the barn and yanked off all of his progress. We actually never even thought of the barn cats, but why wouldn't they want to be in the nice, cozy, warm seed room? And it would be extremely easy for them to gain access with their sharp little claws.
A new vision took place and soon Dylan was off to Lowe's for the ump-teenth time and picked up some clear plastic sheeting. It is much like the tin pieces you put up on barns, etc., only it's hard plastic, and clear. The seed room was completed with these sheets (and a bunch of "great stuff") and it worked out perfectly.
The finished seed room looks like a small greenhouse inside our barn, which is exactly the vision from the beginning. One wall is facing the outside which gains sunlight/heat during the day, but the other walls are enclosed in the barn so that it won't become overly hot. On nights when the temperature drops we have an electric heater that runs to keep the plants nice and warm. The lights are on the plants for 12 hours a day which provides just enough for them to thrive. Dylan currently has 800 seeds started with another 1200 or so to go. Cross your fingers that the cats don't find a way in!!!
Dylan and Harmony, whichever of us have the time to sit down and write for a few minutes. : )