Friday, August 8, 2014

Almost back to school time again for year rounders

It's almost back to school time for CamCam, our highschooler. (The rest of  us have been doing it year round.) We will be sad to see her go as having her around is great for all of us. Her summer was filled by a trip to NYC, a new trampoline and another trip coming up to KY. I feel so blessed that she was able to travel so much this summer. Skills she learned this summer include  a lot of driving time logged and trying several recipes to learn the secret of baking bread. I am very proud of how much help she is around here (when she doesn't have that teenager attitude). We had a lot of adjustments this spring and summer and she was a champion through it all.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Instructions( I have found around the web and copied to one place) for Growing from Produce:


Celery: The next time you chop celery, save the crown (the bottom), place it in a shallow bowl of water until the center leaves turn green and sprout, then transplant it into your garden. Or, just plant the crown straight from crisper into garden, keeping the top of the crown at soil level. Not only is celery a yummy vegetable, it attracts beneficial insects that keep unwanted bugs at bay.

Garlic: Separate cloves and plant the largest ones pointy-side up, under about 2 inches of rich, well-drained soil. Plant garlic around roses to reduce black spot and sooty mold.

Horseradish: In the fall, plant the tuberous horseradish roots horizontally under 2 inches of soil that’s been well-worked with compost. The plant is invasive and spreads quickly, so plant at the end of garden rows or in areas where they have room to wander. Harvest with a pitchfork in late fall.

Ginger: Select a plump ginger rhizome with many small, growing buds. Plant just under rich soil in a spot with filtered sunlight and wind protection. Avoid planting in low-lying areas, or in spots with poor drainage.

Beans and peas:  It’s easy to plant any dried bean or pea. Just push the seed under 1-2 inches of loose, rich soil in a location that gets at least 6 hours of sun each day. If your soil is hard clay, grow beans and peas in a container. (We bounght a bag of 15 bean soup mix at the grocery store for our seed)

Potatoes: If you’ve ever kept a potato too long in a bowl, you’ve seen the plants begin to sprout. Place the potato in a 10-inch-deep hole, and cover with rich soil. As the plant grows, continue to mound soil around its stem. Harvest potatoes in late fall.

Tomatoes: If you love heirloom tomatoes, cut them in half to scrape out their seeds. “Ferment” seeds in a glass jar with about a cup of water for 2-4 days. When a foamy mold appears, rinse and dry seeds on a paper plate. Start tomato plants indoors in containers, then transplant to a garden spot with full sun.

Peppers:  The ones with four bumps are female and  are full of seeds. So if you are buying the pepper with the idea of saving the seeds look for the ones with four bumps.

Apples: Place seeds on moistened paper towel in sealed Ziploc baggie and keep in fridge for about 1 month until it sprouts.
From the Spice Rack:
Poppies: For a brilliant floral display, shake poppy seeds directly from the container onto well-drained soil. Lightly press into the ground and cover with a dusting of soil. Thin seedlings to about 10 inches apart.
Sesame: These seeds grow into flowering plants that are resistant to heat, drought, and pests. Press seeds 1 inch into well-draining soil. Water lightly for 3-5 days after planting, then as needed. Be sure not to over water, because sesame plants do not like to sit in wet soil. Harvest in about 150 days after seed pods open and seeds are thoroughly dry.

Dill: Dill is very easily grown from seed sown in later spring to early summer. Bear in mind that dill does not transplant well, and is best being sown direct where it will continue to grow. Select an area where permanent regrowth of dill won't bother you; dill will easily self-sow after you've first planted it.

Mustard Seed:
Red Pepper/Chili Pepper:

Thursday, May 1, 2014


How to plant a Three Sister's Garden
We first heard about a three sister's garden at the Forest Hill Nature Center, near our home. With our emphasis on gardening I thought we should try to plant one this year. We saved our pumpkin seeds to plant.The beans came from our bag of soup mix beans.

Basic Directions:
1.In late May or early June, hoe up the ground and heap the earth into piles about a foot high and about 24 inches across. The centers of your mounds should be about four feet apart and should have flattened tops.
2. First, in the center of each mound, plant five or six corn kernels in a small circle.
3. After a week or two, when the corn has grown to be five inches or so, plant seven or eight pole beans in a circle about six inches away from the corn kernels. 4. A week later, at the edge of the mound about a foot away from the beans, plant seven or eight squash or pumpkin seeds.(We are doing half and half so at least the kids will have zucchini to harvest)
5. When the plants begin to grow, you will need to weed out all but a few of the sturdiest of the corn plants from each mound. Also keep the sturdiest of the bean and squash plants and weed out the weaker ones.
6. As the corn and beans grow up, you want to make sure that the beans are supported by cornstalks, wrapping around the corn. The squash will crawl out between the mounds, around the corn and beans.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Color Science Experiment to go along with our spring planting
Here is an experiment that takes minutes to set up and all the ingredients are already in my kitchen cupboard.

Get three clear glasses. Fill two of them with water, about 2/3rd. Put in a few drops of yellow food coloring in one, and a few drops of blue in the other one. The two cups should have the same amount of water.

Set the two cups, with the empty one in between the two. Place a cloth strip cut from a t-shirt first in the blue cup, and the other end in the empty cup. One end of the second cloth goes in the yellow cup, and the other in the empty cup. The cloths should be just long enough to make a bridge between the cups, otherwise, the magic takes longer.

While you wait for the magic, get your little scientists to predict what might happen. What will happen to the cloth dipped in the water? What will happen to the empty cup? What will happen to the cups full of water?


In about 6-10 minutes see the results. 

Discuss how water is drawn up through the plants roots like the cloth.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

If you haven't watched this video on "how the wolves change rivers" you should it is so amazing. It is short and to the point. Great for kids studying the ecosystem.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ysa5OBhXz-Q

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Seed Bank

We are collecting seeds and expanding out tree study to include edible fruits and vegetables this spring. (Science)
1.We sent away for some seeds from the USDA. All older varieties we will blog our results in sprouting rate and growth. We chose seeds the pioneers would have brought with them. Now we are just waiting for them to arrive.
2.We also found some places on line that are sending free seeds if you send them a SASE with a list of what you would like to grow. We choose two to send away for garden seeds from.
3.While we are waiting we are sorting and counting our beans (Math) and putting them into baggies by type for our "seed bank". I know I should be like all no GMO and Organic but first we will build our seed bank and then we can afford to be more picky about the origins of our varieties.
 Gardening from the Grocery Store -- 15 Bean Soup Mix makes 13 different plants (split peas will not sprout).
4. When we go to the farm store and buy seeds we will look for open pollinated and heirloom varieties to buy.
5.The kids are really enjoying looking for seeds from our food produce. I should never have to buy green pepper seed ever again. The ones with four bumps are female and those are full of seeds. I found instructions on how to sprout apple seeds in the refrigerator by putting on  a damp paper towel in a sealed plastic baggie for about a month. We plan to try this the next time I buy apples. We even saved our navel orange seeds for our seed collection.
6.My spice cabinet had various red peppers, chilli peppers,dill, and celery seed.
7. I saved common garden sage seeds from my plants last fall and also planted some in small pots I left out all winter for the kids to see sprout up in spring. I also saved seeds from our Rose of Sharon bushes to add to our flower seed collection. (I had this activity planned for quite some time.)
8. We are cutting pictures out of seed catalogs along with growing instructions for each kind of seed we collect. These we are putting in the baggie with each seed type.(Fine Motor skills)
BAKING SUBSTITUTIONS
Brown     Sugar:   2    Tblsp.                 Molasses, 1cup white sugar. Mix         unti      l blended.

 Butter:1 pound shortening, 1/2 salt, 1 2/3 c condensed milk, Whip     the shortening and alt. Add      the condensed milk a little at a time and blend.

Corn  Syrup  :1cup sugar and2 cups water   boil until thickened.

 1 egg=1 tsp              unflavored gelatin