Camp Koering 2015

 A pic from winter fun at the cabin!

A pic from winter fun at the cabin!

It's that time of year again. When we Koerings gather together to celebrate the 4th of July, and each other. Back in 2011 - when this all began - we had a house full of preschoolers and toddlers (and a few babies) - and we had to do something to keep them busy!  There were a few of us adults who were former camp counselors - and a lot of us who love a rallying idea - and "Camp Koering" was born.

Several years later the kids are older - the camp is shorter (hockey camps, soccer games, work schedules and life in general has become more a part of our lives) - but we are still donning our camp shirts and celebrating being together at the cabin.

This year it was Camp Koering "on steriods."  We had 24 hours, and we did out best to jam in all of the favorites: camp t-shirts, crafts, calisthenics with E. Norm (Us-Muscles), water wars, obstacle courses, fireworks and lots and lots of treats.  Summer! Family!

And, we end each Camp Koering with a viewing of the quintessential Camp Koering video.  This year, it was an especially awesome feat because it was created in 24 short hours... and it still made us laugh - and cry.  Thanks, Andy!

If you have 20 minutes to see pure delight and summer at its very best... here ya go:

Potatoes and no Beatles!!

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I had decided not to plant potatoes in my garden again.  Too many of those determined ugly potato bugs.  The only healthy way to get rid of them is to squeeze (finger pinch) everyone of them.  Spraying them with chemicals just does not sound healthy.

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Nothing seems to get rid of the ugly beatles permanently.  You can squeeze them off the plant everyday, spray that unhealthy spray on them or let them die off.  None of these methods really work.  So I decided to quit potato raising plants. Sadly, no more garden raised potato to enjoy!

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Talk about delicious!! 

This past month I visited with a garden expert at our local garden store.  She suggested a procedure to raise potatoes and NOT HAVE POTATO BEATLES!!  I have decided to try it.  This post will demonstrate the process.  I will keep you up to date during my experiment this summer and fall.

Step One:  Items needed to complete the "No Bugs Potatoes"

Potato Items to use
Potato Items to use

Three items are necessary:   Potting Soil Mix, A good sized Pot & Seed Potatoes!  I decided on the red potatoes for this experiment. Cause, I think they are "JUST the best tasting!!"

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BlissTriumph-D

Red Seed Potatoes.   I learned from research that you should cut up the potatoes the day before you are planting  This gets the potato a head start on it's "journey" to germination.

Step Two:  Choose a good sized pot and fill the base with potting soil.

Potatoes wait to germinate
Potatoes wait to germinate

It is recommended we use potting soil.  Soil will not pack down and become too wet or dry.

As suggested in Step One the potatoes have been cut and can now be placed on the potting soil.   Place another 2-3 inches of soil on the potatoes.

Potatoes in pail
Potatoes in pail

After placing the potatoe halves in the pot, cover and water well.  Wait for the potatoes to sprout.  Continue to cover the sprouts until the dirt is near the top.

I will send pictures of the progression of the potatoes in the pots AND also let you know how the production of those wonderful tasty red potatoes.

I am very interested in this working.  It could also be used for anyone that wants home grown potatoes but has limited garden space.

Seedlings Started At Home!

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This post will take you thru the step by step process to start seedlings at home and put them into the final stages before planting them in the garden.

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Get all those seed packages in order.   Research which ones need to be planted indoors for proper prep for the outside.  Plan to start some as much as 10 weeks before placing the plants in the garden.  Other seeds may need two or three weeks.

Most of the story will be told in pictures with brief explanations about each step. As I stated in an earlier posts,  this process takes a large room and a lot of patience and time. It has been a learning process for me.

Given this is the first time I have planted so many of my own seedlings, I will do some things differently the next time around.  I will mention some of the issues as I go thru the steps.

Step One: Setting up the jiffy pellets for planting seedlings and add water.

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This is the seedling bed. We start with a small circular pellet with one side as shown above & the bottom side with no markings.  There are two sizes, 36 and 42.  Use depends upon the size of the place holder size. Measure the size of the place holder diameter before ordering.  After placing them in each place holder, place about 2 inches of water in the pan.   Amazing!  below is what happens!!

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Talk about cool!, all of a sudden (takes maybe 1/2 hour to have them look like this) you have the nest for the seedlings.  Notice the top has an opening.  This step went alright.  I would have a better count on my overall needs. As I learned the more you order the less you pay.  Also, In my case ordering these on-line allows larger orders and they were cheaper.

Step Two: Placing seeds in the formed pellets.

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Notice I made the openings larger for the future seedlings.   I have placed seeds in each of the place holders.  At this point it is VERY important to identify what seeds have been placed in each pocket.  Believe me,  in seconds one can wonder if there are seeds in there AND which seeds are in there. Keep track.  I would suggest an organized process to identify with a label, write it down and keep it in your records.

Step Three:  Identify the seeds, label the pocket and write it down.

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Before moving on..again it seems like one would remember but but but sometime you do not.  And than seedlings come up and who knows what they are?  This step was helpful!!

Step Four: Keeping count and identity.

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records

Keep records regarding what has been planted.  I made this chart to list what was planted in each seedling pellet.  Many seedlings look alike when they emerge.  If you do not keep track of what is planted where you may have a mess!  Record Keeping Helps!!  Records can avoid a mess on identifying your plants.  Otherwise you may end up with a broccoli plant in your cabbage patch!!  As seedlings, broccoli and cabbage look alike.

Step Five: Providing proper temperature and moisture for germination.

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I used the dome system this year.  I also have a heat pad under the domed pan (the dome was described in an earlier post).  Note, even after just one night the moisture shows up on the dome.  Many seedlings call for temperatures between 70-75 degrees for proper germination.  Research indicates various views in using domes.  Domes may cause possible excess moisture that could cause mold and than seeds will not grow.  Watch for this and take the dome off if this happens.  My domes had a circular opening on the top to allow air into the domes. Note the black circles on the dome in the above picture.  My success with this system was "ok".  I need to work on what is best for this step.  Maybe it works for some seeds and not others?

Step Six: Separating early germinating seeds.

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Something to work on in future seedling plantings!   Not all seeds germinate at the same time.  Thus you can have two seeds germinate and two others in that same pellet still not germinated. Germinated seedlings need light immediately, or they will get "leggy" and stretch for light.  If some seedlings germinated I had to sacrifice and just move them in to the light and hope the remaining seeds still in the pellet will germinate.  At this point this system "somewhat" worked??  More reading up on what to do in the future is necessary.

Please note this major problem!  You HAVE to have the focus to throw seedlings you do not need!   I find this as one of my biggest struggles.  Example:  I need five cabbage plants.  I end up with 15 good looking seedlings in the original Jiffy pellets.  You must throw 10!!?? Not me!.. I kept them all and figured I will give them away.  Hmmmm?  Got to think this step thru and work harder to limit seeds in the pellet AND throw any extra seedlings.  An emotional issue for me as I see it as throwing a "perfectly good seedling".. Maybe a garage sale on seedlings??

Step Seven: Providing the seedlings with proper lighting.

Lights
Lights

If you have limited seedlings the lighting system (above) is adequate.  Because I went "overboard" on keeping seedlings, I have had considerable coordination for proper lighting. This actual lighting system is easy to operate.  Lighting of this type eliminates the seedlings from becoming "leggy" which weakens the plants.

Step Eight: Transplanting seedling into larger trays.

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transplanted

I have transplanted the seedlings pictured above from a pellet to a medium sized tray.  The important thing is to have enough room for all the additional trays you need.  Advice!! Limit the  seedlings you keep unless you have room.  Having enough room for all the trays can be a problem if you do not pre-plan the space.  As they grow you may have to transplant them again to larger trays.

Step Nine: Transplanting into larger containers and starting the hardening.

Fun Begins
Fun Begins

These Seedlings will be transplanted into larger packs and in some cases individual packs.  They eat up water and sources of food quickly.   Keep them watered!  Providing adequate room for each plant is also an important step.

Now we are ready for the final preparation for the outdoor garden.  The seedlings need to be "hardened" for the outdoor air.   Basically, you set them outside in a shady area for a few hours daily.  After several days of this process, the plants have adjusted to the differing air and weather conditions.  This is a tiresome process BUT is necessary for some plants to survive the outdoors.

In the next post I will review my idea to eliminate the majority of weeding!!  Hmm???  will it work.   I may be a happy gardener in one month or a sorry weeder!1  We will see.  Look forward to the next post of my plan to "little or no weeding".   Also, I will have a post on... "Making potatoes easier to grow!!"

Seedling Planting Equipment

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Hello again from the Cabin Garden! In the last Cabin Garden post we stated our intentions to plant our own seedlings this year. This post will review the seedling equipment utilized. You could get by without the items I have listed however, these items make the job just a bit easier.

Equipment:

1) Space to handle the project: A must! This project takes up room.

2) A pan with no holes in the bottom: Base will hold the seedlings and water. Be sure there are no leaks.

3) Seedling trays: Four sizes available depending upon soil options.

Pan 3Two type of pans: (1) Holds water  (2) Seed & Plant Trays

4) Watering tool: A sprinkler can that has spray and pour options.

Water canThis type has the long narrow spout to feed the seedlings  & the sprayer at the top. (looks like a duck head!)

5) Soil for seedlings: Commercial soil for seedlings or “jiffy” pellets.

DirtSeedling soil mixture on the left..texture drains well and is an airy mixture.   Jiffy Pellet on the right swells up with moisture and is the base for seeds when germinating.

6) Heat pads: 20 X 20 pads or larger to heat up the jiffy pellets and seedlings as they germinate.

Heating padWarms the rooting area to improve germination and rooting.

7) Planting tools: Scissors, Tape, Tweezer, Jiffy Pellet, Measuring Cup, Indelible Pen, Label and Tooth Pick.

Tools 2Tools for seed placement: Measuring cup holds seeds and helps carefully drop seeds into Jiffy pellet..Tweezer picks up seeds and helps "brush" seeds out of cup..Tape to reseal seed packets..Indelible Pen to write on label..Label to identify what you have planted !!!  Tooth pick..holds the label in Jiffy Pellet & Scissors for just about everything you might want to cut!!

8) Artificial lighting: Some type of lighting instrument. Do not depend upon the sun unless you have a green house or outdoors area with controlled temperatures.

LightingI have two Grow Light Systems. The one above is three level. Helps eliminate "legging" & provides warmth.

9) Shelving: Holds plant once they no longer need the artificial lighting.

 

ShelvingA shelving unit holds plants as you start moving them outdoors to "harden" them for the outdoors.

After doing this project on several different scales, I chose equipment based on making the process easier to manage. In the next post I will go over the process of planting the seedlings and caring for them into their germination stage.

  • funSeedlings start sticking their heads out of the jiffy pellets!! Yeh!!

The Fun Begins!!

 

 

 

The Cabin Garden Is Back!

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We are back! This has been a winter of adjustments and decisions regarding the garden. I have decided with agreement from family that we are going at the program of gardening in a big way. First of all, the size will be back to a 95 by 80 foot garden. The size is back to what it was before I was hit with Guillain-Barre.   I have some other plans I will start to share now and in future posts.

PrecultivatingFirst of all, last fall I had the garden covered with compost and than had the compost cultivated under to provide a rich base of quality soil for the cabin garden 2016. In early May, I will have the garden worked up again.

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I have also decided to work on ridding my garden of weeding (at least some) by laying the entire garden with a black fabric that should hold down most of the weeds.  When I do this process I will share the process with you in a post with pictures.

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I have also decided to start the majority of my plants with seed. Why? First of all, it is interesting and just feels good to raise your own plants. Secondly, I will save money by getting many more plants. I also plan to sell the extras to "customers in the area" thru local ads on the grocery store sale board.

IMG_0751I have spent time researching the seed options and the best seeds to plant in my area. I also have studied the timing for planting your seeds indoors and outdoors.  I will share the reasoning for these decisions as I post an ongoing story of our cabin garden 2016.

My first post will share how I set up the procedures to plant seeds indoors.  As I indicated to a member of my family…”planting seeds and raising seedlings, is like having babies”…you are on duty all the time!”

More later!

 

 

 

Our Fall Mulching Story

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This past week we finished off the garden for 2015.  We covered the garden with hay and a layer of turkey manure.  Both were partially decomposed.    Our goal is to bury the mulch in a winter bed.   This will help breakup the mulch for the soil's nutrition. heavyprecultivating

BEFORE CULTIVATION VIEW ONE: HAY

Precultivating

BEFORE CULTIVATION VIEW TWO:  TURKEY MANURE AND FALLING LEAVES ADDED TO LAYERS

A huge job!  I always second guess our doing this step because it takes so much time and labor.  Our goal is to avoid chemical fertilizers.  And, I think nature's way is better.  This step adds nutrition and great soil composition to our future garden.  Just look at the garden after we cultivate all that wonderful nutrition into the garden!   Almost pritty!!

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The winter snow fall will provide a blanket for the mulch.  In the spring the mulch continues to breakdown. The spring cultivating continues the mixing of various mulches. This is our story on helping nature provide the plants adequate nutrition.  We have just given it a little "nudge" to add richness to the soils.  Farming in the garden!   Talk about fun!!

 

 

Prepping the Garden for Winter

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What a pleasure!  To say we are done with the garden till spring!!  Or are We?  Not  until you prep the garden for NEXT SPRING!!  Yup!  Get the organic stuff down as well as any manures you prefer and work them in to the soil.Preping the garden with hayThe hay bales we put in piles this past spring are now spread as a top mulch.  Yes, it is a lot of work, but what a pleasure we will have next spring to see the mulch mixed in so well with your soils.  And it is all done without any chemicals.  Organic gardening!  I love it! Haul it awayBut Wait!!  What did we do with all those left overs??  Tomato plants, pepper plants, carrot tops and on and on? There is just too much chance of left over bugs and disease.  My vote is to haul it off the garden area and place in a pile away from the garden.  This winter when you want a little bonfire.  This will do the trick.

More to do?  Yes fellow gardeners..we do.  More in the next post on prepping the garden for a good toasty home for all those mulches.

 

Today In Our Kitchen Dehydrating Part 2

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  Several days ago we illustrated in pictures the first four steps of the carrot dehydration story.  In this post we will cover the final four steps in the process to dehydrate vegetables. Dehydration will allow you to use less storage space,  offer an alternative to canning or freezing and be able to plan on a wider variety of delicious recipes. Try It!

Dehydrator Rack                                              Lay out the carrots on a dehydrator rack

Carrots in the Oven                              Carrots are set into the dehydration oven.  Up to 12 hours

Carrots Hydrated                                                                  Dehydrated Carrots

Dehydrated Carrots                                    2.5 cups of dehydrated carrots equal 10 carrot servings

 

 

 

 

 

Today In Our Kitchen Dehydrating

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  What a great way to store your vegetables for the winter:  Dehydration!  Here are some pictures to illustrate how simple it is!  Included today are the first four steps illustrated in pictures.  Look forward to the last steps in a short time.  The results for dehydrating vegetables are plentiful.  A few to mention: Storage is compact, preserves more flavor from the vegetables and the dehydrated vegetable can be utilized in so many additional ways.

Carrots from the garden                                 Luscious Carrots from the garden prepared for preserving!!

 

Slicing the Carrots                                              Convenient appliance to slice the Carrots.

sliced Carrots                                            Pot full of sliced carrots ready for par boiling!!

Par Boil                     Step Four:  Par Boiled Carrots Ready for the Dehydration and Preservation.

                          The final four steps to preserving carrots by dehydration coming soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today in the Garden: August 2015 Update

tomato bushToday in the garden we were wow'd by the amount of growth that's taken place in the last few weeks! The Cabin Garden is flourishing with growth and luscious green plants.  It was too difficult for me to pick off tomato branches that had little produce advantages.  I let them grow in a sturdy home made cage.  Look at the size of this guy!    And there are lots of tomatoes on it.  I have 20 more that look very similar.  The plants had mulch and commercial mulches and the tomatoes are flourishing in this arena.

We also have a volunteer melon grow from last years seeds...what fun!!

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Milkweed and Wild Flowers

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 Garden July 28th

In an earlier post I reviewed our issues with weed control and the plan appears to be working.

Brush2There are still several areas where the weeds are dominating. As we looked at these wild uncontrolled areas we noticed a considerable amount of common milkweed plants. Which was brought to my attention by my granddaughter. I consider milkweed a weed and would have started figuring out how to get rid of them.

milkweed3 She explained to me that her science teacher has encouraged her students to promote the common milkweed in the wild because the monarch butterfly seeks out milkweed as a habitat and an eating station. The larvae hatch and continue to live off the milkweed plants.

There is concern that the monarch butterfly is losing their habitat to climate change.  So this felt like a good project to foster a home for monarch butterflies and the idea to develop this weed patch into a wild flower garden became a reality. My granddaughter was excited to participate and I welcomed her help.

DaisyyellowWe started looking over the area noting several colorful wild flowers flourishing in the dense weed area. Why not make this into a wild flower garden alongside our vegetable garden? The garden would also provide the monarch butterfly a natural habitat.  So, we needed to identify the flowers since most of them were not familiar. Actually, they were familiar. In my past, I considered them weeds.

Flower9I am now experiencing a whole new appreciation for flowering weeds!  Their beauty will be constant since most wild flowers act like perennials and return each year. They may also benefit companion gardening.  My granddaughter, and my son have taken pictures of some of the flowers. If you recognize any of them, please share their name and information on their growing patterns. Any information will help us on our journey to build a wild flower garden.

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GBS Update & My Recovery

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I have sent out to the family and friends an update monthly on my GBS recovery.  I am excited to share the latest update with our "Blog Followers! JerHomeI feel good to be out and about at our lake home in Western Wisconsin. We have set the place up to adjust to my situation.   So much of our family activities happen here in the summer and we wanted to be involved.

We decided to install a chair lift to get to our second floor. The Second floor is home base. The Second Floor has a bathroom and bedroom as well as an office area.   Having that access has been great. We also had a ramp put in for me to get into the home without having to deal with steps and all.   Steps continue to be a task I am not able to master without assistance.

WaterpictureWe also figured out a way for me to get to the lake. We have a slight hill to get there. Something I am yet able to tackle and is difficult with the steeper terrain.

Finally, my entire family has taken on the task to continue our tradition to have a family garden. My family has been terrific in offering time and energy to get it going and care take it. I am unable to get down on my knees and weed or keep things in order. Getting down on my knees would be hard enough but getting up would be a real task! Thanks to family for helping this tradition. We should have great tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and several other vegetables. “You can leave the farm but you don’t take the farm out of you.”

IMG_0073I enjoy the feeling of growing and care taking. It has been a great gift to have this continue.I have come a long ways since I last sent a note to all of you. I can now lift my legs in marching style and have more flexibility in leg agility. I am able to walk without a walker in areas that are safe. I am learning to walk outside on grass with walking sticks. They are safer than any other aid. It is slow to master.

Dad & SallyBeing in the water is a great deal for me. I find water therapy an excellent way to build up my strength as well as just feels d>>> good. Thanks to family, I am enjoying the lake more than I would have ever imagined in past experience.  I am continuing my therapies at Region’s Rehab Center through the month of August.  I have found the therapy a great opportunity to learn how to deal with my limitations and work around issues.

I feel fortunate to be moving along as I am in my improvement in strength and all. I know it is still quite a journey and realize limitations as I try some things that just are not there.  I am limited in strength and stamina. The therapists believe I am at about 30-40% of my potential strength. I have encountered issues that verify my limits.

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I also have to always watch where I am walking. Any object in my path could cause me to lose my balance. I have noted several times the feeling that I was about to fall and fortunately holding on to something kept me ok. Good news is that one or two months ago, I would have fallen. My balance is much better.

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When I read about others that have GBS. I know that it could have been much worse for me. I am grateful to all for the support and especially my patient wife, Cathy.     We have had countless roadblocks to overcome and her help and support has been a great strength for me.  I want to also emphasize my family and everyone’s support. All of you have helped me along the way.

It has been a good month in my growth in strength and balance. I plan to continue my workouts and focus to keep this going.   Thanks to all of you for all you do to help it happen.

Happy Fourth!

Jerry

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Three lessons on weeding

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Help! Help was my first thought as I entered the garden in mid June.  As we all feared might happen, the weeds are taking over.Even with GBS, we had decided that we would tackle the garden on our own this year. And the planting went well! We were feeling great about how quickly and how well the planting went!

Here's a view of the garden before we planted... isn't it lovely and WEED FREE?!

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Unfortunately, the one issue that just cannot be avoided is weeding! Where there was not adequate protection from weed growth, weeds have taken over.

One month later:

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So - here we are in early July and we are struggling with how to tackle the weeds, given my inability to weed - and my family's time constraints in helping. But - we did take some steps to prevent weeds - some of which have worked, and some have not (obviously).

Here are three lessons on weeding we've learned so far this summer:

1 - Control the amount of potential weed seeds by not cultivating deep. The deeper you cultivate the more seeds are available to germinate. Weed seeds are everywhere. If you mix up the soil too much you create more opportunities for the weed seeds to germinate. (Unfortunately, we cultivated too deep.) So - to combat our error in cultivation, our focus is on destroying any possibility of the weeds to continue to grow. We are mowing down the areas that weeds have taken over. At this point, the weeds had not gone to seed which should mean we use the greens as “green manure.” Then, we will continue to keep it mowed and turn the remains over with our tiller.

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2 -  Commercial mulching controls weeds by blocking the seeds and plants from the sun. They provide a neat appearance and it seems to work.

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One of the things we did this year in order to prevent weeds was to place a landscape fabric down to protect certain crops such as tomatoes, herbs and peppers

We used four different kinds of commercial weed prevention and mulch - and will share more about these in another post with our reviews (because if they're working for us given how little we're able to weed, they'll work for you)! And if they don't work... well, that's good to know, too.

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And 3 - Cover any other open areas with our natural mulch from the seedless hay and leaves that have been breaking down in mulch piles around the garden. This process should eliminate any weeds from receiving sunlight. It also provides enrichment to the soil as the mulch breaks down, as well as smothers the weeds and their seeds. Weeds do not grow and your soil takes in rich nutrients. We are learning a lot - especially in how to best prevent weed growth if you're not able to spend as much time in your garden, like us this year. We're excited to share more with you as we learn these lessons. Question for the future:

”How can I avoid the weeds from coming back so abundantly every year?”

WEEDING LESSONS

Mulching Promotes

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Mulch Two Mulching promotes many benefits. Three significant benefits are stopping the growth of weeds, keeping moisture in the soil and maintaining a cool atmosphere for plants.

Weeds can slow down and stop healthy plants from producing. Using mulch to suppress weeds is a much easier method compared to pulling or hoeing all those weeds.

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I use a layered system for mulching. I start with a covering of newspaper and than drop a layer of leaf compost, grass clippings or seedless straw or hay.

I have also utilized the commercial biodegradable as the first layer if I am not able to obtain newspaper.

It is much cheaper to use newspaper if available. Some commercial brands advertise their mulch adds to the productivity of the plants. We are trying the plastic type for some of the tomatoes to compare results. I will provide a report of the comparisons at the end of the summer.

Tomato TwoMulching provides a protective covering around the soils that surround plants. On hot dry summer days a lack of moisture can quickly affect the progress of your plants. The mulching layers keep moisture levels constant for feeding hungry plants.

The coverage of mulch also provides a cool bed for your vegetables to survive baked ground in mid summer.

Be aware, cool soil can slow down transplants from taking hold in the soil. Because of the cooling effect, be careful when distributing the mulch around “warm blooded” plants such as peppers and tomatoes.

 

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The need for warming mulch is an advantage some commercial mulch extols.  Check out these advantages. Given the cool temperatures this spring that might be something to consider.

In future posts we will review our distribution of various mulches this spring.

 

 

Summer Rhubarb Cocktail

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It's great to be back, sharing a yummy recipe from the garden. On the whole, I've passed this awesome blog off to my Dad, Jer - the gardening expert. As you might know, he's had quite the adventurous year!  And I've been busy with my own blog - This Moved Me - and the This Moved Me podcast...

But I've missed this food/gardening/photography business!  So, when I'm up at the cabin this summer - and we make something awesome from the garden - I'll still share it here. Why not?! Especially when we make something like this delicious Summer Rhubarb Cocktail!

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We were gathered together over Memorial Day so that we could help keep Jer's garden going. Because of GBS, he's not able to do much this summer (and let me stress - THIS SUMMER! - next year he'll be digging around in the dirt with us!) So we kids - and our kids - decided that we would dig in (haha) and help make it happen.

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And already there was amazing food coming up. Like the rhubarb!  I was in the mood to do something with all that beautiful rhubarb!  I was thinking about this drink that friends of ours made from rhubarb YEARS ago... It was a perfect summer day... we sat on their patio for hours (this was pre-kids, of course), and we slurped up the rhubarb goodness.  I'm not sure I had had rhubarb anything before that (outside of the occasional crumble, yum!) - so I wasn't sure it would be good. But in my memory it was AWESOME. I couldn't remember what exactly it was or how they made it... But this weekend I had a hankering for it. So, in our attempt at bringing that memory to life again -  we just made up this little ditty.

I will admit: the men were skeptical. Too girly, perhaps?  Too pink?  (MAN UP, BOYS! Real men like pink. Besides, it's YUM!)

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I am happy to report that the very skeptical men became believers (thank you very much).

If you've got some rhubarb... this could not be simpler (that's the only way we roll at the cabin) - and it's so refreshing and delicious. It's Friday! Go ahead. :)

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Summer Rhubarb Cocktail
Recipe Type: cocktail
Author: The Cabin Garden
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5-8 drinks
A simple, refreshing and delicious summer drink that uses beautiful rhubarb to give it a kick!
Ingredients
  • FOR SYRUP:
  • 4 c. diced rhubarb
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • FOR DRINK:
  • juice of a lime
  • sprite
  • white rum
Instructions
  1. Add rhubarb, water and sugar to a sauce pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. When the rhubarb is soft, strain the juice out and set aside to cool completely.
  3. Then assemble the drink into a pitcher:
  4. Mix together the syrup, sprite, the lime and rum.
  5. Pour over ice and serve!

 

The Family Garden

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I had posted our concerns regarding managing the garden this year under the post, “Gardening With A Disability-The Choices We Face”. We have made a decision to have our family manage the garden.

On Memorial Day weekend the entire family prepared the garden and planted all the garden Items!

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What an operation!  We divided the planting and row preparation and within four hours we were near completion of the entire 90 X 60 foot plot. We had a few touch ups to complete the next day.  The Family Garden was complete by Monday, Memorial Day.

IMG_0070 (3) I thought I was quietly providing planting advice. Some suggested I got a bit bossy. I admit, it was difficult for me to not jump out of my chair and dig into the ground. It sure is in one’s blood to attack the ground and prepare it for spring planting.

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It was heartwarming to see our families working together to make sure we have a garden in 2015.  The garden plantings are smaller compared to past years. We know the constant need to weed and care take requires more time than most of my family can offer. However, it is still a large garden and will offer us much challenge to care take.

In a future post I will provide a map of the garden and why we decided to include items.

IMG_0052We also started a system of mulching with commercial mulch to limit garden care. We plan to add the organic mulching as the summer progresses.

I will have a post out in the next day or so to discuss the advantages of mulching.

I will follow up in future posts on how the garden is progressing. We welcome your comments.

Garden Tales

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I am starting a new post! top 5 ways to prep your gardenMy farming background provided me with many garden tales.   Some may say these tales or theories were based on little scientific proof.  That may be, but they seemed to work!  My Parents had an excellent reputation in farming and gardening.  Their success in their field production and garden produce are well known.

I had an earlier post sighting the qualities of poultry manure (Organic Fertilizer-Choose-Poultry Manure).  Much of my experience regarding this belief came from our raising chickens and placing the poultry manure on our family garden every fall.  I believe the quality of poultry manure compost is  a proven "old wives' tale".

Three Turkeys                 photo credit: street turkeys in a row <a href="https://photopin.com"(license)

In future posts, I will relate other garden stories. I welcome your sharing your stories in the comment section.

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Mulching Leaves and Grasses

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compost pile_b photo credit:Uncomposting compost</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com"(license)

At the last entry I indicated i have Guilian-Barre Syndrome (link).  This nerve syndrome has limited my limbs strength for this upcoming garden season. As we figure out what will work for the garden production this year, the first issue is, making plans for items that must be done

photo 5 We must continue to feed our soils, unless the garden is left alone for the unforeseeable future.  At this point that is ”NOT IN THE PLANS”.  2015 is still questionable but for 2016 and beyond we must continue to “feed our soils”. One of the activities that is necessary to keep our soils rich and fruitful for future plantings is mulching.  This includes leaves, straw or similar grass items and vegetable composts

Fall Leaves

photo credit:>Autumn Leaves</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com"(license)

In my experience utilizing these mulching activities will provide a much stronger guarantee of quality soils in the coming gardening years. I use the following procedures for mulching leaves, straw and grasses, and vegetable composts. 1)  Keep those leaves and grass items. 2)  Have an area near the garden that has plenty of room to store the leaves in a pile. 3)  Turn the leaves and grass items often to help them breakdown. 4)  Weekly, take a wheel barrel or two of composting items to the garden area. Distribute evenly.  This will help provide breathing room for the soil as well as kill off those ever painful weeds. 5)  Make sure you turn the mulching items in your garden to avoid molds.  Turning compost continues the breakdown of the mulch to help enrich the soils. 6)  Doing this every summer will provide nutrients from the mulch, insects and it helps your soil breath.

Last Harvest 2In future post we will cover other activities we should continue.  The green manure method and ongoing cultivation strategies create great crops!!

GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome) Update

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  IMG_2805In the past four months I have spent my time either in a Hospital or a Rehabilitation Center. In an earlier post I detailed the results of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (see link at end of Post).   Most of the four months I struggled with weakness in all four of my limbs and my entire body.. The diagnosis for GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome) is positive if you give a great deal of energy into hard work and consistent focus towards strengthening your body. This could take a year.

IMG_2886Thus far I feel fortunate as my arms and legs have improved in strength. I started walking with a walker in late March. Recently the walking has improved to the point I was discharged to my home!

I will be continuing in out patient therapy through the summer. I am expected to work at home with workouts on a whole list of activities. I am improving but the weakness is still in my legs and arms.  I also have a ways to go in having adequate strength in my entire body.

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What this all means for me and the Cabin Garden? I will likely not be able to be actively involved in care taking our garden. in this summer of 2015.   We are still not sure what we will decide to do regarding working the garden.  ???

The Cabin Garden May 2013

In an earlier post I described some alternative options. Your thoughts and ideas are welcome.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/gbs/detail_gbs.htm  (website details Guillain-Barre Syndrome)

 

 

Cabin Garden Spring Salad

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In celebration of the bright sunny days of May, I made a yummy pasta salad for lunch.  Using hydrated tomato chunks and zucchini chips from our garden last year, as well as fresh spinach with the pasta, the tastes are tart and fresh on our tongues.

Jerry and brother Bob had a lunch on our patio at home.  The taste of spring salad and a taste of being home from the hospital and transition therapy made a May day even brighter.

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Cabin Garden Spring Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: The Cabin Garden
Serves: 6 servings
This salad is good for a cold day - easy to put together - and a favorite for many!
Ingredients
  • 5 to 6 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1 can drained and rinsed cannelloni beans white
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup dehydrated tomato chunks (or buy dried tomatoes)
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • ¼ cup dehydrated zucchini chips (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp lemon peel
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice and 2 TBSP Olive oil
  • 1 TBSP each oregano and thyme
  • ½ tsp kosher salt or sea salt and ½ tsp pepper
  • 12 oz farfalle pasta
  • shaved parmesan
Instructions
  1. In a large serving bowl, combine all ingredients up to the pasta. Cover and let stand at room temperature while preparing the pasta, or up to 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Before serving, cook pasta. Drain. Reserve ¼ cup of cooking water. Toss cooked pasta and the pasta water(as needed) with the spinach and dried tomato mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese.