12600 Pelican Beach Road, Merrifiled, MN (218) 851-1937
Herb Basket, Living Naturally, Ranch Life, Thyme Out
 Why Make your own organic potting soil mix? This is such an easy thing to do and really is much healthier for you. Plus, it will save you a bit more money than going out and buying a premade bag of potting soil. Making your own organic potting soil will feel great and your seedlings and plants will thank you!  If you need some ideas for what to put your seedlings in you can go HERE.  If you’re new to getting started with seedlings, HERE are a few of our ranch tips. Things to know what a good potting mix will do:
  • * Will be firm enough to support the plant
  • * Contribute light enough to allow air and water to flow with minimal compaction
* Be free of weed seeds and potential pathogens Coconut Coir: In may potting mix recipes they call for peat moss, but since there are many debates regarding mining from peat bogs, I decided to use the coir instead. Coconut coir is a by-product of the coconut-processing industry and is ground up coconut husk fibers. How cool is that? It is wonderful for retaining water. I got mine in a brick form so you have to soak it in water before it is ready to use. If you like peat moss in your recipe, substitute it 1:1. Perlite: Perlite is a volcanic rock. It holds water and helps to aerate the soil and keep it from compacting. Some folks also use vermiculite or plain old course sand in place of Perlite in some potting soil recipes. Compost: LOVE this stuff. First, it is the soil you made from all those leftover scraps! Ours is filled with tea herbs so how wonderful this will be to use in my potting mix! Just make sure the compost is “finished’ or it will burn your plants or introduce weed seeds into your pots. Use the finest part of the compost you can get. I had to sift a bit to get out some chunks. DIY Potting Soil Recipe (the affiliate links helps our ranch ministry) A “part” can be anything you use for a measuring device. Like a cup, bucket, can, etc. All depends on how much you need to make. If your coir is in a block you will need to add water to it. I used my hands and worked it until it was really moist. Next, mix the coir and your compost. Add more water as it makes it easier to work with. I like it damp to easily work. Add your Perlite, stir it well and BAM…your ready to fill those planters! Congrats you little homesteader you! Let me know what you think! Send a picture or comment on how your seedlings did use your own organic potting soil recipe! God’s blessings as you plant HIS goodness, naturally! Love deeper, talk sweeter, Lee

Ranch Life, Thyme Out
Getting the itch with the smell of spring! What do I do? YEP, start my seedlings! I make it easy applying some simple steps and making a plan. With each day bringing warmer temps and melting snow, I start imagining what kind of herbs and veggies we want to have on the ranch. Taking a walk around and seeing the seeds that worked last year and the ones that didn’t and making notes along the way. Now I can start my plan. First DIY Step: VISUALIZE Today I took a walk around the ranch and visualized where I want some new growing herbs and flowers. Now that we have our cute tack shack, I want to put some bigger pots on the outside deck where they would get full sun. We don’t have much sun so I need to take what I can get! Next is the area we had the tires with the herbs for the horses to graze through. “Thyme Out Pasture”.  We were given a grant by our local St. Joseph’s Foundation last year in May of 2017 and it worked out beautifully. This area I would like to build out of tin some beds. We used tires to start out and since it was so successful we want to make them bigger. HUM…may need to make a special dinner tonight and chat with Dan about this one! Lastly, both Dan and I agreed we need to enlarge our veggie garden so I marked that out as well. NOTE…we still have over a foot of snow! Second DIY Step: Prepare Your seeds This part is fun! After my visualization and what flowers, herbs, and veggies we need I purchased the seeds. I use Mountain Herb but you sure can get your seeds anywhere. I also have a master gardener in our church who I will also use as a resource. I am excited to learn a lot from him this year! He is 93! After the seeds arrive I get my trays ready. I went to the local nursery where we bring manure and he gives me free dirt as well as these plastic trays. They hold a TON of seedlings!  Another idea is to ask your local nursery for any extra trays they don’t need. You can get these seed pods which are also awesome! They would be an expense vs free, but they work great and easy to use! Wanna try another idea that won’t cost you anything? Make your own! Use eggs shells or toilet paper rolls! Here is 8 ideas; DIY on that! Lastly, fill the trays with soil and get your seeds planted and water at the bottom of the trays! I use popsicle sticks to mark my seeds. Just make sure you mark every tray what they are. How to make your own soil. If you compost, this is a wonderful way to use your homestead soil! Third DIY Step: Window Light, or Florescent Light? We have huge windows in our home and with every window is where I put my seedlings. But this isn’t ideal. I would like to work towards having a warm greenhouse and that is a dream of mine one day, but I also could go the extra mile and get some florescent lights and place the seedlings on a shelf. This is a wonderful way to grow your seeds. However, this would cost me some money. By the time I purchase at least 4 lights and have my hubby link this all up, it would be April. So I have chosen to use my windows and the greenhouse shelves. I found a picture for you of the fluorescent one in case you want to try this. It is a better way! Let me know too I always love to hear what others have done! Fourth DIY Step: Babying your Seedlings Make sure you check your baby’s every day and the trays are full of water. They will drink what they need. The biggest struggle is sunlight for me especially this time of year, hence the fluorescent system but whatever you choose you to pray for lots of sunshine! Once your season begins depending on where your zone is transplanting away! Some I will be putting into planters in April keeping them in our home until May. Most of our gardening won’t take place unfortunately until Memorial weekend. Such a bummer, but it’s Minnesota! God bless you all as you start your own herbs and veggies and living a healthy homesteading lifestyle! Lee