Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.


Friday, April 29, 2016

How to make salad bowl planters

We are still a little too wet for me to get all my planting done.. so yesterday I went around and started a bunch of salad bowl planters.

Instead of growing lettuce in the garden I'll plant all the fixings I need for salads in pots or planters. This way I can get started earlier and be that much closer to an over flowing lettuce bucket.

Start with some good potting soil and start adding your fixin's....

 First the celery...

Then some tiny basil that I started in trays...



These onions sets do great!

Green onions do great in planters - just pop a few in where ever you have room. I start these sets and can use them as "green onions" - even tho these are the red varieties.... or let them bulb out. This was one of my easiest and best strategies last year.  You can also just cut the tops off the onions and let the bulbs get bigger - that works too.

I started these seeds in the planter because I just got them the other day.

And why not add some radishes! Have you seen this variety - Easter Egg Blend? They are absolutely lovely. I had in my notes from last year to get some - so I did.

Done! It doesn't look like much but once they are full they are beautiful. And tasty.

So why don't I just start seeds in the planters?  A couple reasons... and all of them meow and hunt rats. Cats. I'm talking about cats. The barn cats think my planters are fantastic .... their own handy little litter boxes! Yep. And ew!  So this early in the season I start everything in trays that I can cover and keep the barn cats out. As it was, yesterday our Shine, King of Barncats, was out there sitting on my trays. I gave him a scolding and sent him on his way.

Also if I start seeds in trays it's just that much easier to bring them inside if it gets too cold or too rainy - and if I need a bit of heat I can more effectively cover the trays then all my planters which are scattered around.

Here is one that I started last week - see how the onions are taking off and the lettuce is moving right along?

But does it work? Yep! Not only are they delicious they are absolutely beautiful have to have the garden.   And no, it's not like everything is done at the same time - the radishes may or may not be ready when the lettuce is ready to be cut.... but it's fun to have everything in one place. I just go around to the different salad planters and get what I need. 

 
Beautiful and tasty! And everything you need for a salad.

Having these little salad planters is really fun and handy. Sometimes it's quicker just to step outside into the kitchen garden to grab a handful of herbs or lettuce then to trudge all the way up to the upper garden where I'll have a bigger salad garden going soon. Anything to make it easier, right?

During the summer I'll just keep these salad planters going. I'll pop out the lettuce after several cuttings and start new ones... and then I'll make sure the basil doesn't go to flower. I just restart whatever I need. I think I had in my notes to get more onion sets to get some started for later towards the fall. I should get some today.

Happy Friday everyone - are you starting your kitchen gardens? Do you make salad bowl planters?


Monday, April 25, 2016

Potatoes peepin'!

I just love growing potatoes! Check it out....

Potatoes peeping up already.

These are the potatoes I planted on March 27th. I had these taters left over from last fall - I just kept them in the a basket in the basement. When the ground was ready I planted them. I love "free" potatoes. They should be ready about at the end of June  - just in time for potato salad season!

Happy Monday everyone - are you about ready to run right out there and get some work done? I am! Have a great day!


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Seed notes and plantings

Is everyone scrambling to get their seeds in? We are moving fast here. Yesterday I waited for it to rain the whole day and nothing..... Drat. So I ended up mowing the grass and it just made me mad. I did not kill the mower so I'm calling it a win.

How about this variety? I bet it tastes like victory. 

New and different varieties... has anyone tried the Polish Lingursas?

Someone asked what seeds I direct sow and which ones I start in trays. Mostly I start just about everything in trays. We have horrific soil and our chickens are worse..... and then add in the regular bird loss. Starting seeds in trays is just easier for me.

I start potatoes, onion sets, and beans directly in the ground and then most everything else - including herbs and lettuce - in trays.  Half the time the stupid jays pillage the beans tho so I'm careful to cover the rows with half rounds of field fence covered with netting or row covers. This also defeats the chickens.

The only problem with the netting is that the snakes will get caught up in them.... and last year I found one of the tweety birds caught in it. It was very sad. So I try to stay away from the finer netting.

But once the seeds get started - or are transplanted - they take off.  I'm not sure what inhibits the sprouting but I've never had that trouble before. I continue to improve the soil but the going is slow.

I think I might have caught a glimpse of one of potatoes peeping up thru the straw yesterday. I'm pretty excited to see things growing.

Someone remind me that beside the potatoes I have a row of "rotten beans." They really aren't rotten. I kept them from last year but didn't do a good job of over wintering them. I just let them dry out, tossed them in a basket, and kept them downstairs. I put them, pods and all, directly in the ground. They are either going to grow or not. We'll see. I have high hopes.

Next to the rotten bean row I planted some dwarf horticulture beans. Maybe. I'm not sure. I should probably learn to label things better. Hey, surprise beans! Why not!?

Today we'll keep up with the garden prep. I did a ton of tilling over the last couple days. I mowed off and then tilled under the winter wheat/ground cover. I'm leaving a patch of turnips planted last year tho because they have gone to bolt and the flowers are making the beez happy.

Happy Saturday everyone! Are you getting your seeds going?


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Woe to you, Varmint!

The Dread Commander Zander Hannibal BoneCrusher. The Black Death. The Foe Hammer. 
The Night Fears Him.


A Psalm to The War Hounds of These Good Lands.

Woe to you, Varmint! Woe to you!
Did you think you would come here to these Good Lands and steal from us?
Did you think you would bring your malevolent putrescence here?
Woe to you! I say again, Woe to you!

My Most Excellent Good Sir Titan did spy your filthy form.
My Fighting Uruk-hai did run you down.

And then, like a storm, The Black Death did thunder across the field on flashing feet
and did wrest your miserable soul from your now stinking corpse.

Did you think you would test these Good Dogs?
Did you think you would try these Good Lands?
Nay, Varmint, Nay!

Feel you now the full weight of my VengeanceBringer!
Feel the grip of My Right Hand!
Learn ye now the full measure of the name BoneCrusher!

Get thee hence to your miserable death, Varmint, and trouble these Good Lands no more.

So say we all.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sunny, 84*, and seed planting!

Yesterday was just like summer. The dogs and I worked outside all day doing garden prep and seed planting. It was glorious. Everyone was happy...... except for Zander who got hot and wanted to go back inside.

Today is more of the same.  I can't wait to get out there! Look at these cheap seeds!

If you think getting a garden going is expensive then, friend, you aren't living right. Cheap and easy - that's how we do it around here.


First, make your own seed starting mix. Toss together peat moss, compost, and a soil lightener like vermiculite. I've used perlite in the past so I'll letcha know how this goes.

I found this huge bag of vermiculite at Meynards. I've never seen it in a big bag before. It was $16.

Next, get a bunch of freebies from Lowes. Do you know you can just walk into the back of the Lowes Garden Center and get free nursery pots and trays? These are really great - they are nice and deep. Perfect for starting seeds.


Then get your seeds! I actually really love the $0.20 ones... or for just $0.59.... or these nice ones from Burpee that I got on sale from Meynards's. Tractor Supply usually has them on sale also. For $2 or $3 you can grow all the tomatoes you can carry.

Then get growing!

I'm heading out again this morning. Happy Tuesday everyone!


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Stories like this....

Stories like this make me really glad we have a gate...  Did everyone see this hubbub about the guy who lets folks come to his farm for tours and birthday parties? Turns out some gal showed up and very nearly had kittens over the farmer's plan to make meat from a cow.

Quick! Someone please save Nibbles! Can't you see how abused she is!?!

So she got a bunch of folks together to protest it. The protesters want the cow to be moved to a sanctuary instead of going to butcher.  I can't find the link now of her phone interview where she was telling the reporter that the farmer should just go to Whole Foods like everyone else and buy his antibiotic free beef there. I'd laugh if this wasn't as serious as a heart attack. Can you believe it?

So the farmer, Mr. Benner, moved the cow off this property. Yep. Minnie the Cow is on the lam.

Mr. Benner was also being harassed... but he was also getting a lot of support as shown on the farm's facebook page.

The lesson here is if your big plan is to move out to the peaceful countryside, start a farm, and let everyone come on over to see your cows, pick berries or beans in your U-pick fields, or have their wedding at your place.... you might want to add a line item in your budget for "legal defense." Justice is expensive, folks, and defending yourself might be something you haven't thought about. But you should.

We never let anyone on the property and spend more time than we thought trying to keep people - and such - out of here.We are constantly annoyed...and surprised.... at the sheer numbers of fools who want to just show up here and look around. No. The answer is NO. You may not come over. Do not come thru the gate. Stay off our front field.

One of my friends deals with this also. She said the worst case of people coming on her property was when someone intentionally showed up and put her buck rabbit in with her does. She never found out who it was but there was a lot of babies bunnies after that. And no it was not funny at all. Maybe it was a little funny....but not to her.

Moving the cow off his property was a great idea.... You never know if someone would have tried to take the cow. Undoubtedly someone would have ended up getting hurt. Sure that cutesy-putesy cow is adorable until she gets startled and starts swinging her head around. Or if someone tried to get her in a trailer and got kicked. What farm people know that other people don't is that the barnyard is not one big petting zoo.

Livestock can be big, mean and dangerous....even if they aren't trying to be. Any animal can have a bad day. Well intended, but stupid people, can find out the hard way that rustling someone's cow may not only be a hanging offense, but a really really bad idea. It's pretty bad when you have to make considerations for this kind of thing.

Sure it sounds like a fun idea to have folks out to enjoy the country ... but you never know who is going to call animal control because your pigs are in the mud. Or your ducks are outside in the rain. You might think that all's you're doing is living your life but now anyone can plaster your name all over social media and create some kind of protest.

People are crazy, friends, so think hard before you open your property up to scrutiny. As for me, I think Mr. Benner was very wise to stand his ground. I hope that cow is delicious and it tastes like victory every time he has dinner. I'm very glad to see someone stand up against the crazy people in this country who are offended at everything.

Happy Sunday everyone! Were you fixin' to have folks come to your farm? Do you have the name of a good attorney?  Times are crazy, friends.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

So, it rained a little.... and sprouts!

After the last real snow... so we hope... it rained a little. Actually it rained a lot!  We are a big muddy soup now. Yesterday the ducks were hanging out by the new "pond" by the driveway. They thought it was terrific.

Everywhere. This mud soup is everywhere. 

The good news is that my sprouts are doing great! The bad news was that it was not supposed to freeze last nite....I woke up to 26*. I hope my salad is going to be OK.

Potential salad.

Today more sunshine! Allegedly this will be the last cold nite.

Just in case I started another tray of sprouts. I'm hoping for a salad by the end of may

In other news, The Big Man fixed the mower. You know what this means, don't you? Yes, that I will break it again soon. Yipeeeee!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

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