Welcome back folks! Much has happened in the last month!
Fruit & Veggies
We have been working diligently to create more than a farm on our 3/4 acre corner of the earth. What we really want is a food paradise full of perennial plants and fruit trees. This legacy in the making is certainly an investment of time and energy and so much research! We know it is worth the effort though. This year watching our perennials return – mint, lemon balm, asparagus, strawberries, and thyme – was so rewarding. Just a few less items we have to worry about starting, hardening off, and then surviving transplant shock. Perennials really do make life easier. We plan to upload a video about perennials and self sowing flowers this month so look out for that over on our YouTube channel.
The fruit trees & vines fall into this perennial life that we love. This growing season we expect to harvest figs, nectarines, muscadines, and peaches. We are already harvesting (though rather sporadically) strawberries and blackberries. Sadly the Spring storms with their heavy rain and high wind have knocked down many of our nectarines. The trees were loaded twice as much as last year and we had plans to sell these CNG nectarines to our customers who specifically asked about them last year. Between that and the new pest that has found our tree, time will tell if we are able to do so with the losses as we use these for fresh eating for our family and to make our jams and jellies for the year. Strawberry production has picked up so we hope to be able to offer these to the community in the upcoming weeks.
As far a veggies go EVERYTHING IS IN FULL THROTTLE! Even with the temperatures being unusually low during most of the month of April we are thankfully not too far behind. We had to really hustle when the temperatures got close to freezing the first of April but we saved the seedlings. See what we did here. This month we will begin to harvest zucchini and squash from our field areas and cucumbers are not far behind. On the other hand the field peppers and eggplant have got quite a bit of growing to do. Corn and okra are also doing well but will do better now that the lows seem to be leveling out to warmer temperatures. Potatoes, although planted later than usual, are up and doing well. This year we purchased enough seed potatoes to do three plantings in succession to each other. The rain has already thrown off the schedule and that, although not ideal, is okay since our planting schedule was a tad bit aggressive anyway – gotta’ love over achievers!
Veggies in the high tunnel of course are thriving on the humidity. Eggplants have been producing flowers for a while now and now we are harvesting them. Pictured to the left are our Thai Long Green Eggplant. They are not very productive but they are kind of show stoppers if you ask us! Peppers – bell and roasting – are doing very well. They are on our listings page and we often go shopping ourselves since we love using these in our weekly meal prep. We have had to double stake some to keep branches from snapping from the shear weight of the plants. Hot peppers are also being harvested. Among the most productive are the Serrano peppers we planted last year. You can now find them on our listings page and our Square page. Our Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Peppers are producing again. We over wintered them in our high tunnel (along with the eggplant) and as a result we are harvesting them 3 months earlier than last year! We weren’t sure if it would be successful so we started more and trust us when we say that they will not go to waste! Last year we learned how to preserve them by making Jamaican Jerk sauce and dehydrating them – SPICY!
Hoopty Gets a Makeover
You heard us talk about increasing the airflow and balancing out the pest population simply by changing out the netting on the sides and adding it to the front and back. Well we finally got it done. On warm days there is a notable difference in the temperature inside as more air is free to flow. This will surely increase our productivity as we will be able to work for longer periods of time. This too will help control fungus that breeds from improper airflow. Our biggest goal however is to increase the number of beneficial insects so as to increase our yields this growing season and doing so while working with nature rather than against – it is a process! See how we did it here. The high tunnel is will be monitored and data collected so as to help us and future farmers in Alabama to increase methods of pest control specific to high tunnel growing here in Alabama. We are happy to be a part of this program. We have already learned so much!
We had planned to have our bouquets ready to go the first of this month. Unfortunately that will not be the case. While we have flowers in bloom we do not have enough yet to commit at this point. It seems that we will though by the middle of the month, the end at the latest. Then we will have Sunflowers, Calendula, Zinnia and more in full swing! We love this wonderful opportunity to share a little more of Bain Home Gardens with our community.
Livestock at Bain Home Gardens
April was quite historic for us in more than one way. On April 13th we picked up chickens! You heard right CHICKENS! Perhaps I have shared with you before how badly I have wanted chickens for a while now. Even before I actually got back into growing food I met a Silkie chicken at a petting zoo and fell in love. I started pleading my case to my husband as soon as I could get home. Of course you know he thought it was just another hair brained idea of mine and it was at that time. As the years progressed I had an opportunity to taste fresh farm eggs for the first time. The color was amazing and the flavor was too! What had I been eating all this time?! I again pleaded my case but even I realized that there was too much going on in our lives to take on that responsibility. I sadly had to admit that we were not ready. Fast forward several more years and now we are growing food. We have a little farm and it has a name… NOW, NOW IS THE TIME FOR CHICKENS! I again pleaded my case off and on for about a couple of years as a friend endeavored on her chicken journey. As she did I actually applied myself to learning about what it actually took to raise chickens. Finally I got the go a head to get my chickens. We had some goals that needed to be reached as a family but that we could do. Fencing in of our property was one of those goals. When COVID hit things just got so complicated that we had to back table this goal. It made me sad but considering what was going on all over the world – it could wait. At the same time COVID made us realize how important it was for us to have chickens. Many trips to the store to pick up groceries ended up with us coming home with no eggs. Meat prices went up in our area. We kept thinking that if we had our own chickens this wouldn’t be an issue for us. Then we were heart broken as we watched the masses lining up to buy chicks with no research or real preparation only to realize after the fact how long it would actually take for them to lay eggs and that those hens would be living rent free in the meantime. Who knows what happened to all those birds.
Then on April 10th, 2021 I got a text from a farm buddy looking to thin their flock. “Are you guys ready for chickens?” the text read. I knew how I felt and how I would answer the question. However since hubby is the master mind behind much of what we do and he works so hard for the family and gives so much of himself to us all, I do my best to seek his direction at every turn. After some conversation and reflection on what we had and hadn’t done in our unwritten plan to have chickens I was given the go ahead to get the chickens! I was so elated! It was literally a dream come true! We got a lot done in the 3 days that would follow. We started modestly with 6 hens and a rooster. I usually do way better with documentation but this was so momentous that I failed in a lot of ways to photograph and video. What I did record will be made available over on our YouTube channel later this month.
It has been about two weeks and I love being a chicken mom. I love their personalities and quirks. We observed them and yes we gave them all names! Even more I love the beautiful and healthy eggs we get to harvest at the end of the day. These chickens were cared for very well and as a result they never skipped a beat with egg production. The very first evening of having them we collected 3eggs!
As momentous as that is, just a few days later yet another animal would find its way into the Bain Home Gardens lifestyle – rabbits! We are very excited to add 4 to our farm. They technically belong to the Jarod & Thai but you know we supervise and and have researched all things rabbits so as to assist. The most exciting thing for me I think is seeing them actually forage relationships with their little furry friends. There is something so rewarding about nurturing a life, loving that life, and getting that love back in spades!
Who knows what exciting adventures await us the month of May! We are buckled in and ready – come what “may”! (couldn’t resist)
Check out our April vlog here!
Check out our review of the Burpee Pop-Out Tray here!