Last Calf of 2014

Monday, March 31, 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?

Book Review: Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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. 

Baby Snapdragons

Monday, March 24, 2014

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.

Scenes from the Greenhouse

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

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.

Book Review: Plantiful

Monday, March 17, 2014

 Plantiful by Kristin Green was a pleasing mix of eye catching plants and plant combinations and practical instructions that appealed to my frugal, plant-lover's heart.  Unlike the average American I have a large amount of land that needs to be maintained as something other than weeds, so words like "self-sows" and "spreads quickly" excite me instead of scaring me off.  I discovered some great new-to-me selections in the plant profiles as well as being reminded of some plants I had overlooked or forgotten.  The propagation information was excellent as well, covering seeds, cuttings, and dividing.  I bought seed for 5 different plant varieties mentioned in this book that I am excited to add to my garden this year. 

Note: My book review posts are all books I have checked out from the library unless otherwise noted.