05 January 2012

Seeds for my 2012 Garden

From SeedSavers.org: OG stands for Organic Gardening.

Soybean, Agate (from Japan) My kiddos and I LOVE edamame.

Tomato, Blondkopfchen OG (aka Little Blonde Girl) Tiny 1" sweet tomatoes from East Germany.

Tomato, Amish Paste Excelent meaty plum tomato from Wisconsin. Great for fresh eating or making sauces.

Carrot, Dragon A sweet and spicy carrot with a red-purple exterior and a yellow orange interior.

Carrot, Danvers OG A large, nearly coreless sweet carrot. High in beta-carotene. 8" long

Carrot, Paris Market A French heirloom. 1 - 2 inch round carrots. Great in rocky or shallow soils. Does well in containers.

Watermelon, Orangeglo A 25 lb orange watermelon. Sweet.

Beet, Chioggia Italian heirloom. Retains it's bullseye rings even when baked. Great for eating fresh or pickling.

Kohlrabi, Purple Vienna OG Sweet turnip-like flavor. 2-1/2" I've never heard of these before and wanted to try them. They can be grown in a container.

Cucumber, Nippon Sanjaku Kiuri OG Name translates to "Japan Three Foot Cucumber". Though you harvest when they are 18" long. They will curl on the ground, grow on trellis for straight ones. Fresh eating or pickling.

Corn, Golden Bantam OG Traditional, original strain sweet corn from 1902. Great for fresh eating and freezing.

Cucumber, Russian Pickling OG Pickling cucumber with a sweet flavor and good crunch.

Pea, Green Arrow OG English main crop with 4" - 5" pods with 8 - 11 peas.

Ground Cherry, Aunt Molly's OG Native to eastern and central North America.

"Easy to grow, prolific, and super sweet. Can be used for preserves, pies, over ice cream, or in fresh fruit salads. The ½-¾" fruits are encased in a papery husk that turns brown when the fruits ripen. Stores 3-4 weeks in the husk." ~ quote from SeedSavers.org site.

Pepper, Mini Yellow Bell From Ohio, a 2" long miniature sweet bell peppers with an excellent flavor.

Pepper, Mini Red Bell From Ohio, a 2" long miniature sweet bell peppers with an excellent flavor.

Pepper, Mini Chocolate Bell From Ohio, a 2" long miniature sweet bell peppers with an excellent flavor.

Cucumber, True Lemon OG Short, plump cucumbers that resemble lemons. They even have a light lemony taste. Very easy to digest. Great for fresh eating and pickling.

From HighMowingSeeds.com: Organic seeds.

Miyashige White Daikon Radish Japanese diakon great for pickling, fermenting, and fresh eating. Averages 2 to 6 lbs each.

Kaboko F1 Hybrid Cabbage Moderate size Napa cabbage. Average size is 12" tall and 5" wide. Light, sweet flavor.

Calypso Celery Italian-type celery that grows up to 28" tall. Mild flavor and hardly any stringyness.

Siskiyou Sweet Walla Walla Onion Very mild and sweet white onion. Re-selection of the Walla Walla Spanish onion. 6"

Baby Pam Pumpkin A sweet, dry, stringless pie pumpkin. (My oldest son begged me to make a pumpkin pie from "real" pumpkin. So these are for him to make himself a pie.)

I specifically chose many of these based on their color, taste, and multi-use (ie. fresh eating, canning, freezing, storage qualities). We eat with our eyes and it is my hope that these colorful, strange vegetables will encourage my kids (and husband) to try different vegetables. Many of them will be grown in containers and the climbing vegetables will be grown on A frame type trellises to save space. I can't wait for spring planting!!!

* Disclaimer: Pictures taken from the plants description page from the site I bought them from.

09 July 2011

Mini-Farm Ideas: Animals

For a while now, I've been researching what I would like on my mini-farm and trying to talk hubby into it. I've been thinking about a small herd of cows, chickens, guineas, ducks (maybe), and not sure if we are going to get anything else.


Cows I have narrowed down to the Dexter breed. They are milk and meat cows that are also a cute short height. I think the smaller cows would be great for the kids. They also are good in colder weather (which is important since we are thinking about moving northwest). Are these not the cutest little cows you've seen???


DD#1 asked begged us to buy her chickens for a year and a half now. She's even picked out the coop she wants to get for them.

Here's the coop she wants. Her favorite color is purple.

I've kinda decided on Orpingtons because they are good meat and egg birds that are also good winter layers. They are also a heavy bird with lots of plumage so they will stay warmer in the winter. They also have a great temperament. They are quiet, docile, friendly birds.

They also come in several different colors.

Guinea Fowl

Think of them as the "watchdogs" of the bird world. They will alert you to predators and people on your property. They kill snakes (supposedly), ticks, insects, and small rodents. They will also help protect your chicken flock from predators.

07 October 2010

Demo Day

I'm so excited! Yesterday was Demo Day here at the Wright (urban) Homestead. We removed 2 sheds (well one was an accident, but it works out for the best). One was...well...it was crappy and I didn't like it when we bought the house and wanted it gone. Well, they are down and we are waiting for the dumpster to get here this morning so we can get the trash out of the yard. Have I mentioned that I'm really excited about this??? Why, you ask? Well, it is to make way for my raised gardens! There is one concrete slab from one of the sheds, but I've figured out how to incorporate that into my garden. We are going to get a small pergola and put a hanging swing under it so that I can sit out there by the swingset while the kiddos play. Any suggestions for what plants to have growing up the trellis?

Before Demo (you can kinda see how the shed on the left is crappy)

Mid-point of Demo (before dumpster)

(Please don't mind the over grown weeds/grass along the fence. We also couldn't get behind the sheds to take the privacy fence all the way. Now we can!)

Don't fret, we are going to put a new storage shed up. We're just moving it to the part of the yard that we really don't use (our yard is shaped weird). We are going to be putting it between the tree and the bush/shrub/small tree. This also blocks our rude nosey neighbor from seeing in our yard (we're also going to be putting up a full privacy fence around the yard to keep them from seeing in and to keep from seeing the two overgrown/abandoned/shitty looking yards around us (hopefully a saleing point when we go to sale).

Ok, back to the garden plans. In the demo picture, I am going to put up two 8ft x 8ft raised garden beds surrounded by gravel and possibly a decorative fence to match around the patio. I am going to have my small compost bin moved over there as well as possibly a small deck box to keep my small garden tools handy. I am going to put down landscaping fabic and rocks around the porch and down the side of the house (to keep from having to weed and keep it looking nicer). I am going to plant a dwarf, self-pollinating apple tree at the corner of the porch and have berry bushes as my "landscaping" around the porch. Shade plants for down the side of the house because it gets only morning light. I can't wait to get the garden started so it will be ready in the spring!

01 October 2010

Urban Micro-Farming : Gardening

Ok so, like me, you don't have a huge space. You either live in the city, an apartment, or move around a lot (like those in the military for example). You love the idea of sustainable living, but don't think that you can due to your current situation. You actually have quite a few options. One source of information is Urban Farms magazine and website.

It's hard to keep my train of thought when I have to stop in the middle of it. :-) I love my kids though and they come first.

Even though you might not have a lot of acreage or a yard even, that doesn't mean that you can't live sustainably. Chances are that there are farms surrounding the city and there is at least one farmer's market. Responsible farmers are respectful of the land that provides for them so they take care of it and make sure it is able to sustain for the next year. This is a great way to get fresh local fruits and vegies, eggs, meat, and sometimes milk. Learn to live by the season and celebrate and endulge in each vegetable as it's turn comes. Stock up on vegies that can be canned, dried, or frozen so that you can enjoy the same flavors when the growing season has ended. More than likely (though it's always good to ask) their produce is not saturated with pestisides and non-organic fertilizer (both of which is bad for you and the enviroment).

Another option is container gardening (great if you have a balcony or small patio). Lots of produce is able to be grown in pots (provided they get enough nutrients and water). I will list later a list of vegies and fruits that are great for containers. During the colder months, micro-greens are a great way to get crisp greens and nutrients. Compost is a great source of natural, organic fertilizer to mix in with topsoil. You can use them in place of lettuces in salads, sandwiches, put them on top of your soups, etc. I'm just now learning about them so I'll save this for another post. Herbs are great decoration in any kitchen as well.

What a cute idea for small crops.

Growing vertically allows you to use less floor space, but harvest more per plant.


(click on pictures for links)

This is a great book about one family's move from Tuscon, AZ to the east and the year they made a family pact to "live off the land". Very inspirational and educational. She gives great sources for finding heirloom produce and animals. Heirloom is traditional, non-hybid, vegetables that have been passed down from generation to generation.

A great place to find local farmers markets or buy straight from the farmer.

30 September 2010

Lazy Laundry Days

(Not my backyard, but wouldn't it be awesome to wake up to this every morning and sit outside eating breakfast?)

There is just something peaceful about watching laundry on a line dancing to the cool breeze with the warm sun peaking through the cracks and warming your cool skin. This is my peace, my get away, from the chaos that is my little minions. There's no crying, screaming, constant neediness when I hang the laundry out (well ok...so there is, but I would like to think there wasn't). Hanging our laundry is one way we trying to save a little on the electrical bill. While it might not save us a bunch, every little bit adds up. Plus the kids love to run and hide behind and inbetween the blankets and towels. They also love to play porcipines with the clothes pins.
What brings you that little bit of calm during the day? Is it a warm fragrant cup of coffee? Getting your hands dirty in the cool soil planting seeds to harvest later? Is it putting a few more stitches into that project you're working on?

If you are looking for a great laundry detergent, try Charlie's Soap. It is a great eco-friendly detergent and I love the fact that it doesn't have the funk that the others do that leave a nasty residue inside my washing machine. It's also great for washing cloth diapers. (Wow, that really sounded like an ad. Oh well, I love it.)

27 September 2010


Hopefully you will follow me on our journey to our sustainable homestead. It will be full of great ideas, mistakes (I am constantly making mistakes and learning from them), and fun. You might not share the same dream of owning alot of land and starting a small farm, but hopefully you'll find some of the "urban farm" ideas useful.

Our journey will start as a small urban backyard farm where I'll test some of my ideas. This fall I plan to create the beginnings of next years garden. We'll find and set up raised beds, find a good spot for the chicken coop, experiments in cheesemaking, "fieldtrips" to the local orchard/farmers market/pumpkin patch, and try micro-greens.

I will be posting links and ideas about energy saving and eco-friendly building ideas and farming resourses. I'll share where I have found information and books I recommend. I hope that you enjoy this journey and find some helpful information.

Let's Begin!