Farmgirl School Live!

cs-show

I would cordially like to invite you to the Colorado Springs Home and Landscaping Show this weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  If you love decorating, improving, gardening, and events as much as I do, you will love this show!  HGTV, inspiration, ideas, and of course, White Wolf Medicine will be there!  And yours truly is one of the guest speakers.  I will be speaking all weekend about how to create an Apothecary Garden, how to create a Tea Garden, and about High Altitude Farming; Tried and True Tips.

So, if you already know me and Doug, come out and say hello.  If you haven’t met us, come out and introduce yourself.  I would love to meet you.  Maryjane Rose will be there Friday and Saturday as well helping me spread Farmgirl cheer!

cs_hs_seminarschedule-700x1082

Colorado Springs Event Center 3960 Palmer Park Boulevard at Academy with Free Parking!

Show dates, times, and ticket prices are as follows:

Colorado Springs Home & Landscaping Show:

Friday, January 20, 2017 1 pm – 7 pm
Saturday, January 21, 2017 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday, January 22, 2017 11 am – 4pm

Adults $6, Youth 16 & under free!

http://ColoradoSpringsHomeShow.com

Farmgirl Gardening Series Week 12

Jpeg

Every year’s garden is different. As soon as you think you have it figured out, the next year throws you for a loop.  This is why becoming a professional farmer can cause severe anxiety issues.  There is no control.  Over anything!  Here in our three community garden plots we are simply trying to feed ourselves for the summer.  And we are eating delicious food.  This year we may not see pumpkins (which is crazy to me, my farm was called Pumpkin Hollow Farm, for crying out loud!) but we will see for the first time ever sweet potatoes.  We have had lots of rain for Colorado and it shows.  So for starting with a plot that had sand and ant hills, with little amending to the soil, and two tons of hail thrown in, I’d say we’re looking pretty good this year.

Jpeg

In season now are peas.  Glorious purple snow peas and crunchy snap peas.  A few thick pods of English peas are ready but I do believe that I am missing several vines of English peas.  The rabbit seems to know nothing of it.

Jpeg

The collard greens are prolific and delicious young.  Crisp them in the oven with the snow and snap peas, some garlic, salt, and a good drizzle of olive oil for a farm to table side.  The tomatoes are setting on their vines as well.  Yesterday I did have a hankering for fried green tomatoes but they aren’t quite that big yet!

Jpeg

The cabbages are growing their heads.  Now, there is a fine line in the high plains of Colorado, one week you could have happily growing cabbage and the next little black bugs will be sent by Mother Nature to take them out since they aren’t ready yet.  The clean up crew.  So, sometimes you can just harvest as is, without the finished head.  Chiffonade the leaves and stir fry.  With the snow and snap peas, of course!

Jpeg

Some of the potatoes have flowered and some are yet to flower.  Potato flowers are amazingly beautiful.  They always surprise me in their lovely understated elegance.  I let the mustard, radish, and arugula plants go to seed.  I enjoy their flowers and they may reseed themselves, which is always a nice treat.

Jpeg

The herbs have been prolific.  Waving California poppies, knee high cilantro in bloom, morning glories grasping for the trellis, volunteer borage with its star-like blooms.  Chamomile and its glorious scent, the first head of Calendula, roses.

Jpeg

Lots of fresh lettuces, baby carrots, greens, young onions, and herbs await.  I am better after an hour in the garden.  My medicine.  Watching the water crystals from the sprayer bounce off the leaves of the great sunflowers, watching birds flit by, a lady bug lands on a nearby leaf.  I am in my element in a garden, wherever it may be.

Farmgirl Gardening Series (Knee High by 4th of July)

“Here we go corn, here we go!” clap clap “Here we go corn, here we go!” stomp stomp.  My cheerleading days come in handy around here.  The corn is indeed up to my knee.  The sweet corn will likely make it before the season ends!  Some of the popcorn is up to Maryjane’s knee and I don’t think that counts, but we will keep cheering and watering and see what happens.

I did not ever thin the carrots.  I meant to, I really did.  I reached down and pulled one of the thousands of seedlings and out came a tiny little carrot.  I dusted the dirt off and ate the sweet the little thing and decided I rather like baby carrots and wandered off to the next task.  In season this week is the end of the mustard, kale, lettuce, arugula, collards, and herbs.

Just like when kids go from being little ones and one year in junior high shoot up taller than dad, the plants will do the same.  They are ten year olds right now, just cute and new but in the next four weeks we will see them jump up and start coming into their own.

Jpeg

The gardens look beautiful.  Each person’s plot their own, filled with their favorites, the bunny rather enjoying the buffet.  Shh, I told him I wouldn’t tell on him!

Next week, compost tea and fall crops (already!), see you ’round the garden!

Friday Farmgirl Series Week 8 (radishes and respite)

The radishes are here!  The first of the crops.  Beautiful pink and red orbs peeking through the soil.  What gifts.  I appreciate food so much more in a garden.

Checklist this week:

Jpeg

 

#1 All seedlings that are four inches tall must get thinned.  Gosh, they worked so dang hard to grow for you and then you just yank them out of the ground!  But we can’t let everyone grow in one spot, or they won’t grow at all.  The broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage gets down to one plant per eight inches.  You could throw the seedlings in a stir-fry, but I forgot about mine after working the rest of the garden and they will just decompose back in the earth.  Give the ones standing some encouragement!

Jpeg

 

#2 I use a hoe or trowel to make trenches down rows.  This doesn’t work in all the rows as they are so tightly planted this year but between corn rows is a real time saver later.  When the corn is so tall and the pumpkins are spread all over, it is nice to fill the trenches two inches with water with a hose from one end of the garden and its done.  A mindful use of water and quick.  Though, quick isn’t always the goal.  It is so nice to be in the garden.

Jpeg

 

#3 Harvest your delicious radishes as they get about one inch wide.  Not too big or they get woody.  This allows the radishes next to them to spread out as well.

Jpeg

 

#4 Replant what is missing.  I am missing a lot of corn.  Not sure if the package wasn’t good or the birds around those parts love corn in the soil, but I planted a few more for good measure but really, we only have a four month growing season so they probably won’t make it.  Faster growing plants can be seeded still.

Jpeg

 

#5 Water daily, pick weeds, but don’t get stressed about it.  Cherokee roses are in bloom!

portrait

#6 Spend time in your garden this week just sitting.  Or reading.  Or daydreaming.  Doug caught this picture of me in the garden.  I love that garden.

Enjoy the week because next week we thin carrots!  ugh!

Farmgirl Gardening Series- Week 2 (Potatoes and Other Spring Crops)

Well, it’s snowing again.  As I write, warm in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot, earthy coffee, I watch the rain/snow mix fall weightlessly to the ground.  Maryjane thought Santa was coming the other night.  But, even folks that live in Colorado forget that April is one of our snowiest months and we have two more weeks before Santa can put his snow boots away! Still, the finches are singing and a quiet hush is over the land as the blossomed fruit trees drink and the earth softens with moisture.

Last week if it were even fairly warm I was at the Community Garden.  Opening a little late, leaving a little early from work, goodness, it’s a very good thing I can’t fire myself! (so this summer should I be missing from my shop go to the community gardens…)

Now, let’s get to work, spring crops are going in!  I lined the paths I created with thick blocks of straw.  Underneath, as I empty the bags of garden soil, I slip the bag beneath the straw as weed suppression.  I will place walking stones across these as money allows to hold everything in place.

Use a good old fashioned hoe to rough up the areas and to easily pull up errant, non-medicinal weeds.  You see that I purposely am gardening around the Cherokee roses and mullein!

The first row of potatoes (russet) will be joined by garlic.  Any organic garlic from the store will work (conventional vegetables are sprayed so that they cannot be planted).  A row of potatoes every foot and a half or so and a long row of garlic cloves next to it.  I used this marker to show where  ran out of garlic cloves, cause I’ll be damned if I waste even two feet of space!  In went kale seeds.

The next two rows of potatoes were joined by yellow onions.  When I ran out of onions, I planted chard.  Just dig a hole, nestle seed potato in, cover with garden soil.  Cut a thin row with your hoe, put a few seeds per few inches, cover in garden soil.  That is how we will plant everything.  Water, cover the whole thing with a light, and I mean light, covering of straw. We aren’t trying to suppress weeds here yet, just keep the soil from drying out too fast, and leaving little seeds exposed.

Jpeg

I use tomato cages to hold up vines.  Around the outside of the tomato cages every three inches or so goes in a pea seed.  Four cages of snap peas, four of my beloved purple snow peas (just like immigrants and travelers and migrators of old, I have carried my seeds with me through our journey this last year), and four of Alaskan shelling peas.  In V shaped lines zigzagging between cages went four different kinds of lettuce, and more kale.

I had room at the end of the peas (see how many vegetables you can get in a small space?) I planted a few seeds in each hole a foot a part of quick growing cabbage.  Greyhound cabbage, it’s called.  I love it because we loved and miss our greyhound!  In a tick tack toe grid between the cabbages went radishes.

Another row went in of another kind of cabbage and Doug’s favorite, cucumbers, every other.  The last foot and a half is for corn, beans, and pumpkins, and sunflowers but we won’t put those in for two weeks.  I left a foot on the north end as well for the same.

In the other bed Maryjane and I started one row that contains beets, three different colors of carrots, pak choi, spinach, and cauliflower.  Then one of broccoli who will probably be interplanted with soy beans.  Seeds will grow, planting 1 or 2 in each hole is quite sufficient, unless you have a three year old gardener.  I think she planted 20 cauliflower seeds in each hole.  She was so cute doing it though!

Paths in, seeds lightly covered, now we wait for the rain and snow to moisten, then Nudah (sun) to come out and spread enough warmth to germinate the seeds.  Soon it will be summer.  See you next week!

 

Farmgirl Gardening Series

Jpeg

I rented three 10×20 plots from the community garden.  I went yesterday to sit with the land and watch, listen, look at the soil and note what may have been planted there.  My plots are a little rough.  Very sandy, very dry.  Weeds popping up.  But it is a blank canvas.

Jpeg

I could  have rented the snazzy ones down the way from my apartment.  For $200 one could have a 5×10 fully amended garden bed ready to go.  Fake turf lines the paths between the beds.  Easy.  Mine was $30 for a 10×20.  It would have cost me $800 at the garden nearby for equivalent space.  I think I can take a hundred of that and go get some soil to amend in. This is my garden for a whole year or until I have my own again.  We are starting from scratch.

Jpeg

Every Friday I will lead you through successful organic gardening.  Each week we will talk about how and what to plant, what to harvest (and on Wednesdays we will cover how to preserve), and how to have the most amazing Eden.  I will be writing specifically for the high plains of Colorado (about 6500 feet above sea level with about zero humidity), a very difficult place to grow, so the rest of y’all can just follow along knowing you are probably having an easier time gardening but you can use all the same tips.

Jpeg

I went yesterday to determine whether Maryjane and I should hurry up and get potatoes, garlic, and onions in.  We could amend the rows real quick.  We are getting a glorious rain and snow storm tomorrow that could get the sets going.  But looking at the weather we are in for five days of rain and snow.  I would risk decomposing my potato, onion, and garlic sets before next Wednesday so I will wait.  It is all about timing and being able to act quickly to get done what needs to be done.  The best would be to plant on a warm day with a good snow the next.  With the rain we are looking at getting, the soil could wash away as well.  We’ll plant next week.

Jpeg

I will blog as usual during the week but next Friday I will see you back in Maryjane’s and my garden.