A family farm

Saturday, January 30, 2010

herbs i want to plant this spring

I don't know if I've posted this already ... I think I have. But here they are:

Greek oregano - because I can't believe I don't have oregano in the herb garden yet.

flatleaf parsley - because it gets nice and bushy and pretty

Joe Pye weed - the purple attracts butterflies and the dwarf variety gets to be 4 feet tall. The regular version gets much taller than that!

Flowering gooseberry - I thought currant, but the gooseberry is just fun to say

Rosemary - tastes so good with chicken!!! and carrots ... mmmmmmmmmmm

French tarragon - again, yummy!

Winter savory - just sounds good

Lavender - smells nice

Heather - also smells nice - and is such a pretty name

Thursday, January 28, 2010


It's cold!!!! Oh, it is cold!!!! But it is so necessary to be this cold! With the thaw, my catmint was exposed, and our barn cat found it! She's been having herself a little party. I harvested most of it this past fall, but a little was left out there. Hopefully, come spring, she forgets that's what it is, or I'll actually have to get more to plant out there. I love the smell of catmint, and my ancient indoor cat loves it as well. The dogs don't understand why they like it so much. It's just a weed to them. Harley, God love her, will eat flowers! Crazy dog! She would eat the wild Queen Anne's lace that would grow into the fence, lop the flowerheads right off with her sharp teeth. She likes tomatoes, too, so I'll have to keep her out of the garden. All three dogs love squash, too. We'll see how much trouble we'll have with that because all the viney things are being planted behind the barn. We had quite a great pumpkin harvest (that was all I planted behind the barn last year), so hopefully, come fall, we'll have as good a squash harvest as we did when I planted it in the garden itself. I need a name for the garden behind the barn - how about the southern garden? The one by the house is the garden-garden, or the main. Haha! I must get back to work!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


It started snowing last night and is still snowing today. This is a good thing because we Michiganders need the additional precipitation to save up for the summer months. It will also be nice to be able to take the dogs out for a walk in the field without having them get all muddy. ew!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Spring is coming

I'm getting excited for spring and gardening ... perhaps a little early, yet, but we've been experiencing warmer temperatures. Then I heard about snow coming later this week! I know it has to come, and I'm glad for it because it will keep my enthusiasm in check.

My daughter and I recently watched a PBS show on a restaurant down south that is on a farm. Everything used in the restaurant is grown at the farm. They made a BBQed lamb neck that looked absolutely fantastic, and they made little tarts with a home-made strawberry jelly flavored with elderberry flowers. Since I have an elderberry bush, I might have to give this a try!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Getting ready

January 14 may be a little early to start getting ready for the spring growing season, but there is no reason not to get prepared. I've learned a few things since my last post. First, in Zone 5, where I'm at, I can start my snap peas right in the garden in the beginnin of April! Wow! And when they are done, I can pull up the plants and start a second batch of beans in their place. Maybe with the earlier growing season, the peas will fare better. I'm definitely having two garden areas: one fenced in, and the other for spreading, viney plants that will be behind the barn where it can go nuts into the cornfield. I also picked up a couple of seed starting kits with plastic domes so I don't have to try to make my own. That will make a huge difference this spring when I start some plants indoors as early as the beginning of March. Oh, I'm so excited! It's a good thing I have a couple of bird feeders outside to keep me from exploding from spring fever. There are a couple of barn projects that need to get done as well as some painting in the house. I really need to get on some of that stuff!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Expanding the Herb Garden

I've decided to expand the herb garden to go along the east side of my house, from the side door entry to the shady front yard. I came by this decision when I found a great list of herbs I still need to add to my garden: Lovage, Greek Oregano, Flatleaf Parsley, Joe Pye Weed, Flowering Currant/Gooseberry, Comfrey Bush (symphytum officinale), Rosemary, Garlic, French Tarragon, Winter Savory, Heather and Lavender. It's quite a list, but I was hoping to add the oregano, rosemary and tarragon anyway. I also wanted some lavender and heather. I wasn't thinking of garlic because i'm unsure of how to harvest, but I decided a girl can learn.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Peeking in at the seed aisle

My daughter and I stopped at Flowerland the other day just to peek in and see what might be new in plant-land. We looked at all the indoor plants, and checked out the after Christmas sale items, and walked through the outdoor gardening section that was filled with bird-feeders of all sorts and varieties as well as suet and bird feed. A weekend birder, I'm all stocked up on that. Then, just before we left, we saw the new seeds for 2010. We looked at them all, wondering if what we might be planting this spring. There are purple cherry tomatoes we might just have to try to seed-start and blue pumpkins to rival the recently new white ones (Our white pumpkins didn't grow this year). I've decided NOT to even bother with corn this year. I just can't grow it. I've had smut problems and earworm problems. This past year, I avoided the bugs and smut, but when the corn was about 4 inches high, something swooped down into my garden and pulled up several seedlings. Then, when it was about time to harvest it, some sort of critter came in and scratched the corn ears all up, turning them to rot. I am NOT doing corn. I just can't grow it!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I'm going to try to work on a gardening blog. It's January in Michigan, and I'm just starting to plan. I am currently researching perennial herbs to add to my herb garden, and I'm also considering expanding that herb garden along the east side of my house. There is plenty of sun, but not enough to be scorching. My current herb garden runs along the wooden fence that goes from the east side of my house to the shed which houses our well and freezer. Later this spring, that same shed will also house our chickens. My vegetable garden is in a large fenced in area behind the shed. Part of the walkway to the garden from the back yard will become the chicken coop. I'm going to expand my vegetables behind the barn, lining the drainage ditch that divides the main part of our property and the back 6 acres of field we rent to a neighbor farmer, currently for corn. The garden area behind the barn will mostly be for our pumpkins, gourds, melons and squashes. I'm also considering planting sweet potatoes this year as I love them dearly! I just have never planted them before, and I'm not sure about the deer and rabbits getting into them out there. As far as the rest of the vegetables, I'm going to have tomatoes and green beans for certain, and purple beans and was beans, but more purple beans this year. They were so tasty last year! I had a great bean crop last year and froze so many that my family has been enjoying over the winter.

To get back to my herb garden, I have thyme, sage and chives, as well as lemon balm and catmint. I would like to find out about other herbs that are Michigan hardy perennials.