168-Interview with Cathy Hiser

Who doesn’t love fresh flowers?

In this episode, we interview our friend and neighbor, Cathy Hiser about her new venture in flower farming.

She describes her interest in growing flowers, the types of flowers she has started and when she anticipates fresh picked blooms will be available.

As a bonus, we plan to include some of Cathy’s fresh flowers in the Mercantile this year. Possibly even as an add on to our weekly deliveries which begin in mid-June.

Stay tuned for more about this and more at Five Feline Farm through email and social media.

Until next time,

Donna, Julia and the Felines (and Cathy)

159-Garden Course Launch

The day has finally arrived!

Today, February 1, 2021 is the official release date of our new online course “Gardening the Five Feline Farm Way“.

This episode describes our last week of progress toward this year long goal. Plus we discuss the content of the course, how we will be adding to the content and fielding questions.

Gardening the Five Feline Farm Way has a lot of content already, but we will continue to add as the garden season progresses during 2021. The discussion forum will be available for all lessons to interact with us and with other students.

You won’t want to miss getting in on the ground floor before the price goes up.

If you are interested in learning more about gardening, this course will help.

Until next time,

Donna, Julia and the Felines

117-Honeybees, Spring Flowers and More

We are blessed to have plenty to do while under the stay at home order to combat coronavirus. In fact, many of our spring tasks are ahead of schedule.

While Donna has been planting in the eighteen new beds around the property, Julia tended to the honeybees and ventured a little too close.

In this episode, we started with an interruption by Honeybee

and ended with a cowbell for Julia’s latest post “5 Rules To Eat By”

View at Medium.com

We are looking forward to seeing everyone as soon as safely possible.

Until next time….

Donna, Julia and the Felines

Planting Tomatoes

Tomato Plants in the Greenhouse

Our last two posts discussed choosing determinate or indeterminate and the benefits of heirloom varieties. Now you have chosen your tomato plants and it is time to get them in the ground. If you haven’t read those yet, click here and here.

Or is it?

To ensure the best chance of success follow the following steps:

Harden Off

The first thing to ensure success is the process of “hardening off”. This technique helps acclimate your plant to the world of weather outside. All tomatoes grown in Central Illinois are started by seed early in the year inside a greenhouse or other indoor setting. In these controlled environments, the plant does not have an opportunity to adapt to blowing wind or pounding rain.

Wait until the daytime temperatures are above 60º, then set the plants still in their pots in a semi protected but outdoor area for a short period of time each day. At first, the plant’s adjustment may make you think the plants have wilted or are not going to survive. Trust that they will perk up overnight and be ready for their next excursion outdoors. Increase the time outside daily. During this time, limit watering to bare minimums. The goal is to strengthen the plants but keep them alive.

After a week or so of this increasing exposure to the outdoor weather and when the soil temperature is above 50º at 4 inches (or threat of frost has passed), your tomatoes are ready for the garden or patio pot.

Prepare the Planting Bed

Tomatoes need calcium to protect against blossom end rot. Crushed egg shells work perfectly. Save approximately one egg shell for every tomato plant. When ready to plant, crush the eggshells and add a pinch of epsom salts for each egg shell. The epsom salts add magnesium and sulfur to the soil as a fertilizer and support healthy plant growth.

When ready to plant, dig a hole slightly wider than the pot the tomato is in and twice as deep for each plant. Divide the eggshell mixture among each hole and add water. Allow the water to absorb into the soil to dissolve the epsom salts and you are ready to plant.

Plant Deep

For the best strength and success, bury tomato plant to the first set of leaves. This may feel unusually deep but tomato stalks will grow roots all along the stalk and increase the ability of the plant to take up soil nutrients. Most tomato plants will require some type of staking or cage to ensure they remain upright and the fruit stays off the ground. It is best to add this now while the plant is small instead of struggling to contain a large unruly plant.

That’s it. Ensure adequate water if it does not rain and in about 6 weeks, you will be picking your own fresh, ripe tomatoes.

Stay tuned to our social media for progress on our garden and post pictures of your own. Five Feline Farm is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.