2013 Square Foot Gardens

2013 Square Foot Gardens

Another Simple Map – Square Foot Vegetable Gardens


My Letter to My Representatives & The President

The following is in regard to Congress’ passage of section 735 in HR 933.

“I am so disappointed.  

Once again industrial agriculture has purchased our government at the cost of the people.  I hope you take a moment to remember that these corporations, who wish to flout the court’s decision, continue to make money hand over fist without having to sell those seeds that were illegally approved by the USDA. Meanwhile honest farmers, who try to provide their neighbors with fresh raw milk, or those who simply want to save their own seed without worry that it has been contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified patented pollen, are being fined, arrested, harassed, & losing their livelihood.  

These are the people you are sworn to serve, the people you are supposed to speak for…  Not Goliath corporations who want to circumvent the law and purchase their way past the approval process.  Please remove section 735 from HR 933.”

Please – make your disappointment known!  Visit the link below and tell Obama to block the resolution & let your representatives know you are outraged at their disregard for the voice of the people.


Don’t Let it Ride!

Senator Mikulski (D-MD) tacked on a little addition to the Ag bill, which opens the way for industrial GM seed producers & growers to continue to sell and plant seed that were found to be illegally approved by the USDA as well as GM seed that hasn’t even been approved for use.

According to The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the bill “includes a legislative rider benefiting the biotech industry and undermining judicial review of biotech crops. Essentially, the rider would permit USDA to allow for the continued planting of genetically engineered crops that a court has halted.” http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/senate-appropriations-bill/

The voting is happening this week, so please contact your Senator ASAP & tell them you oppose this rider and urge them to support amendment #74 (The Tester Amendment) to strike the rider from the bill.


Click the link & tell your Senator you OPPOSE  the “farmer assurance provision”, Section 735, currently included in the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill being considered by Congress.

Click the link & tell your Senator you OPPOSE the “farmer assurance provision”, Section 735, currently included in the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill being considered by Congress.

Or, even better, after you add your voice at Food Democracy Now, give your Senators a call and let them actually HEAR you voice.   Find the contact information for your Senators here:  http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup


Are You Serious?

That is… Are you serious about preserving rare and heirloom varieties of vegetables?

I am looking for two people who are SERIOUS about helping to keep an old open pollinated flint corn variety called Longfellow Flint alive.  This is corn grown for cornmeal.  It was historically grown in the New England states and I have not been able to find any seed this year besides what I had left over from last year.

I did a germination test and only had a 60% success rate. SO I packaged the remaining seed into 2 packets of 50 seeds each.  If there is someone out there who loves growing heritage varieties and preventing their extinction, then you’re the person I’m looking for.  If you live in the U.S. and are interested Contact me

I will select 2 names on Friday & send off the Longfellow Flint corn seed free of charge.

Thank you.

Love, Love, Love

I just had a moment this morning and I wanted to tell you all how much I LOVE these two Missouri based companies. If you haven’t yet, you should check them out…

2010 Tomato plants, just blooming, from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

2010 Tomato plants, just blooming, from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds http://www.rareseeds.com
These folks have an AMAZING selection of open pollinated and heirloom seeds. They ship fast & seeds are packaged safely. We have had great germination rates with their seeds & will continue to order from them.

Royal Palm turkeys from Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon Mo.

Royal Palm turkeys from Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon Mo.

Cackle Hatchery: http://www.cacklehatchery.com
So many wonderful heritage breeds of poultry & customer service that just can’t be beat. Heat packs with early chick orders & absolutely reliable shipping dates. Plus they have stunning peafowl, pheasant & duck varieties – even adult pairs!

Heirloom Seeds & Pancakes from Scratch

I want to thank all the people who visited our blog and signed up for our seed giveaway.  There were enough seeds to send some to ALL those who entered the drawing!  YAY!  I love being able to pass on good heritage garden varieties to gardeners who will put them to good use.  If you signed up, be sure to check your email & I’ll be getting your seeds in the mail right away.

On to pancakes!  I use to make pancakes with those boxed mixes – just add water.  Well, a few years back I found a recipe that seemed simple enough.  I tweeked it a little to get the texture & loft we like in our flapjacks and we haven’t ever looked back!  They are yummy and filling and just the thing to warm up a coooold spring morning.   I thought I’d pass on the recipe & give you the chance to try homemade pancakes for yourself.

1 1/4 c. milk
3 T. butter
1 Large egg (or 3-2 bantam eggs)
1 1/2 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
1 1. salt
1 T. sugar
cooking oil
(fresh blueberries or chocolate chips are a yummy option)


Warm milk & butter over low heat just until butter melts, remove from heat.  Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Pour cooking oil onto griddle & begin preheating to 300-350 degrees.  Whisk egg(s) into milk mixture – temper egg if the milk is hotter than “pee warm”  Whisk liquid mixture into the dry ingredients.  Pour by 1/4 cupfuls onto griddle.  If adding chocolate chips or berries scatter over top surface of the pancake as soon as you pour batter on griddle. Flip pancakes when the rising bubbles burst & remain slightly open.  Serve hot with syrup and/or butter – or just eat plain from the griddle!

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Free Seeds – Extras from my 2011 & 2010 Baker Creek Order.

If you are serious about gardening, or serious about propagating heirloom & open pollinated vegetable varieties, or all three, then this post is for YOU.

Over the last few years I focused on purchasing open pollinated seed for our gardens, primarily ordering from Baker Creek in Missouri (with a few seeds from Seed Savers & Johnny’s & potatoes & onions from Fed Co.).  The seeds I am currently offering to give away are all from Baker Creek.  I’ve been very VERY pleased with their seeds & service & I do want to make sure that if you plan on buying other seeds you’ll seriously consider visiting their site at http://rareseeds.com

Each year I tend to order more seeds than I need & this year is no exception.  So I would like to pass on those seeds we can not use.  If you are interested in receiving free seed please send me your name and your top 3-4 preferences from the list below.  On Friday (3/25) we will have a random drawing and winners will be contacted via email, each winner will receive two different varieties of seed from the list below.

(*= Currently sold out at Baker Creek **= A Seed Savers Exchange seed variety)

Here’s the list of seed:

Striped Roman Tomato, 25 seeds: Originally packaged for 2010, 80% germination in our test 3/21/11.

Fox Cherry Tomato*, 35 seeds: Originally packaged for 2010, 100% germination in our test 3/21/11.

Snowberry Tomato*, 30 seeds:  Originally packaged for 2010, 85% germination in our test 3/21/11.

Sungold Select II*, 55 seeds:  Originally packaged for 2010, 65% germination in our test 3/21/11.

Black Cherry Tomato*, 30 seeds:  Originally packaged for 2010, 100% germination in our test 3/21/11.

Royal Golden Watermelon*, 10 seeds:  Originally packaged for 2010, 100% germination in our test 3/21/11.

True Gold Sweet Corn*, 30 seeds:  Originally packaged for 2010, 70% germination in our test 3/21/11.

May Queen Lettuce, full packet:  Originally packaged for 2010, No germination test.

Connecticut Field Pumpkin, 7 seeds:  New seed packed for 2011, no germination test.

Mama Leone Tomato, 15 seeds:  New seed packed for 2011, no germination test.

Sugar Baby Watermelon, 15 seeds:  New seed packed for 2011, no germination test.

Traveler Jalapeño**, 25 seeds:  New seed packed for 2011, no germination test. (SSE seed)

Red Romaine Lettuce, full packet:  New seed packed for 2011, no germination test.

Royal Purple Pod Bean (a variety of green bean) 20 seeds: New seed packed for 2011, no germination test.

Good Luck & Happy Growing!

(*= Currently sold out at Baker Creek **= A Seed Savers Exchange seed variety)

Spring is Coming – Watch the Sales!

You are surely just as busy as we have been around here.  The more frequent warm days bring an eager urgency to the chores, make hay while the sun shines takes on a whole new meaning.  These  days are filled with seed trays, brooder lamps, and special deliveries.  Each day brings a new and marvelous sign of the mirth of a new growing season.  Lambs, calves and kids are hitting the ground.   Ducklings are growing fast, and the chick orders are going in this week.  We have onion sets, bell and jalapeno peppers sprouting and eggplant and tomato seeds are next in line.

Now, as I mentioned, we are placing our chick order this week.  You might ask yourself why I waited.  Originally I planned to order direct from a hatchery.  However when we visited our local farm store a couple weeks ago I decided to check on their prices and minimum orders.  Turns out I could order the same breeds and in greater numbers and still save money!  The individual prices are anywhere from a few pennies less to twenty cents or more.  Plus, the bulk order placed by the farm store does not require me to pay shipping – another $8.75 saved.

As I chatted more with the cashier I told her I’d be having to place my order the next week and she mentioned that If I waited just a few days longer they would be having a sale on the orders.  This is great – I can order a few extra chicks, of the breeds I want, have them delivered to my post office and save $10+.   It is true that they may be arriving in May instead of early April, but hey, the days will be warmer and that can help reduce the time in the brooder.

Take time to check your local farm store or feed store.  They can give you a good price and they may even be able to help you out if you are looking to buy from local producers.  Take some time to get to know the folks at the counter.

Since I’m on the topic of poultry orders I’ll go ahead and tell you what we’re buying:

Buff Orpington (I want broody hens)

Dark Brahma & Partridge Cochin (son wants some feather footed girls or his rooster)

Ameraucana & Maran (daughter wants colorful eggs)

Meanwhile, my daughter chose to spend some of her birthday money on 5 ducklings – 2 Rouen and 3 Pekin.  They are filling the gap between winter and the arrival of our chicks.  Doing a great job of it I might add!

Thank you to all the folks who entered our February Freebie drawing.  Rosalinde in NM will be receiving a free copy of the book:  Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits.  Check back for the next freebie announcement!

The Birthday Girl with her Rouen duckling "Water"

The Birthday Girl with her Rouen duckling "Water"

How Does You Garden Grow….

Seed orders are complete! I have ordered from two companies which specialize in organic and heirloom vegetable varieties.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds- www.rareseeds.com

Fedco Co-Op Garden Supplies- www.fedco.com

Both companies have a great following among folks interested in seed saving, heirloom vegetables, and NOT supporting companies like Monsanto which are establishing monopolies on seeds through gene patents. If you are planning to get elbow deep in developing your own sustainable garden plot these are a couple of great places to start!

This year’s garden will consist of a greater variety of vegetables than I’ve planted before.  I’m eager to try a few of the older varieties of corn, carrots and zucchini.  Last year we let some onion go to seed and saved it to start indoors.  We’ll see how well they do.

Next item on the list will be to gather a batch of eggs to incubate!