Why seeds ARE better in the garden

I’ll start off saying the veggie garden looks really good this year. At first I started probably 100+ plants indoors and far from all of them survived. I wanted to start as many as possible from seed, I got several different varieties of peppers, tomatoes, and basil. I was going for a pesto salsa garden. At first they popped up indoors in peat pots, and looked really vigorous. They quickly started to dampen off or root rotted out, mostly lost peppers and basil. The tomatoes did not look good when I decided to transplant them outside.

It took a very long time for them to adjust, so long that we decided to also buy some starts. I don’t regret it because now I can compare the grow patterns of store bought starts and starting seeds indoor and outdoor. Tomatoes are so easy to grow, if you want to grow your own food get tomatoes. The store bought starts are great they come in many varieties and you don’t have to buy seeds to get the one you want, they also fruit faster. My seedlings have caught up to the store bought and they have a wonderful resistance to heat comparably. I don’t know how to say this but they are more ” nutrient adaptive” they show no sign of nutrient lock out or deficiency, they are greener with thicker stems no purple spotting or yellowing in the leaves, which in turn makes them more pest resistant. A couple are planted in the same bed for soil indication, no question the seed starts are all around healthier.

On to the peppers! Not such a good year here for peppers, but I also didn’t break down and buy pepper starts from the store, probably should have. I started 10 varieties indoors and they all popped up great. They hated the transplanting- I’m sure that wasn’t my only problem but I ended up with only 3, They are about 3 inches tall, next year I plan to start in slightly larger peat pots. And when planted in the bed mulch and a left over garlic mesh bag for bug protection, peppers were not easy for me. I’m not even completely sure what I did wrong. But it helps to keep doing it every year.

We also have garlic, onions, honeydews and one or two cantaloupe, parsley, oregano, thyme, cilantro, and more that has been here or popped up somewhere and decided to cultivate. The herbs are easy to grow but stubborn, I have been topping cilantro and such practically daily but the rabbits love the flower buds and cuts. All around its looking nice…

–Francie

Cant wait till savage gets back so busy with planting, transplanting, moving rabbits from here to there! fruit here, tomato buds there-nasty fungus on potatoes, super busy… super anxious. Seems like everyday stuff but trying new things everyday, cutting and painting glass-fermented falafel and sweet pepper spicy salsa, also many failed pickled cucumbers, I seem to have scobies popping up in everything like there’s too much kombucha in the air.

going crazy….

–francie

The rabbit story

Been very busy… With rabbits! As a kid I raised several pet rabbits, so armed with the basic knowledge and the backyard space, we decided to try our hand at this easy first livestock.

To start my journey I sent for my old rabbit cage from mom. Its a pet cage with three tiers which were easily divided into two, free cages. Next, I purchased my rabbits, one orange buck and a black female for $25. They are mixed meat breeds, not quite sure, to be honest.

I purchased 1 4lbs bag of alfalfa pellets to wean them off their pellet diet. Then, 2 seedless rice straw bales for bedding, 1 bale of orchard grass for feed, 2lbs of timothy seed to grow for fodder- having trouble getting it to grow, 2 horse-sized pink Himalayan salt licks that I divided for rabbit size, and $30 dollars on a roll of cage for their exercise pen. I believe those were all my initial start up costs, coming to about $116, not bad!

Natural feed, though? Yes, its free! The rabbits love blackberry leaves and fresh grass, and there are so many edible weeds! Just to name a few local weeds: narrow leaf plantain, dandelion, bur chervil, minors lettuce, common mallow, white and red clover, catchweed bedstraw, manzanita, and milk thistle. I’ve collected these and sun dried them, and the rabbits like it better than the feed store hay. We also have copious amounts of rolled oats from the food bank, I give them about a cup a day.

They arrived March 24th and bred for the first time March 29th. I was told they were about 5 months old, possibly a little early to breed but as you’ll see, so far everything is successful. The kittens were born April 30th right on time. A simple wire bottom nest box was added two weeks before they were born; the doe seemed very nervous and agitated. The litter came out looking just like mom and dad, three black and three orange, every kitten alive and well. I read its rare to see them nurse but I watched her feed almost every day.

I bred them very soon within having them home which I don’t regret but I was still changing their diet to natural feed. The only thing I forgot to do is weigh them before and after, but they don’t look any skinnier. After researching more about natural feed I began to be nervous that my nursing doe wasn’t getting proper nutrients, which is when I added the oat and barley mix to their diet.

Something else I have been trying is making my own rabbit treats with less treat value and more nutrition. From the food bank we have ground/crushed barley, and I save the fiber scraps from my juicing in the freezer.

The first recipe i tried was some feed hay cut up short, about one inch, a handful of barley, and handful of oats. Mix it up dry and add water to create a muffin consistency. Toss it in the oven (in a muffin tin) to warm setting. Dehydrating takes a whole day or overnight. They loved them!

The second batch didn’t go so well. I had juice scraps of carrot blueberry and greens, and added just barley with 1 small cup of apple sauce-I thought it could act as an egg-, and popped them in the oven. They looked delicious… for humans… fluffy and moist. Currently trying to dry those out in the sun because they are too tall to fit in the dehydrator and I don’t want to bake all the nutrients off by putting them back in the oven.

Its been exciting, the physical buns are not much work, which is great but the natural feed puts you on a schedule. I’m constantly wondering if they’ll be too skinny or nutrient deficient, it keeps me attentive and caring. I’m confident I can do this.

–Francie

20140525-125752.jpg 20140525-125917.jpg 20140525-125942.jpg 20140525-125955.jpg

Second stage of spring

Finally out of second stage of spring. Novel and Savage have taken their regular Earth Day vacation time, all the early spring flowers have dried up and we’ve gotten a decent amount of rain. The yard and gardens are looking fresh and green, all the veggie seedlings have been outside for about five days now. The tomatoes were the only ones lucky enough to get in the ground before weather. The grape vines are full of green leaves, lilacs in full bloom and the plum trees are fruiting really early.

We had a very light winter this past season and seem to be making up for it with a long wet spring. Perfect timing for our new rabbit stocwho are officially off the pellets, and eating a whole natural diet. They’ve been eating unlimited fresh grass, dandelions, blackberry leaves, bur chervil, clovers, and much more.

As far as kitchen/indoor goes we consistently make ginger ale and kombucha, and have discovered the wonderfully beneficial turmeric rhizome. We’re lucky enough to have it available raw, organic, and whole. The benefits of raw uncooked turmeric aren’t completely available to our bodies: raw or juiced, which is delicious. A little research and recipe changes; fermented turmeric ale is on the way! Plus we got lots of new kitchen appliances-dehydrator, deep fryer, sprouting tray, bread maker.

Outside, we built a new exercise pen for the rabbits, the strawberries are ripening, the yellow roses are budding, and in about a week or two  the warm weather veggies can go into the ground! Possibly harvesting seeds or petals from our medicinal marigolds-calendula-in the next few days. Can’t wait for Savage to come home and edit my poopy writing skills!

–Francie

full bloom

Prizon Farm has made it through winter, guys. And the season is coming in hot. Two weeks into our springlike weather, our power is failing in half the house, our well has fully malfunctioned, and all our soil arrived.

Other than that, life is in full bloom around here. Francie and I run around frantically,  watering and transplanting and sprouting and cleaning this hell hole out. We decided to show you guys some of what we have going on

image

Super fragrant flowers growing along the train tracks.

image

Novel said maple, I don’t know. The trees here still blow my mind…

image

Some wild flowers…

image

A single rose came up near some blackberries!  We’re hoping for much more.

image

Francie thinks they’re begonias…?

image

One of the plum trees

image

Vinca

image

Evil scotchbroom

image

Daffodils for the gophers
image

Tiny strawberries

image

My strawberries

image

Tiny little frog eggs

image

Frogs breeding in the greenhouse

image

Orange mint
image

Lemon balm
image

Lavender
image

Oregano
image

Thyme
image

Comfrey
image

Calendula
image

Sprouts
image

More baby sprouts
image

Cabinet food…
image

Vegetable sprouts
image

Veggies veggies veggies
image

So yeah. Gotta get back to making wedding presents for my mom and working leather to trade on tour this summer. Have fun!

–savage

Busy busy

Sorry for the absence guys! We’re so busy putting things in the ground, sprouting our seeds, fermenting everything in the house and preparing for mine and novel’s annual four month vacation… we’ve just had so much going on.

However, in all the chaos, I managed to finish tanning that squirrel and I thought I’d show off the finished product. I wasn’t feeling very well today, so it was the perfect sitting activity.

I washed the eggs off the hide with a mixture of warm water, three tablespoons of fullers earth,  and some biodegradable soap. Just beat it around and wring it out three or four times.

Then the stretching.  Since its so small, it’s easy to stretch by yourself or with a friend. I just put it over my knee and pull it back and forth, rotating it to stretch different sections.
–savage

image

image

image

image

image

image