Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Oka, so I have this mystery plant here. I got it at Trader Joe’s for $1.99. What a steal, I know. I’ve repotted it since the picture but just wanted to see if anyone had any ideas what this plant is. It has leathery leaves that serrated...ideas?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Spring Updates

Hey Kids! I know there isn't much happening outside, but I already have spring fever. Such a bad time for this. I think I'll start my leeks and onions soon. Maybe the end of the month. The "girls" are doing well and laying eggs often. I am getting an average of 3.10 eggs per day. Wait Zach, you may ask, how are you getting 3.10 eggs? I'm just averaging the number of eggs that I am gathering over the course of them laying. It is so humorous. I never named the chickens, I just called them "the girls". My mother, on the other hand, all of a sudden started talking to me about Georgie, Henrietta, Esther, ect. This was the text I got from her one day.

Mom- "Zach Henrietta in out in the yard!"
Zach- "Okay...and..."
M- "I put her in the coop"
Z- "WHY? Who is Henrietta? Is that a chicken?"

Anyways you get the picture. So now I am getting lots of different colors of eggs. I am selling them now, and all the proceeds are being donated to my local church. I made my coop from a Lil-Tike play house, I'll have to tell you all about it some spring. Unfortunately I lost all of my pics when they were babies :( 

To sign off, here are the girls wishing you 'Good Mornin' while eating their oatmeal breakfast.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Saving Seeds

Okay Kids, so this time of year is great. "GREAT?" you may say. Zach please explain. The upside is that you get to start you collecting for next year's seeds. If you have a particular type of non-Hybrid plant that you just can't live without and want next year...why not save some seeds from it. This year, I am saving seeds from a couple different types of seeds. I'll be saving my Scarlet Runner Beans, Radishes, Peas, and Marigolds. These are really some easy seeds to harvest for beginners since there are no special techniques as compared to say tomatoes. Here is the Link on how to collect tomato seeds.

 These are pretty self explanatory, because all you have to do is take off the hull around seeds. I think the key thing is to be sure that everything is completely dry.

 So once I have harvested the seed pods, i leave them inside for a couple of days, to insure that they are completely dry. After which I start to hull them. Be sure to store them in ziplock baggies, mark their names, and dates on the bag too.

So once I have harvested the seed pods, i leave them inside for a couple of days, to insure that they are completely dry. After which I start to hull them. Be sure to store them in ziplock baggies, mark their names, and dates on the bag too.

Monday, October 13, 2014


So I was reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and I reached a spot in the book where Mary has found the secret garden and decided to grow flowers in it. She has her friend Dickon buy seeds for her. He bought her poppies and Mignonette. He told her they were the sweetest smelling flower in the world. You know what, I want a secret garden, I want Mignonette. Mignonette, also called Reseda has very plain flower spikes. They are often used in flower arrangements or potpourri because of such a sweet fragrance. 

According to Outside Pride
"Growing Minonette from see is not difficult, but the flower seed should be started outdoors as the plants do not transplant well. Prepare a seedbed and place the Mignonette seeds on the surface. Pressing the flower seed into the soil and barely covering. Maintain moisture until determination occurs. Thin the Mignonette seedlings to the strongest plant. 12 inches apart. Young Reseda Odorata plants should be pinched back to encourage a bushier growth habi. Mignonette seeds can be sown over a period of time to create a longer growing season."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Garden is beginning to wind down for me this year. Cucumbers are done, tomatoes are finishing, squash is going strong, beans are also winding down. But one would think that we are done for the year. Well kids, you would be wrong. Start your fall planting! In the midwest there are two major growing seasons, Spring and end of summer! All of those cold crops that you were growing at the beginning of the year are able to be planted again right now. Actually probably should have started planting a month or so ago. Oh well, don't let your fear of failure stop you from proceeding with what you can do. Get out there and plant that lettuce. But don't stop there, there are lots of things you can plant, Head Lettuce, Cutting Lettuce, Radishes, Beets, Turnips, Carrots, Beans, Peaseven some Cucumbers and Squash. Here are some of my lettuces that are coming up. If you are unsure of what to begin or which plants to plant, then its very easy to determine what to plant. Look at your seed packet, they all have listed the "Days to Maturation" on it. Then count backwards from your First Frost Date. If you have leeway, then you can do it! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Hi kids, each year I feel like I grow the same vegetables over and over again, although they may be new variations of them, they are still the same thing. I wanted to mix it up this year and try something a little bit different, Kohlrobi. Now back when I lived on the farm we grew Kohlrobi and it was beautiful. So I wanted to give it a try this year. I found some kohlrabi starts at the local nursery so I picked them up and started to plant them, planting two different crops so that I could stagger out when I would harvest my plants. And boy did they do well. The whole plant is edible from the leaves to the bulbous stem. 

So let's take a look on how to grow them. If you ever grown cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower then you'll be a pro at with Kohlrobi. It's in the same family as the other brassicas so it enjoys the same type of climate. Start them off early in the years they can get a better start growing and I'm little bit cooler environment. Amend the soil with organic matter and watch them grow. Now with my Kohlrobi that was really all I had to do, but My second crop might have been a little bit harder since I started to get cabbage moth caterpillars on my plants. They only affected the leaves and not the bulbous stem. The chickens loved them though!

If you are seeing wholes in your leaves bug you don't know who is doing the damage, look under the leaves and this is the little buggie that you will find. Now you can spray the plant to kill the bugs, but I just find it easier to pick them off. And the thing is, it's so much easier to just pick them off and do the 'real' organic pest control form.

Now the bed that I have them in now is very good soil with lots of rich humus. Plant them them in the spring about the beginning of May. Now every two weeks plant some succession crops so as to continue your harvest. Now I harvested my first pair in the second week of June and am still harvesting here in the second week of July. 


So when do you harvest this alien looking veggie? When the bulbous stem gets to be around 4 inches in diameter is about when you should harvest. It will still be young and tender. The danger with harvesting later is that you may risk the kohlrabi becoming fibrous inside. Although I many times pick them 5-6 inches wide and they are still delicious!
When it does come time to harvest there are a couple ways. The correct way that I first started doing but then got tired so I switched to the lazy. 

Correct Way:
As indicated here in the picture, the proper way so as not to disturb the soil would be to find the base of the plant and snip it with a pair of snippers.

Incorrect Way:

   To pull the whole plant out of the ground, roots and all (like an onion), and lop off the root-ball of dirt.

Both ways are correct and both ways give you a good result.

Later I will post a recipe for a kohlrabi fitter!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Canna 'Musafolia'

One of the things that I love most about my blog is that I'm able to look back from year-to-year and look at the things that succeeded and maybe some other things that didn't succeed. Well today I wanted to share with you something that I know will be the future addition to my garden next year. It's called Canna 'Musafolia' or banana canna; and as the name suggests it resembles a tropical banana plant.  Now I'm pretty familiar with most cannas but I've never heard of this one before. I plant different cannas every year and they always give me such a show  (that is if the squirrels don't dig them up). Normally the ones I grow are for the flowers and for the unique foliage and Canna 'Musafolia' is no exception. It can grow up to 10 feet tall by Midsummer and even taller in ideal conditions.

In the Great Lakes region where I live (zone 5b), getting the tropical paradise look, that so many love, is an extreme challenge. Because of our cold winters anything tropical die back. But with banana canna it is now possible to have the backyard hammock and Corona sitting by the pool in your "banana tree". 

I learned about this particular Canna when I was catching up on  "A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach", I never heard of it before so I looked it up online and my mind was blown. Although I have yet to figure out where exactly I'll place it in my garden, I know that I will be growing it next year. And hopefully if all goes well (please squirrels give me a break), I'll be posting pictures of my own beautiful 10 foot tall cannas. 

Below are some photos that I pulled from online. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How 2's: Marigolds

Hey Kids, I've got another How To for you today. I though we would talk about Marigolds. Nothing is as beautiful as a flowing bed of marigolds. They are the flower that gives without giving up. By being drought resistant, disease tolerant, and ever flowering, this plant has become a staple in many gardens. Its common folklore that Marigolds will even keep out unwanted pests when planted around the garden. The flowers are edible and are also used as dyes and teas. So all together its a good flower that you should have in your yard. They are also really easy to start from seed!

By using a heat mat I got my seeds to germinate in 2 days! I am planting Queen Sophia, just because I love the full mum look. But there are so many different looks that are available. You all know how much I love Livingston Seed Co. there seeds are the best quality for the smallest price (no they don't sponsor me). Click HERE to see my blog comparison of seed companies. 

Marigolds are so easy to start from seeds. This tray that I am planting in has 72 cells/plants for $1.29 as compared to the flats at the nurseries that only have 24 cells/plants for $12-$16! Not to mention that in one packet of seeds I was able to plant 2 trays or 144 plants for $1.29. Now that's a bargain!