A Fiber Farm Blog

Posts tagged ‘Garden’

Early Spring on the Farm


We are preparing for spring on the farm and it is a crazy, busy time!  It was an unusual winter here……..warm and dry, with only a couple of inches of snow all winter.  We finally got some rain this past week and are anticipating more this week.  Hopefully we are coming out of this dry spell.  With so much going on around here, I will try my best to keep you updated.


I got my spring garden planted last week.  Jeff had the garden all tilled and generously spread with alpaca poop.  I planted turnips, beets, spinach, lettuce, onions, carrots and tons of radishes.  There is nothing better than fresh radishes, right out of the garden!  As I was planting, I kept my eye on a slow-moving rain storm coming from the southwest.  Usually my timing isn’t that great, but this year I was able to get that garden in right before the rain kicked in.  We received some badly needed moisture.  My garden and I were thankful!

Strawberry Patch

We have had Strawberry Patch issues over the last few years.  We have tried several different ways to grow strawberries and it seems like we just end up with a big, unruly, out of control weed patch (and, if we were lucky, maybe a couple of ripe strawberries that weren’t rotten, mashed or had been stepped on).  I had strawberries at our first house and it didn’t seem that hard, but here, I don’t know, it has just been a mess.  True, we have had a couple of bad years, no rain at all one spring, then the next, so much rain that what berries we had rotted before we could get to them.  I have had a plan to build a “better” strawberry patch so we are going to give it a try this year.  Last week, Jeff tilled up an area for my patch and placed concrete blocks around for edging.  We ended up with an area of about 2 feet by 20 feet.  It’s not the prettiest thing, but I’m hoping it will be functional.   It is a little early here to purchase strawberries so I am watching for sales and will hopefully have them planted in a few weeks.  My hope is that with my new patch, 1) the strawberries will be controlled and kept within the blocks and, 2) I will be able to weed and pick strawberries without having to walk through the patch itself.  We will see how it works out.  If I can finally get a successful, easy to maintain patch going, we will probably build another one and get it started next year.  I will keep you posted!

Strawberry Patch


I am very excited to announce that we will be starting a small orchard on our property.  We have purchased 10 fruit trees that are packaged so that they are good for our location and good for cross pollination.  They should be delivered by the end of this week and we are expecting 3 apple trees, 2 peach trees, 2 pear trees, 2 plum trees and 1 cherry tree.  Since we have a very busy weekend ahead of us, we decided to go ahead and start preparing the holes this past Sunday.  It took a lot of time preparing 10 holes on Sunday afternoon so we were glad that part of the job is out of the way.  We are expecting more rain this week, so also didn’t want to take the chance that it would be too wet to dig.  We want to get the trees in the ground as quickly as possible once they arrive.


I am preparing for the MOPACA show this weekend.  The show will be at Hale Arena in Kansas City this weekend and will have lots of alpacas, vendors, fiber and some great competition in the show ring.  We will be one of the vendors and since this is one of the bigger shows we do and with it pretty much being our first show of the year, there is lots of prep work to be done.  I will be setting up for the show on Friday and the show and vendor booths will be open both Saturday and Sunday.

This is just a bit of what we have accomplished the past week and what we have in the works for the farm this year.  Next week, I will update you on how the spring garden is doing, if I’ve found any strawberry plants, the progress of our little Orchard and the MOPACA Show in Kansas City.   Until then, enjoy some other pictures of Early Spring on the Farm!


My First Luffa

I’m so excited!  I harvested my first luffa over the weekend!  This luffa gourd was the first that came on the vine and began growing several weeks before any of the others.  This is what it looked like right before I picked it:

Luffa Ready to Harvest

I decided it was ready because 1) the color 2) it was very light weight and 3) the skin felt papery and I could tell that it had separated from the fiber inside.  I cut off the end and shook out all the seeds into a bucket.  They are drying now and will be used next year.  Once I had most of the seeds out, I started to take the skin off.

Peeling the Luffa

It must have been more than ready because it came off in one piece.  Easy!  But Balto was there to help just in case we needed him.  After that I washed it and let it dry out.  I still have a couple of seeds that I need to get out, but I will do that when I wash it good a second time.  But here it is……my first homegrown luffa.

Washed Luffa

I have about 8 more in my small crop that still need several more weeks before I can pick them.  I have had a lot of fun watching these grow!  I will post again when I have harvested all the luffa for the year.

May 2nd, Really?????

Well it is May 2nd in Kearney, MO and it is snowing!  The wind is howling and the temperature is hovering near freezing.  We have had a cold rain all day and is just now turning over to snow.  We expect a measurable snow by morning.  After the horrible drought we have had over the last year, I swore I would not complain.  So all the moisture of late has been wonderful.  But I do wonder about my strawberry patch, cherry and pear trees that have just bloomed.  Will I ever get my garden in this year??

May 1

May 2

Luffa Farming

Well, I find myself off on another tangent.  I do this often, you know see something in a magazine or shop that sparks an idea.  But sometimes an idea just pops into my head from nowhere and I’m determined to explore it further.  I’m not sure where this comes from.  I like to think that it comes from having a creative mind, but some might say it is a curse being so unfocused.  But I have been like this for as long as I can remember….my head full of ideas but often not enough time to implement them.  I read an article about a year ago on Luffa Farming and I thought it sounded like the greatest thing ever.  When I mentioned it to my family I got the typical response….eye rolling, snickers behind my back, telling me I was crazy right to my face…..you can imagine.  But as I was sitting in my house a few weeks ago trying to get through the Winter That Never Ends/Spring That Still Hasn’t Come, I began to consider Luffa Farming again.

So, instead of jumping in head first like I often times do, I am trying to take this one slow.  I have purchased  just one packet of seeds and am determined to make that package the sum total of my 2013 crop.  Please join me on my Luffa Farming Tangent.  We’ll see how it goes!

The Luffa (sometimes spelled Loofah or Loofa) comes from a gourd, a member of the Cucurbitaceae family that also includes cucumbers and pumpkins.  You can purchase the seeds on the internet, but I was trying to start off as easy, slow and inexpensive as possible so hoped to purchase some locally.  I was excited to find a packet of Luffa Seeds at Planters Spice & Feed in the Farmers Market area of Kansas City. 

Seed Packet

Luffa need a fairly long growing season (at least longer than what we typically have here in MO) and I do not have access to a greenhouse.  So I started my seeds indoors.  I planted them on 4/1 and put them in a sunny window.  This is how they look today.

Progress April

Jeff has tilled up an area for my small loofa crop.  I just need to attach an old piece of fencing to help trellis the plants as they grow.

Now, I just need it to warm up enough to put my little plants outside.  Stay tuned…….


Sprout Adventure – Final Post

It’s time for my final Sprout Adventure blog post!  Growing my own sprouts has been a huge success, especially if you could have seen how quickly the chicks ate them up.  Not only were they easy to grow but they looked and smelled delicious as well.  I am going to have to make extra for us to eat at home.  They would be wonderful on salads, sandwiches and in stir fry, just to name a few.

But, here we go with the last group of pictures.  Here are the sprouts when I pulled them out of the jar for the last time.  I wish you could have had the opportunity to smell the freshness and simple goodness of the spourts.  This group was the radish, broccoli and alfalfa sprout combo.

I took the fresh sprouts out to the chickens and wow did they go crazy over them.  It was hard to get a good picture, they made such a fuss over them.

Needless to say, I will be growing sprouts all winter for both the chickens and my family.  It is an easy, inexpensive way to add healthy, fresh greens to our diets all winter long.

Sprouts – End of Day 5

First of all, sorry I didn’t do a post for Day 4 of my sprout adventure.  By the time I got home from work late, took care of the chicks and watched the Presidential Debate, I was just too tired to post.

So here we are at the end of Day 5.  My radish, alfalfa & broccoli mix are doing great and are ready to harvest.

My bean and pea sprouts seem to be moving along a little slower.  Here is how they look at the end of Day 5.  I think I will rinse, drain and let them sit another day.

But the alfalfa, radish and broccoli mix are defnitely ready to go.  I laid them out on a towel just to get a good look at them.

Then I put them in a bowl of water.  I swished the sprouts around in the water to loosen up the seeds that were attached to the sprouts.

Then I took a spoon and took as many of the seeds out as possible.  (A big thank you to my hand model, Jeff)

When I had finished cleaning them up, I put the sprouts back in the jar for just another day.  I will put them in my window in hopes that they get a little bit of sunlight and green up just a bit.

I can’t wait to give the chicks their sprouts.  They are going to love them!


Sprouts – End of Day 3

Well, we have made it through the end of Day 3 of my sprout adventure and things are going well.  The little sprouts are getting longer and fuller each day.  Every morning I do another rinse and drain them so that they can spend the day growing.  My chicks are smacking their little beaks in anticipation!

Sprouts – End of Day 2

Yay!  I have little sprouts!  I got up this morning, rinsed and drained the seeds again and could already see some tiny little sprouts forming.  This picture is from tonight and I think they are coming along nicely. So sorry for the quality of the picture.  I’m having a really hard time learning to photograph through the jars.  But hopefully you get the general idea.

Watch for my update tomorrow for Day 3 of my sprout adventure.


Growing Sprouts

I have decided to grow sprouts.  As you probably already know, sprouts are rich with vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes and are a wonderful addition to your diet. Although many people grow and eat them for this very reason, I will actually be growing them for my chickens.  I think this will be a wonderful way to add those same wonderful benefits to their diet and be able to provide them fresh greens all winter long.

So, I am off on my first sprouting adventure.  All I needed to get started was a couple of quart canning jars, a piece of needlework canvas (for my jar lids) and the seeds for sprouting.  I found that there are numerous places to purchase seeds over the internet, but just to get started, chose to purchase mine at my local health food store.

To get started, I cut lids out of the needlework canvas for my wide mouth jars.  This will allow me to drain the water off the sprouts as they grow.

Then I put my seeds in the mason jars, filled them up halfway with water and let them soak overnight.  I am working on 2 jars of sprouts, one is a combo of organic alfalfa, radish & broccoli and the other a combo of organic mung bean & green pea.

This morning, I put my lids on the jars and drained the water out.

Twice, on this first day, I have poured fresh water in the jars and rinsed the seeds well.  When I pour the rinse water out of the jar, I am careful to leave the seeds spread out as much as possible.  This helps them to have air to begin their sprouting process.  I have left the jars (upside down so any remaining water can drain out) in my dish drainer over night.

I will post again tomorrow and let you know how our little sprouts are doing on Day 2.

June Garden Update

Well, it has been too long since I have done a garden update.  We are having a very hot and dry start to the summer but we have spent a lot of time watering and working in the garden to keep it producing.  And all the time has paid off.  Take a look at what is going on in the Parsons’ Prairie Farm Garden.

We have lots of tomatoes to look forward to.  I can hardly wait for that first BLT of the summer!

We have hot peppers coming along nicely for our soups and salsa.

And my favorite…..sweet peppers.

We are starting to see some green beans…..

……and cucumbers.

Our sweet corn is coming along as well.  Ahhhh, I can already taste that first wonderful bite!

Our strawberries are really beginning to spread now.  We will have a nice strawberry patch next year.

And last, but certainly not least, the blackerries.  We are picking them as they turn and they are delicious.  I have made several cobblers already, some blackberry jam and am now freezing berries so we can have those wonderful cobblers this winter.