Saturday, April 22, 2017

Family Farm Day 2017

We are so excited to kick off our farm opening with Family Farm Day! We wanted to celebrate our family farming here in Middleton for 50 years. Walter and I have farming deep in our roots, but I am the third generation to be here on this land, and it's exciting to me! We hope that you will bring your families' to enjoy a day the farm! 

Come out and feed some animals, maybe try your hand at goat milking or roll in the mud with the pigs! Take a ride on our hay wagon to see the cows, or try out our new barrel train. If you get to hot picking in the garden we'll have a water slide here for you to cool off! There will be a whole hog roasting for lunch while it last! 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

6 Tips to Get You Gardening

This time of year I get really excited about spring coming, and although my to do list doubles daily--it's still an exciting time of year. One of my favorite things is gardening! Here's a quick run down of how to prepare for your soon-to-be garden! 

#1 Plan out your garden- I'm a lister, (and after 3 kids it's the only way I can remember anything anyway) so it's a good thing I like to do it. Take some time to plan out your garden on paper. This will save you time and money when you get ready to set out your plants. Make a list of what you would like to grow, and determine how much room you have to work with. Configure your row spacing, length, and plant spacing. Your rows should be far enough apart so when the plants grow larger, you can still till between the rows if you use a tiller.  I found this chart on Gardening Know How for a guide on plant spacing. Also consider companion planting and crop rotation.  By planning out what you want to plant you can decide how much seed to order, how many plants to buy, and if it's more effective to start your own plants or just buy them ready to set out!

#2 Order your seed- This is my favorite part! I sometimes have trouble picking because I want them all! If you do proper planing though it will make it so much easier to only buy what you need. I order my seed from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (SESE for short). SESE has a good selection of heat and drought-tolerant plants that we need in our area. Also, Baker Creek has a BEAUTIFUL catalog! And Tomato Growers has a good selection of hybrids if you prefer those varieties. I order from them all! (I have a seed addiction, admitting it is the first step right?)

next years fertilizer
#3 Prepare your soil- While your waiting on the seed to arrive you can prepare your soil. The best thing you can do is take some soil samples which we did through our local extension office. It's not hard and it only cost $7 per sample for us. It takes a few weeks to get your results back, but you will get a detailed list of what you need to apply to your soil. The general rule is to apply your lime in the fall, because it takes time to react with the soil. It's a more complex process than I can get into here but if your soil has a balanced pH then it will absorb the fertilizer better. Don't worry though: you can still apply your lime! It might just take time before you see the results. I don't use a lot of commercial fertilizers in my garden because we have an awesome supply of natural fertilizers here. Just be sure when using compost you've given it plenty of time to cycle so it doesn't burn up your plants.

#4 Start some seeds- Different areas will need to start seeds at different times. Find out when the average last frost date in your zone is by using this usda zone finder. Most seed packs will tell you when to start your seed, and some will tell you to start weeks before the last frost date. Check out my post on Starting Seed  for more in-depth details about successfully starting seeds.

#5 Weed Control- This is always the biggest failure for me. I let weeds overtake my garden before I get to enjoy the first tomato! This year I'm going to fight those weeds with a better mulching system. I plan on using wheat straw to mulch around all my plants--and do not use just any hay or you will deposit seeds from the hay for next years garden! (personal experience!!) I'm also experimenting with flame weeding and sterilizing seed beds with plastic. If you would like, you can treat your dirt with products like Premerge. I haven't used these products but it sure is tempting sometimes. Whatever you do, if you can take some time now to combat weeds you will be thankful later!

#6 Set out your plants- Now the fun part! Put some plants out! This time of year I'm already getting cooler crops out. I like to direct sow my root crops--like carrots, beets, radishes, ect. Lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage are plants that I generally start and then transplant. Check out this article and date calculator for when to plant. I've already started my peppers and tomatoes in the greenhouse, too!

Hope you enjoy these 6 quick tips on getting your garden going this spring! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Seed Starting

After all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I had a week to recuperate and clean house before I started thinking about my garden. It's one of my favorite things in the spring, and as soon as I get the new seed catalogs I'm making a list (love my list) of what I want! I have a small seed hoarding problem. I do generally pull out last year's leftover seed and figure out what I already have, before I order more--but hey, it never hurts to order more! 😁 You can read about how I get my garden started here

Soil- After you order your seeds from your favorite seed company, (top of my list is Southern Exposure) you want to look for a good soil to start them in. What you can find in your area will vary and the cost will vary, too! Get what you can afford, but this isn't a place you want to skip out if at all possible. Name brands like Pro-Mix and Lambert are big locally. I found Bonnie's seed starting mix at our local Co-op for about $30 for a 3.8cu ft compressed bale. This is a bathtub full of potting soil, not what most people need, but you can find smaller bags of stuff to fit your needs. Seed starting mix isn't just dirt: it is mostly composed of peat moss, perlite, and/or vermiculite. It's just what those little seeds need to get a good start so you will have a healthy plant! 

Containers- This is the fun part! I start my seeds two ways, the bulk method (putting all your seeds in one tray and dividing them after they have a few leaves developed) and individual plugs (each seed has its own container). I really don't have better results with one or the other. In the bulk method it seems to be easier to keep your moisture even, but it's a little more work to divide the seedlings. I do prefer to start with this method because it saves space and soil. When you germinate in a full sized pot, it takes up a lot of space and sometimes they don't sprout which means you have wasted a pot and soil. Get creative with your containers, there are a ton of cheap ideas on Pinterest

Heat- Okay, this is where I failed big when I first began starting my seeds myself: heat. I can't stress this point enough: you have to get those temps up around the clock to get your seeds to germinate! I began with a small green house from Tractor Supply, something similar to this, but a walk in. I was all excited and set it up in a good sunny spot and put all my pots with seeds in there, watered, and waited, and waited, and waited. And nothing. My greenhouse was hot in the day time, I had to open it everyday to keep it ventilated--but still no sprouts. Well, the temperature at night was still too low, and I wasn't aware I needed to keep them warm at night too! As soon as I got those little boogers heated up they sprouted within DAYS! 

Light- This is really important once your seeds have sprouted! If you don't get them enough light your plants will get tall and leggy and they can't develop a strong stem to hold themselves up! If you have them in front of a window or where the light source is one-sided: be sure you turn them so they don't lean! 

Moisture- The last key to send germination is moisture. It's a balancing act. You need moisture to soften the hull of your seeds, and keep the soil soft for the tender young plant to come through. If you have too much moisture your plants will be more susceptible to fungi and diseases. 

Once your seeds have sprouted, allow them to get the third or fourth leaf before transplanting them in bigger pots. From that point give them plenty of light and water, and fertilize them once a week. Certain plants will require more heat than others while they wait for you to harden them off and put them in the permanent home! 

Whichever way you do it, enjoy your plants and the fruit they produce! 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Let's Celebrate!!

Today would be my Papaw's (Walter Elmo Moore) 87th birthday!! He is the one who bought this farm we now call home, in 1967. That was 50 years ago! It has deep meaning to me, that I'm the third generation to work this land and repair these fences (joking fencing isn't fun). Walter (Coleman, the hubs) and I truly enjoy the lifestyle we have here, even though its hard work it is so rewarding. Our children, (the fourth generation) can't even begin to understand the blessing they have yet, but hope is to sustain this farm for them! We have an open door policy, and always love visitors but this year we are even more excited to focus on sharing farming with our community! 

We are OPENING to the PUBLIC!! 

This kinda sounds silly, all typed out here, but that's the best way I know how to say it! We love our farm, and we love that we can grow our own food, and work with our hands, and take care of animals. We do realize this doesn't work for everyone, so we want to be able to share with you the enjoyment! I'd love to share some of the hard work too, but I doubt people would be so excited about that! There is a lot of planning and paperwork (yuck!) going on over here, so we could use a lot of prayer that God will lead us in the right direction with things! 

We want you to be able to come and bring the family for a fun and educational experience. Pick your own vegetable from the garden, or just buy some from the farm stand. We will have plants for your own garden if you enjoy gardening yourself. See first hand where your food comes from, take a ride out on the hay wagon to look at the cows and pigs. Pet the goats, and feed the chickens!

 This fall, come visit us for your fall decor! We'll have pumpkins and a corn maze!! 

JUNE 24th 2017

Come out a celebrate 50 years of family farming here in Middleton! 
My dad's big 60th Birthday!! Cupcakes, BBQ, and a water slide for the kids! 

 We are super excited about that we have planned! There will be NO ADMISSION or PARKING CHARGE to visit the farm!!  We will have to cover our expenses though, so we will have tickets to adventure the corn maze, and ride the hay wagon in the fall (or we will be broke and you can't come back next year).

Keep an eye out!!! We look forward to seeing you! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Manic Monday

After a fun filled weekend helping my in-laws at the Germantown festival, I had to make a run to the processor with our hefty batch of pastured pork, and pick up the last batch! It's a long trip, we left the house at 8:30 and didn't pull in the drive til around 4:30! We stopped once on the side of the road to pee, three times for snacks, and once to get another cooler because 2 hogs filled up the entire truck bed of coolers and then some! While we where out we did do some educational things, like read road signs, meat scales, write weights, and learn how to quickly pack meat in coolers! So nice on days like today, we can take field days! I thought it was fascinating today, while we waited to unload are ethically raised pork, they meat processor was disposing of the interior parts that generally don't get taken home by the customers. It was some what smelly, but they take them somewhere for dog food? So if you pass a some what stinky 18 wheeler dump truck...

Some weeks seem like they just get slammed with things though. I sat down to write a follow up post about my Menu Monday, or whatever I titled the last post but haven't fully summed it up. So far, we are doing fairly well, we have only missed 2 nights menu meals, eating out one of those! I did find a few kinks in the system I should work out better for the next 2 weeks? I'd love some input on a few things, like the grocery list- do I include things like spices, milk, butter, ect.? I have those in my home all the time, and who its almost impossible to calculate cost when you only use 3 tablespoons of flour??