Tag Archives: Garden

Oathkeepers – January 14, 2017 – mealworms, Zone 7 planting

mealworms, Zone 7 planting

 

January 14, 2017 – OathKeepers Preparedness

A New Year, A New Start – On our homestead so far for 2017, we have had 9 baby goats born, added 400 quail eggs to the incubator, acquired 4 new New Zealand meat rabbits (1 buck and 3 does), we stocked up on a months’ worth of Quinoa, flax seeds, Himalayan salt and popping corn seeds. We have planted 60 6-pack planters full of medicinal herbs.
We are continuing our fodder for animal feed and also have meal worms growing for extra protein foods for our chickens.
What are some of the things that you can do to be better prepared for the new year?
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Raising Your Own Mealworms – http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/30444/how-to-grow-your-own-mealworms-instructions

1. Find a clear plastic container with approximately six-inch high sides. It may be the size of one to three square feet. For ventilation, drill about forty 1/4 inch holes in the lid. If condensation occurs, drill even more holes, or cover the container with a screen.

2. Put about three inches of one part chick starter (or laying mash) and one part wheat bran (optional) in the container. Mix well and level it. This is food for your newly hatched mealworms.

3. Cut an apple in half. Turn the round side down and push it down into the feed until flush with the feed and bran mixture. This is to give them moisture. If the skin of the apple is removed, the moisture in it will get into your feed and will spoil it. For this reason, do not peel your apples. Check your cultures every week to make sure they aren’t out of apples.

4. Add thirty to forty mealworms per square foot of container. Get them from your friends, or you can find them in a farmer’s feed building, usually under his feed bags. They can also be bought. Add four layers of unprinted paper such as the regular brown grocery bags. Put paper on top of the feed mixture, apple halves, and mealworms. Mealworms love to hide between the layers of paper. I record the date I start each culture on the top layer of paper.

5. Store such a started culture at room temperature, or warmer. These mealworms will each turn into a pupa, then the pupa will turn into a beetle. These beetles will mate, then lay their eggs between the paper and feed. After this, the beetles die. This is their complete life cycle. Soon, you’ll see many tiny mealworms when you run your fingers through the top of the feed. They will produce up to 3,000 worms per square foot of container. This complete cycle will take only two to three months, if your culture is stored at, or slightly above, room temperature. Temperature plays a big role in the length of the beetle’s life cycle. I start a new culture every month. This strategy keeps me in plenty of worms.

6. Replace the apples whenever they are completely eaten or half spoiled. After the young mealworms are seen, keep two halves, rather than only one half apple, per square foot of container. Keeping plenty of moisture (apples) available keeps the worms growing faster. Potatoes also work, but apples work better because they supply more moisture for the worms.

7. Put fully grown worms into another well-vented container with only some feed and a bit of apple. Store these in a cool place, or even in the refrigerator. This delays them from turning into pupae for up to six months. Set container out to room temperature for one day every week to allow the worms to feed.

 

 

Zone 7 – Vegetable Planting Calendar Guide

Garden Zone Map

 
Zone 7 has medium length growing season. Most vegetable varieties will have no problem maturing before your first frost date. With a last frost date of April 15th and first frost date of November 15th. These dates will vary a week or two so it’s important to watch the weather before planting. Annual minimum temperature for zone 7 is 5ºF.
 
Zone 7 Hardiness Dates
Last Frost Date First Frost Date
April 15 November 15

Use your last and first frost dates to calculate your planting schedules.

Using the planting schedule below will help you get the most out of your garden. Starting seeds indoors before your last frost date will give you a jump start on the growing season. Knowing when to transplant seedlings outdoors will help to maximize your harvest. 
 
 

LDS January and February Meal Storage

You can download the entire LDS Preparedness book online at https://www.ldsavow.com/PrepManualGeneral.html

Monthly Food Storage Purchasing Calendar Compiled by Andrea Chapman If you are just starting out, this calendar can be used any year. Just start with the current month’s items. We have tried to keep the costs down to between $35 and $45 per week. This might seem rather costly, but if you want to build a good food storage in only one year, it will cost you more each week than if you spread out acquiring it over several years. Be certain to buy only items your family will use, and rotate and use the items in your storage throughout the year. Milk is an expensive item and prices keep soaring, so you might need to invest in a bit higher food storage bill to buy it right now. * The items in the first few months are basic essentials and are the most important to purchase and store. It is vital to get WATER – STORAGE . If you don’t have water, you will not be able to use many of the foods you have that are dehydrated or require water to cook. Many times in natural disasters, the electricity goes down and you will not be able to access your water. Sometimes the water is contaminated from flooding and cross-contamination from sewage. You will need water, at very least, you will need 3 days worth. ___________________________________________________________________
January
Week #1
1 case canned fruit
2 #10 cans instant potatoes
 
Week #2
3 #10 cans dry milk
 
Week #3
3 #10 cans dry milk
 
Week #4
9 pounds yeast
 
Week #5
Anything you have missed from above ___________________________________________________________________
 
February
 
Week #1
Water Storage Containers-buy either 55 gallon drums, 5 gallon water containers (available at all emergency preparedness stores and some super markets) and spigot, or start to save water in pop bottles and plastic juice containers. Also purchase 100 lbs. hard white wheat and three plastic storage buckets with tight fitting lids. Check out the local mills in your area for best prices.
 
Week #2
25 lbs of sugar or 20 lbs of honey
5 lbs salt per person bucket opener
 
Week #3
4 #10 cans shortening or 4 – 48 oz bottles oil
2 #10 cans of dry instant milk
 
Week #4
2 case canned beans (like refried pinto, black, kidney, white, pink etc.) or 25 lbs dry beans (preferable) and bucket to store them in.
50 lbs dried corn or popcorn (about $10.00 from a mill or food storage company) and a bucket to store it in. (Can be ground into cornmeal as well as for popcorn.) (All grains and beans can be put into #10 cans at the LDS cannery.) (If not, the buckets work well.)

Planting Potatoes

Krisandlarry.com potato towerEvery year, we plant potatoes in our garden. I hated harvesting and felt like I was digging and digging and digging forever to get them out of the ground. Guess what?!?! For the last 3 years, we have been making potato towers using left over fencing,  straw and potting soil and it works WONDERS!

Start with a spare piece of field fencing. Make a ring out of it. Next, line the bottom with about 6 inches of straw. Start making the straw into a birds nest. Add 16 quarts or so of potting soil into the center and continue to build up the side with straw. 

On top of the soil, add 12 small planting potatoes (preferably with eye growth already) around the outside. Cover those potatoes with 16 more quarts of potting soil and add additional straw to the sides.  The straw keeps the soil and the moisture inside the ring. Continue this same layering of soil and potatoes until you run out of potatoes. On the final top layer of potatoes, you can put a few in the center, cover with soil and then several inches of straw. 

When watering, water the top of the tower until water seems out the bottom. After several weeks, you will see green plants beginning to grow out the sides and top of the tower. Do not worry! That is your potato plant. You can use a similar method win sweet potatoes too. 

I will revisit my potatoes in about a month or so in the blog so that you can see the progress!

June 19th Aquaponics & Turkeys on homestead

krisandlarry.com - lettuce from aquaponics
krisandlarry.com – lettuce from aquaponics

I love what our family has built from the ground up. We are finally harvesting from our aquaponics grow beds. Our baby turkeys are now outside and beginning to gobble. Our homestead is a dream come true for us.

Check out our videos below. (made on a REALLY hot day in northern AZ. We actually have a heat warning today.)

 

Compost and Worms

Composting and worms - krisnadlarry.comAfter we were gifted some beautiful new hens, Griffen noticed that they liked to dirt bathe. After all of the crazy monsoon rains, the dirt in the coop packed down. I took a shovel out to loosen some of the ground up to let the chickens have a place to scratch loose dirt and when I flipped over the dirt, I noticed HUNDREDS of earthworms!!!

This mama was on a mission! I kept digging around the coop and there were worms in every shovel that I flipped…. Out came the lawn mower and it’s trailer. Griffen and my nephews, Brent and Jakey, filled the trailer for me to move over to my compost pile!

There was “gold” in that poo! My compost will be BEAUTIFUL for the garden next year!!!

The boys are bringing a wheelbarrow every day to my compost pile in my garden… And they LOVE to do it because they get to play with WORMS!!! (Hey, and mom’s compost pile is getting bigger and bigger too!)

 

Quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

It’s been several weeks since we posted any progress on our garden and I am pleased to announce that we are growing right along.

Of the seeds that we planted directly in the ground, the peas, spinach, lettuce, radishes, and turnips are all doing GREAT. The munchkins can’t wait to eat right from the garden. As a matter of fact, I don’t think that one single pea pod made it into the house last season… GREEN CANDY for the littles.

howdoesyourgardengrow

We also have a whole greenhouse FULL of tomatoes, brussel sprouts, peppers, kale, swiss chard, watermelon, squash and more!

Tip for your growing season: Tomatoes seeds start GREAT in red solo cups!

 

Summertime Foods – Saving your herbs

Summertime is such a great time to not only grow your own gardens with vegetables but also herbs to use in your kitchen! I have a pretty large herb selection in my garden as well. I store all of my bulk herb that I dehydrated in quart sized mason jars. I have them each labeled with chalkboard labels so that I can change them out… Then this year, I found the new BALL Herb Jars… (I found mine at my local ALCO store – But they are also online at AMAZON – link to the left)

I FELL I LOVE ALL OVER AGAIN! 😉

I still have all of my bulk herb jars in my pantry, but now, I have my little jars filled and labeled by my stove in a drawer. This makes it so much easier than searching for the big jars!

 

blog-herbjar

Herbs are REALLY easy to dehydrate (And you DO NOT need a dehydrator to do it) If you live where there is low humidity, you can lay your herbs out on trays and they should be dried out within about 24 hours. You can also use your oven set to the LOWEST temperature. You will need to flip the herbs over at least once while they are in the oven. 

So, You want to have fresh and/or dried herbs from your garden for your cooking? What herbs do I have in my garden?

  • Dill – I use in my potato salad, on fish and when I can my pickles
  • Cilantro – Think Mexican food – Cilantro is a staple here – in my guacamole, hummus, mixed with re-fried beans, taco meat and I even have a cilantro lime dressing that I make every week.
  • Parsley – I use mostly fresh to bring out the flavors and meld together other herbs. Tastes great with fish, chicken and veggies.
  • Lemon Balm – Use in my tea, to season my green salads, poultry and fish . The herb has a lemon taste with a hint of mint.
  • Chives – I use chives in my salads and on veggies. They have a slight onion taste.
  • Basil – this is another herb that I CAN NOT live without – Brescetta with tomato/basil, pesto and I love when I mix it with butter for toast with dinner!
  • Oregano – My basic Italian seasoning – oregano is best in italian dishes, in chili, with vegetables, soups.
  • Mint – in yogurt, with fresh fruit and dried for teas.
  • Rosemary – in potatoes, with roast

I do mix all of my herbs in my bread doughs for an added artisan flavor.

Summertime Activities for Kids… Gardening

I have several friends who are always asking me, “Kris, what do you do with your kids in the summer time. You have so many, how do you keep them entertained?? ”

garden-blogpeasFirst off, if the Sun is out… then the TV is OFF!This is something that I implemented years ago. I don’ t want my children to turn into couch potatoes. I have 4 that I homeschool and 3 that are in public school. We homeschool to the school year and take time off in the summer of formal school. That doesn’t mean that we are not schooling.  There are so many different things that you can do with your kiddlings that I am going to touch on different around the house activities and projects throughout the summer.

START A GARDEN!

Gardening  what we can eat is a major thing in our house. We have 3 acres where we live and I know that many people don’t have land like that that, but, why not try a container garden if you don’t have room for a larger one in your yard. Gardens do NOT have to be big, and they are REALLY REWARDING. Kids LOVE to eat the food that you grow.  

Nothing tastes better than fresh produce that you grew and harvested. With my kids, they know that their hard work will lead to a FANTASTIC meal. Last night we had swiss chard harvested less than an hour before to eat with dinner!!

garden-blog-TOMATILLOSI don’t have room for a garden! I hear that alot from friends – Guess what? You don’t need a ton of room if you want to have a garden. You can try a container garden right outside your front door! 

Tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos (green tomatoes) grow GREAT in larger pots on your patio. Remember that you do need 2 tomatillos for them to produce fruit. Your entire herb selection is great to grow in pots around your yard. Every year, we plant basil, chives, lemon balm, thyme, oregano, cilantro, parsley and dill in pots around the yard. Many of those pots I found at yard sales. Mint is also a really good grower – just make sure that you plant it in a pot if you don’t want it to spread!!! We use mint in our summertime-drinks (I have a kid mojito recipe that will be a hit – will post that soon)

If you have a wire fence, try planting seeding sunflowers (so that you can tie them up), green beans or sweet peas. Throughout the summer, I NEVER see peas come into the house. The kids will pick them right off of the vine and eat in the garden. Sunflowers are fun because after you harvest, you can feed all of those little birds in your yard with the seeds.

garden-blog-rowanandheronionsAre you worried about weeds???you are reading this post because you have kids right? They each have two little weed-picking hands. At our home, we make it into a GAME!!! Any weeds in our garden feeds our chickens. Even my 5 year-olds can both pick weeds!! We have a 15 minute timer that we use. 15 minutes a day gets all of those garden weeds down. If you are having a container garden, your weeds will be limited.We use the weed pulling time as family time and we ALL go out an pull!!!

So you have never planted a thing in your life? Guess what neither had I, until my parents moved to Arizona and started me on gardening. Now that this gift was introduced to me, I haven’t stopped. We have a LARGE garden that produces enough to feed my family of 9 in the summer and to can many items to use throughout the year like relish and salsas. But, remember to start SMALL! You have to have enough time to weed, water and tend your garden.

garden-blog-tomatoesFor a patio garden, you will need several larger pots…. no I am not talk 1Gallon… I am talking 5 gallon or larger! Potting soil and either plants or seeds. We start all of our plants by seeds but you can pick up plants at any hardware or discount store in your area.You will also need to fertilize your plants. I use GOATALYZER. (yep, goat poo is awesome and natural!) We try not to use any chemicals on our garden… Do I really want to eat things that kill bugs? I don’t want that in my body! Here is the website for goatalyzer – www.GOATALYZER.com

This year, I even invested in a greenhouse so that they seedlings weren’t taking over my kitchen and dining area. The greenhouse ran about $1000. It is 8’x6′ and has a sunshade, shelves and a ton of extras that we picked up. It took 2 days for Larry and I to put together. You can build your own or even just use your windowsill to start your seeds early in the season!

We started tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, brussel sprouts, tomatillos, butternut squash, cucumbers, zucchini all in the greenhouse this year.

garden-blog-sunflowersWe start our peas, onions, carrots, sunflowers, turnips, lettuce, radishes, chard, and spinach directly in the ground. We have them in a 4×4′ and 4×8′ plots in our garden. We have plots built from both railroad ties and from blocks.

Each garden can be built in order to fit your families needs.

The main bulk of seed that we are using, my dad’s shop is carrying. I am SO THRILLED with how many came up and are nearly ready to harvest.  I only buy non-GMO and and non-hybred so that I can use the seeds from year to year right out of my plants. Our watermelons and sunflowers from this year are off of watermelons that we grew last year and we saved their seeds!!

Here is the link to the seeds on MAZY’S

– http://mazys.com/emergency-preparedness/garden-seeds/40-000-garden-seeds

So, I want to end this with HAPPY GARDENING!!! I hope that you can have a successful summer with your kids outside together.

garden-blog-basil garden-blog-dill garden-blog-radishes

How does your garden grow?

We have had monsoon weather the last few days with a ton of rain and cooler weather… My garden is SPROUTING!


We planted garlic, onions (green, red and yellow) zucchini, round zucchini, butternut squash, radishes, carrots, peas, string beans,  tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapenos.  I can’t wait to really start eating out of the garden!

We also have a full herb garden with mint, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, pineapple sage, thyme, lemon thyme, oregano, basil, chives and more.

Stage 1 Landscaping…DONE

Lar and I finally finished our stage 1 of landscaping. This is what I was hoping to accomplish this year (and what we budgeted for) Boysenberries, raspberries and grapes planted on the trellis, between are strawberries, mint and lavender.  We have planted 5 trees – 2 silver maple in the top patio area, 2 chokecherries down the steps to the garden. The 4 garden beds are in and onions are planted in one of them. Lar made me 2 sets of steps down my hill – one to the garden and one towards my parent’s house. (we have metal fencing up against my trellis so the dogs don’t dig up in the fresh dirt for now)