Planting Lucky Taters!


Does planting potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day really bring you good luck?

While many have religiously planted their crops based on this superstition, planting potatoes in March actually has less to do with luck and a lot more to do with the weather. If planted too early, seeds will freeze and not germinate. The sweet spot for planting crops is mid-March to late-April. While you may not win a million dollars or find a pot of gold, you will be rewarded with a high yield of good Irish potatoes.

Not only are potatoes and peas a staple in many traditional St. Patrick’s Day dishes such as colcannon and Shepherd’s Pie, they also happen to be perfect crops to plant in March.

Planting peas in cooler temperatures allows for slower growth which creates stronger vines and prevents peas from quickly turning to starch. Peas grow best in temperatures between 45 and 70 degrees. Prior to planting, allow seeds to germinate. After germination, seeds should be planted 8 to 12 inches apart in well-draining soil. [click to continue…]

Mint for You?

Did you know that there are 17 different varieties of mint?
As if we needed any more difficulty choosing a toothpaste!
Here are some of our favorites.

Chocolate Mint (yes, we said chocolate) adds a robust flavor to baked desserts and also makes a delicious tea. Simply fill a mug halfway with leaves, add boiling water, and let steep for a few minutes. Remove the leaves and add a splash of milk for a decadent drink!

Kentucky Colonel and Mojito Mint are favorites among cocktail snobs who frown upon using any other variety for their Mint Juleps and specialty drinks. It can also spice up a glass of iced tea.

The cooling effect of Apple Mint can be used as a natural pain relief remedy for insect bites and bee stings. Simply crush the leaves and apply them to the bite. It’s also the mint of choice for the valley’s delicious iced mint tea.

Pineapple Mint has a delicious fragrance and attracts pollinators like butterflies. As mint likes to be king and will quickly take over if you let it, plant it safely in a hanging basket near your garden to attract your winged assistants!

 

Pumpkin Decor

Here’s an idea that doesn’t require a lot of time to decorate a few small pumpkins. starting-pumpkin

Start with a small pumpkin. Look for one that is blemish free and firm. We like to look for unique or unusual stems. Wash well and rinse in a solution of 1 part Chlorox to 10 parts water.  This solution helps kill any bacteria on the surface of the pumpkin that could cause it to decay
eyes

We like to start with the eyes and any type of craft paint will do.  White usually takes two coats to cover. If you’ve got a steady hand, highlight the eyes with black paint or use a magic marker.

finish-paint

Black paint can be used for all the features, but we find little ones like to use magic markers. You can use any of the colors. Small white Boo pumpkins can be decorated just using a black magic marker – do several! they make great table decorations!
sealing

It’s important to seal your artwork.  You can use any type of clear acrylic spray.  If you don’t seal the pumpkin, the paint will eventually peel off. It’s only necessary to cover the painted area, not the whole pumpkin.  Here’s the secret. If you have used a marker, spray the pumpkin very lightly to cover your artwork. When that coat has dried (only takes a few seconds), repeat the process to complete the sealing process.  Spraying the marker art with too much acrylic will cause it to run and you’ll have a mighty sad pumpkin!

harry

Looking for a little different finish to your pumpkin? Glue any type of succulents to the top to make hair. We used some droopy sedums on this one – but wouldn’t the more upright plants that might be in your yard make an awesome troll?

Pumpkin Huntin’

It’s that time of year. Charlie Brown and friends are out looking for the great pumpkin, and hundreds of others are searching for the that perfect pumpkin to carve or set on the front porch to welcome fall.  Here’s a few you might find that are just a little different

peanut-pumpkin

This one is called a “Peanut Pumpkin” or Galeux d’Eysine to be exact. The 220 yr old heirloom I think originates in France. The peanut type growths on the skin are actually a build up of excess sugar in the fleshy part of the skin. Excess sugar? Yep, peanut pumpkins are certainly edible; the flesh is sweet and delicious. Makes awesome pies!

one-too-many

This one looks like a blood shot eyeball. It’s name?  One Too Many.  (Seriously folks, you can’t make this stuff up – check a seed catalog!) The skin becomes creamy white and the veins more red as the season goes along.turks-turban

Turks Turban. Actually a winter squash, this one keeps well and has great flavor.

pumpkin1

Me?  I’m just looking for a pumpkin that “speaks” to me.  Here’s mine.  Can’t wait to get painting on this one!

Next week….. Hints on painting pumpkins

A real Duck Whisperer

I’ve added Duck Whisperer to my list of job titles here on the farm after last night’s escape of one of the ducklings as they ran to their swimming pool. These new additions to the farm this summer have been quite the experience.  Thanks to Jane Blackburn for snapping some pictures last week whens she visited with her girls.  Jane noticed that one of the eggs was moving in the nest and as I picked it up for a closer look, the top popped off

duck2

All we could see was a beak buried in some stringy wet feathers.  It wasn’t long, however, a little wiggle, and then that egg shell just exploded
duck3

Talk about a tight fit!

We’ve enjoyed the whole adventure (or misadventure)  of having Indian Runner ducks on the farm this summer – We kept 4 of the largest ducklings for our guests to visit this fall, and sadly, sent Momma with 5 remaining eggs and all the rest of the babies home with Bobby Morris, who loaned us the animals for this whole experience. Last night as I turned them outside to find their swimming pool, one went AWOL and Gary and I spent the next half hour coercing the wayward one back to the rest of the brood. (Glad there’s no video of that!)

Duck4

Babies are just SO cute!

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