The frogs are peeping — 17 Comments

  1. Do you ever deal with “hardening off” in your indoor greenhouses? I lost 18 seedling trees this spring to it. When the first tray went I figured they were not getting enough air movement. I pulled the plastic cover off and set heat under. The next tray did amazing. I have 12 seedlings 10″ high and leafed out. Thought I beat it and then last night two seedlings hardened off. They were behind the others in growth. Probably only 4″ tall or do. I didn’t use the same tray. Not watering to much. So frustrating. Oh well. Always next spring to try again.

    • The term “hardening off” usually refers to conditioning seedling plants, raised indoors, to outdoor conditions, a little at a time over a week or so. I’m thinking your tree seedlings died due to damping off, which is a condition in flats, indoors, where the seedling stem gets rotten and the whole thing folds over and dies. This is a fungal condition, often caused by dampness in a greenhouse or under plastic.

      No, I’ve not had any problems with disease or dying off in our indoor greenhouses except when I over-did the fertilizer early this spring on a few containers of peppers. Oops!

  2. Here in Kansas we have had a very dry and cold winter and spring. Topeka, where we get our local weather from, was over 6 inches below normal in rainfall since November 1, our driest part of the year. Until this week. We have had some heavy rains over the past three days, over 3 inches where I live. And the morning after that first rain, we heard the peepers. It sure sounded great. And the grass took off, so the cows go out to pasture Monday. First time to comment, though have enjoyed reading you materials in Backwoods Home for years. Glad I found this blog over the winter. Good luck with your gardens this year. Will be looking to see what new varieties of beans and tomatoes you have to offer next winter.

    • Isn’t it wonderful when the rain comes and the frogs start singing!!! Our pasture grass is just getting under way and the cows are out. Next year, though, Will hopes to have a corral where he can feed hay and keep them off that new grass until it gets more established as those sharp hooves sure tear up the ground when they’re hungry for fresh grass after a long winter.
      We’ve got TONS of new stuff we hope to add for next year’s catalog. I can’t wait to see how they all grow.

  3. Jackie, I am curious as to how you prepare your garden for the new planting. You mention in this post that it is mowed and picked clean. I know you put a lot of straw down for mulch around the plants. The photo looks like it is still there. Do you remove this straw each year or just till it into the ground? If tilling into the ground, wouldn’t it eventually build up to a point where it is more straw than soil? I don’t think it would decompose that quickly.

    Yes, this time of year gets me aching to get out and get my hands in the dirt. There is something so satisfying with working the soil and seeing the green things you planted grow.

    • We usually pull our tomato vines and corn stalks in the fall and burn them right in the garden. This adds fertilizer and keeps disease away. This past fall, winter came with a bang, unexpectedly, so we didn’t get that done. So I mowed the stuff so Will could till.
      Yes, we do mulch heavily with Reed Canary grass, a local “swamp” grass which is an invasive species. But we love it as it can be mowed for hay before it sets seed and thus makes great mulch. By spring, most has rotted away nicely and the rest we just till in, which improves the soil tremendously. No, the straw (or canary grass, in our case) just breaks down, adding tilth to the soil. Our soil used to be just gravel and big rocks. Now it’s black dirt and wonderfully rich.

  4. Hi, Jackie,
    I have a question. The indoor greenhouses you use, do they have to be in front of a window to work well or couod I use lights inside them.
    How much do they cost and where could I get one ? I like your blog and the seeds you sent me all came up nicely.

    • While ours are in front of big windows, installed just for that purpose, you could use lights under each shelf to shine down on the flats below. Ours cost $34 each and are available at Menards and also WalMart. I wasn’t happy with the new ones having green film coverings as I believe it does filter out some UV rays the plants need. But ours seem adequate and I sure like them.
      I’m glad you like the blog and that your seeds are doing well. Happy Spring!

      • Oops! I checked WalMart and they have those itty bitty greenhouses I bought by mistake. The shelves are only 11″ wide and only long enough for one flat per shelf. Booooooo on them!

  5. Howdy Jackie! Your main garden by the house looks FABULOUS and ready to have some plants in it! (well, when it is manured & tilled). I must admit I am a bit envious as both my tractors put me down and my mechanic (a long time friend that we barter for my mechanical repairs) had a heart attack & surgery & is just now getting back on his feet. Unfortunately, it is too late to be planting field crops. I will have to wait a few months to hopefully get a fall crop planted. That is an advantage of living in the deep south. We can sometimes get two plantings in before cold weather hits (Usually in January). I do have my tomato, pepper, garlic, onions and potato’s planted (raised beds) so I will have SOMETHING to can and eat fresh. Our springtime has already passed and we are into the low to mid 90’s daytime. Kinda struck my funny bone that your daytime highs are our nighttime lows right now. Oh well, that is life in the deep south (Coastal AL). LOVE reading your blogs and look forward to each one to see all that is going on at Jackie & Will’s “HOMESTEAD”!!

    • That is funny about our highs are your nightime lows. I’m sorry about your tractors and your mechanic. I know how you feel but at least you have the option of a fall garden. With us, it’s spring or nothing. Whew! Not any pressure there, right?
      I’m glad to hear you have raised beds to ease your gardening itch. We’re always happy to have you join our blog.

  6. Miss Jackie, It has been spring here for almost 2 weeks. It has been over 80F a couple of times. Way above normal temps for the time of year. The heat kills the daffodils and tulip blooms. The cherry trees are starting to bloom and the dandelions are going great guns and my honeybees are loving it all. Bees seem to have wintered very well. I had given them pollen patties and they had a Lot of honey. I Love springtime. Rick

    • Whew! 80 degrees! We’re behind you, but coming on fast. Our grass is greening up and all the trees are budding. I even have some leaves on one of my lilacs! I hope your temps ease a bit so your tulips and daffodils can flower for you.

  7. My Dad had a heavy equip business my growing up years and how well I recall him trying to get tracks back on his caterpillars!

  8. That photo is our main garden near the house. He and David got the track back on Old Yeller yesterday afternoon after David got home from work, then David asked to “play” with the ‘dozer in the new garden, shoving out stumps. He did ’till dark! No blossoms yet but I do have a few extra early blooming spring bulbs.

  9. I just love to hear about all of the activity going on at your homestead in the springtime Jackie! That field looks outstanding. Hope Will can get those tractors up and running soon. It’s finally spring here too! The Nanking Cherry bushes are busting out with blossoms first, and our honeybees are all over them. Thanks for the update, and will sure be looking forward to the next one!

    • We’ve been busy with this warm weather. David and Ashley got trees thinned out at their cabin site as they’ll be using solar panels and need more sun as well as a yard. They got both Old Yeller and the Case’s tracks back on and a whole lot more. Check out the new blog, coming very soon!