Author Archives: isntthatgrand

{The Homestead Garden} Asparagus Planting – It’s a Jungle Out There

I hope all you mamas out there had exactly the weekend you wanted! Happy Mother’s Day! 

It’s Monday and I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. Apparently weeding a garden that has been left to Mother Nature for almost 10 years is no small feat. But, we’re making some serious progress and I’m not regretting undertaking the crazy project. Well, I’m not, but my back (and legs, and arms, and abs) might be. If you missed the first post in this series, click here to start a the beginning of The Homestead Garden.

Before we dive into this, here’s your daily reminder to vote for our photo in the Steamboat Then and Now contest. VOTE HERE: http://bit.ly/1W2WBPt

CQrSnTAccording to my handy dandy weekly to-do list I created based on what my Garden Planner told me, this week was for prepping and planting the asparagus beds and clearing the beds for peas, onions, and fennel.

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I’m just seeing the note about clearing the pea bed today, so … clearly that didn’t happen. But aside from that, we made some great progress! Over the course of the last week, I bought asparagus and onions to plant, cleared and planted the asparagus beds, cleared the onion, beet/fennel, and kale beds, and started building beds. Oh, and I completely redesigned the garden for the third time. Apparently I am really bad at using my steps to measure anything, so when I finally got out there with a measuring tape, my garden got even smaller. Here are the new plans – sketched out and then updated on my Garden Planner.

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Tip: I covered my garden map in a plastic sleeve to keep it from getting ruined in the garden. And, I used a dry erase marker to remind me of the planting specs for that day’s crop.

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Planting Asparagus

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Getting the asparagus in the ground was our priority because it’s supposed to be planted in early spring (May counts right??) and it takes two years to mature, so we didn’t want to wait whole year to start the process. I triangulated the tips from my Garden Planning Tool, my garden book, and the asparagus package and came up with a plan.

Plans

1. Pull all the weeds (that wasn’t in the book, I came up with that on my own #genuis #iknow).
2. Dig two rows of 5″-6″ deep trenches that were 15″ long which would accommodate ~25-30 crowns.
3. Test the soil – asparagus wants a high pH – between 7-7.5. 
4. Amend the soil if needed.
5. Put a layer of compost/manure at the bottom of the trench.
6. Place the crown roots down/crown up (you buy 1 year old asparagus called crowns) and spread out the roots. Plant them 18″ apart in rows that are at least 18″ apart.
7. Cover the asparagus with 2″ of soil.
8. Water.
9. As the asparagus grows, cover with 2″ more of soil until you’ve used up all your soil.

And, here’s how the plan actually went down.

As I was weeding (and by weeding I mean forcefully hacking at the weeds with a hoe), I heard these squeals and was freaked out about what might be on the end of my hoe. Nothing was impaled, but this tiny little rabbit came stumbling out of the ground. There ended up being a nest of teeny tiny baby bunnies in my planned asparagus bed. TimTheFarmer advised me not to touch them because our scent could scare off the mama. We guided it back into the nest with some sticks, covered them all back up, and hoped the mama would come back and move them. I weeded around them last weekend and when I came back Saturday to start digging, the nest was still there and all the bunnies were dead. 🙁 Despite knowing these bunnies would eventually come back and terrorize my garden, it was still super sad. I loaded them up on the shovel and took them into the woods. #keepingitrealfolks 

AsparagusThe bunny is still alive here…be glad I didn’t show you the shovel pic.

To add to the feeling of being in wilds of the jungle, I was seriously pulling out 8′ long vines from under the entire garden. Between the vines I fought with and the manually dug trenches, it’s no wonder I feel like I did after that one time I tried surfing (except for the full body chafing from the surfboard … so there’s that #brightside). And, because I was deep in the wild jungle, I was startled by this little guy when I went to pull the tarp off the fence to load up more weeds. I’m confident my next sighting with be a cheetah. 

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I was able to get the kiddo off his phone for 30 minutes by enticing him with doing our soil testing. A chance to dig in the mud, but not actually have to weed? For sure! It turned out our pH is perfect for all the other veggies we’re going to plant, but not alkaline enough for asparagus. So we picked up some lime and as I dug the trenches, I mixed it in to both the bottom of the trench and the dirt I was piling up. I used a regular shovel to dig the trenches and at first I was wishing we had a pick axe because the width of my trenches seemed overkill, but once the asparagus was in there with it’s roots spread out, they were perfect. Oh, it was raining while I dug the trenches … that asparagus was getting planted come hell or high water. 

Asparagus4Note: I was NOT intoxicated while digging these trenches. It’s hard to dig a straight line! (I should have put the twine up first)

TimTheFarmer brought me pig manure home from the farm (that might have been my Mother’s Day present??) #thankshoney and I laid it down in the trench. I went light with it  and mixed it in because it had some shavings in it. For the record, I have no idea if that matters … don’t forget that I’m making this whole thing up as I go. I then got to work spreading out the crowns.

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I planted them ~18″ apart, covered them with 2″ of dirt, and watered them in. Fingers crossed I didn’t completely blow it at some point of this because that was a TON of work for a crop we’ll harvest in two years! Now, on to the rest of the garden we’ll actually get to enjoy this year.

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Here are the question marks at the end of the process, which we’ll answer as the asparagus starts to grow:
– How quickly can you change soil pH? Will the lime be enough for the asparagus to thrive?
– Is old pig manure mixed with wood shavings an adequate compost/manure?
– Did I plant the asparagus too late in the spring?



{Friday Favorites} Lawn and Garden Edition + VOTE!!

Well…it’s Friday and another week flew by! I am looking forward to spending the entire weekend on building that giant garden I overcommitted to last weekend. Plans for the weekend include weeding, buying lumber, weeding, building raised beds, amending soil, weeding, and getting a few crops in the ground. #wishmeluck Today’s Friday Favorites will be quick, because I have to get outside (in the rain) and…you guessed it…weed.

We’re Finalists  –  We Need Your Votes!!

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If you’re stopping by today from the Andrea, Erika, or Narci’s blogs and are new around here (Hi! and Welcome!), we would love your help! My family and I have three photos in Steamboat Ski Resort’s Then and Now photo contest and if one of them wins, we win a ski pass (which is a huge deal because they’re crazy expensive)! I made the handy dandy map above so you know which photos are ours. Here are the links to vote. You can vote for all three photos every day until May 15th. Thanks for your help!! XOXO
Pic 1: http://bit.ly/1W2WBPt
Pic 2: http://bit.ly/1Y3Ltjb
Pic 3: http://bit.ly/1QOrfnH

Magnolia Home Paints!

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Chip and Joanna from Fixer Upper have some serious business savvy and are actively creating all sorts of product lines as their show continues to gain popularity (stores, B&Bs, furniture, rugs) and now they have paint! I was so excited to see this come out – now we don’t have to guess what color palette Joanna used…we can just go get it. I can’t wait to try some on our next project!

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Ryobi Electric Mower

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Our new yard is substantially smaller than our old house (we have more land, but less grass …yippee!!) and because of all the stumps and hills our old-school riding mower won’t cut it. Cut it. Hehe. Get it? We needed a push mower and having previously worked for a sustainable lawn care company, I wanted to go back to electric equipment. There are definitely limitations to the electric (mostly in terms of how long the battery can hold a charge), but you have substantially reduced noise, emissions, smell, and weight on the mower. I did some research and picked up the 40 volt 16″ Ryobi electric mower and then grabbed their 40 volt string trimmer (with a 2nd battery). For the same price as their 16″ mower with two batteries, we got a mower, trimmer, and two batters! The two batteries provide enough of a charge to get through our lawn if you’re efficient (~80 minutes of run time). I LOVED the mower! I rarely mowed the lawn at our old house because TimTheFarmer loved his riding tractor time (and the mower was a bit touchy), but I have mowed lawns my whole life and have always had to fight with the big, heavy gas mowers. This Ryobi was SO light and SO maneuverable. It’s deck is small at 16″ and while I thought that would be a problem, it actually allowed me to get in and out of tight spaces where other mowers wouldn’t fit. And, it’s super easy to start! Nothing to prime, no cord to fight with. I am super happy with this choice!

Garden Planning Tool

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I mentioned this Monday when I laid out my crazy ambitious plans for our home garden, but I love the garden planner from The Old Farmer’s Almanac. It’s making this huge project feel totally doable. We’ll see how I feel about it in early June 😉

Ok, I’m off to weed! I’ll see you on the flip side friends!



We Need Your Votes!

Click HERE to VOTE!!

**Update: we just discovered you can vote for ALL our pictures. So, vote away! Links by the photos below**

It’s time to rally the troops! You could either call my family and me super cool or super nerdy. Probably super nerdy. Steamboat Resort posted a photo contest this winter calling for “Then and Now” photos. We have a treasure trove of “Then” photos from the last 30 years of skiing at Steamboat, so over this winter (including while I was home in February) we recreated some of our favorites. And, drumroll….we were finalists in 3 of the months. Which meant we won these sweet swag packs:

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This also means we we’re all finalists for the grand prize – a 15 day ski pass – wahoo!! This is where the nerdy part comes in – our family makes up 3 of the 10 finalists. Here’s where you guys come in – this is a popularity contest, so we need you’re votes!! The trick here is not to pull a Ralph Nader and split the votes. We’re rallying all our peeps behind a single picture. I’ve made you a handy dandy map to help you vote. We’ve chosen this photo of my cousin John and me skiing the trees when we were little.  You can vote once per day until May 15th. **VOTE EARLY AND VOTE OFTEN!!** And feel free to encourage your friends too 🙂 I know, I know. It’s not like you have anything else to do…don’t worry, I’ll remind you.

Click HERE to VOTE!!

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Here are all the photos we submitted with their stories:

This was my submission. This is my sister and I giving some ‘tude at the top of Buddy’s Run after lunch. Notice the pink ski suit and pink goggles. My friend Carol and I recreated this in February. Vote here (after you voted for the primary one) for this photo.

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This is THE future winner, we know it. My mom submitted this classic photo of my cousin John and I taking a break in Shadows, a tree run through an aspen glade for which Steamboat is famous. We were six or seven years old in this picture. I also got chicken pox on this ski trip. #justsoyouknow Carol and I also recreated this in February. See the pink suit and goggles on me this time??

Click HERE to VOTE!!

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This is my stepdad, Larry’s submission and is him and my sister on a chairlift. It seems my sister had a thing for sticking her tongue out. We ALWAYS ski with M&Ms. It’s the only time we had candy in the house. But, we didn’t always put the M&Ms in our nose. Not sure what that’s about, but it’s a funny pic. Pink ski suit and goggles are back on my sister. #thriftyfamily Also, is that a prehistoric selfie?? Support M&Ms in noses here.

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And, this is the picture my sister submitted that we were SURE was going to win the grand prize. And then, it didn’t even get chosen as a finalist. What the heck Steamboat?! It’s my mom teaching me to ski when I was 3 or 4 and 30 years later, teaching my nephew, Benjamin to ski. IN THE SAME SKI SUIT.  

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Ok guys. Go do your civic duty and VOTE!!!