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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hoop House Report 10/31/10: Harvesting Micro Greens

inside the hoop house... happy greens!
Since I added Christmas lights around my plants in the hoop house... they've been nice and cozy!

Growing Micro Greens...
I read about growing Micro Greens in the Urban Farmer magazine last month and thought... YES... I can do that!!!!

So... in my hoop house in pots, I'm growing some greens... they will be harvested when they are between 2 & 4 inches tall:
-Corn Salad

 Today I harvested some radish & sunflower greens!!!
Micro Greens: I harvest some radish greens this morning!  
 All of my greens are very happy in the hoop house!
Micro Greens: I also clipped some sunflower greens..
I also harvested some greens that are growing in the Hoop House soil.
My little green harvest goes into my fruity Green Smoothie!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Giant Pumpkin weighed in at....

Remember that BIG pumpkin we grew?    Well the lumber yard GREAT PUMPKIN WEIGH IN was today!  

And... our pumpkin won!!!!
the Giant Pumpkin is loaded into the pickup

and it's weighed in Wyoming style

Our son with his pumpkin 
Up it goes..

how much will it weigh?

71 Pounds!  A winner for the kid's division!

All the Giant Pumpkins...

Our son wins with a 71 pound Giant Pumpkin!
As I was surfing around this afternoon, I came across this website on how to roast a pumpkin and other pumpkin recipes.  

So... if you've got Pumpkins this site might be helpful!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Got Sprouts... a Hoop House Report

Fishy Insulation coverup... for cold nights.
The picture above shows the fishy insulation that I scored from the Pet Store.  Before I cut it in half, it was shaped as an envelope and used for keeping fish warm during shipping.

I cover my plants with this fishy insulation (within the hoop house) to keep them warm and cozy on cold nights.

Here's the inside of my little Hoop House!

Mesclun Sprouts (to be used as Micro Greens) 

Cobb Salad beginning to sprout (micro greens)

oh shoot... can't remember what these sprouts are... darn!

Sunflower sprouts (micro greens)

Cobb Salad sprouts

Swiss Chard transplant.  The grasshoppers had eaten all the leaves... BUT  LOOK... it's growing some more!

Swiss Chard

Beet Greens


Swiss Chard

I lowered the little hoop house by about a foot today... less space to warm now.  We're heading back into the 30s at night for the next week... so not so cold!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hoop House Report: Overcoming the Elements...

Hello gardening friends!  A hoop house report... SUCCESS!!!!
early this morning before the sunrise

I made some changes to my hoop house last night.  I knew that it was going to be pretty frosty during the night... getting down to the low 20s.

Goal: keep hoop house above freezing...  SUCCESS!!!!
See the silver stuff over the plants?  That's my fishy insulation!

This morning my hoop house was a cozy 42.5 while it was 25 degrees outside!  Wow!!!!

Hoop House Changes...  (oh my gosh... I feel so like EG!)

1. A FB friend of mine suggested that I put non-LED Christmas lights around my plants for added warmth.  So I did!  And boy did my hoop house look festive! : )

2.  Added Fishy Insulation over my plants like a tent... well... this needs some explanation...

So, last week I was to the Pet Store where they were unpacking fish.  Each box had these awesome insulated bags to keep the fish warm.... and... boxes and all were headed to the trash.  I kept thinking gosh I could do something with those insulated bags!

Originally I thought that I would use them in the cold frames that I will be building.  But then last night inspiration struck...  I had an EG moment, I guess!

The bags were shaped like an envelope with a seam running along each side, so I cut along each seam so that they looked like a rectangle.  Then I placed each rectangle (I had two of these fishy bags) as a tent directly over my plants.

3. Lowered the light bulb that was hanging high in the dome to right above the insulation tent.

4. Put the wireless temperature probe thingy inside the tent.

And... success!!!!  There was frost on the inside of the plastic dome... but my plants were nice and cozy (42.5 degrees F) under the fishy insulation blanket while it was 25 degrees outside!

Some pictures:
a peek inside!

cozy cozy!

seedlings growing... swiss chard, arugula, spinach, and beet greens... all happy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hoop House report... temperatures are going DOWN!

Welcome TYRA!  Thanks for following my blog!  Tyra has the most beautiful greenhouse!  Go check it out here....

Hoop House Experiment report...

Temperature Swings:
High: 79.5
Low (so far today at 9:30pm): 41.9

Temperatures are heading down down down at night!  Will get as low as 20 degrees F maybe colder by midweek.

Well heck... it IS almost the end of October here in northern Wyoming!

In preparation for the cold weather I:
-put a cozy blanket over my plants inside the hoop house.
-put a light on in there.  Blanket + Light = ??? (we'll see!)
-put large pieces of styrofoam on the north side inside the hoop house.

Other ideas...
-electric blanket???  Ohhh... just had this idea.... I guess if I had to I could put an electric blanket on my plants!!!
-fishy insulation...  I repurposed 2 insulation bags that were used to ship fish from the Pet store.  Wish that I had grabbed more!  I could sew a covering for my hoop house using this stuff... or use it as a blanket.
-make it smaller (shorter)...  I've been thinking that I should cut the hoops down to make a smaller house.  I'm hoping that that would also help keep some warmth where it would be a smaller area.... hmmm..

I wonder what low temperature will bother my spinach, beet greens, swiss chard, and arugula????

As I write this post, it's a cozy 41.9 degrees F in my hoop house at 9:30pm.

Just greens... and a buffalo or two!

Oh it's a blustery... chilly day out here in northern Wyoming!  I'm just back from a walk complete with fleece mittens and a rag wool hat... and my face and ears are still cold!

The Pryor Mountains got a new blanket of snow during the night as well as all the mountain ranges around!  Very pretty... but it means that cold weather is here...

In my little hoop house it's a toasty 42.6 degrees even though it is overcast this morning.  Yesterday I harvested some swiss chard and other greens.

Oh... I scored two windows at a neighbor's yard sale on Saturday!!!!  Got to build some cold frames now!

What???? Buffalo???

On Thursday I took my Aunt who is visiting from Maine to Yellowstone National Park!  It was a lovely warm day... with incredible sights!  Want to see the photos that I took? You can view my online photo album here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Video: how to make a pallet compost bin

I love facebook!  This morning there was a post by Urban Farmer Magazine (UFM) that included a link to a video on how to make a pallet compost bin and a great list of what to compost!

I've been thinking about making one myself!

Thought that I'd share this video with you gardening friends!  Here's the link:

And here's UFM's list of "what" to Compost!

I have also added these links to my Helpful Links sidebar for future reference!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hoop House Experiment: Wonderful Radish Sprouts

Well it's been one week since the Great Cover-up!  And temperatures have been in the 30s at night for most of that week.

Last Tuesday I also began growing micro greens in the hoop house.  I'm so excited to see these sprouts!
Radish Sprouts

Mesclun Sprouts

Sunflower sprouts
I harvest a few cups of greens this morning including: chard, spinach, arugula, cilantro, lettuce.
10/18/10 Harvest from the Hoop House: Greens 
I'm making a concerted effort to build health!  Missy and I are power walking every day... and I'm consuming more greens via green smoothies.   Gosh... we could call this the Great Toni Experiment!!!  Anyway... I know what you're thinking... green smoothies... ewwwwwww....

I know!  But honestly they taste pretty good the way that I make them!  This green smoothie has pomegranate, peaches, apples, grapes, orange, fresh lemon juice, some frozen berries... and some greens from my hoop house garden!
My secret weapon is my Vita Mix!  It's a high powered pulverizing wonder!  I use it every day... it's one of my prized possessions!   I popped on over to the Vita Mix site and found that they have a whole page dedicated to making green smoothies!

To make my green smoothie I add fresh and frozen fruit and some greens!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Research on Winter Greens & Cold Frames

Where did I put my Eliot Coleman book?  I bought it last year... um... I'm ready to learn about 4 season garden!!!

I'm doing some research on growing greens this winter and on having a cold frame.   I have to admit this is a very different blog post for me... it's really more of a place holder for what I'm learning.

Here's a video that I've really enjoyed:

Winter Gardening Using Cold Frames

Cold Frame and Green House covering... this Solexx stuff sounds really neat!

Greens for Winter Harvest
The following greens are winter hardy:
Arugula, Kale, Chard, Spinach, Beet Greens, Collards, Mustard, Pac Choi, Mizun, Tatsoi

Here's a good article that I found on Greens for the winter!

Hoop house experiment 10/15/10... day 5-Sprouts!

The little Hoop House over my 4x4 SFG box!
Hi all!  I'm just back in from the Hoop House!

Here I am in northern Wyoming attempting to keep growing stuff as the weather turns...

The big news is that.... I have sprouts in my micro green pots!!!

I'm growing some micro greens in the hoop house.  Gosh I just planted them on Monday... and some of them are already sprouting!  I'm very encouraged to see those little sprouts!
radish sprouts day 5

sunflower sprouts day 5

I'll be harvesting these little sprouts when they're about 2 inches or so tall.

Temperature report from inside the Hoop House:
Low: 34.5
High: 99.5

It's been a bit milder the past couple nights with lows just above freezing and afternoons in the 60s.

My greens that were transplanted on Monday look so much happier today!  They've perked up and look healthy again.

Previous posts about the Hoop House:
Day 1: The Great Cover Up!
Day 2:
Day 3:
Day 5: Sprouts!

Cold Frame update...
Posted a sign at the post office the other day...
Wanted... Your Old Windows... the ones taking up room in your garage... No Calls yet..

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

hoop house experiment 10/13/10

The Hoop House experiment continues here in northern Wyoming...  My goal is to have fresh greens for a few more months.

I've placed a wireless weather probe in the middle of my 4x4 hoop house down low in the middle of the hoop house close to the plants.

Temperatures (degrees F)... what a huge range!

Low: 28.5
High: 99.5 (before I opened it up to let in fresh air)

Plants growing: Chard, Spinach, Beets, Arugula, Romaine (just about gone to seed!).

A new twist...
I've been thinking and thinking and reading about what I may be able to do to keep my hoop house above freezing.  One article that I read suggested filling 30 gallon barrels with water and putting them on the south side of the hoop house.  Well... excellent idea... but my little hoop house is only 4'x4'!

Adding Water containers... and Soapstone!
But... I do have some large containers that I filled with hot water to give that a try.  Also... we've been cutting soapstone counters for our new home... and knowing that soapstone is used in stoves because they retain heat for long periods... I also added some pieces of soapstone upon which I set the water containers.

So now we'll just see... our low tonight is supposed to be 34 and we're entering a bit of a warming trend over the next few days...

My plants look a little droopy because I transplanted them into this box on Monday... talk about shock!  Cold nights and transplanted!

Oh and Eggplant...
I harvested my Eggplant today because the plants had just had enough of the cold weather and were just withering away...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

my hoop house experiment...

Hi all!  What a beautiful day here in northern Wyoming!  It's sunny and going into the 60's!

Green Smoothies...
I just washed up my greens from the hoop house!  Yummy!  They will be going into my lunchtime green (mostly fruit...) smoothie shake!

Oh... I have some veggie wash samples left!  Let me know if you'd like one... see my side bar on the right --->

The Great Hoop House Experiment...
Some of my plants are experiencing a bit of shock from being transplanted yesterday... but I think that they'll be OK.

It got to 26.5 degrees at the top of my hoop house during the night.. burr...  so to get a better understanding of the temperature at plant level (which must be warmer!), I lowered my wireless temperature thingy closer to the plants.

Will be interesting to see the temperature low for tonight!

It's a beautiful sunny Fall day here in Wyoming!  So I've opened up the hoop house for some fresh air and sunshine.

WANTED... YOUR OLD WINDOWS... for my Cold Frames!
I'm still hoping to get a donation of some used windows so that I can make some cold frames (thanks Sue in northern Michigan for the inspiration!!!!  Sue gets 5 months of gardening in by extending her season with cold frames!)  I'm going to post a WINDOWS WANTED sign in our Post Office today.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Great Cover-Up...

Pumpkin & Squash harvest 10/11/10

We had a light frost the very beginning of September, but... it's been quite nice since then with lows in the 40s.  But we have a downward trend coming... and after all... it is October 11!

I transplanted all of my greens that were scattered in various boxes into one 4x4 box.  Hope they survive the transplanting!
Then... in preparation for what will surely come... I've covered my GREENS box.  Here is the "Great Cover-Up!"

I have a wireless weather station transmitter inside the dome... so I'll know what's going on in there from inside my house!  Is that cool or what?  The weather station says that it's 75 degrees in there right now!
I've been cleaning up my boxes... pulling vines...

Here are a few pumpkins and squash that I gathered during my clean-up.

I read about growing "mirco greens" indoors in Urban Farm Magazine and thought that I'd give that a try.  Basically, you harvest the greens when they're a little more than sprouts.

So, I planted some seeds in pots but have them covered up outside for now... until I make room in my kitchen garden window.
Planted some seeds for my "micro greens" experiment
Then.... there's the BIG Pumpkin!  
I cut up all my vines and revealed my GIANT pumpkin!  Here she is...

Here she is sitting on a big bale of peat moss!
My Garden...  Fall 10/11/10