Friday, April 18, 2014

Mason Jar Flowers: 4.18.14

A quick trip around the yard with my clippers resulted in this casual bouquet composed of light and dark lilacs, raspberry foliage, and some unknown shrub foliage.

 The previous owners of our house deserve most of the credit because the only things I planted were the raspberries.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Snapshots

I have been too busy to get out the real camera, so all you get today is phone snapshots.  The flower field is coming along.  We have the plastic rolled out but we need to get the irrigation hooked up before we can plant.  I am hoping to make some progress on that this weekend.  As you can see the greenhouse is full to overflowing with seedlings ready to more out into the sun.  We have had lovely weather and I wish I would have been a bit more prepared to take advantage of it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Baby Tomatoes

 You are looking at summer-time bliss in plant form.

 I planted Sungold, Suncherry, Sunpeach and Sungreen cherry tomato varieties for Farmer's Market this year.  I can't wait to try the new Sungreens which I discovered here.

The list of all the other tomatoes I am growing "just for fun":
Early Girl
Cherokee Chocolate
Virginia Sweet
Bonny Best
Solar Flare
German Pink
Principe Borghese
Italian Paste

All together I have about 200 plants started but a good portion of those go to my sister and other friends and family.  It is possible that I got somewhat carried away when ordering seeds, but there are worse problems than too many tomatoes, right?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Last Calf of 2014

 Our last cow to calve, #16, had a little heifer calf on Sunday morning.

  We didn't see any trouble with the birth, but the momma went a little crazy.  She butts her calf into the fence instead of mothering it nicely.
We had to haul them both from the pasture into a little corral so we could put the momma into the squeeze chute to let the baby nurse.  We have them in separate pens for now so the baby doesn't get injured.

Hopefully the momma's mothering instincts will kick in soon.  How can she resist this sweet face?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review: Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener

Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener by Joseph Tychonievich satisfied my curiosity about plant biology without getting overly scientific.  If, like me, you are always wondering the why of things, this book will be hard to put down even if you aren't planning to breed your own plants.  The practical process of plant breeding as it would apply to a hobbyist is clearly laid out from the generalized how-to of crossing plants to the reward of selecting your new favorites. 

I now understand F1 hybrids and have learned about outcrossers vs. selfers and how to successful breed and save seed from either type.  The discussion of diploids, tetraploids and triploids and finally knowing how they created seedless watermelon was also fascinating to me. 

The last third of the book takes you through the specifics of breeding the most common garden veggies and flowers, giving you the information you need to start creating your own successful crosses.  This section is pack with lots of interesting plant history.

After reading this book I felt like I had a much more comprehensive grasp of how plants make seeds and the different ways in which they pollinate.  Even if I never create my own breed of tomatoes, I can save seed with confidence knowing whether or not the seed will be true to type. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Baby Snapdragons

Snapdragon seeds are the tiniest little seeds.  Planting them was a bit challenging but now we have 144 baby snapdragon plants in the green house growing strong.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Scenes from the Greenhouse

It is the day before the official day of spring, but thanks to my greenhouse I have been getting a jumpstart on the season.

 Early started Sweet William with the hopes that this biennial will flower for us in the first year.

Delicious baby lettuce for the table.

Last year this plant bolted on me in May so I am getting as early start as possible.

Some parsley which is my favorite herb, and also planted early in hopes of flowering.

A gift of baby succulents for my sister's birthday.