Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tomato Eaters and Vine Killers

Tomato Horn Worm
We finally had a wonderful rain yesterday that cooled everything off and filled 2 of our rain barrels. Joy Joy and I went for a walk around the garden last night to see the happy well watered garden and found that something had eaten over half, and a half of our 2 biggest, still green tomatoes! We could not find the culprit, who I said probably hid from the rain, but it will be back in the morning. Sure enough! The girls went out this morning and found it. They hoped it would cocoon so
we looked it up here and found out that they drop off the plants and borrow into the ground to pupate.
So here is our new pet. We shall see if he does his thing and turns into a moth. His smaller siblings met their fate in the chicken pen. We will be checking for more of them in the days to come.
Zucchini plant with Vine Borer in it.
The bug was fed to the chickens.
Sadly all our Zucchini, pumpkin and Acorn plants had to come up because of Squash Vine Borer. We planted some watermelon in the kids 4-H plots in place of their pumpkins and hopefully they will do well.
I am going to have plenty of space for a fall garden.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Purslane and Other Good Weeds in the Garden.

I bought a weed for my garden. Yes. You heard that right. I bought Purslane. A friend asked me if I had any of this because it is so healthy. I couldn't find any in my yard for her. After reading about it, I kept looking for it. Never finding it, till I stopped in a nice landscaping store with my Joy Joy we had never been in before....and there it was! Potted up for 4.00$ I got it! It is small, but it won't stay that way. I am looking forward to learning to cook this lovely herb. I still want to find a wild plant to go with my cultivated one.
I also love Plantain and am trying to learn all the uses for it. This weed, I do not have to buy! It is in many spots around my yard and since finding out about it I am not pulling it up (till I have a better spot for it).                  
Other edible weeds, that I know are edible are:
Dandelions. This is a great article about what you can do with this weed. You will no longer hate this weed but be happy to see it in your lawn. (Maybe?)

Clover. Here is a great link with some videos. (Chickens love clover.)

Wild Strawberry, Link. Tastes yummy. (Chickens love these!)

Indian Strawberry, Link. Not tasty, but still useful. (Chicken's think these are plenty tasty!)

Lambs Quarters,  Link! ( I don't know if the chickens like these.)

I am still learning about the weeds growing in my yard. Some I have seen along the road, and I want to go get and bring them home to my garden is, Evening Primrose and Mullen.

Some books that can help you are... (these are the ones we have.)
The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide and the cards are a must have too!
Common Herbs for Natural Health (Herbals of Our Foremothers) 
Nature's Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
And of course the Internet is a wonderful source of information. 
As food prices get higher, or there in no food in the stores. For many different reasons, I think it is a wise thing to know where you can get your food from when you need it.

Quick update on the garden...many challenges! Bugs, weeds, bugs, more bugs. I spent 2 hrs pulling weeds tonight. Will spend at least that much time tomorrow doing the same.
I will post more about the garden later and maybe some updated pictures.
The chickens are happy and healthy. It is time to talk to my Joy Joy and have her find a home for 4 of them soon. Soon as in this week or the next. 
They are still having fun moving them from place to place and feeding them scraps of bread or, today they got corn cobs after lunch. Never have I seen cleaner cobs!

If you have an edible weed you use, share in the comments and let us know what it is and how you fix/use it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Knobs, Weeds, and Zucchini

I Have had some writers block. I could not think of anything interesting to write about! I did finish painting the last board on the port-a-coop. Found these knobs for the coop. These little Roosters will not bother the neighbors. 
The chickens are doing great and are friendly. I have to watch my left hand though. They like my wedding ring and peck at it. Ow!
The girls go out and move the Port-a-coop around the yard everyday, until it's time for it to come uphill (our back yard is pretty steep). Then Frank,or Thomas and I go help. I have been very pleased, with all the big rain storms we have had, the inside of the coop has stayed nice and dry.
Cute knobs I found on Amazon for the doors on the Port-a-coop.
They are not really needed but they will add a nice touch I think. 
 We have spent a LOT of time in the gardens. We found this beautiful weed in Frank's amaranth field. I tried to find it in our edible weeds book. Not there. Finally found it online. It is a BAD weed. It is so pretty though! I thought about putting it in a pot just for looks, but decided against it when I read what it is. We pulled them all out and got rid of them before they went to seed.
Jimson weed

Pretty but deadly.
I am also still fighting Squash bugs. I hate those things. We have been letting the chickens into the garden where they love to eat them up. 
I was hoping to share a yummy gluten free zucchini bread recipe with you but it did not turn out. It was edible but not enjoyable.  This is the first year I have been able to get zucchini to grow, and zucchini bread is one of those comfort foods from my childhood I really want to make! Back to the drawing board I go.

I am off for the weekend with some of my girl friends, so I will post again next week. I am going to try to get Frank to post some too. He is full of all kinds of interesting info about our journey to self sufficient living.