Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Idea: Square Foot Gardening Template Tool

I am in love with these tools. Seriously. After one use, I wondered where this square foot gardening template tool had been all my life.


If you have raised beds and do square foot gardening make these. We have them in 4, 9, and 16 plants per square foot. If you don't have raised beds I would still consider making a modified version of these. 


The premise in square foot gardening is that the close plant spacing is possible because water and soil fertility can be closely monitored. However, creating a few of these for whatever is the most common row or plant spacing you use can definitely help. Whatever saves time helps, right?!?

Even though we have an inexpensive seeder like this and hope to get a much nicer seeder like this these wooden ones can help in a pinch. Sure better than using your finger or a stick.

If you are a DIYer then you will love these how-to instructions on how to make your own square foot gardening template tool. 

If you aren't a DIY kinda person we will be making a few of these babies and bringing them with us for early markets. Possibly will add them to our store. We will keep you posted on that.

Follow me on Pinterest for recipes, living the farm dream, real food resources, and other things. My Beautiful Gardens & Outdoor Spaces has lots of ideas like the above for your garden and yards.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Seedlings

Seedlings always feel like a miracle. Every time we get nervous about them germinating. Then we are nervous about them growing weak or leggy. A very real concern in our low light growing conditions.


We haven't solved all these problems yet. We are still learning but the miracle is that every year we have a beautiful garden with seedlings we started. This year we will have a farm.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our Photo was Featured!

Aw Snaps! From the Real Time Farms blog featured our photograph of our baby Broken New Zealand bunny.


RealTimeFarms.com lets you network and know where your food comes from. You will find Honest Desires Farm listed there! As customers of our produce and eggs you can upload your pictures to our page on Real Time Farms.

And then there is Food52.com with amazing local food recipes, beautiful photographs, and recipe contests. Check it out!

Idea: Keeping Seeds Organized

If the idea of organizing your seed packs seems daunting for your home garden consider the handy photo album. I am a big fan of using what you have just laying around and I had several photo albums I have been meaning to put pictures in but never get to it.

As I have piles of seed packs just stressing me out; I decided to put a photo album to use. It has worked wonders! What I really love is the memo section that provides plenty of room to record plant dates, quantities, and germination rate, etc.








Easy to keep in the refrigerator or even better the freezer once planted. 
Happy planting.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Graduated!

I am officially a graduate of the Market Garden Training Program via the Ohio State Extension Program.


It was a fantastic experience. I met many wonderful people. Learned an amazing amount of information. Realized I have an amazing amount more to learn and could definitely see myself returning for another year. If you are considering becoming a farmer, urban or otherwise, I would suggest this program

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Ducklings have Moved

The babies are outside in the greenhouse and we have a plan for a future home...



Progress.
More pictures soon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chew Resistant Rabbit Bowls... Um No

Seriously. Does this look chew resistant?


Well this actual cup wasn't listed as chew resistant but the second set we bought were. And they look WORSE...



Before you say, didn't you give your rabbits something to chew on? The answer is yes. YES! Apparently the fun wood disks I gave them to toss around wasn't enough. Plastic is just tastier, right? Yuck.

During the warm months we use stainless steel small dog bowls on the outside hutches but moved the rabbits inside (meaning the old chicken coop and not inside my house) for the winter in hopes to limit frozen water bottles and to keep breeding... neither happened. Well we needed new bowls because the stainless steel ones were screwed to the wood frames outside. No problem. Just buy rabbit feed cups from a site like this. Well, as you can see, money down the tube. Ugh! I hate that.

Let this be your warning. Don't bother with plastic feed cups, but don't spend a fortune like we did. Instead, visit your local dollar store. Find heavy, flat (not easy to tip), ceramic food grade dishes.


They are attractive (yes that matters to me), easy to clean, easy to label on the bottom, and hold enough food. Why didn't we do this in the beginning? The same price as the "chew resistant" plastic food cups and minus the expensive shipping (sorry bunny web site). You could buy ceramic crocks at a pet store but I haven't ever witnessed them as cheap as a $1.00.

Now just because I enjoy inspiration, here are some of my heroes in the rabbit raising world coming up with some great rabbit raising ideas. They have fantastic ideas for pasture pens (love them!) and feeders and such. I am waiting for them to solve the dreaded frozen water bottle problem. Seriously rabbit bottles are the major downside of raising rabbits. A huge chore.

Look at their neat feeder:


Visit Skyview Acres for more wonderful inspiration in the rabbit raising world. Here is their tutorial on the coffee can feeder. Another source of inspiration from Backyard Meat Rabbit board I am part of on Facebook is this hay feeder. I will have to give this one a try. 


I would appreciate it if they didn't chew on it though...


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dreaming of Duck Houses

The babies are getting big and boy are they smelly for the house. Having baby chicks in the house is dusty (as most bird owners could tell you) but baby ducks have proved to be extremely stinky for the jumbo Rubbermaid container they live in. Something about water they always find away to spill and something about the wet bedding/duck poop. Having the barn odor waft gently down the stairs to your kitchen is just not my cup of tea. 

As you can imagine, we are extremely excited to think about getting them outside. If the weather would just warm up a bit at night... they will go out into the greenhouse. However, that will just be transitional. Most of our animals have transitioned in the greenhouse. Handy.

Requirements of a duck house:
1. Easy to clean
2. Movable
3. Cheap or free
4. Cute
5. Easy to clean 
(yup that needs to be said TWICE!)

Here are some ideas I am considering for Gary's handy work:

Cute. Like the slanted roof and door that locks...

(source)

Easy to clean... not sure about a pen. And nest boxes?
Easy to clean...
(source)

Cute...

(source)

Movable...
Cute...
Cute!...

(source)

Easy to clean...

(source)

I am thinking living roof...
So so so many fun search results for living roofs. Check them out. I could do a whole Pinterest board on them... 

Kidding... but beautiful and this will be Gary's favorite.

Stay tuned for how it will turn out. I can't promise it will be a priority while we try to get the yard plowed and planted. As long as the babies are safe and warm and outside... somewhere...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Got Herbs?

Fresh herbs are an exciting part of spring. Herbs can be a wonderful way to get started with cooking fresh and local. Fresh herbs can be expensive at the grocery store and in my experience a lot less taste! 


Why not grow your own? Germination of herb seeds can be LONG.  Look for organic seed if you want to start your own or look for started plants. Check out your local farmer's markets in spring for organic herb plants. They can go in your flower bed, garden bed, or pots on your patio. If not something you want to bother with just buy your fresh herbs from your friendly local farmer. 

For a simple guide on how to use fresh herbs read here. Everyday Food magazine is one of my favorite for great seasonal recipes. In my experience, cilantro, rosemary, and thyme are great herbs to get started cooking with. How do you use fresh herbs?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Honest Egg CSA Shares 2013



It's time! Our shares are available. Don't miss out.

Our chickens are fed a combination of non-GMO feed, kitchen scraps, garden extras, and of course bugs, grubs, worms, and grass from the property. Our ladies are truly free-range. Your share will be from eggs laid that week and very often that very day!

Pick up for the spring share will be at the farm. If for some reason you can't pick up your share you can have a friend or family member pick up your weekly share for you. Limited quantity available.

For more information visit our Honest Egg CSA page or to purchase visit our Store.

video
Our chickens March 2013

Benefits of a CSA


Buy Local & Benefit the Local Economy
 - Buying local means you know where your food comes from making you intimately connected with your food. There is no disconnect between the quality of life the animal lives or the methods used to grow the carrots on your plate. Additionally, you are connected to the seasons. Not all food is available all the time. It allows your taste buds to rest from one great flavor to another. They way you look forward to sandals in the Summertime or to your favorite sweater in Fall... that is how food should be. Having tasteless tomatoes in January just isn't as special or really honest to yourself. Not that you can't buy those tomatoes but having real expectations helps you tune into the season. Maybe even living life in the present tense. A great reference for seasonal, local food is "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life" by Barbara Kingsolver. (I really enjoyed this book as an audio book)

Your support helps us little farms stay afloat and keeps the local food movement alive. 100% of your food dollars goes to the farmer. Curious about how buying local really helps the economy?

A local farmers market was featured in a study conducted by Marketumbrella.org shows how significant money spent locally affects the local economy. The study featuring Cleveland's Kamm's Corner Farmers Market shows:

"Using the Sticky Economy Evaluation Device (SEED) methodology, marketumbrella.org is pleased to report that the Kamm's Corners Farmers Market has an annual combined economic impact of $3,420,287.20 on its vendors, host neighborhood, and surrounding region."

Want to read the whole study, read here. Local dollars spent has a huge impact on local communities.

Eat Fresh & Be Healthy - Your food is fresher and healthier. Once you eat farm fresh eggs you will never go back. Honest. The freshness is unbeatable. With an increase in the the quality and a steady supply of fresh food you will find yourself cooking more fresh real food. I know I did and I know I wasn't the only one. 

Fresh, pastured eggs are honestly more nutritious than store bought counterparts. For example, in 2007 Mother Earth News tested eggs from 14 flocks around the country that free-range on pasture. Their test found that compared to official USDA nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from these pastured hens may contain:

• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

Read more here.

Better for the Environment - Eating local food means food doesn't have to travel miles to get to your plate. Buying food from farmers that care about sustainable farming practices and that care about the welfare of animals, the health of the soil, and protecting water sheds.

Support Local Farmers - You can visit the farm and meeting the farmer. Your CSA farmer should be happy to telling about their growing practices giving you a better understanding of how your food is grown. 

Some additional articles to read:
This isn't an all inclusive list so don't just take our word for it. Do some research. We have some links to make it easier for you.
Why join a CSA? - Silverwood Organic Farm
Why join a CSA? - Free Bird Farm
Why join a CSA? - Breastcancer.org
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