Previous month:
October 2009
Next month:
December 2009

November 2009

Seed Starting: How To Grow Your Own Transplants


Seedlings under florescent lights  Seedlings outside on a warm, sunny day  Corn seedlings

The basis of a healthy transplant is a good soil-less potting mix.  Using a soil-less mix eliminates disease organisms, pests and weed seeds that may be found in soil.   I prefer organic and mix my own.   There are a number of seed starting mixes available at local stores including organic mixes.  You may want to experiment with various mixes or mix your own.

Basic Organic Seed Starting Mix Recipe

2 parts Compost

3 parts Sphagnum Peat Moss

1 part Perlite

1 part Vermiculite (optional)

Add per every 8 gallons of mix:

½ cup Bone Meal (Phosphorous)

1 ½  cups Dolomitic Limestone (Raises soil pH and provides calcium and magnesium)

½ cup Blood Meal (Nitrogen)

½ cup Kelp Meal (Nitrogen, potassium and minerals)

Mix thoroughly and add enough water to moisten well.

If you can't find organic fertilizers locally Espoma and Peaceful Valley Farm Supply have a wide selection to choose from.

Put seed starting mix in plant cells or 3 inch pots and add seed.  As a general rule cover the seed with a layer of mix that is 4 times the width of the seed.  Place in a sunny window, a greenhouse, or under florescent lights.  Keep evenly moist.  Most vegetables will grow quite nicely at temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees  with 8 hours or more of sunlight or light from florescent bulbs.

Growing transplants rather than direct seeding can give you a head start on the growing season.  Transplants in the garden also have an advantage over the smaller weeds that germinate around them which makes weeding easier.  Planting corn at 2 week intervals will give you an extended harvest.  Using corn transplants rather than direct seeding makes better use of your garden area.  No space is wasted because of poor germination and seed is not lost through plant thinning.  I like to grow the following plants to transplant to my garden:  Onions, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, collards, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, okra, pumpkin, squash and corn.

Tweet this post...share with your followers

Thanksgiving: Let us Remember

Bronze Turkey
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of
Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly
to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress
have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the
United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by
acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God
especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of
government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November
next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that
great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that
was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto
him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the
People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal
and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence
which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the
great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since
enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been
enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and
happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--
for the
civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have
of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the
great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and
supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to
pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in
public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties
properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all
the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and
constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to
protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn
kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and
concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue,
and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto
all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the
year of our Lord 1789.

G. Washington

Tweet this post...share with your followers

Homemade Bread, Great for Turkey Sandwiches

Homemade bread

     What to do with that left over turkey.  Place it between two slices of your own homemade bread with your favorite toppings for a delicious sandwich.

     This recipe can be adapted to your preferences.  Make it a hearty 100% whole wheat bread or a lighter loaf by using whole wheat and unbleached flour.  As you probably know during the milling process the bran and the germ are removed from the wheat to produce the typical white flour.  Much fiber and nutrition are lost with this process.  I use stoneground organic whole wheat bread flour and stoneground organic unbleached bread flour.  Bread flour contains a higher amount of protein which is necessary to form gluten which gives bread its characteristic texture.  Cake flour on the other hand has less protein and produces a soft crumbly texture.  Remember, if you want to make a quality loaf of homemade bread, start with high quality ingredients. 

                                 Visit  Baking Great Bread in Your Kitchen for mixing and baking instructions.

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Biga ingredients: 3/4 cup water, 1 cup organic unbleached bread flour, 1 cup organic whole wheat bread flour and 1/4 teaspoon yeast.      

Main dough ingredients:  2 cups water, 1 tablespoon yeast, 1/8 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup honey, 5 cups organic whole wheat bread flour ( or  substitute organic unbleached bread flour for a portion of the whole wheat flour), and  1 3/4 teaspoon sea salt.

Do you have questions about homemade bread?  Post them in the comments section.

Tweet this post...share with your friends

Today's Food for Thought: People are responsible for the character of their Congress

Uwharrie Mountains

James Garfield

Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. . . . [I]f the next centennial does not find us a great nation . . . it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.

[James A. Garfield, The Works of James Abram Garfield, Burke Hinsdale, editor (Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1883), Vol. II, pp. 486, 489, "A Century of Congress," July, 1877.]

Tweet this post...share with you followers

Thanksgiving: Memories and Recipes

Free range turkey

     When I was a child, Thanksgiving on the farm was a special time.  Mom got up very early to chop onions and celery for the traditional dressing that was stuffed inside the large turkey which she always baked for Thanksgiving.  It had to be put in the oven early as she let it bake long and slow until lunchtime.  Then there was dough to make for the yeast rolls.  There must be enough time for the dough to rise twice before baking the rolls.  After breakfast relatives would come.  The ladies would help Mom in the kitchen, the men would go hunting with my Dad and we children would play and anticipate the coming feast.  After lunch the ladies cleaned up the dishes, the men could hunt more and we children could play more. 

     Do you have a special Thanksgiving memory, tradition or recipe?   If so, I invite you to share it with us in the comments section. 

     This recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole is one of my family's favorites.  

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

2 eggs, well beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup milk

Mix these ingredients and spoon into a 2 quart casserole.

Topping:  1/2 cup packed light brown sugar                           2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

               1/4 cup plain flour                                                 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine and sprinkle on potato mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.

For a variety of instructions on roasting a turkey visit Food Network.

Tweet this post...share with your followers

Today's Food for Thought: I have one great political idea...


Frederick Douglass

I have one great political idea. . . . That idea is an old one. It is widely and generally assented to; nevertheless, it is very generally trampled upon and disregarded. The best expression of it, I have found in the Bible. It is in substance, "Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is a reproach to any people" [Proverbs 14:34]. This constitutes my politics - the negative and positive of my politics, and the whole of my politics. . . . I feel it my duty to do all in my power to infuse this idea into the public mind, that it may speedily be recognized and practiced upon by our people.

[Frederick Douglass, The Frederick Douglass Papers, John Blassingame, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), Vol. 2, p. 397, from a speech delivered at Ithaca, New York, October 14th, 1852.]

Tweet this post...share with your followers