Ms Robin's Garden

  (Caneyville, Kentucky)
Happenings on the Hilltop
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More unconventional Gardening

Remember the posting where I determined I was an unconventional gardener?  Well, I just wanted to share the progress of some new growing techniques I've been testing. One is Winter Sowing and the other two are using Grow bags and Self-watering Planters.
I have 36 Winter Sowing containers with flower seeds and herbs. There are 21 half gallon juice jugs and 15 disposable pie pans with clear plastic dome tops. These containers and jugs of seeds were to be sat outside in the winter weather and would germinate at the proper time for each of them. I didn't get the Herbs outside soon enough and they started sprouting in just 4 days. They are all doing very well and are close to being ready to plant out in the garden. The flower seeded jugs did get moved outside and just started sprouting a couple of days ago, but appear to be doing well, too.
The 4 Self-watering Planters are home-made using a bucket and a colander. These are working great for the Cherry Tomatoes. They provide a constant supply of water, which is essential to tomato health. I'm planning on making up several more of these.
I started a few Potatoes in homemade Grow bags in the greenhouse a couple of weeks ago, just to see how these would work. I took a bunch of large dog food bags, punched a lot of holes in the bottom, turned them inside out and rolled the tops down. I put a few inches of soil in the bottom of each bag and planted a couple of seed potatoes. As they grow up, I'll unroll the bags a bit and stuff some straw into the bag. I'll continue doing this until the bags are totally unrolled and filled with straw, then, when the plants start dying back, there are suppose to be Potatoes that have grown in the straw.
I would love to post pictures of these projects and other sights around our place, but I haven't yet figured out how to post pictures here. Hopefully, I can figure it out soon!

Chores and Chickens

It's sure been nice to get this break from the dreary cold. We've been able to get outside to tackle some yard work, while getting a healthy dose of fresh air. One thing about living on a farm, the chores are never done. Yes, some can be put off for a little while. In most cases though, those small chores turn into big jobs if left undone for too long. We're currently working on finding the chicken coop and attached pen that were engulfed by monster weeds last summer. Just never had time to get to it before the weeds got away from us. Luckily, the previous bunch of chickens had been adopted out a few months earlier. I'm still debating on buying chickens this spring. It's always nice to have the very freshest eggs and they are quite entertaining.  However, since we prefer to let our chickens free-range during the day, it would mean putting up about 500 foot of fence around the two new garden plots to keep them out. They have a tendency to want to taste just about every tomato, melon and squash in the garden, in spite of the fact that they are served the same things most evenings for dinner.
I finished seeding the last of the available seed trays with the rest of the pepper varieties and some flower seeds. Some of the seedlings started a few weeks ago will be ready to pot up to larger size pots soon, freeing up several more trays, which in turn will be reseeded with something new. I'm really pleased with how the seedlings are coming along. They'll be a good size for transplants to the garden in April.
I tried something new this year with some of the flower seeds, called winter sowing. The concept is fairly simple: take some kind of container (milk jug, large soda bottle, plastic take-out containers), open it up and poke some ventilation holes in the top, put a few inches of damp potting mix in it, scatter seeds, cover with a little more potting mix, close it and tape the container to secure, set outside in the cold and the seeds will magically germinate at the right time. No muss, no fuss, no seed trays. Yep, fairly simple! Only problem is I didn't do it soon enough and most everything has germinated already due to the warmer weather. Oh well, I did want to plant lots of flowers this year. It will just be earlier than I planned.
If it doesn't rain much tonight, we're going to plant the spring vegetables over the next couple of days. I'll tell you all about it next time....
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