<![CDATA[Four Sides Farm - Blog]]>Tue, 07 Feb 2017 21:29:14 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[LaDelle's Buttercup Truck]]>Wed, 08 Feb 2017 04:02:45 GMThttp://foursidesfarm.com/blog/ladelles-buttercup-truckAfter several years of growing flowers with my wife, she has decided to start a business selling fresh cut flowers.  She has decided on the name of LaDelle's Buttercup Truck.  LaDelle was her great-grandmother's name who had a great influence on her life.  LaDelle was an orphan and my wife has decided to donate a portion of the profits back to a local orphan center in Nashville.

The truck part of the name is a reference to the mobile nature of the business.  We have had a couple of businesses interested in partnering with us which we are very grateful.  So to sell at their locations we have purchased a customized 1969 Shasta pull behind camper which we plan on parking at our partners' locations to sell either individual fresh cut flowers for make your own bouquets, pre-made bouquets, or my wife's onsite-styled bouquets. 

We will be growing flowers for this venture, but as we get started in the spring we will be utilizing other farm grown flowers with a preference for locally grown and pesticide free.  The list of flowers we plan to grow include Dahlias, Zinnias, Sunflowers, and many more.  My yearly list of what I plan to grow will be drastically slanted toward flowers and away from vegetables this year.  Which is great in my mind as last year ended up being a first step in that direction.  The vegetables are great to eat and how I do miss a fresh tomato right now, but the flowers bring more satisfaction and beauty.

We plan on staying mostly in the Hendersonville, Sumner County, Tennessee area.  If you are around please check us out.  We will be listing locations where we will be as the time gets closer.
<![CDATA[Summer Adventure]]>Wed, 09 Nov 2016 18:24:02 GMThttp://foursidesfarm.com/blog/summer-adventure
So these last two posts have really not been about farming or homesteading.  And that is because there was not a lot of either being done this past year.  We did grow some things, but this year has been busy with family and work with Nashville going through a building boom, I have worked a ton.  However, I was able to go on a trip out to the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho with a group of men from church and 2 was able to go with me.  The above picture is 2 with me with El Capitan rising above and Alice Lake below in the background.

We flew into Boise on a Saturday afternoon and drove a couple hours out to Stanley, ID where we camped at the shore of Lake Stanley Saturday night.  When we woke up it had gotten down below 32 degrees and our water bottles had a little frozen layer on top.  I didn't know what we were getting ourselves into and 2 only had a summer sleeping bag.  We got up early Sunday packed up camp and headed to town for one last meal before we hiked.  After our meal we lightened our packs, removing the unnecessary items.  Then we went to the outdoor store in the town where I bought 2 some wool socks and both of us some gloves and the caps you see in the picture.  After that first night I was concerned for our survival. 

Our plans were to hike the loop around the Pettit Lake Trailhead, but after the first climb in on that Sunday, which was a difficult 6.5 mile hike up a couple thousand feet, the elder members of our party were not in any shape to make it around the entire loop so we camped at Alice Lake for the week.  We made day hikes up to Twin Lakes where we fished and some of our party climbed up to the peak over 10,000 ft above Twin Lakes.  2 and I chose to fish for trout on those days.  We did climb up to a snow patch above Twin Lakes.  It was very other-worldly to eat snow in late July as someone who grew up in the south.  As we walked out a boulder field to the snow patch I heard rocks falling down the mountain and with obvious freshly fallen boulders around I was concerned.  However, looking up the mountain we saw a mountain goat which was really cool.  He had just kicked a few rocks down as he was climbing farther up. 

It was truly beautiful there.  So amazingly different from what I had seen in my life previously.  These were not the Smokey Mountains.  The highs were in the 80s and the lows in the 30s and no humidity which is what a southern guy needed in July.  It was a great week and we were blessed to be there.  2 did an amazing job climbing the mountain and leading us back down.  He handled it better than I did.  We learned to fly fish, swam in 50 degree water, ate some fish we caught, and played lots of cards.  After this picture was taken we swam out to the islands in Alice Lake.  I had 2 on my back while I swam to the first island.  As I was taking too long in the 50 degree water 2 decided to slide off and make a faster swim for it.  The water was so cold that he froze up and I had to actually push him onto the shore.  It was funny, but he definitely held on when we swam back. 

The way the light on the mountains changed during the day, how it stayed light until after 10PM there, the smoke clouds from far away forest fires, sleeping in a tent covered with buzzing mosquitoes outside of it, it was all a new world to me.  It was a good time with 2 and I look forward to going out west somewhere again once 2's younger brother gets a few years older.  We have decided this is a definite rite of passage that the boys will be making. 
<![CDATA[What Have You Been Cultivating]]>Tue, 08 Nov 2016 17:56:07 GMThttp://foursidesfarm.com/blog/what-have-you-been-cultivatingIt has been a long summer which still is going here with highs in the 80s still in November.  The annuals I planted are pretty much dried up at this point with the lack of rain.  A few tomatoes come now and again, but I mostly feed them to the chickens since they are of the cherry variety or small.  Most of my time this year when not working has been spent cultivating time with the family. 
For the last few months with this little angel.
And with this Mud Cat.
And with 2.  Baseball ended up being a fun ride from Mid-February up to October 30th this year with lots of wins and a few losses.  I enjoy all the time I get to spend with them and I hope they got to enjoy the time I spent with them.  They are one of the big reasons I smile each day.
<![CDATA[Updates]]>Fri, 20 May 2016 17:40:46 GMThttp://foursidesfarm.com/blog/updatesSo for the past few weeks we have been getting a couple of quarts of strawberries daily.  It has been a good ride.  The last week has seen the plants getting taller and sending out runners which means the berry production is going to trail off.  Luckily there is always something that takes the place of a slacking crop during the growing season.  On May 6, I got our first yellow raspberry.  I found out that only picking a couple of raspberries for your wife's 40th birthday is not the appropriate present.  Just a tip for everyone out there.  The production has increased and yesterday I was able to pick a bowl full before I went to work.  As my wife was tired of eating only strawberries the timing was good.  Looking at our fruit trees this year it might be a good year for peaches if the squirrels don't beat me, there will be no pears this year, and we have a couple of blueberry bushes noticeably hanging over due to the fruit on them.  Even though my garden will not be very big this year we should still enjoy some home grown goodness.  Hope all is growing well in your area!
<![CDATA[Four Sides Farm Update]]>Sat, 30 Apr 2016 04:19:45 GMThttp://foursidesfarm.com/blog/four-sides-farm-updateIt has been awhile since I have posted.  Spring is here and several things are going on in our lives.  Here are some of the things that have happened.
The potatoes I planted last fall/early winter survived.  So I added another board in height to the box and added more soil to cover the potatoes.  Also, my son's school sent home cabbage so I planted those in a smaller box next to the potatoes.
The blackberry plants started flowering in early April.  The picture above was taken April 3.  This was the Prime Ark Freedom that flowered earlier than our Natchez variety that is blooming now.
Our peach tree started blooming in March.  This was March 24.  It is loaded with small peaches now.
Our strawberries started producing on April 10.  The picture if from that day.  We are getting over a quart a day now of strawberries.  We enjoyed strawberry shortcake tonight.  They are amazing.

Mostly I have been working like crazy and helping coach baseball.  I did buy another Brightwell blueberry bush in March that I planted.  Today we bought a Climax blueberry, Premier blueberry, Meekers raspberry, and a Blaze Prince Peach tree.  Also, we went to the HHS FFA Greenhouse sale and bought 9 Tomatoes (Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter, Pink Girl, Super Sweet Cherry, and Sun Sugar Cherry) as well as 9 Jalapeno peppers.  They also had a flat of unknown plants that were not marked that they gave away to us.  There were 3 tomato plants and the rest were peppers. 
<![CDATA[Lean Farm]]>Fri, 12 Feb 2016 13:00:05 GMThttp://foursidesfarm.com/blog/lean-farm
So I finished the Lean Farm by Ben Hartman recently.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone farmer or non-farmer.  I actually learned some lean principles that I have been able to implement in my everyday job that has improved production.  My wife is pregnant with our third child and had some complications early on where she was on bed rest for three weeks.  I was left to take care of the kids, house, and work during that time.  The things I learned in this book helped me to push out some of the waste and get done what needed to be done.  I am glad I had started reading it prior to that.  My slogan is "No Muda (Waste)" now in everything I am doing at work.  I have also started rethinking of how I am going to grow this year.  It is a really good book.  I had heard podcasts talking about the book and if you listen to farming podcasts you probably have heard about it or even read it yourself.  If you have not heard of it or read it yet, you should really give it a try.
<![CDATA[Microgreens?  What If I Don't Want To Grow Microgreens?]]>Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:29:59 GMThttp://foursidesfarm.com/blog/microgreens-what-if-i-dont-want-to-grow-microgreensPodcasts and books I have read lately continually talk about microgreens.  I don't really have any interest in growing microgreens.  However, it seems like everything I hear and see says that microgreens are the best value per square foot and the way that urban or small scale farmers are making a living.  I'll be honest I have never really tried microgreens that I am aware of, but I also don't have a desire to eat microgreens.  I do have a desire to eat a blueberry or a watermelon.  I have also not seen a real market for this in my area.  It will be interesting to see when the farmers markets get going in the spring if this is the case or not.  I believe there will be an uptick in the urban farmers markets like the Nashville Farmers Market, but probably not in my little area of town.  Granted the Hendersonville Farmers Market is not the best farmers market in the world there have begun to be a few more local growers who are not resellers.  The local growers are from even farther away from Nashville and grow the standard southern staples.  Microgreens might be too hip for Hendersonville.  Or it could be a market untapped.  Who knows?  I don't see me getting into this anytime soon.  I would like to know if it is going on in other areas of the country or if this is just some hype that microgreen growers are spreading on various forums.  Let me know what your experience is in your area.
<![CDATA[Taste Of the Garden]]>Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:00:02 GMThttp://foursidesfarm.com/blog/taste-of-the-gardenIt's seed ordering time.  We are running a special "The Taste of the Garden".  The Taste of the Garden is 20 seeds of every variety we offer for only $5.  A great value for any gardener.  There is no shipping costs on this.  Hurry it is for a limited time!
<![CDATA[2016 National Signing Day Gardening Edition]]>Wed, 03 Feb 2016 13:00:01 GMThttp://foursidesfarm.com/blog/2016-national-signing-day-gardening-editionWell it is time for the 2016 Football National Signing Day so again this year in honor of that non-official Southern Holiday I am going to have the list of my new seeds I am ordering for 2016.  This year I am going to even give them a star rating system similar to the recruiting services label football players.
2016 5 Stars
Orangeglo Watermelon.  Every year I stare at the pictures of this in the Baker Creek Catalog and I long to eat one of these watermelons.  They typically have multiple pictures of it in the catalog.  It's described as "Beautiful, deep orange flesh; very sweet, excellent, almost tropical flavor."  Do I already have more watermelon seed that I am personally selling on this website?  Yes, but I don't care.  This looks and sounds too good to pass up.  This is the year I am going for it.

Roma II green beans.  That's right I am going back to the old standby.  Last year I thought I would try to vertical garden and try pole beans.  Johnny's seeds had a sale and I gave them a try again, but again I was let down with Johnny's.  So I am going back to the tried and true Roma II.  It's a bush bean, but I trust it.  Why don't they sell Roma III you ask?  Because Roma II was perfect and they stopped.

Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpea.  Last year my peas were eaten by the chickens.  This year I will not make that mistake.  I had to go to the farmer's market to buy some of these from a farmer which I froze and used them in my traditional New Year's Day meal.  Next New Year's Day I plan on eating my own.

2016 4 Stars
Crimson Clover.  I need a cover crop.  I have seen the chickens like to eat clover so this might possibly serve 2 purposes.  I am hoping it works well. 

Rogosa Violina "Gioia" Butternut Squash.  I have decided to stop messing around with pumpkins.  Some of the best pies I have made are from butternut squash.  It is time I go back to what works best.  Gardening is sometimes experimental and that is why people like it.  I have experimented with many types of pumpkins and have had dreams of multiple types of pumpkins producing all kinds of pumpkin pies.  I have had some beautiful tasty pumpkins, but most of that hasn't worked.  It is time to stop experimenting.

Echinacea Tennesseensis - Tennessee Coneflower.  This is a very cool coneflower that naturally only grows in glades in the middle Tennessee area.  I have some dry areas that I am hoping will work for these.

Giant Perfection Mix Asters.  These are for my wife.  I have never grown an Aster so we will see how this goes. 

Gaillardia Indian Blanket.  It is a beautiful looking, daisy-looking flower.  The description says it self sows which is a plus in my eyes.  Hopefully this will work good.

Mazurkia Zinnia.  Zinnias are our favorite flowers around here and this is the one my wife picked out this year.  These are a pink zinnia.  The description says "large bloom size." 

Persian Carpet Zinnia.  These are more of our favorites.  The pictures of these are a yellow, orange, red, and maroon flower.  It was a 1952 AAS winner which I have had good luck with AAS winners.  The description says "Plants produce loads of stunning flowers."

2016 3 Stars
Purple Podded Pole bean.  So in the Roma II above I talked about my attempt to vertical garden more.  This is this year's effort in growing up and not out.  I really hope this will be a good bean.  The description sounds good, "stringless, and tender...produce heavy yields."  We will take a flyer and see what happens.

Tendergreen Burpless Cucumber.  My wife likes slicing cucumbers and wanted me to try something different.  I am going to try these and see what happens.

Butter King Lettuce.  I was wanting to try another butterhead lettuce and the description sounds good for the south.  We will see how this one works.  We have used Buttercrunch before and I have had good success with it, but I do know it has been nicknamed "Bittercrunch" because it bolts quickly.  I hope Butter King is even better.
<![CDATA[Winter Wonderland]]>Sat, 23 Jan 2016 02:47:49 GMThttp://foursidesfarm.com/blog/winter-wonderlandPicture
When I woke up today I decided I wasn't driving in to work.  I got to enjoy the day with the kids in all the snow we got.  I got my work done early and spent the afternoon attempting to sled, building snow men and forts, and having snow ball fights.  At 1PM I measured 5 inches of snow and it was snowing when we came in around 6PM so I expect we got about 8" total.  That is the most snow we have had while I have lived in Nashville.  It was an amazing site.  I was even able to sit outside and have some quiet time.  Typically you hear planes flying over and cars running down the street and today there was none of that.  It was a great day and looks to be another fun filled day tomorrow.