Category Archives: plants

image

Harvesting Asparagus seeds in Colorado

When you end up with female asparagus plants and some males for pollination you will end up with lots of red asparagus seed pods.  Many people say to dig the female plants up bimageut we are going to try growing new plants from them.  Which we can sell or plant for our use.

Each pod contains black seeds and I’ve read that it is good to take them out and I’ve read it is best to leave them in the pods so I’m hoping both ways will work well.  We are definitely going to be harvesting asparagus in 2016 since that will be the 3rd year for the asparagus.  And if you live somewhere with late frost like Colorado you might as well harvest any asparagus that will freeze and die rather than letting it die back in the field.

2015 hard neck garlic growing at the homestead.

Colorado Garlic Harvest 2015

This past week we harvested the garlic at the farm.  It is nice when the sandy soil is moist because it makes for an easy harvest.  It took 2 of us the better part of 4 hours to harvest it all.  Harvest included digging them up and cutting the scapes with bulbils off of them.  We placed the bulbils in containers with buckets.  The plan is to plant the bulbils and grow them out over the next couple of years.  Many people cut the scapes early to help the bulbs grow larger.  I hope that actually works that way since these bulbs all look small.  Scapes can be sold when they are cut early and sold late with bulbils for people who want to plant.  Last fall we could not find any bulbils for sale when we purchased the garlic.  Since we have about 1800 scapes maybe we will sell some this year.  Each scape has 20 or more bulbils which in a few years will be larger garlic bulbs.  That equates to 36,000 bulbs – ahhhh. 

Hardneck Garlic Bulbilsin Colorado
Hardneck Garlic Bulbilsin Colorado
Garlic harvest Colorado at RegenFarms
Garlic harvest Colorado at RegenFarms
2015 hard neck garlic growing at the homestead.
2015 hard neck garlic growing at the homestead.
2015 Rhubarb planting On the high plains of Colorado

Planting Rhubarb on the high plains of Colorado 2015

2015 Rhubarb planting now with weed block
2015 Rhubarb planting now with weed block

Another crop we are trying is Rhubarb. We planted one plant at the homestead a year ago and it did rather well with the late frosts and snows. This year we planted about 50 more plants. 40 of these plants were planted at Regen Farms out in Watkins. I read about how well the crop grows for high altitude rhubarb and decided to plant a lot more of it. They have a detailed explanation of how they planted theirs which looks great. We didn’t build up the ‘volcanos’ like they did but kind of wish we had tried their method.

2015 seed potatoes cut so they can cure for a day before planting

How to grow sheet mulch potatos

For this years sheet mulch potato plot I picked a weedy area where nothing had been previously been grown.

why sheet mulch potatos?  Because when it is time to pick your new potatos they will be easy to pick since they will all be on top of the cardboard.

The sheet mulched potato patch before planting
This weedy area will become a sheet mulched potato patch.

Lay out your cardboard.
I then sprayed it with water.
Add soil or in my case OMRI listed organic potting soil (price was right)
Add your seed potatos to the soil, cover them with soil.
Water the soil.
Add some mulch over the soil – you want to make sure your new growing potatos never get sunlight as they will turn green and be toxic. You may need to add more soil as the potatos grow. I used pine needs for mulch since I had access to some and they stay put when the wind blows.
If you cut your potatos you need to let them dry a day or two until the cut areas dry. In wet area you may need to dust them with maybe sulfur.imageimageimage

Cuttings we are going to root in 2015

Rooting hardwood elderberry, mulberry and black currant cuttings

Rooting hardwood elderberry, mulberry and black currant cuttings. Most hardwood cuttings are rooted staring in the winter. These varieties are supposed robe easy to root so I’m trying them now along with some cuttings which may not root like apple and cherry. All of the cuttings were dipped in liquid rooting hormone. Many were placed in pots the same day I got them while others were dipped in rooting hormone and then stored in the fridge for up to a week. The cuttings were then placed in pots with a mixture of peat moss and sand or only peat for the first week. Some were placed on a heat mat to help them root. 1 gallon ziplock bags were placed over them to increase the humidity around the new leaves since the plants have no roots to acquire water. These varieties have many small bumps on them and the ones I reported had pumps that were opening with white under the bark. Hopefully these are new roots!imageimageT

sea berry, sea buckthorn cuttings with rooting hormones

Sea buckthorn sea berry cuttings growing without roots

These cuttings were taken in the fall and placed in dirt from Regen Farms and kept indoors. Two of the 6 have some leaves growing. When transplanting them we noticed that they didn’t have any roots. Amazingly they have taken in enough water to grow. We scrapped them a bit to expose the cambium layer and cut the bottom dead part off then dipped them in root and grow rooting hormone in hopes they will grow some roots.  They were also placed in a potting mixture soil instead of regular soil.

sea berry, sea buckthorn cuttings without roots after several monts
sea berry, sea buckthorn cuttings without roots after several monts
sea berry, sea buckthorn cuttings with rooting hormones
sea berry, sea buckthorn cuttings with rooting hormones. These cuttings started growing without forming any roots
Half bushel bags of garlic for planting

Planting Garlic in Colorado at RegenFarms

50 pounds of garlic is more than I realized! One half bushel bag of garlic bulbs contained about 575 cloves. Different types of garlic will have a different number of cloves per pound.
If the cloves are spaced at 6 inches you get an average of 6 per square foot. The 575 cloves needs about 100 square feet to plant.  I’ve ended up planting three areas with garlic even though I thought I had tilled enough space originally for all the garlic. And there is still more garlic to plant. If garlic is one of the top ten speciality crops it may also be one of the most labor intensive.

Below is an area in the 2013 food forest that has been tilled and planted with garlic. Planting into soil that has been prairie is much harder than into existing garden areas with softer soil.  Leaves was added for mulch. I’m considering placing a border around the area that goes into the soil to keep the grass from growing in.

New Garlic area at Regen farms
New Garlic area at Regen farms
Garlic planted and covered with leaves
Garlic planted and covered with leaves
Half bushel bags of garlic for planting
Half bushel bags of garlic for planting
A tiller at a permaculture farm

What is a tiller doing at a permaculture farm, garlic planting time

Here we have a Honda powered tiller at Regen Farms, a permaculture farm.  What is a tiller doing at a permaculture farm?  We are about to plant some garlic (hardneck garlic).  Garlic likes soils that drain (aka not clay soil) and since we have sandy soil the garlic should do well.
We are going to plant 3 kinds of garlic for a total of 50lbs.  At spacing of 6 inches we will need a good bit of weed and grass free area thus the tiller. I read that garlic is one of the top 10 plants to grow for profit. So we are going see how it grows at the farm. If all goes well each Porcelain bulb will produce an average of 5 bulbs next year. Some garlic sells for $10 per pound. I read that 1 acre of garlic could produce $150,000 in revenue. At six inch spacing that would be a lot of garlic cloves to plant. And would need to produce 15,000 pounds of garlic to sell. We will see how it grows and what it produces on the high plains.

A tiller at a permaculture farm
A tiller at a permaculture farm

Tilling is not fun unless you consider using it a fun workout.  It is a fully body workout.  I ended up on my knees to maneuver it since I’m on the tall side.  Planting tips for garlic include soil that is loose for 12 to 18 inches.  Well the tiller didn’t get that deep so the pitch fork is also being used to get a bit deeper.

Tilling for garlic
Tilling for garlic

Below is some of the German Extra Hardy, Porcelain garlic we bought from KeenOrganics.com  She suggested the three types we bought for our Colorado climate and for storage length.

image
I wish I would have made a single or double only row so chickens in chicken tractors could be used to weed right up to the garlic.  The plans changed when I found out how hard it was to till the ground.  Might end up planting some of the garlic in the garden area where a small chicken tractor can do some weeding.  I’m a bit excited to make a small chicken tractor that could be moved around the garden to do a lot of the weeding I did by hand this year!

The soil was amended with biochar, sea minerals, and leaves from last year. This area also had some cow manure from last year which is one of the reasons whey it was selected. The garlic is in the 2013 food forest just to the North of the 1000 asparagus plants.
image

Hopfully I can convince, bribe or pay my kids to help break each of the garlic bulbs into the individual cloves.

Sea buckthorn cutting for propagation

Propagating Sea Buckthorn Sea Berry via cuttings and seeds

The sea berry (sea buckthorn) bare root plants that were planted this year at the farm are looking really good. Only a couple of them didn’t survive. The farm has rather sandy soils and this was a great year for rain. The seaberry plants growing at the homestead look unhealthy and only half of the six survived. The soil here has more clay, is black in color and actually has worms/life in it.
Hearing how easy it is to propagate sea berry from cuttings I took cuttings from the best looking plants. It is late October so the cuttings will be indoors until the greenhouse is built.

I started researching how to get the sea berry seeds to germinate since none of the hundred plus I planted grew.

Mistakes I made include:

  • planting in the spring (they need to be cold stratified (chiled) for 90 days)
  • after they have been cold stratisfied they should be soaked in water for two days
  • planting to deep (they should be exposed to sun light)

So this week I took some seeds out of the fridge (cold stratification). They have been in there for more than 90 days at this point. Soaked them in water for 2 days. Then placed them in zip lock bags with some wet sand from a stream (hearing that sand and water from a stream can help germination). Included a paper towel in one bag which helps to see the seeds and made sure the bags remain moist. Set these bags on a counter top exposed to the sun and on the second day some of the seeds have already germinated!! I moved some of the germinated seeds to the pots with the sea berry cuttings since that is the sandy soil they grew well in this year.

Sea berry on high plains east of Denver
Sea berry on high plains east of Denver
Sea berry sea buckthorn cuttings
Sea berry sea buckthorn cuttings
Sea buckthorn cutting for propagation
Sea buckthorn cutting for propagation
Hope you had a great meeting
Hope you had a great meeting
Germinating sea Bert sea buckthorn seeds
Germinating sea Bert sea buckthorn seeds
Sprouted sea Berry  sea buckthorn seeds
Sprouted sea Berry sea buckthorn seeds

Update mid December.
Looks like most of the cuttings are alive. Some have green leaves on top and another looks like it will soon produce leaves many places. The seedlings are still growing and are now developing a tougher central stock. They are about two inches tall.

Sea berry cutting taking root
Sea berry cutting taking root
Sea berry cutting taking root and looking like it will have many leaves
Sea berry cutting taking root and looking like it will have many leaves

Planting fall vegetables in 5 gallon buckets

A tomato plant before being transplanted to a container for the winter. We bought the homestead later in the season so the plant is just beginning to produce. Time will tell if it will grow indoors.

The buckets will be both indoor and out depending on the weather. The lettuce plant is in a 15 gallon or larger container so it will not move as often.
Tomato before transplant

5 gallon bucket and some of the seedling lettuce plants.  The plan is to put the bucket with plants in a bucket without holes when I bring them indoors.  I ended up finding BPA free buckets at lowes.   I did not know they existed.  I bought the lettuce , broccoli and other veggies online since I’ve not found a local company with any this time of year (October).
5 gallon bucket for winter growing

 

We drilled holes in the bottom of the 5 gallon buckets.

Holes

An inch or two of rocks in the bottom of the bucket. I don’t think the side of the driveway will miss them. A few sticks, mulch and a worm tossed in for happy soil.
image

Dirt added almost to the top. The dirt will probably settle a few inches. Some of the dirt is from the chicken run and some steer manure was mixed in since I had it. The worms love the soil in the chicken run so there are worms in each bucket. The chickens also enjoy the worms who share the run.

5 gallon bucket ready for winter veggies