Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Farming On The Four's

I'm baaaack! Sorry I skipped out on the 4th, Czech Days had seniority.

A ton has been happening these past couple weeks and I'm not quite sure how I'll be able to fill you in on all of it but I guess I'll start with the silage pile we created... Yup, quite cool right? We chopped about ___ acres of corn to create into silage to use this winter to feed cattle with. You typically chop corn silage when the corn is still green so it can hold more of it's nutrients compared to the brown, dried out corn you would harvest and take to CO-OP. The University of Illinois Extension gives a great summary of corn silage and you can let them go into detail if you really feel like reading up about it. We choose to store ours under plastic with tires thrown on top to keep the plastic held down. The field we chopped was about 8 bushels per acre, meaning that if we were to have waiting and harvested the corn out of that field we would have probably not made much if any profit off of it. Normal dry land corn bushels per acre in our area can range from about 86 to 120 depending on the conditions and rainfall. Here's a cool map I found with the Nebraska Dryland Bu/Ac Yield in 2011. Notice how the further east you go the better the yields? That's because they've got the great amazing black dirt that's super fertile and it has a great water source from the Missouri River.

Everything else on the farm is super dry and dry land crops are now at the point where they're dead and there's no coming back. We had someone near us start combining their dry land corn a couple days ago with 18% moisture so it looks like harvest may be approaching much faster than anticipated for our area. Here's the Journal Star article about it if you'd like to read more!

There was also a really bad field fire a couple miles away this past week. It burned about fifty acres of farm ground. It started when a bearing went out while they were bailing hay and it took of from there. Travis was actually approaching the fire just as the Dorchester Fire Dept was getting there so he was an honorary firefighter that afternoon. He ran home to go hook up the disk on the tractor and went back out to help disk the ground around the fire to ensure that it wouldn't get into the neighboring fields. Luckily they got the fire under control after four other fire deparments came to help them. Here is the Journal Star article about the fire that happened near Dorchester.

Look at all my goodies I collected! Yes, it's true. I finally took time to tackle my weed garden!!

I was quite surprised to find actual produce in there because I assumed the weeds had taken over it all but sure enough, I found tons and tons of tomatoes, potatoes, kohlrabi and onions.

Here's my cute little flats of onions I got lucky and found in the weed patch. I dug around for awhile but eventually we got fed up with trying to find rows so we took the lawn mower to the garden and took out the weeds. It was really manageable to dig down to find these little guys once we did that, should have just started by doing that in the first place I guess. There's more out there but my legs and back were killing me after I got to these guys so I choose to save those for another day. Until then I'm planning on trying this Pinterest inspired idea and seeing if it works! (wish me luck)

Did I mention my Jalapeno plant has survived against all odds and is loaded with cute lil spicy treats!? Yes, indeed it is true, it's got handful's of those little guys all over it and now I need to find a use for all of them besides for salsa, I want to try using some fresh ones somehow. The red and green peppers in the flat on the right are my jalapeno peppers, surprised at how awesome they turned out!

Oh, and check out those kohlrabi!! That one is just HUGE! If anyone's in need of kohlrabi or has ideas on how to cook/use it please send them to me. I only know of raw kohlrabi with salt sprinkled on it so anything would be worth a try. Also, check out all those cute little cherry tomatoes I picked up. I'm not a fan of any tomatoes but they're too cute, I'll probably end up giving them to Dan & Joan to munch on.

I got to work clearing some of the extra shoots on my tomato plants then pruned them so they weren't growing all over the place and falling out of their cages. I figured it'd help to give those that were already growing a better chance at surviving knowing they can collect more of the energy and plant food sources. Some of these bad boys were starting to get too ripe but I thought that I'd pick them and just toss them if needed. We were planning on canning that following night so it really wouldn't have been a big deal. I only planted thirteen tomato plants in hopes of getting a decent crop so I could can a little bit but mom on the other hand planted thirty-two plants! THIRTY-TWO!? That's just nuts if you ask me. But then again, she's got a garden I'm super envious of, her rows are all straight, she's got it all mulched to perfection and her watering system works great for her. Yup, she has my dream garden...

And last but certainly not least, my potatoes. Look at them! I'm so proud of them of these babies! I was disappointed earlier this year because I watered like crazy and then the plants started to just die off. I thought it was something I did wrong so I gave up on them and assumed nothing actually grew. I went to move some straw after we mowed that area of the garden and low and behold, there was a tiny potato near the surface. I got excited and started to dig and up came another, and then another. I dug up two rows worth of these babies and I'm excited to announce I am now a potato farmer! If anyone has any storage ideas I'd love tips and tricks from seasoned professionals. This will be the first year we're going to try to keep potatoes so what our plan of attack will be is that we'll put them in the storage shed outside. Aren't they supposed to go in dark, dry places anyways?! I've learned that next year I will for sure plant more than two rows of potatoes, I'm not sure how long these will last us but with grilling in full swing I promise we won't make it very far with my small crop.

I'm so proud of my gardening skills this year thus far. I know a lot of my veggies were a flop but with the month of July always so busy with Beseda practice four days a week and homework along with summer activities my poor garden always gets neglected. Luckily for me, this year the plants didn't give up hope on me completely and left me with some produce to store and use later on.

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  1. Wow, so impressed with all the excellent garden stuff you have going on!

  2. Nice! I generally have to go to the farmer's market for produce like that.

  3. I'm so jealous! I only planted tomatoes and gourds this year. :)

  4. Hi there...looks like you have been busy too. Thanks for linking up today...something went wrong though...can you please come on back and redo your link? Pretty please!!! :)

  5. Hi there! Great to see you've had a good summer so far, and nice garden veggies to boot! We have had quite a few fires up here as well, its been so dry throughout harvest. The beginning of our fires started with lightning but, thankfully, they were all under control within hours and didn't do too much damage! Have a great weekend!!


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