Friday, February 24, 2006

Learning and Growing

Look what the mailman brought on Thursday!

I started reading Pastured Poultry Profits that night after dinner then brought it to bed with me. After the words began swimming on the page and I kept losing my place, I finally put it down and forced myself to shut off the light. Joel Salatin's operation is far and above what we plan to do here and there were a couple of things with which I disagreed, but he does have a lot of experience and wisdom to share which I am certain we will profit from. I think we will take his advice not to order chicks until they can be shipped when the temperatures are at a consistent 50 degrees or more to avoid health problems from the cold. That gives us plenty of time to fix up a brooder, build a pen, arrange for feed, etc.

My seed order from Baker Creek arrived this afternoon. As I tore open the big yellow padded envelope a profusion of colorful packets tumbled out......33 to be precise. I must have been feeling extra ambitious when I ordered them......or delirious! They also included a planting guide which looks to be helpful. I've saved up about a million cartons and plastic containers so now I'll have to determine which ones to start indoors and when, not to mention where. Thankfully I have wide windowsills and lots of sunny windows plus an enclosed porch.

About a week ago Anna-Rose planted a sunflower in a pot of compost she charmed out of a local farmer at our state agricultural show, and it's already six inches tall. I wasn't planning on planting any flowers this year....we have plenty already on the property....but sunflowers are useful besides being beautiful so I'm encouraging her to plant more. KSMilkmaid has some great ideas for including children in growing and learning about vegetables, wildflowers, and herbs. Who needs to sit behind a desk to learn when you can be up to your elbows in the soil with the One who created it as your teacher?


Anonymous HolyMama! said...

my kids love sunflowers, too. And so much easier than almost anything!

7:01 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Hi Emily, we didn't have our chicks arrive last year until the middle of June, and that worked well for us. Jonathan still had to use a heat lamp and keep a careful watch on them since it still was chilly at night. We didn't butcher until the end of Sept., and that worked out perfect for us. I'm still waiting for the seeds we ordered, and should check with our resident expert (Mountain Fire Keeper) to find out when things need to get started inside. I'm so thankful we don't have to do it all by ourselves! We had sunflowers growing out by my clotheslines last year -- they were planted by the birds, and it was so much fun to watch them grow.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Scott Holtzman said...

Pastured Poultry Profits - Yeah! for you. I'm planning on picking up a copy in the future, but will wait for the appropriate time. We're going to be bringing some sunflowers to market this year with our setup for the Coffee Company. The farmers market here in Catskill is growing (no pun intended) each year and this year will be Catskills Bicentennial, should be fun filled, a great place to meet people with shared interests.

You’ll have to go to my profile and click on my email to send me your snail mail address I will ship you out a sample of our Brazilian Vargem Grande. It is a wonderful desert and after dinner coffee with fruity notes and a full city roast. Truth be told, it’s what I drink all day, every day! (::grin::)

12:49 AM  
Blogger Scott Holtzman said...

Sorry about that, seems that it went wayward.........e-mail is my name Scott[@] Just remove the brackets around the @ sign.

I don't like posting it because of the overzealous mailer bots that pick up address for Spam mail.

Hiding in an electronic age can be hard at times! 8^)

12:31 AM  
Blogger HomesteadHerbs said...

Goodness! You've got your reading and planting cut out for you!

Carla Emery's book is wonderful! She was a wonderful lady, and I miss her terribly. I had her give a presentation at my home last year to all my homesteading friends. She was lovely, we bonded instantly! She even tried to match me up with a gentleman she knew.... distance was too great though.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous KS Milkmaid said...

Hey there:

We have had really good luck with getting chicks all year round now. Carla Emery's book suggests putting vinegar in their water to prevent problems. It has worked like a charm. Thanks for the link!!

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pest control in the perennial garden
If you have any good tips please post trhem on my blog

One of the many advantages of growing perennials is the ability of these beautiful flowers to return to full bloom season after season. While this ability to bloom repeatedly is one of the things that makes perennials so special, it also introduces a number of important factors into your gardening plan. One of the most important of these is a proper pest control regimen.

While a garden full of annuals starts each season as a blank slate, the perennial garden is essentially a work in progress. The fact that the plants stay in the ground through winter makes things like proper pruning, disease management and pest control very important. If the garden bed is not prepared properly after the current growing season, chances are the quality of the blooms will suffer when the next season rolls around.

One of the most important factors to a successful perennial pest control regimen is the attention and vigilance of the gardener. As the gardener, you are in the best position to notice any changes in the garden, such as spots on the leaves, holes in the leaves, or damage to the stems. Any one of these could indicate a problem such as pest infestation or a disease outbreak.

It is important to nip any such problem in the bud, since a disease outbreak or pest infestation can easily spread to take over an entire garden. Fortunately for the gardener, there are a number of effective methods for controlling both common pests and frequently seen plant diseases.

Some of these methods are chemical in nature, such as insecticides and fungicides, while others are more natural, like using beneficial insects to control harmful ones. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, many gardeners prefer to try the natural approach first, both for the health of the garden and the environment.

There is an additional benefit of the natural approach that many gardeners are unaware of. These days, it is very popular to combine a koi pond with a garden, for a soothing, relaxing environment. If you do plan to incorporate some type of fish pond into your garden landscape, it is critical to avoid using any type of insecticide or fungicide near the pond, since it could seep into the water and poison the fish. Fish are extremely sensitive to chemicals in the environment, especially with a closed environment like a pond.

As with any health issue, for people or plants, prevention is the best strategy to disease control and pest control alike. The best defense for the gardener is to grow a garden full of the healthiest, most vigorous plants possible. Whenever possible, varieties of plants bred to be disease or pest resistant should be used. There are a number of perennials that, through selective breeding, are quite resistant to the most common plant diseases, so it is a good idea to seek them out.

Happy gardening,

1:05 AM  
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1:03 PM  

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