Sunday, April 28, 2013

Treat It like your Cell Phone?

   Just some food for thought.The more you read the Bible; and the more you meditate on it, the more you will be astonished with it. 
   I found this the other day and thought it was so true to today's Christian. Think of all the things we would solve if we did this?

 "If you find a professing Christian indifferent to his Bible, you may be sure that the very dust upon its cover will rise up in judgment against him. I venture to say that the bulk of Christians spend more time in reading the newspaper than they do reading the Word of God." ~ C.H. Spurgeon

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

More Raised Bed Gardening???

  Well I had a good day in the Garden! I added more raised beds, I'm running out of space to plant. It seems that when your family starts to understand how much better home grown veggies taste and how much healthier they are for your, you have to grow more. Which is a great thing! So I added 48 more square feet of garden space to my Raised Beds. Here is the best thing, all it cost me was the labor. How you may ask did I do that? Well, this past fall, when I pulled in from work, I realized that the neighbor had a big pile of scrap boards that they were throwing out. So I knocked on the door and asked if I could have them and they said YES! So you see, "One mans trash is another mans treasure"! Here is some pics for ya!
New 5' x 8' Bed
New 2' x 4' Bed

  So you see don't let living in the city keep you from getting your hands dirty and growing your own veggies! You can Urban Garden for a very inexpensive cost, if you just think! You might be saying, "where do I get the dirt to fill them up?" Well most of mine is from my compost bins or my good friends horse farm, there are many Soil Amendments available. You can also do a "HUGELKULTUR", Raised Bed Experiment, like I have done, if you would like. Where there is a will there is a way! Just start small and build your way up to whatever size you may need. Maybe even ask a neighbor to help and it can become a group effort, many community gardens have been started like that. The main thing is have fun!

Matthew 19:19 "‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

"Planting space between tomatoes and Planting tips"

 Its getting time here in West Virginia to plant tomatoes out doors! I usually wait until around "Mothers Day", but this year I may do it a little early and just watch the night time weather for frost and such. What brought this question up, was a friend ask me for some tips on tomatoes and I thought I had this on here but I didn't.

So, how far apart should I space my tomato plants?
  This depends on whether you are staking, caging, or letting them sprawl and on the particular variety’s growth habit of dwarf, determinate, or indeterminate.  
  Staked indeterminates can be grown with spacing of 1 foot between plants, caged indeterminates can be grown with spacing of 2 feet between plants, and for sprawling, you need at least 3 feet between plants.  They will be more productive if more space is given.I have grown indeterminates 3 feet between plants and 4 feet between rows (remember is you are planting in raised beds you can get by with 2 feet but that's as close as I would go)..  This gives them enough room to sprawl out and really produce.  
  Determinates can be planted a bit closer than indeterminates especially if they are let sprawl.  They will produce well with 2 feet between plants and 3 feet between rows.  Again, I have gotten by with a little closer but remember, the more light and air the more productive they will be.
  The dwarf varieties are suitable for pot culture but if grown in soil, they can be planted as close as 1 foot apart.  
  A major contributor to the spacing question is the area of soil the roots expand into.  A large tomato plant may have roots 3 feet or more deep and up to 10 feet long from the plant stem occupying up to 300 cubic feet of soil.  Most people plant tomatoes too close together which reduces overall production.  If given a choice between having more plants with less fruit or less plants with more fruit production, I would never plant indeterminates closer than 3 by 5 feet! But sometimes we don't always have that space.
  The soil should be a good quality loam with loose texture.  Since most of us don't have soil with those characteristics, it is best to work on building up the soil we have.  A soil test will tell the pH level and give recommendations to raise or lower it if needed.  Tomatoes grow best in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5 which is just a bit on the acid side.

Planting Tip:
  Start by getting a vigorous seedling to set out, hopefully that you have started.  Mix topsoil, 5 gallons of high quality compost, 1 cup of 13-13-13 fertilizer, ½ cup of cane sugar, ¼ cup of table salt, Ground tho powder eggshells and 1 level shovelful of hardwood wood ashes in a wheelbarrow.  As you plant Put 3 inches of of mixture in bottom of hole, put an inch or so of plain topsoil on top and set a seedling into the plain soil so that its roots can grow into the amended soil beneath. For the 1st week or so water everyday with a couple cups of warm water to stimulate plant growth, remember tomatoes are warm weather plants.

More Good Reads:
Heirloom vrs. Hybrid Part 1
Heirloom vrs. Hybrid Part 2
Saving Tomato Seeds

Genesis 2:8 The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Maintaining A Healthy Rain Barrel

  It doesn't matter if you collect rain water for your own consumption or to water your garden, you still need to do a yearly maintenance to them. Why? Its to keep them in tip top shape and it keep's the water in them safe for you and your plants.You wouldn't believe the stuff that gets inside of them, especially when they aren't in much use (in the off season)! So what are the thing's you should do to your rain barrels or other rain collection systems? (Click her to learn how to make a Rain Barrel)  Also You may like Got Rain Barrel Questions?
  Take a good look at them before you even drain them and remove them from the stand you have them on. As you can see by from my pictures, the winter freezing of the ground made mine a little unlevel and some of  my connections come apart. So I will have to fix that as well!
See how the became unlevel

Check All The Hardware:
  You will want to totally drain your barrel before you get started. Then Check all your valves, connection, screens that you may have at the enter point and the overall condition of the barrel or container, replace anything that needs replaced. Look inside it, I am sure you will see lots of yucky stuff, maybe even algae but that's okay we are gonna take care of all of this shortly and even have some preventative maintenance. At this point just spray out with you garden hose as much as you can.

Clean The Inside:
  If you need to scrub the interior of the barrel a long handled brush will work well. Using a mixture of  light bleach and water solution; scrub the interior of the barrel’s walls and bottom with the brush. Then rinse your barrel again and let dry. This is something that you may not have to do if you have a constant flow of water going through your barrels. But if you forgot to drain all the water out for the winter, Yuck!

Tip: Paint your rain barrels a dark color to prevent the sunlight from directly hitting your water and promoting algae growth.

Purifying The Water For Drinking and To Maintain:
  You can add a little household bleach to your water to keep it maintained through out the year. A little won't hurt you plants either. I would put a little less in the water if you arn't gonna drink out of it and it will still keep the water cleaner!
   According to the Red Cross, “The only agent used to purify water should be household liquid bleach. Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water if the water is cloudy (with an eye dropper), stir and let stand for 30 minutes. (If it’s clear, only add 8 drops.)  If the water does not have a slight bleach odor [after 30 minutes], repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.”  Use household bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite as its only active ingredient) and yes this is for drinking!
How much bleach to use for purifying water for drinking (according to the Red Cross):

amount of water clear water cloudy water
1 quart 2 drops 4 drops
1 gallon 8 drops 16 drops
5 gallons 1/2 teaspoon 1 teaspoon
55 gallons 5 1/2 teaspoons 11 teaspoons

After I built a foundation out of railroad ties.

 Revelation 21:1"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb."

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