Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Giggle and other Larks, Quips and Snickers

Our Aussie Dahlia had her first litter back on April Fools.  Here are PUPPY PICTURES!  Actually the joke was on us.  She had them on the 2nd day of the month, but we still used April Fools as our theme for naming the litter.  Here is Miss Giggle at two weeks posing with a few of our Mini Rex bunnies.

Go to our Kennel website, Outfox Aussies for more pictures of puppies.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The color is green.

After winter's blanket of gray, my garden has returned to green.  Few of the colorful Spring flowers are out yet, so I enjoy the green.  Everything is sprouting and growing.  Maybe this new garden will fill in nicely, but I bought a few more flower seed packages today to spread around to fill the gaps and make the garden even more intensive. 

Here's a quick tour for today:
The wormwood that we rescued from another garden has a friend in a wayward pea sprout.

Tomatoes are putting out blossoms next to edge rows of golden beets.

The sugar pea bed is half way up the pea sticks.  A volunteer lettuce sneaks its way into bed with the peas.

From front to rear: green onions rescued from the bottom of the veggie drawer are blooming, lavender sends up shoots, oregano spreads, salvia adds its pink, rosemary stands steadfast, sage is copacetic  in the back.

Napa cabbage hasn't complained yet of the close spacing while spinach and lettuce together mulches the foreground.

Last fall's kale goes to seed beautifully.

Sage and salvia get along

Winter's cover crop of daikon blooms on the edges of the garden.

Broccoli tastes still sweet when blooming.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I sold my first produce at the market!

Ok, it was a HUGE sale of $2.70.  I listed my extra Borage herb seedlings and sold three, which I lovingly wrapped together in peat pots, tape and my computer printed label. I love the Locally Grown Foods coop here in Little Rock, run by the Arkansas Sustainable Network.  They are a real great bunch of growers and pasture feeding ranchers who allow my little urban farm to contribute in its tiny way.

This week I put up my extra tomato starts, the sage, and my broccoli flowers.  I've had huge sales on each.  WooHoo!.  I'm in Agbusiness!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Is this Urban Homesteading movement catchy?

Bye Bye Grass - My "garden" last summer
Yes, I plowed up my new front and side yards this year for a massive garden, but I've been doing this kind of homesteading for decades.  What pricks my interest is the startling number of times I hear that people have started their first garden this year.  Seems gas and food prices and the recession has spurred many on.  The rising distrust of the whole BigAg food chain and its suspicious quality has some concerned enough to try gardening.  The paranoia of some podcasts and watching CNN is enough to get others prepared.

Yesterday was a big day though.  My new neighbors to the north converted their south faced dirt driveway into a raised bed garden.  That was not too surprising.  They have chickens and an intense personal and profession interest in creating local food agriculture.  The lady of that house works for the Arkansas Sustainability Network.

More surprising however, the family across the street had their gas motors going tilling up the grass front lawn.  Seems their foundation beds of tomatoes last year just weren't enough.  Now they have committed to the movement.  Lawn as farm; a wonderful aesthetic if I do say so myself.

The neighbors to the south were out working on decks and tree houses and trimming the trees to get more sun into their front herb beds and rear vegetable parterres.  The lady of the house repeats her chicken envy.  Maybe this year she will break down and go farm all the way.

The neighbor across the street and down a ways with the raised hoop beds was bringing in new compost and the lady of that household was over at my garden asking what was growing.  Another neighbor across the street was planting herbs in her newly landscaped front beds.  I know she harbors a permaculture forest garden in the rear of her house.

Dirt!  My garden with transplants and seeds started.
What's going on?  Can we really be seeing Urban Homesteading as a sustainable way of life taking hold?  Wouldn't that just be the ticket?  Growing and preserving and enjoying life right in our own community.  I can dream can't I?

Meanwhile, I plot along with my own land.  The picket fence is almost done.  The beds are made. What remains of the winter cover crops are flowering.  The seeds are planted.  The rabbits are kitting.  The chicks are chirping.  Our dog is nursing puppies. My persimmon tree is moved to its showy spot in front.  Now for those spring showers...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Direct seeds

The planting for the garden is in full swing.  Not only have I put out all the transplants, but I have most of the early spring direct seeding done.  No sooner had my transplants been in the ground, then thetemperature dropped.  Luckily my milk jug cloches were close by and I put tarps over most of the transplants.  I only had to do this for one night, thank goodness. We have past the average last frost date, but one never knows.  My wife keeps asking if I am going to put away that pile of cloches in the front yard.  Not yet.  Not yet.

Direct seeds into the garden include:
Marshmellow Althaea officinalis (Horizon Herbs)
Angelica, Angelica archangelica (Horizon Herbs)
Valerian, Valeriana officinalis (Horizon Herbs)
Melon Honeyrock Cantaloupe (Organic Burpee)
Cucumber National Pickling (Peaceful Valley)
Catnip (Peaceful Valley)
Beets Golden (Renee's Garden)
Parsley King Flat (Renee's Garden)
Cilantro Slow Bolt (Renee's Garden)

The cold frame is completely put away.  I have turned the manure into the soil and put out alternating seedlings of peppers, tomatoes and zucchini. Behind them against the fence will be my cantaloupes and cucumbers.  On the fence behind the fruit trees where the blackberries are starting to make whips will be winter squash vines.  I'll throw cucumbers on my side picket fence and nasturtiums later on the front picket fence.

Its all so overwhelming to keep up with all the seeds, but it is nothing to what the wife is tending inside.  Our darling Dahlia had her aussie puppies today.  More on that later...