Sunday, February 12, 2012

Winter again

well it is winter again here, but we only got a few inches of snow this time, and zero was our bottom temp so far .... and now the sun is out and the eaves are dripping..still feels like we haven't really had much of a winter. I guess they say we may have had a record mild winter here, but it isn't quite over yet.

I am very thrilled that all of my seeds have arrived except 2 that are backordered, 2 of which I really didn't need that badly, so I'm ready for spring.

I have spent the past few weeks on making plans for some changes on our property, improvements, that I hope to do this year. Generally every year I have huge building plans, but not this year..only a few building repairs..take downs of fallling down old fences and reusing the materials to make some arbors and birdhouses. My plans are more in the idea of reclaiming some decrepit areas of our property and trying to get those nasty clay piles around the pond moved (need Joel to help there) and try to get some landscaping (edible) around that pond  put in that has to wait until the piles are moved.

One area I have neglected is east of our garage between us and my son Joel's house. For years he had a project car parked there, which got moved and left a nasty bare spot in the lawn, and then for the last couple years his Jeep was parked beside it, and last week that got moved, leaving another nasty bare spot in the lawn. This was all next to the south end of  our garage on the it is protected, but it is really raggy looking. There was a small flower border there at one time with a pear tree, the graft died on the pear tree and it came back from the roots, so we'll see what that is, maybe a quince or a wildish pear?? And there is a rhubarb there, some clochicium and a few other bits of things left and another sapling, not sure what it is. I have a thought, of digging up some Jerusalem Artichokes and making a curving screen between our house and Joel's with them around those trees and things, and moving a birdbath to that area..using some salvage lattice, 2x4's and posts to build a little arbor under the garage eaves (there are woodbine vines there) and putting a bench under the you can sit and enjoy the little garden. This is near our driveway it would be nice to be able to sit down if talking to someone out there..and there is a partially finished cobblestone path from Joel's house nearly to ours, and a pile of cobblestones left to finish that is on my radar of things to do this spring..

North of this also along our property line between us is an old woodpile and some misc stuff that needs to be clelaned up and removed..and I'm thinking of continuing that Jerusalem Artichoke screen in a snakelike curve into that area once that is cleaned up too, with some occasional trees and shrubs here and would make a nice border privacy fence and wind screen.

Friday, February 3, 2012

figuring how much grain to plant for in home use, good info

I got this information from a web site and thought this would be a good place to save tells approx how much grain a family would need per year, and how much land would be required to grow a bushel of grain..

The info also says that 1/4 acre will grow pretty much all the grain a family needs for a year..and that is a lot of grain..

A bushel of wheat makes about fifty 1-pound loaves of bread. Two ears of corn make enough cornmeal for a meal's worth of corn muffins. The grain expands as it cooks with water, and so gives more food to eat than you would think the uncooked grain represented.

At most, figure a year's supply of wheat at 4 pecks (1 bushel); corn, 2 pecks; popcorn, 2 pecks; soybeans, 4 pecks; grain sorghum, 2 pecks; buckwheat, 1 peck; oats, 1 peck; triticale or rye or barley, 1 peck; navy or other soup beans, 2 pecks; alfalfa for sprouting, 1 or 2 quarts; lentils, field peas, cane sorghum (for flour), about 2 quarts each. But only experience can give you the precise annual amounts needed. We don't grow and eat as much as suggested here, but could if we wished, without increasing our production labor noticeably. Of course you can gauge your own family's consumption by estimating how much flour, cornmeal, and other grain products you use now. But your own grains may prove so delicious that you will want more than that.


Figuring Space Requirements

You don't need much space to raise at least some grains. A normal yield of wheat grown organically would be at least 40 bushels to the acre. So you'd need only 1/40th of an acre to produce a bushel. That would be a plot of ground 10 feet wide by about 109 feet long. A really good wheat grower with a little luck could get a bushel from a plot half that size. Wheat yields have been recorded as high as 80 bushels per acre and even higher.

But using the same kind of average calculations as above, the table below shows the amount of space you'd need to grow a bushel of the following grains.

Growing Grain by the Bushel
field corn: 10 feet by 50 feet
sweet corn: 10 feet by 80 feet
popcorn*: 10 feet by 80 feet
oats: 10 feet by 62 feet
barley: 10 feet by 87 feet
rye: 10 feet by 145 feet
buckwheat: 10 feet by 130 feet
grain sorghum: 10 feet by 60 feet
wheat: 10 feet by 109 feet
* for the larger-eared varieties; I don't know per-acre yields for the smaller varieties, like strawberry popcorn.

Don't hold me too tightly to these figures. They're estimates to give you an idea of how big the playing field is. Weather, fertility, variety, and know-how could alter these figures. All I'm trying to show really is that 9 bushels of assorted grains might be raised on a quarter of an acre and provide you with the major portion of your diet.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 1, 2012 wow what a mild winter

We have had the mildest winter in about 80 years here, and even broke a record on Jan 31 of 50 degrees..woo hoo

today I updated the list of plants growing on the property including my plant orders that I have just sent out for 2012..updated by new orders and replacing backorders..

Man I can't believe how many things I ordered so far..also still would like to get a couple more things (really??) yup.