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Why Your Seedlings Are Leggy

Are your indoor starts starting to look spindly and leggy without much leaf growth? This is common in starting your seeds indoors. Don’t worry, I have a solution for you, and luckily there are ways to prevent your precious seedlings from growing leggy.

Seventy-five percent of the time seedlings become leggy because of insufficient light. When your natural light is too dim they instinctively reach for that light. If your plants are next to a window, remember to rotate them every day so every side of your seedlings get some sun.

Your seedlings need 12-16 hours of sunlight to grow into a nice strong plant. In the winter days we just don’t get that kind of light, even if your window is south facing. A quick home gardener fix to this is to purchase a fluorescent or grow light. You can purchase these at a local hardware store or garden center. Hang two of these one to two inches from your plants.

The next reason your plants tend to be leggy is higher temperatures. High heat can cause rapid growth of the stems but not the leaves, you want a nice balance of growth for your starts. Seeds love to germinate at 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit but once your seeds have sprouted they like it anywhere between 60-70 degrees during the day and 55-65 degrees at night. As soon as you see your seeds sprout, remove your greenhouse dome or plastic wrap. If you’re using a seedling heat mat you can go ahead and turn that off as well.

Inconsistent watering can wreak havoc on your delicate seedlings. Seed starting mix can easily dry out if you are not consistent with your watering. Even the occasional missed watering will put them in survival mode because they are not getting the proper nutrients they need. Water your plants from the bottom to ensure they are getting enough. Putting your pots in a tray will help your plants suck up all the moisture they need. It is easy to forget to check the tray for water so set a reminder for yourself on your phone or a calendar.

Crowding your seeds can create spindly plants as well. It is very easy to just scatter your seeds in their designated pots and thin them when it’s time. Giving your plants proper space is important. When seedlings get crowded they compete with one another and keep stretching and stretching for that light.  Space your plants at least one inch apart. To help with seed control check out our mini seeder.

 

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Thank a Farmer

This winter, like every winter, we feed cows. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Rain or shine. Not one cow gives us a tip or says thank you. But that husband of mine never complains and is always happy to feed his cattle.

Sundays are my day to drive the tractor so Chase can kick hay off the feed wagon.

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m somewhat of a fair weathered cowgirl. I don’t like to be cold and I’m usually quite content in the heated tractor. But this Sunday I thought, what they heck… It was cold out but the sun was shining – why don’t I kick the hay off and let Chase drive the tractor. I usually only do this once a year, but today is as good as any, right??

I jumped on the feed wagon and we were off to the North field.

Four big bales were pushed off and our cow friends were happy!

As we made our way back to the barn to get another load. My husband turns around and is waving his hands and motioning me to look forward and to hang on to the trailer.  I can see him throw the tractor in high gear. I jerk forward, look ahead and I see a skunk.

Next thing I know I’m being sprayed by a skunk.

Needless to say, I haven’t kicked hay off since.

Next time you sit down and enjoy a steak or a juicy hamburger… take a moment to thank a rancher.

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Beet Cake

 

I follow Eve Kiltcher from Alaska The Last Frontier on the History Channel and with her winter storage beets she made a beet cake for her son’s birthday last year. She never posted the recipe so I went on a Pinterest hunt for one. What would we do without Pinterest?? Good ol’ Martha Stewart had the recipe!

Since I had a few leftover beets from last year’s garden I thought I would give this a try! I made this for Valentine’s Day for my sweet Cowboy. We may or may not have eaten the whole cake… I’ll never tell…

So if you’re wondering what to do with your beets that are in storage or just want to try this yummy moist cake. Here’s the recipe:

  • 4 medium beets
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups of sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup safflower oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Boil beets until tender. This took about 20-30 minutes. Drain beets and put beets in food processor. Blend until smooth.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda in bowl. Whisk eggs, water, oil, vanilla and about 1 ¼ cup of beet puree.
  3. Spray 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake for about 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Let cool.

Since this has vegetables in it you can have two slices right??

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Farm Goals 2018

Christmas has come and gone and we are in the New Year! 2018 is going to be a great one! I can feel it!

I’ve got goals people…farm goals…

 

Chickens

  • Replace fence and extend chicken run
  • Plant foraging greens
  • Build 3 more nesting boxes

Pigs

  • Mend hot wire fences

Sheep

  • Replace old ewes
  • Find a new ram

Farmhouse

  • Paint exterior of house
  • Paint fence
  • Take out carpet in parlor and add new flooring

Garden

  • Add a row of lavender in front flower bed
  • Build 3 more raised beds
  • Finish building outside farm table
  • Add a trellis to the garden
  • Keep growing all of our produce
  • Harvest our rhubarb and raspberries that we planted last year
  • Plant strawberry patch

Orchard

  • Prune fruit trees

Greenhouse

  • Build potting bench

I love love making lists and checking them off. This helps me organize my life! Farm life is never tidy.

What are some of  your goals this year?

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Potato Stamp

 

This year I really wanted to do something different with our Christmas wrapping paper instead of the same old stuff year after year. Then I remembered in kindergarten we did arts and crafts with potato stamps. I figured this would give me the vintage look I wanted and my little man could help me. This is a perfect Christmas craft to do with the little ones and its really inexpensive. It’s a win win!

 

Supplies:

  • Cookie cutter
  • Potatoes
  • Brown wrapping paper
  • Knife
  • Stamping pad or paint

 

Directions:

  1. Cut potato in half
  2. Take the cookie cutter and press it into the potato
  3. Leave the cookie cutter in the potato and carve around the cookie cutter
  4. Remove the little pieces of the potato to get the shape that you want
  5. Now you can stamp away!