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Monday Harvest Report February 16, 2015

More warm weather here in Utah!  We had high’s in the 50’s & 60’s all week.  Even the nights have been warm.  In the past week I was able to leave the covers off the cold frame 4 nights!!

Spinach

That sure is making the spring cold frames grow great!!  Look at this spinach!

Swiss Chard

And the Swiss Chard is ready to harvest as well!!

Lettuce Seedlings

No harvest this week because what we harvested at the end of last week lasted the week.  But here’s a quick update on our seed starting.  These lettuce starts are a little over 2 weeks old now, so it’s time to start fertilizing them once a week.  They will be ready to go out in the cold frame in about 3 weeks!

Cole Seedlings

And I decided to start my Cole crops a little early this year.  Last year I started them on about February 25th.  The broccoli & cabbages really felt like that they could have gone in sooner, so this year I started them on February 7th.

Seedlilngs

So these starts have been in for a little more than a week now.

Seedlings 2

Everything has germinated except the  celery which is always slower to come up.   Pretty good progress for just a week!

Check back with us later in the week and we should have some great posts for you.  Valerie has another post ready in her healthy living series and I’m just finishing up a post on our drip PVC watering system!

We are sharing today’s post on the Monday Harvest report!

From the Farm Hop 2/13/15

This week brings something new and exciting to Stoney Acres.  We have been asked to help host a weekly blog hop called:  From the Farm Hop! Each Friday we will help host this hop along with 9 other blogs.  We are super excited to be part of the hop and I feel like it will add a lot to our little blog!

 

Each week I also get to choose a favorite post from the prior weeks hop to feature here on Stoney Acres.  This week I chose to highlight a great post on building a PVC green house/Hoop house written by Lady Lee’s Home.

 

DIY-PVC-Greenhouse-46

What a great tutorial on building a high hoop!  This is on my list of things to build some day if we ever actually get a little acreage to build it on!!

 

Now, let’s get on with the party! This week’s Favorites:

Congratulations! Grab your button and display it on your blog!

 


 
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Scroll Down for this week’s Party!

 

Warmly,Your From the Farm Blog Hop Co-Hosts: The Homesteading Hippy | Spring Mountain Living | Lil’ Suburban Homestead | The Homestead Lady | Urban Overalls | Once Upon A Time in A Bed of Wildflowers | Oh Sweet Mercy | Lady Lee’s Home | Honey’s Life | Lone Star Farmstead /Stony Acres

Grab the Badge

 


 
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Making Homemade Seedling Mix

Making Homemade Seedling Mix

Late winter and early spring are the perfect time to get your seedlings planted.  Over the years as I have taught and attended gardening classes the question has come up several times about making your own homemade seedling mix.  I don’t claim to be an expert in this area as I usually just end up buying a good organic seedling mix from the local nursery.  But the question comes up enough that I thought it would be a good idea to chase around the internet for you and find a few really good Homemade Seedling Mixes for you.

Before I give you all the recipes let’s talk ingredients.   Most mixes call for 4 things, compost, peat moss, vermiculite and perlite.  You will also sometimes see a recipe call for coconut coir which is very similar to peat moss.  Coconut coir is a little harder to find but is generally considered a little “greener”, meaning it is harvested in a more sustainable way.  I don’t have any experience using Coconut Coir so your on your own.  But everything I’ve read says it retains water better and has more nutrients in it than peat moss,  so if you can find it in your local stores then it is a great choice.

Homemade Seedling Mix - Compost

Compost

The compost you choose for your Homemade Seedling mix should be well rotted.  Look for a compost that has broken down well and doesn’t contain large pieces of wood and other material.  I also really encourage you to use an certified organic compost.  I’ve heard a lot of horror stories of non-organic compost containing left over pesticides or herbicides that end up killing your seedlings before they even get started!

Homemade Seedling Mix - Peat moss

Peat Moss

Peat moss is usually sold in large “bricks” that are packed solid with material.  A brick of peat moss can last you quite a few years.  Peat moss gives your homemade seedling mix structure and water holding capacity.

Homemade Seedling Mix - Vermiculite

Vermiculite

Vermiculite is used for it’s high water holding capasity.  This heated mineral looks a lot like mica and is used in small amounts in homemade seedling mixes to help the soil retain water.  When you are working with vermiculite is is a good idea to wear a mask as it can be a lung irritant.

Homemade Seedling Mix - Perlite

Perlite

Perlite is basically a volcanic rock or glass that has been heated and “popped”.  We use it in our homemade seedling mixes to add structure to the soil and to prevent it from compacting too much.

So below you will find several homemade seed starting mixes that I have found around the internet.  None of these are my recipes so in each case I have included a link to the website where I found the recipe so that you can go there if you would like more information!

Homemade Seedling Mix #1
4 Parts Compost
2 Parts Peat Moss
1 Part Vermiculite
½ Part Perlite

Homemade Seedling Mix #2
4 Parts Screened Compost
1 Part Perlite
1 Part Vermiculite
2 Parts Coir (or peat moss)
(recipe from http://www.organicgardening.com)

Homemade Seedling Mix #3
1 Part Peat Moss (or coconut coir)
1 Part Vermiculite
Water
(Recipe from http://www.bettervegetablegardening.com/)

Homemade Seedling Mix #4
6 Parts Organic Coconut Cori (or peat moss)
1 Part Perlite
1 Part Vermiculite
1 Part Vermicompost (or compost)
(Recipe from http://yourgardeningfriend.com/)

 

Have fun experimenting!!  Don’t forget to check out my seed starting video course.  Follow the link below for more information and for a $5.00 off coupon when you sign up for the course!!

http://ourstoneyacres.com/seed-starting-simplified-grow-garden-seedlings

Monday Harvest Report February 9, 2015

Our unseasonably warm weather continues, and along with it a lack of rain or snow.  We have had temperatures in the 60’s and close to 70 all week!  I’m really starting to get worried about what our water supplies are going to be like this summer!  If we don’t see a big turn around I’m afraid we will have all kinds of water issues!!

Monday Harvest  -Garlic

Here’s a sure sign that it has been warm!  Our garlic is already starting to sprout!

Monday Harvest  - Spinach

The warm weather really has helped the winter garden.  Look at these spinach plants!  We have never had spinach look this healthy this time of the year before!!

Monday Harvest  - Swiss Chard

And the little row of Swiss Chard looks just a good!

Monday Harvest  - lettuce

And we even have a little bit of overwintered lettuce left!  We have 3 or 4 heads this size that are still left to harvest.

Monday Harvest  - Bok Choy

We have had some nice little harvests over the last few weeks.  I cut up 3 overwintered Bok Choy plants that have gone into several stir fries over the past week.

Monday Harvest  - Carrots

We also harvest a few of the overwintered carrots.  We had such poor germination with the carrots last fall that we really won’t have much to harvest this year.  We have harvested about a pound so far.  But I bet we are already about 15% through the bed.  We will be really lucky to get 8-10 pounds this year.

Monday Harvest  - Seedlings

Our first batch of seedlings are coming along nicely.  These lettuce starts are about 2 weeks old now and should be ready for the cold frames about the 1st of March!

I’m also very excited with the early success of our new video course on Seed Starting!  We already have 110 students in just over a week!  If you are interested in taking the course follow this link for a special deal for Stoney Acres readers!!

So our totals for the last couple of weeks are:
Carrots – 1 pound
Bok Choy – .75 lbs
Spinach – .25 lbs
Total – 2 pounds

This makes our total for the year 3.66 pounds!!

We will be joining several blog hops this week including The Monday Harvest Report and Good Morning Mondays.

Online Indoor Seed Starting Basics Course

Hey guys,

I am super excited to announce that after 2 month of hard work I have completed my first online video course through Udemy.com!

Indoor Seed Starting Basics

The course is on Indoor Seed Starting Basics and is a very comprehensive look at what you need to do to be successful starting seedlings.  There is over 2 1/2 hours of content and I have it packed with everything I have learned over the years about seed starting.

I had a blast making this course, it has been a super fun 2 months putting it together in my spare time.

The course will be selling on Udemy (an online education site) for $19.00.  But as faithful readers of Stoney Acres I wanted to offer you a chance to take the course at a big discount while it is still in the final review stage at Udemy.  So for the first 30 readers that sign up using the instructor coupon code below you can have it for only $10.00.  This offer is only good for the next 7 days so please jump at the chance before February 6th 2015.

So here’s what you do,  simply follow this link www.udemy.com/indoor-seed-starting-basics.  Sign up as a student on Udemy and then buy my course using the coupon code, StoneyAcres1.  And you will get $9.00 off the retail price!  I’m super happy with how the course turned out and I think you will all enjoy it.  Here’s the promo video that I filmed for it this morning to give you a little taste of what’s to come!

 

 

Maybe now that this course is finished I will finally have a little time to blog again!!!  :)  Thanks so much for reading!!

Monday Harvest Report January 26, 2015

I promise our long absence from the blog will be explained very soon.  We have been working hard on a project that has been super fun and very time consuming!!  But I’m almost done and I hope for a big announcement later this week!!

The weather here in Utah has been VERY strange for January.  Highs have been in the 40’s and for the last 3 days we have had highs in the 50’s!!  That is almost unheard of this time of the year.  The nice thing about all this warm March like weather is that the cold frames are just thriving!!  We are still harvesting lettuce every week and I even pulled a few carrots.  The spinach crop is way ahead of where it normally would be this time of year and we will need to start harvesting it again soon!  I’m even tempted to go out and plant a few seeds inside the cold frames and see how they do?

My biggest worry is water for the summer.  So far we have only had one really big snow storm all winter.  That could make for some really dry conditions and water restrictions for this summer!!

Monday Harvest Report Lettuce

We have been harvesting a pretty steady supply of lettuce from the cold frames.  I have picked 1/2 pound for each of the last two weeks.  It is still sweet and tasty and is making some excellent salads!

Monday Harvest Report New starts

I also got started on the first seedlings for 2015.  I planted 13 cells of lettuce.  I’m hoping these will be up and ready for planting in the cold frames on March 1st.  You will notice I used 3 different methods for seeds this time.  Cell packs, newspaper pots and peat pellets.  This is kind of an experiment on using different methods for starting seeds and relates to this “big project” I have been working on since the first of the year!

The harvest total for the last 2 weeks are just 1 pound of lettuce and brings our yearly total to 1.66 pounds!  Not much but still off to a good start for 2015!!

I will be joining Daphne this week for the Monday Harvest Report!!

2015 Gardening Goals for Stoney Acres

2015 Gardening Goals

So I’m a big goal setter!  Every year at the first of the year I sit down and try to map out a few things that I would really like to accomplish in the different aspects of my life.  The gardening goals are no exception to that.  So here’s a look at what we have planned for 2015 around Stoney Acres.

Garden Production Goals for 2015

In 2014 the home garden produced a total of 711 pounds of produce.  That was short of our goal of 775 pounds.  But last years shortage came from a combination of poor soil (it was our first year in this garden) and no melons from the home garden.  I got the melons planted late here at the home garden and they never really got a chance.  We only got one small Crenshaw melon the whole year.

So our goal for the home garden for 2015 is 875 pounds!  Yeah I know that 160 pounds more than we had last year but I’m pretty confident I can pull it off!  Why, well for one we will be adding some new beds this year and the other is I’m determined to get our normal 100 + pounds of melons from the home garden this year.

2015 Gardening Goals borrowed space

What about the borrowed garden space?  Leo has told us we can use it again this year but we are planning a few things differently for that space.  For one we are not going to grow as many melons there.  Last year we grew a ton and sold them to the neighbors, but I’m not sure I want to do the “selling” thing again this year.  It worked out okay but I wasn’t all the big on trying to round up customers to sell melons to.  So this year I’m going to grow fewer melons and just give the extra away to friends and neighbors.

2015 Gardening Goals Corn

We are also going to grow more potatoes in place of the melons.  Last year we had 3- 40 foot rows, this year I am going to add a 4th.  We also want to extend our sweet corn harvest so we are going to do that by adding another 3 rows of corn and staggering the plantings a bit so that we have a longer amount of time for fresh corn on the cob!

Last year we had 600 pounds from the borrowed garden, this year I will be happy with 400.  The breakdown will be 200 pounds of potatoes, 100 pounds of corn and 100 pounds of melons.  I may use some of that space to experiment with a winter squash or something else like that as well.

 

New Beds and Structures for 2015

As you may remember we got a new fence (or really a wall) on the south side of our property last year.  We weren’t planning on that so it ended up adding a lot of shade to two of our garden beds.  The one closest to the wall was the one impacted the most, It will be in the shadow of the wall for all but maybe 3 months of the year (June, July, August) so that will cut down the production in that bed a ton!!

2015 Gardening Goals Trailer Bed

We have decided to replace that bed by adding a bed here on the west side of our yard.  We are going to add an 8 x 12 foot raised bed.  For the next few years we will use this bed for popcorn, melons and pumpkins.  The bed will get plenty of morning and afternoon sun so I think it will do great!  We will have to hit it pretty quick in the spring so that it is ready for planting by early May.

2015 Gardening Goals Patio Bed

We are also going to add a small 30 inch bed all the way around the patio out back.  We will use this bed to plant some flowers, herbs and veggies.  This will be a great addition to the yard and will soften the look of this other wise bland concrete patio.

2015 Gardening Goals trellis

Last year we planted these two grape vines.  By the time we got them in last spring it was pretty late, so the plants spent most of the year getting established and not growing much.  But I’m sure they will take off this spring so we will need to get them some support.  The plan is to add a nice trellis here that will look similar to the one at the front.  Valerie has always wanted a grape tunnel in our yard so this will make a fun entry to the back yard!

Potted herbs; in the past our garden grown herbs have been limited to parsley, chives, basil and some times some dill.  This year we really want to expand the number of herbs we are growing so we will be adding some nice big pots to the back patio to grow herbs in.

New Plants for 2015

2015 Gardening Goals New Plants

So I found this year that I’m getting a little bored with the same old veggie varieties.  Many of the veggie varieties we grow we have been growing for the entire time we have been gardening (that’s 17 years!!).  This year I’m going to shake things up a bit and try a few new varieties to replace old favorites:

  1. Glacier tomatoes (this is an early cold resistant tomato)
  2. Crocket Bush Beans
  3. Royal Burgundy Bush Beans
  4. Two or 3 types of shelling beans
  5. Arcadia & Umpqua broccoli (Arcadia for the larger heads, Umpqua because it is open pollinated)
  6. Leeks (we like leeks but have never grown them???)
  7. Peanuts (Valerie really wants to try these so I’m making space this year)
  8. Sprouting Broccoli
  9. Winter Density Lettuce
  10. Tom Thumb Lettuce
  11. Napa Cabbage
  12. Blackberry
  13. Chamomile
  14. Lavender
  15. Peppermint
  16. Oregano
  17. Thyme
  18. Stevia

 

Also if I can find the room I want to try the following:

  1. A pumpkin with an edible (hull-less) seed
  2. A smaller zucchini plant
  3. Some kind of fun summer squash (i.e. a fun color or shape)
  4. Parsnips
  5. A hotter pepper for making paprika

If you are interested you can jump to this page to see a list of all the edible plants we will be planting this year (the list is surprisingly long)

Flowers

2015 Gardening Goals Flowers

We also hope to add a few new perennial and annual flowers to our yard this year

  1. A climbing rose bush on the east of the house
  2. A forsythia bush
  3. Bleeding heart
  4. Snap dragons
  5. A trailing petunia for some of our flower pots

So there you have it, my 2015 gardening goals for Stoney Acres!  I’d love any input you guys might have!

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