Thursday, February 19, 2015

Time to Think Gardening!

One of the few things that I enjoy about winter, is looking forward to the arrival of my seed catalogs.  Seasoned gardeners know that planning is the first step when it comes to a home vegetable garden.  By planning, you're saving time, money and ensuring that you will be growing the items that your family needs.  By planning ahead, it allows me to know that I only need to plant half the tomatoes I did last year because I still have 50 jars in the pantry.

Each year, my garden seems to grow in size.  I discover new items I want to plant, or realize that I hadn't planted enough the year before.  Additionally, I am adding items like grape vines, strawberries and fruit trees to the backyard.  This is where the seed catalogs come in handy.

Before Spring arrives, I suggest making a diagram of your garden plot.  Include in your diagram the vegetables that you want to grow, what rows you will put your plants in, how much distance you need between each row, the expected date that you want to plant, etc.

Purdue University suggests that early vegetables like lettuce, green onion and radishes be planted close to each other AND you can replant these yummies several times during the summer.  Items that grow tall, or vine, like pole beans, peas, corn and tomatoes can also be "grouped" together and should be at the North end of your garden so that they don't cast a shade on any smaller plants.

I like to go through the seed catalogs and make two lists.  The first list consists of what I know I will plant in this year's garden.  Then I go through those items, look at planting depth, date to plant, etc and then I make a second list of item's I want to plant to either try, start growing permanently, etc.  Seed catalogs are great for vegetable information (and a lot of it), but sometimes it's cheaper to buy locally and the plants/seeds are just as good. 

Purdue University offers a terrific publication, "Home Gardener's Guide" that offers many tips and ideas for planning your garden early.  Don't wait, look forward to Spring by planning your garden now!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pointers for Blogging

My husband, Bill and I

In 2012, I felt the desire to get back to the basics of life and began blogging about life in general and that, of course, included life on the farm.   I’ve never been one to keep a diary or write down my thoughts but blogging just came naturally.  So what is a blog? A blog is often referred to as an online personal journal of someone’s interests.  For me, those interests include farming, cooking and other miscellaneous items that I can share with others.

If you think that you might want to start a blog, I would suggest first deciding what you might want to “blog” about it.  Ideas can include: hobbies that you enjoy, places that you’ve been, poems that you’ve written and more.  The possibilities are limitless.  The main thing to remember is that you’re blog will be posted online, meaning anyone can read it.

Blogging began in the late 1990’s and there are over 1.5 billion blogs on the Internet today.  You don't need special skills or an advanced degree in technology to just need to be passionate about what you’re blogging about.  If you know how to write and send an email on the computer, then you are good enough to write a blog.  Be sure to consider how much time you want to put into blogging and how often you want to “post” what you’ve blogged about. 

If you’re looking for something simple and free to get started blogging, try Google Blogger, WordPress or Tumblr.  They each have a help guide to get you set up, are free and user-friendly when it comes to creating templates and pages.  If you want something a little more hi-tech and upscale, consider purchasing a domain name. 

I enjoy blogging about my life on the farm.  My husband, Bill, and I operate a small grain farm outside of Mt. Summit appropriately named B&L Family Farms, LLC.  We grow corn and soybeans and raise chickens.  I subject those that help us on the farm to my cooking.  I try out new recipes on them to see if it’s a success or failure before I post the recipe on my blog.  Additionally, I enjoy canning and preserving the summer harvest from the garden.  These are my interests and I find blogging about them to be very rewarding, especially if I am able to help teach someone something new.  So what are you waiting for?  Go ahead and give it a try!