Thursday, March 31, 2016

Incubating Eggs

Baby chicks.  What could be cuter than that?!?  Well in 21 days give or take we should have some baby chicks.

I sourced my blue egg layers, Araucana chickens, from my local Amish egg producer.  He has them in with Rhode Island Red roosters and I think Araucana Roosters.  At least that is what I could decipher.  Sometimes they (Amish) are difficult to understand, more of a worldly difference than age or language.

I purchased 36 eggs (3 dozen) for $12.  That left me with 5 spots open on the turner (holds 41) so I threw in some of my own chicken eggs.  I know for sure 2 are from my black hen, not sure of her breed, and the others are either Red Sex linked or Silver Laced Wyandotte hens mixed with a Wyandotte Rooster.

I know the Sex Linked won't breed true and revert back to what the parents were.  Either a Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire Rooster and Delaware Hen were used in the breeding so it could possibly be one of those breeds mixed with the Wyandotte.

Who knows and does it matter?  Not really.  Just as long as they lay eggs.

I will be candling them around 10-12 days and again at 17 or so just to check viability.  I can't possibly do them all without keeping the lid off the incubator so I'll do a random sampling.  And hopefully catch the ones I didn't get first on the second round.  Not all are expected to hatch, I'm hoping for 75%.

So far important items for starting eggs:

  1. Temperature at 100 degrees.
  2. Humidity level 55-60% while incubating.
  3. Turning eggs, mine has an automatic so no need to manually turn.  Otherwise mark one side of egg with an X and the other with an O.  They should be turned at least 4 times a day,  Get an automatic turner!
  4. Place incubator in a room with static temperature of 60-80 degrees.  Helps the incubator not work so hard to keep the temp steady.

That's about it....until hatching occurs.  We'll talk about that more later.

YouTube Channel

I thought long and hard about what to do with my YouTube Channel.  I have over 100 videos and over 1600 subscribers that I didn't want to start all over and drive traffic to my channel.  So, going forward, I'm going to just link videos here.  You can subscribe to my channel and just ignore the old stuff, some of it's boring crafting videos on outdated items but people still watch them,   But I may have videos there and no blog entry here.....or vice versa!

You never know so it's good to check both places.

Oh and I'm going to get the Rock Hill Facebook page back up and running.  Ugh so many places to keep track of!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Resurrecting the Blog

I am finally going to resurrect this old blog.  I do have things on here already and will be leaving them for you to view.  I may be re-doing some of the topics and definitely adding better and more content.

This blog is intended to help you garden and create a healthy lifestyle.  From time to time you may get posts relating to gardening, raising animals, working out, cooking, healthy stuff and anything I think you may enjoy.

Let me know what you think and if you want to see more, less or even something different.

I'll be busy organizing my thoughts over the next few weeks.  I'm not going to have a posting schedule only due to my schedule.  I urge you to sign up for email updates so you know when new items are posted.

That's it for now and see you soon!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How I grow potatoes....

You would be surprised how many people ask how to grow potatoes.  It's actually very simple.

  1. You dig a ditch.
  2. Put potato in ground.  Sometimes I cut them to get 2-3 eyes in a piece if they are big, otherwise just toss them in whole.
  3. Let the plant start to grow and get green and then pull the loose dirt that you pull out of the ditch back on the row covering the plants, this is called hilling.  Don't hill them too early or you will kill the plant.
  4. Now my soil is really rocky, so I only pull dirt 1 or two times.  After that they get a good healthy mulching with straw. 
  5. When the plants die back (don't be scared they are supposed to die off!), then you can start pulling potatoes.  You can start earlier but you won't get the yield you would if you let them go to full maturity.
So why the straw you ask?  Well, three reasons. 

First I can't really get too deep with my tiller even with the furrowing attachment, and we have lots of rock. 

Second, and one of my main reasons I do it, is to avoid bugs.  Believe it or not you will have far less if not almost eliminate the potato bug from your patch if you use straw mulch.  They hate trying to get through the mulch to get to the plant.

And lastly, mulching anything keeps the moisture in.  Have you ever mulched your flower beds with a good thick layer of mulch?  Go dig down in that stuff and see how moist the soil is.  I never watered my garden this year, although we got a good amount of rain, but where the mulch was the plants flourished.   Mulch, it's a good thing.  LOL!

I didn't fence my potatoes this year and the deer did not bother them.  I know they are poisonous but I have heard others say they had deer damage.  They seem to not bother mine as much as other plants.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Potato time..............

At planting time I planned on only growing 10 pounds each of Yukon and red potatoes.  The place I purchased them from only had a 5 pound bag of Yukon potatoes, but they had a white variety.  Hmmmmm....what to do.  So I purchased 5 pounds of Yukon, 10 pounds of Red Norland and 5 pounds of Superior White potatoes.

To date I have completely harvested the Yukon gold.  Yield......38 pounds.  Is that good or bad?  For me that's great considering last year I planted 5 pounds of Yukon potatoes and got about 3 potatoes back.  The rest died.  I don't know why, sadly.

I have also pulled about 4 plants of the reds and 2 plants of whites.  Yields so far are 8 pounds of red and just under 6 pounds of white.  But the reds were pulled before the plants died back so they were a little early.

I canned my Yukons.  I tried last year to store potatoes in my basement.  What a joke...those stinkers just started sprouting.  Ugh!  So this year I canned them.  I plan on canning the rest and giving some away to neighbors and maybe trying to dehydrate some for later use as well.

I canned approximately 25 pounds of potatoes give or take and after removing bad spots and blemishes the yield was 17 pints and 5 quarts of canned potatoes.

And I couldn't resist this morning.  I made potatoes and onions for breakfast.  Wow!  Way better than you get at any store.....  One more reason to grow your own!

Monday, July 15, 2013

You grow garlic?

Yes and it's really not hard to do, if you are patient. I giggle every time someone says you grow that?  From potatoes to onions to garlic.  The stuff comes from somewhere so I am surprised that people don't know how it gets to the store. 

A lot of people don't realize that potatoes grow under ground. Same with garlic. 

Garlic is planted just like an onion. You could get the stuff from the grocery store in the produce aisle but you are at the mercy of the farm it came from, unless you buy organic.  Other options are from mail order catalogs or local plant stores. I got mine from my local Agway store. 

The trick to garlic....plant in October and harvest in July. Yep that's nine months!!! It will get itself established and sit over the winter. By March or April when the ground starts to get warm it will start to grow. When the garlic stems die off and turn brown you can harvest. I was rather pleased with my harvest and it tastes MUCH better than in the store. 

After harvest you can use it or dry it naturally in a warm dry location or use a dehydrator. If you dry it and then pulverize it, you have your own garlic powder!   By the way, you can do the same thing with onions. 

Here's what I harvested this year. I will be planting a bunch this fall. 

Now go grow some garlic!!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let me catch you up......

So the last few weeks have been CRAZY!  Last Tuesday I had sinus surgery.  The third one, the last being 15 years ago.  Everything was going great until I heard after surgery the hospital pulled the plug on part of my treatment.  Not sure what happened and why but I WILL find out.  I'm kinda really pissed that up until my doctor walked into the OR that she thought everything was a go and then during the operation found out otherwise.  Nice for them to let everyone else in on that little detail.  Especially since I was unconscious.    And don't get me started on the last nurse I had to deal with.....there is a letter going to be written!

So the garden is planted with the exception of beans.  I tried to get everything done before surgery but it didn't work out as planned.  And now it is hotter than hot!  Ugh!!!

Our growing season lasts into October so that still gives me about 4 months of growing left.  I'm going to plant the beans anyway.  Crossing my fingers we don't get an early cool down this year.   I think the majority of the beans are 50-60 days so I still have time.  And I want to get some more corn planted.  Late sweet corn is a highly sought after thing around here so maybe I can capitalize on that.  :) 

Tomatoes are looking good, and same with eggplant.  I need to get them some fertilizer since they are looking a bit yellow and not growing too much.  Maybe it's the mulch bed?  Who knows.  I haven't watered at all this year unless it was a new plant in the ground and so far they are all surviving well.

Oh and the sunflowers are up....let me tell you this much....don't buy cheap seed!  I had 2 packs of Burpee sunflower seeds that almost all of them sprouted and the pack of cheap mix flower sunflowers....well.....not so much.  Interesting factoid.  Won't buy them next year for sure.

When this heat breaks or I get out before night and it's cool I'll take some pictures.  Maybe a video.....we'll see.