My Small Farm Blog

small time farming in the city or country

Finishing Touches

Well I went to the garden store and got some compost organic soil to top off my raised bed. This will give new plants in the spring a good base to grow in.Its going to be as exciting to see this produce vegetables next spring as the others we have.Probably I’ll place some old storm windows on it so in the spring when the snow melts it will warm up faster. That works out good for crops that are considered cold crops. lettuce,radishes, onions to name a few. Keep in mind that raised beds work great for starting crop such as garlic or your spring bulbs. There are so many uses for raised beds, that the list could go on and on. I just talked about one way and size,but you can build them or maybe recycle some old pots or perhaps some tires. They can be painted and decorated to place in your landscape. Well time to check out some fall foliage check the apple trees and visit the local cider mill thanks for stopping by. Take

The bottom layer with regular dirt

The bottom layer with regular dirt

One of our roses.It smells nice too!

One of our roses.It smells nice too!

care,happy farming.

store bought compost and organic soil.

store bought compost and organic soil.

 

Labor Day

Hi everyone,Here it is Labor Day.Its a time when we recognize those who work to keep our country strong.  Those who serve our country,our Fire and rescue personal. To the Farmers who keep food on our tables and all the rest. Thank You! I hope you all have had an enjoyable day.God Bless you all.

The skies of September

The skies of September

Labor Day 15 007

 

Almost Done

Well as I said before,I’ve been putting together a raised bed. I placed in an area where our chicken run is and have it fenced off. I started filling it with regular dirt,Then I put a layer of compost.Compost is an important component to success in your raised beds. It provide trace elements and keeps your bed mellow making a good environment for you seeds or plants. The top layer is going to be a few bags of Topsoil and organic material. This of course was just an example of how you can go about having a raised bed.If you’re willing to put some time and effort into your raised beds,you can save yourself a lot of money,but not only that, the rewards for your effort will put a smile on your face. The other point is you can design  them anyway you want to fit in with your landscape. Raised beds are not only for Vegetables but you can plant flowers in a raised bed. Just keep in mind of what the soil needs to grow your flowers.I hope you like my articles.feel free to make comments about them or maybe something you would like to hear more about.Thanks for stopping by. raised bed15

The bottom layer with regular dirt

The bottom layer with regular dirt

Late Summer

Its getting close to the end of Summer. The days are getting shorter and cooler. Its also a time when you are rewarded for your work caring for your crops. The wife has gotten,carrots,beans and green onions. We tried some Red Russian Kale. We got some plants from some Amish folks that sell Plants and fruit trees for the garden.Tomatoes are coming on and we’ve been enjoying sweet corn from a local farmer. Its really an exciting time  of year for the back yard farmer.

Some sweet onion we grew in our raised bed.

Some sweet onion we grew in our raised bed.

Late summer flowers.

Late summer flowers.

Red Russian Kale.A really great green to have right out of the garden or to have in the winter months.

Red Russian Kale.A really great green to have right out of the garden or to have in the winter months.

Placing A Raised Bed

Placing your raised bed can be virtually any where you want.It depends on your approach.Do you want to have more or maybe not. I took the approach that I would try one or two to see how it goes.Since we’ve been using them,we fell in love with them. They are a lot easier to use with very little maintenance. There are endless of options you can do. One  thing is you could use one as a cold frame. A proper cover will help to warm your soil so you can harden off your plants. Hardening off is a process or transition from  inside to outside for your plants.A way of getting your plants used to outdoor conditions.My new raised bed I’m placing in part of the chicken run we have.It actually was a frame from a portable shelter. Its big enough to have the chicken run on one end and the raised bed on the other. I have a fence to keep the chickens out of it. I hoping I’ll be able to put some greenhouse plastic over the framing to protect the bed from the weather. The raised bed holds about 1.75 cubic Yards of material. Really it probably is less than that because I don’t fill them to the top. My raised bed is 16 inches deep. So lets say I fill it with material up to 12 inches. At least 1/3 or more should be compose. I’ll say up front.This is how I do it right or wrong.All I know we have had wonderful crops. I’m more concerned about the top 8 or 10 inches,than the bottom segment so I just put some ordinary dirt in the first layer,followed by a good layer of compost and the is to go to the local garden store and get a few good  bags of gardening soil for the top layer.here is how far i’ve gotten with my raised bed.next time,I’ll complete it and show you what I did.Thanks for stopping by,I hope you have enjoyed these posts.

This is where I'm placing the raised bed.

This is where I’m placing the raised bed.

The bottom layer with regular dirt

The bottom layer with regular dirt

My raised bed

Hi All thought I’d would tell you how I built my raised bed for gardening.This is the forth one we’ve built, and we have had great success with them. I chose to use some rough lumber , I purchased from a local sawyer. Rough cut means that the wood hasn’t been plained or made smooth.Unlike lumber you will see in your local building supply store. I chose Larch wood for its natural abilities to resist rotting,waterproof and durable. One other reason for the choice of Larch is that some pressure treated lumber is treated  with chemicals that are a hazard to some plants.I inserted a few pictures of a raised bed I’m putting together.After I cut all the pieces,that is 4 foot by 8 foot. Remember,measure twice and cut once.In other words make sure of your measurements before you cut.   First I set the first boards on the ground,some refer to this as a dry run.Laying the boards out gives you an idea as to what the finished product will look like. I purchased some slotted angle steel to make my brackets to hold the bottom and top layers together.That will give you a finished product of 4×8 ft. 18 inches deep,raised bed.I hope you enjoyed this  article and you may come up with your own idea of a raised bed. There is nothing set in stone. That’s the fun of it,using your imagination.

dry run of raised bed

dry run of raised bed

slotted brackets to join the top and bottom of the raised bed.

slotted brackets to join the top and bottom of the raised bed.

placement of brackets.

placement of brackets.

raised beds15 014

Raised beds

Hi all ,a cool August morning.A needed rain last night.Its a bit cooler for this time of year. Today I thought we would look into raised beds. There are many types and sizes.You can make your own or buy them ready made. I’m going to cover the ones I’ve built and why I built them that way.I’ll say right off,I’m not a expert when it comes to building things. That’s the point. If you don’t tell yourself you can’t do it,

crops from raised bed

crops from raised bed

Peas came a long great in our raised beds

Peas came a long great in our raised beds

you could save yourself a lot of money.The size and shapes are endless when it comes to raised beds. I built mine with the thought  of ease of getting to it and working in it. Such things like reaching across your raised bed.I built mine so you could easily reach the center from both sides. The other is make it easy on yourself. I made mine higher to make it easier on the back.See insert for some of the crops we grew in our raised beds. Next time I’ll tell you how I built my raised bed. Thanks for stopping see you next time.

Starting Seeds

Hi all;this time I’ll cover starting seeds indoors. Starting your own seeds can be a rewarding. If a plant has a longer growing season,it is a good idea to start them indoors.If you want to get a early start on even your short season crops,you can start them inside. Starting seeds inside can be a challenge because a proper environment is needed to get you seedlings off to a good start. Before starting your seeds,its a good idea to read up on what your plants require.  Some seeds are resistant to certain diseases. There are others that are more suited for your area. Its best to ask  a local grower or others that have experience in gardening. Again cooperative extension can advise you as to what works in your area too.There are four basic things seeds need; is really what we all need. One is the proper growing medium. Next proper lighting. The next is moisture note I didn’t say water because to much water can doom your seeds and seedling wont develop. Light: Plants need on average  12 hours of light or more. Once you get your seeds,you will need some where to put them.What container you use depends on your approach. There are items you already have around such milk cartons,some plastic containers food products come in or if you prefer you can buy some ready made trays to plant your seeds in. When it comes to keeping your seeds warm to germinate, a heat mat that is designed to place under your seed containers to keep the soil at to optimum temperature is helpful. You have your planting container.Then your planting medium,usually if you purchase a  seed starting material that is just for starting your seeds, you’ll assure yourself that your seeds will have what they need to sprout. You need a cover for your planted seeds to retain heat and moisture. You then just monitor then seeds until they sprout.When most of the seeds have sprouted then remove the top and and make sure to provide them with plenty of light. Now the task is to give your new seedlings plenty of light and moisture. Depending on the  set up,  fluorescent  lights about three inches from your seedlings will help. It is said that natural light provides much more light than artificial light,however you will have success with your lighting using artificial light. There are many ways to start your seeds.I hope this shed some light on one way you can start seeds. Explore your options and you decide what works best for you. Thanks for stopping by. Please leaves comments if you’d like.

 

Planting Time

Hi everyone.That time has come to plant your garden. Drawing a plan of your garden will help make sure your garden is a success. grouping plants together can help  when planting early or cold crops as oppose to those that do better in slightly warmer conditions. An example of cold crops are lettuces,onions,peas etc. Tomatoes,sweet corn and peppers are examples of warm crops. Check you seed packets for planting times and number of days till harvest. Some short day crops can be planted again before the season is done. Spacing of plants is important for proper growth for your plants. Now do you plant seeds directly in the garden or do you purchase plants already started. You can also start seeds indoors.We’ll cover that in another article.Thanks for stopping by,hope to see you next time.

 

Preparing your Soil

Last time we talked about turning the soil by hand.In this session we’ll touch on a couple of different ways of getting your garden ready to plant. When I was growing up on our farm,after the threat of frost had passed and the ground was warming up,we would start getting equipment ready to till the ground to plant crops. Some fields we would till in the fall if possible.The thought behind that was  the soil would be more mellow in the spring. This same approach can be applied to your home garden. two ways I’ll be covering is plowing you garden or using a rototiller. There are pros and cons to each. A tiller can be a all in one tool meaning you don’t have to have several different to get you garden ready. The tiller, there is the front tilling tiller or the rear till tiller. There are the type you walk behind or the type you attach to a tractor. Well what you use may depend on the size of your garden. Then it may also depend how much you want to invest in your garden project. When we tilled the land on our farm,first we plowed our land.You want to make sure the furrows  rolled over ,so just like digging by hand so the top of you soil get mixed in with the fresh soil you just plowed. You can do the same for your small garden. You can hire someone to plow your garden for you or you can purchase your own equipment. Same rule of thumb,make sure you plow to  at least 8 inches. Unlike with plowing, Tilling is a all in one thing.Meaning you don’t have to use any other equipment to get you gardening ready for planting.Tilling your garden can be fun if you follow a few techniques. One is never till when soil is to wet. Never till to much. That is just enough to work you soil to 8 inches or more deep and have mellow soil when you are done. Usually you want to till in more than one direction.That is lengthwise one time then maybe crossways the next. Your final pass should be in the direction you want to plant your garden. This pass should be only the top 6 inches of your soil.Well I hope this gives you some ideas,about preparing your soil.There are lots of books and even garden clubs that have more ideas to make sure your garden is a success.Happy gardening everyone. Thanks for checking out my blog.

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