January 09, 2012

Planting in Winter

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Here it is, the end of the first full week in January and I have been looking forward to being elbows deep in our sewing projects, but instead, it seems that the weather has turned my attention back to the fast approaching growing season.

We can not believe how many beautiful days we are having in January!  The warmest day last week was about 65°, turning my mind to mailing out the seed order.  The thermometer in the greenhouse was reading 80° and my fingers were itching to play in the dirt.

Last February, I started our tomato and pepper seeds in an egg incubator, which worked great.  They sprouted easily and after a few more weeks in a south window, they were placed in the greenhouse.  This year I'm hoping to avoid any legginess the plants may have by sprouting them directly in the greenhouse.  The problem with that is that our greenhouse is not heated and the cold nights wouldn't allow for germination.  

By planting seeds in individual "mini" greenhouses, I'm hoping for good results.  It sure doesn't hurt to try anyway.  For added measure, I buried them at least halfway in the dirt to insulate them well. 


There were enough old milk cartons and seed saved from last year to plant five different varieties of tomatoes, lavender and pink coneflowers (Echinacea) so far.  Since we don't buy milk from the store anymore, I've asked friends and family to keep their milk cartons for us in exchange for some of the glorious harvest later.  I'll be sure to gather them throughout this year for next years use.  


Have you ever harvested carrots in January?  I haven't, until this week.  Incredible!  I've read where you can harvest certain root vegetables all winter when left in the ground, but I hadn't ever tried it.  These carrots got passed over somehow (forgotten about, is more like it) in the four square located in the greenhouse.  What a treat to find fresh carrots in January!


All of this "warm" weather almost caused us to pull out the barb-que grill, in fact I think my dear husband actually did, but there wasn't enough daylight left to grill some delicious, grass-fed hamburgers. We didn't let that discourage us though, the hamburgers and buns were made, and the potatoes were fried in the cast iron skillet.  You can find the Hamburger Bun dough recipe HERE.  Simply mix up the dough, let it rise and then pinch off balls about 2" in size.  Let rise under a damp towel in a warm place again on a greased cookie sheet then bake them at 350° for maybe 20 minutes.  Everyones oven is different so just keep an eye on them.  The dough recipe will make many buns or several loaves of bread.  Break up it however you choose.


Here again I will say that nothing tastes better than cooking something in cast iron.  We eat very little fried foods, and fried potatoes is no exception to that rule, but there are times when we indulge.  This was one of those times.  I used a big chunk of bacon grease, sliced up some Yukon Gold potatoes, added a bit of onion, salt, pepper and Cajun Seasoning.  They were incredible!  Worth every last bite!  Try it, you will not be sorry.

And last but not least....here is a real jewel of a local treasure for those of you in the Ozarks......

On occasion, we travel to the nearest city to run some errands.  After taking care of those errands this last time, it was late afternoon and we were tired from being in town.  Humbly, I asked my dear husband if we could get a bite to eat somewhere and take it home.  Being the kind, gentle and caring husband that he is, he did not hesitate to say yes, so we stopped by this little BBQ place called Hog and Sauce our oldest son had highly recommended.  In fact, he went on and on about it, saying it was the best bbq he'd eaten in his entire life.  I was skeptical.  We are extremely picky about eating restaurant bbq and have yet to find one we would return to, but I can now firmly state to all of you that it was extremely good!  Not only was the food delicious, the gentleman that runs it is extremely friendly, patient and a great cook!  It seems to be solely operated by a local man, which works great for us since we love to support local small businesses.


Ok, I know you are saying..."What is it?"  It is called the Pita-Que.  This one specifically is called The Pig Pen.  And just so you know, whatever eating a Pita implies, this cannot be picked up and eaten with your hands, lol.  It is full of barb-q pork, beef or chicken (your choice), topped by cole slaw and beans, all covered in their special sauce, which is the most tastiest bbq sauce I have ever tasted in my entire life. I don't usually eat beans, but I'm here to tell you, they were gone before anything else was!  I cleaned them up!  Well...sorry to get carried away, but it was really good and we will be returning there for sure.

Hopefully this has given you a glimpse into life on the homestead here in the Ozarks during our January "winter" this year.  The chickens are out scratching away at the dirt, the sun is shining and we are in for another warm week.  I think I'll go out and check to see if the seeds have sprouted yet.

Here is something to remember as you go through your week....


I love to post these different verses in front of me to remind me each day.  The Lord is good and greatly to be praised at ALL times.  Not an easy thing, but very rewarding.  May you have a very blessed week!


You can find me linked up at:  Homestead RevivalNourishing TreasuresGrowing HomeFar Above RubiesSkip to my LouPenniless ParentingTitus 2sdaysRaising HomemakersFrugally SustainableWomen Living WellRaising Mighty ArrowsDeep Roots at HomeFingerprints on the FridgeFarm Friend FridayLife as MomFarmgirl Friday

19 comments:

  1. I have been following your blog for a while now and I LOVE it. Your blog is helpful and educational and focuses on the things that I care about most: family, home, and living well.

    I am awarding you the Liebster Blog Award. Please come get it over at my blog here: http://whitewolfsummitfarmgirl.blogspot.com/2012/01/white-wolf-summit-farmgirl-been-awarded.html

    Congratulations.

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  2. The homemade hamburger buns look delicious. I just copied the Amish bread recipe. I just got a Nutrimill for Christmas. I am trying these tomorrow!

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  3. I just pulled up some radishes! Oh my, the BBQ looks interesting. I've never seen anything like it.

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  4. I do so enjoy my visits here...I like the milk jug idea. ? Would this work in the early spring, without a greenhouse? It looks as though you the bottom half submerged in the dirt, and the top half put back on.. I have often seen the milk cartons in Amish Country, and wondered what they were for, now I see that they have begun their seedlings in there..Going to give this a try. The pork sangwhich wow...looks delish...and very filling.

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  5. Faith~ the milk jugs would work wonderfully in the spring with no greenhouse. They would also work in the house if you have a good sunny window. I learned that this is a good way to begin flowers so that they come up earlier than beginning them after the frost. I have the bottoms dug down in the dirt to also help protect them because I know that we will get some very cold nights and our greenhouse isn't heated. Not sure it'll work, but I have to try it out. Blessings!

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  6. Farmer Hubby & I took a walk early this morning, it's been so nice. I like the brisk air at my face. In the afternoon when it warmed up I took a stroll through the back property and played fetch with our dog. Our chickens followed close to watch while pecking for bugs.

    I like you milk jug idea, I've seen it else where and they seemed to have a good turn out. It's nice to take breaks, that bbq sandwich is mouth watering. Excuse me while I wipe my chin. :)

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  7. Wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog so I am nominating it for an award on tomorrow's post at Hickery Holler Farm..CQ

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  8. I sure am pleased that you enjoy our little space on this big world wide web :) Thank you very much for your thoughtfulness!

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  9. I really love your blog. Everything is of interest to me, especially since we no longer live in the Ozarks. It feel good to go "home." I must know, where is the Pig Pen located? I want that pita Que!

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  10. Ellen~ the name of the restaurant is called Hog and Sauce. Find them at www.hogandsauce.com for directions. Thank you for your kind words and please visit often!

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  11. What a packed post! I love your blog and hope to be able to spend some more time looking around real soon! Those mini-green houses are an awesome idea!

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  12. Thank you! Sometimes when I begin a casual homestead update, it can become rather lengthy. So much to share around here and never enough time. I'm anxious to see how the tomatoes sprout, we've had a few cold days so it will be interesting. I'm glad you stopped by and come back soon to visit!

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  13. Wow, that pita looks amazing! I really like your idea for mini greenhouses. What a great way to start plants off. I look forward to hearing about how they develop - I am sure they will thrive! Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul hop.

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  14. Oh, Wow!... this has made me so hungry and I can't tell which sound better, the fried potatoes or the BBQ! I love the 'down-home' feel to your writing. I am so glad you are contributing to 'EOA' Wednesday.

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  15. how are the tomatoes doing? i live in kansas city and i just transplanted some tomato seedlings into the mini greenhouse.. then within my larger greenhouse. our greenhouse is not heated. i'm also concerned about the overnight temps. a

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  16. The tomatoes in the milk cartons that I planted on January 5th are coming up very thick and strong, not leggy in any way. I'm excited about how they will look and will be putting more in this week. Our greenhouse is not heated either and the tomatoes always get put in there in February. I'm concerned about the light factor though. I don't think they get enough light to grow well, they will tend to stay the same until they get about 12 hours of light. So, this year, I'm putting lights out there to provide the needed light. Your tomatoes should be just fine, our weather isn't that much different even though we are different zones. It sounds like you got a great start on the season!

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    Replies
    1. How early do you have tomatoes in your greenhouse?

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  17. The tomato plants are out there now. Almost two weeks ago, I sprouted the tomatoes and peppers with an egg incubator, then put them out in the greenhouse. Also, the seeds I planted in the greenhouse back in January are now sprouting too. We just planted another 500 or so yesterday using the cell packs. I will post on the progress this week. Last year, our winter was colder than this year and the tomatoes were put out in the greenhouse on February 17th. How early we actually harvest tomatoes depends on the weather and the variety. We plant a few early ones like Mountain Princess and Bison. This year we planted Early Girls and they were the first to pop up. We'll see how soon they produce fruit. I hope this helps!

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