The Going Ons – September – October 2023

At last, the air is feeling as it should. The temperatures have dropped, and it is officially SWEATER WEATHER! As I pull out the turtlenecks and hoodies, I reflect on 2022. There was much more abundance and less complications. We are behind yet again, and it’s all on me.

These Hips Do Lie

I mentioned health issues in the previous blogs. Specifically,  spina bifida, which comes with a host of other issues. One currently being monitored is my bilateral hip dysplasia, which isn’t all that uncommon. It basically means that my hips grew abnormally. This condition is graded in stages 1 – 4, 4 being the most severe. To help you better understand, my hips are at a stage 3. Stage 4s are usually only seen in developing countries. Follow?

As a result of the dysplasia and other congenital deformities, arthritis and pain are just a part of who I am. Hubby called me tenacious smany years ago when we were dating, and it is a fair representation of who I am. I’ve desired to be at the helm of my own ship, not cocaptain to pain and my many imperfections. So, I’ve worked with orthopedists, neurologists, and physical therapists over the years. With their help and the awesome support system I’m blessed to have, I’ve been able to manage these symptoms and lead a fairly average life. Recent event though have required some, how shall I say, reevaluating. Th3 hip pain is with juzt cause as there is much degradation shown on x-ray images. Thus, my awesome team of doctors have determined that these hips need to be upgraded. Tentatively, the most problematic hip would be taken care of first, likely in late spring/early summer 2024, followed by the next hip the following year.  Since recovery will likely take longer than most, due to my medical history, we are having to seriously plan and adjust to make sure the farm doesn’t suffer while the BHG team aides me to recovery.

Adjustments To Our Services

They say nothing good comes without some sacrifice. Unfortunately, this seems to have merit within evaluating what we can and can not do the upcoming year. With heavy hearts, we have to let you know that we will not offer the Flowers by BHG for the 2024 season. I am the primary arranger of the bouquets, and there is no way to really know how well things will go. Also, most of our flowers are not consistently ready until late spring. Additionally, our 3-6-5 by BHG will not be available for 2024. Not all is lost. Howeve

Our Eggs by BHG will be available but offered separately in the spring of 2024 as a stand-alone service.We felt that the family could handle this as they have already shown their aptitude for caring for thr flock, knowledgeable of egg shell law, and efficiency at washing and packaging our eggs.

If our flowers are something you look forward to each yearnwe have a little light for you too. We will make our flower bouquets available on our shop page as we have them for those interested. This takes pressure of me and allwos me to work as I have the strength to do so while recovering.

Given the approximate timing, we have decided to offer a Winter 2023 (December 18th – January 29th) & Spring 2024 (March 18th – April 29th) microgreen session. The family is already in training for these sessions to ensure your microgreens continue to be top noch!

We will take summer and fall off to recuperate, recalibrate, and hopefully resume the Winter 2024. We just want to emphasize the word tenative! The Winter 2023 session of our MICROgreens by BHG is now open for those interested.

Lost Time & Lost Plants

As aforementioned, limitations in my mobility have really cramped our farming style here at BHG. We have lost time crucial to ensuring our spring & and summer crops are successful. This includes putting beds and rows rows to sleep. That in itself can be time-consuming. One has to remove existing plants, ammend soil, then cover with leaf (which needs to be raked up first) mulch or weed barrier fabric.

Also, our bulbing plants, like garlic, are planted this time of year (October 1st for the last couple of years) to allow for cold stratification over the winter. This year, we ordered more garlic than we ever have! It is important to plant a few weeks before the frost so plants can get themselves established before dealing with harsher winter temperatures. So far, we have only planted a fourth of what has arrived in the mail. The delay? Well, we need to prepare the location. This area was covered with soybeans during the summer as a cover crop, for soil enhancement, and a small section for eating. However, when time came to mow and tarp the plot, issues ensued! The short version – it did not happen. So the area is more than a bit out of control and is in need of some serious taming before we can plant anything! We saw the chickens scouting for bugs this week. Hopefully, they took care of any pests for us. That is one less thing to worry about!

Days confined to the bed also affected our seedlings. These tender babies need more care than larger established plants. Water but not too much; light but not too much heat; cool but not freezing! You get the idea. Well, Mama Shena was not able to do these things, and as a result, we lost some important trays. Our artichokes died. We lost our Brussels Sprouts as well. These were most disappointing because timing is everything with artichokes and Brussels Sprouts in our particular zone. We may try it again, although chances for success have dramatically decreased.

Preparing for Tea Season

What is tea season? Well, for us, we use the winter and fall months to process our summer and fall grown herbs for teas and spice blends. Although we grow year round, we have less activity in the winter because, as of yet, we are not enrolled in any Farmer’s Markets outside of the summer. This time of year, it is also much cooler, so it is not uncommon for our dehydrator to run nearly nonstop with various tea ingredients. We have a few gallons yet of Roselle to process. We have completed Goldenrod. Mint and lemon balm are yet to be harvested. This makes me nervous as there will be some just above freezing temperatures this week! Hopefully, we will be spared frost and be allowed to gather these goodies soon.

We call this time of year tea season for another reason. As the cooler wind blows, it beckons one to sit with a warm drink, hoodie, and book on the weekends. Why not a nice herbal tea? For our fellow tea lovers out there, we will be releasing our roselle tea in loose leaf packages. These will be added to our store sometime in the month of November.

Our tea garden has grown to include various herbs over the last few years, and we will continue to expand. It has become our little apothecary of joy. For instance, I tasted a stevia leaf for the first time this month. It was so sweet! Green but SWEET! I’m hoping this plant especially survives the winter and returns in spring.

Are there any particular herbs you’ve been looking for? We are happy to include them in our growing plan! Just let us know.


This is the first year that our fig tree (aka Figgy) began bearing fruit around the same time as other fig trees in our area. It is normally later in the season before we can enjoy the fruit deliciously sweet fruits . This year, we rejoiced as our bounty came in earlier & in abundance. Oddly enough, Iggy also decided to give us a second harvest of fruit. This second round is not nearly as sweet as the first round but still delicious. We are new to fruit trees, so we are curious. Is this a normal occurrence? No complaints from us for extra fruit, of course, just broadening our understanding.

Harvesting & Planting

We made time to harvest our sweet potatoes from our Ollie raised bed. Given the fact that they were fairly neglected, we are happy with what we were able to glean.

All roselle has been harvested and almost all has been processed for storage. This was an intense undertaking as it is twice the amount we harvested last year! Yet again, we were caught red-handed. That never gets old!

Garlic, peas, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Swiss Chard have all been planted. Still carrots, beets, fennel, cilantro, collards, mustards, spinach, arugula, kohlrabi, celery, onion, and leek – to hit the popular veggies – are yet to be planted. Since it is fairly late into the season we, we likely will not get a large harvest until spring. And that is just fine. Taking each day as it comes, with all its amazing drama, joy pain, and mischief, means our schedule may not look like the average farmer’s, but then again, have you met the Bain family? Not on purpose, I assure you, but we are an out of the box family for sure! We really would not have it any other way!

Fall is going to be as busy as ever! We better get to work! Catch us on our on the next adventure!

The Goings On – July 2023 – August 2023

Life never ceases to amaze us. Things have been so extremely busy lately between preparing our daughter for her final year of high school and doing college prep, doctor appointments for me and the dog, and keeping up with our ever-growing chicken flocks and rabbit tribe – WOW! With all the upside-downs and slippery slopes, it’s no surprise we made it through July with no newsletter! Now it is September! To save ourselves some stress we thought it best to just combine the last couple of months into one concise blog. Read on!

Brady-Smore Bain

On July 22nd Brady hit his 7th month of his life. As I look at him, it’s so hard to process that much time has passed even though he is quite the large lap dog. His puppy ways are fighting against adolescence. He has become a tad bit more stubborn, which is to be expected as we muddle through this next phase.

Training is going well. Did you know that service dogs must learn a minimum of 30 commands? Brady is knocking them out one by one. In fact, as soon as he hears the treat bag he heels. It’s quite the spectacle. I assure you you’ve never seen a “shake” performed in such an adorable manner. However, mamas tend to be partial. We hope to get a video of him showing off his newly acquired skills in September.

Brady gave us a big scare when a large golf-sized spot began to grow under his neck over a hot July weekend. By Monday morning it was pushing tennis-ball size! As soon as the vet was opened we called and got worked in. It was an infected cyst. It had to be surgically drained. Brady spent the night. It only took a nice long nap and a bowl of food to reset him back to his normal shenanigans. Him is a tough boy. Mama on the other hand is not so tough and cried all the way home from the office. Isn’t it amazing how quickly we become emotionally connected with our fur babies? I think this is what God purposed for us when he created them – a loyal, loving bond.

Gigantor Squash & Small Pumpkin

Farming with friend’s and family makes the process that much more enjoyable. For us, the exchange of seeds and seedlings with our garden buddies is a fun way to keep growing exciting. This year we were able to see results from one of the beautiful winter squash and pumpkins we received from fellow growing enthusiasts. We should have placed hammocks under these large winter squash which we believe to be a cushaw variety. One harvested itself due to its own weight being more than the vine could bear. This is to be expected being that these Squash weighed 8 – 10 lbs! There was no need to be too upset as we could use these immature ones as summer squash. Those would be the green ones in the gallery below. Afterwards, we made a hammock for the one that was hanging higher. It just so happened that the others were lying on the ground and needed no support. Those would be the tan to orange-looking ones in the photo gallery below. We enjoyed cooking two different recipes with them. Both were delicious and fed the family all week long! If you are looking for crops to feed large a family we suggest growing a few cushaw plants. We harvested 4 off one plant. Next year it would be very nice to get at least 12 for the season. This would give us one a month as the year progressed. That is ideal, however, we will not be sure until we know just how well these hold up to storage. We will let you know. If you would like to see a bit more about our harvest and cooking of these beauties check out this video.

Oh and there was mention of pumpkins. Since we had such a good harvest last year, which we have not even begun to use, we were planning on leaving it off the planting list this year. However, when friends offer you free organic seedlings you just do not say no. We did have to pull them far earlier than we wanted resulting in harvesting a few that were still green. It is my belief that the green ones can be used as a summer squash. If so we will be using them as such.

Hoopty Empty Yet Flourishing

As you open the door to Hoopty you are teleported to another world. It is humid & lush with growth. The tall, dark green leaves of the roselle reach for the sky but are unable to get there due the weight on their stems. The beautiful other-worldly looking calyces are growing quickly. It is time to begin harvesting. With temperatures upwards of 110° – 120° during the day, this must be done early in the morning or late in the evening, that is if one wants to do so safely. While the roselle enjoys the extreme temperatures, not much else does. The only other surviving plants in the high tunnel are a few perennial herbs, some basil & zinnias, and about 6 or so eggplant bushes.

Dormant rows in Hoopty that have been allowed to lay fallow over the summer will soon be awakened for Fall Planting. Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Kale, Arugula – to name a few – should all be planted by the time we type up our next blog.

A Second Chance Fall Garden

This Spring and Summer held many challenges for my own personal health but also that of others in the family. This kept me away from the farm when the farm really needed my attention. We didn’t harvest nearly as much as we usually plan for our own food storage and preservation. This the whole reason for living the homesteading life – to feed our family clean, fresh produce! Since our Summers tend to be long in that the temperatures usually take a while to drop, we are replanting staple Summer grown foods. It is almost like we get a second chance to get it right! Among these second chance crops are squash, zucchini, okra, and cucumbers. We decided to really give it a shot and even restarted eggplant, tomatoes, and some melon varieties as well. Time will tell if we will find success or not. However, it will never be said that we didn’t try!

What Can I Purchase From Your Farm?

If you had asked us that question just a week ago we would have said: “weeds”! Truthfully, the heat has killed much of the produce that was growing and the pests have taken the rest. This is to be expected this time of year. Egg production has risen and fallen several times. However, we are able to keep eggs in stock for now. This is largely in part to the girls of the February hatch-out having begun to lay. The roos are absolutely stunning! I just can not bear to part with any of them, so we are working on integration now. So far, so good! If you will recall, when we had multiple roosters hatch before, we allowed them to grow up together, and they naturally adjusted to each other, developing an interesting method of “managing” the ladies. One key is to make sure there are enough hens per rooster. Right now, our numbers are balancing out perfectly. Soon, though, we will need to thin our flock by removing hens and roos coming out of their prime. This makes sure we have a steady supply of eggs and the ability to sustain our own flocks by using our own fertilized eggs to grow.

As far as the growing, our roselle leaves are listed under leafy greens on our shop page. These are a great addition to salads or good all on their own. Our tea stock is increasing as we harvest roselle leaves and calyxes and dehydrate them. Eggplants will be listed as they are harvested. If you are looking for other items, please check back in a couple of months as many new items should be ready for harvesting.

Thanks for bearing with us and our delayed blogs. We ask for your continued support by liking and sharing our blogs and our videos on our YouTube channel. It is such a small thing but it helps! Till next time…

The Goings On – June 2023

As Summer takes full hold of Southern Alabama, there are a few things that become common place. In our neighborhood, the sound of little ones playing with each other & their puppy dogs is welcomed chime that reverberates in the wind. Around lunch, the many working parents come home and check in on their young ones, some transporting children for summer activities while others are placed back on track for their daily chores, and by afternoon, it is quiet. The roosters occasionally join the birds in song, slowly giving way to the buzzing of pollinators with the sporadic humming bird tossing a hum here and there. This is one of the scenes we invite into our summers each year. Other scenes, however, are not so alluring.

Constant Rain & Thunderstorms

It is an uncommon situation to complain of too much rain in the summers of Alabama, yet it is precisely what I find myself doing. It seems as soon as hurricane season arrived the scary weather ensued. High winds, weather sirens, flash flooding, & lightening strikes were a week long or more occurrence during this month. Some nearby towns even experienced tornado damage leveling buildings and homes. Our hearts go out to those who experienced such power up close and personal. Our homestead was fortunately not terribly affected. We have still a lot of loose leaves to rake and random items to reorganize but we are truly thankful to be ok.

The skies create such ominous art just to become something completely different by the time the storm is over, sometimes minutes apart.

Heat Advisories

The wind presented some challenges with our last week of the Flowers by BHG Spring session. Many of our flowers sustained damage or were broken altogether. Thankfully, we were at the end of this session, and the flowers we grew in the protection of Hoopty were able to fill the gaps of what was lost. This reminded us of a valuable lesson to never put all our eggs, one basket. The reminder even changed our planting schedule for the remaining of the season. Inclement weather is fully out of our control. However, by splitting crops between the high tunnel & fields, should there be damaging winds or heavy rain, as there have been, some of our crops can be persevered. That is a door that swings both ways. In the case of extreme heat or pest, infestation in the high tunnel, field planted crops would be the surviving crops. Of course, we prefer there be no issues limiting our bounty. One can dream.

We all know that Summer in Southern Alabama comes with a vengeance. This is not a new development. No matter how old the news is, it is no easier to deal with! Previous years, before livestock, we would simply wait the summer out, only being outdoors early mornings or late evenings. Now that we have chickens & rabbits to tend to, the summer brings more chaos and concern than ever before! Along with ensuring that plants are watered and shaded adequately to thrive, we must do the same for the animals. This means checking on them throughout the day, especially when temps rise above 90°, to make sure they not only have water but that it is nice and cool. At times, they will get frozen snacks. Other times, ice in their waterers is enough. It takes diligent effort to keep them happy and healthy.

Minor Inconveniences

As some of you know, I personally deal with several chronic health issues. Most of my diagnoses are related to bone, joint, and nerve issues, which at times can greatly limit my mobility. It is in those times, which seem to happen more often as I age, that planting schedules fall behind and we have losses. Although I do not participate in much of the manual labor for the farm due to my health, when you are family owned and operated every effort counts. Since my husband works full time for the family and volunteers time to assist our congregation, his time for doing such things is limited. While our 16 year old hopes to complete high school a year early, she is still working towards completion. Our oldest son has a home, pets, and a full-time job, so his time is golden as well. So you see, there are very few laborers available most days to do the many chores to be done. However, maintaining the day-to-day things, our daughter, myself, and my brother do manage, & quite well, I may add. You see, my brother, while intellectually disabled, is physically sound. We joke and say we make a whole person together. I seldomly address my physical limitations in the blog in times past because I have tried not to be defined by it, rather to be strengthened by enduring it. Oddly enough I hold myself to high standards (so I’m told) even with my physical limitations. This has suited me well over the years. Most of the careers I have chosen – nursing, photographer, farmer, homesteader – require good physical ability. I may be a little crazy but I love to succeed where it is not so clear to the naked eye that I will. I remember being a young child recuperating from surgery. I was in what, looking back, must have been physical therapy. That was the first memory I have of my mom telling me to wipe the word can’t from my vocabulary. Mom lovingly pushed me to do the best I can at everything but especially the things that are difficult. To this day that mentality drives me. I does require balance, admittedly. I think that as long as my endeavors are so for the right reasons, I will continue to have the support of my family and friends but most importantly, my God – the foundation of my victories, small and great.

When there are more items on the to-do list, such as fall planting that needs to be started yesterday, that we run into issues. Being a grower with significant health issues definitely has its challenges. I find it does make me more efficient, however. Each step must count, as there are limited ones I’ll have before the body rebels. I often leave the house with my garden apron full of many random items and seeds heading up the hill to the high tunnel. I’ll remain for hours should body and temperatures hold out. The saying. ” you may come running over but you’ll be limping back” comes to mind. I have to laugh at myself. Many times, the endorphins from doing what I love overrides the discomfort until I’m done. Our daughter calls me an overachiever because I push myself. They all look after me very well!. even the dog I can’t be trusted to my own devices. I’m to determined to do what I love because what I love is what my family, in fact every family on the plant needs – to be growing clean food with their own hands. Let not these minor inconveniences get in the way.

Spring & Summer In Review

If I had to use one word to describe the Spring and Summer growing seasons I think it would have to be interesting. While we had wonderful success with crops we hadn’t previously like kohlrabi and collards, other produce items that are generally easy to grow for us such as okra, cucumbers, and squash just did not do well! At one point I really expected someone to confiscate my farmer card. Squash = I mean, COME ON! Thankfully, friends and fellow farmers Hawkins Homestead Farm has been able to supply us with some goodies we’ve had trouble with. We got some big, beautiful cucumbers from them recently. We were thankful to have them as a source for organic produce. Right now they have their Seasonal Farm Box available for purchase. If you are local to the Dothan, Al area, consider supporting their farm.

I do realize that anything we are able to harvest from the land is something to rejoice about. Therefore I’m attempting to adjust my thinking from success and failure to more of growth, still learning, and could improve.

Our subscription services ran fairly smoothly this season so we can put them in the growth column. We hope to gain even more supporters and the years go on. Ideally we would like to support more local restaurants. That is why we attended a Restaurant and Farmer Networking Event hosted by Sweet Grown Alabama at the end of June. The idea was to bring locally grown products to the attention local stores and restauranters. I have to say it was very nice and informative.

The most growth we have had thus far I feel to be our chickens. They are growing nicely and last years new additions started laying just when we needed them to. I’ve really dropped the ball and haven’t taken individual photos of the teens yet. It is our hope that the teens that are slowly being integrated into existing flocks will begin to lay in by late summer or early Fall. Either way, come Spring 2024 we should have an even more beautiful array of home grown butt nuggets!

Those local to our area please feel free to check out our shop page as we have just updated listings adding our roselle leaves and eggs!! Till next time!

The Goings On – May 2023

There’s dirt in my shoes, sweat on my brow, eggs in my apron, and seeds in my pocket. All these descriptions would fit any of the Bain family, especially this time of year. May was no different.

Endings and New Beginnings

May marked the end of our MICROgreens by BHG Spring Session. It was a great season! The flavors ranged from radish to amaranth to even clover! We sampled all of these ourselves, and we have to agree that healthy eating has never tasted so good!

We also loved mingling with customers on delivery days, and we loved surprising them with Shima on one of our delivery days. We are already gearing up for Summer. We have plans to include fruit microgreens over the summer. Yeah, you heard correctly – FRUIT! If you are local to Dothan, Alabama, we invite you to sign up here.

The high tunnel is full of beautiful flushes of red tomatoes. We’ve enjoyed eating them as snacks, on skewers, and soon, we will begin incorporating our Cherry tomatoes into our focaccia bread, which will be available next week at the Poplar Head Farmer’s Market. We enjoyed our first couple of Saturdays with the other vendors, and even when we weren’t attending as vendors, we visited as customers and boy we are glad we did. We restocked our local honey from Providence Farm. We love it in our coffee each morning. We were also happy to find oxtails at the Lewis Premium Beef tent. Hubby showed out with this meal. Although I do not eat meat anymore, I was more than tempted! We were pleased to find a natural bug repellant from Wildcrafted. The bugs are awful this time of year! Gnats and mosquitoes make it particularly difficult to accomplish farm chores, so we were thrilled at the prospect of not having to apply chemicals to our bodies that we can’t even pronounce. The owner actually reached out to us to see how effective the spray was for us. I’m telling you this ain’t happening with OFF! Shopping local to your community is so important. Small businesses are in tune to what your local needs are and will work with you to produce an effective product. Your local farmers work hard to supply the local food chain. Small farms specifically need your support. It means the world!

Eggplants are beginning to ripen. We are so excited for their return as we do not buy these from the store. If we don’t grow them, we purchase them from another organic local farmer, like Hawkins Homestead Farm. Along with organic veggies, they also raise organic poultry and pork. See, local is definitely where it’s at! We learned how to make Baba Ganoush and have been hooked every since! Its been a long time coming and we are ready to welcome it back!

Sweet potatoes have been planted where kohlrabi once lived. We are happy to have the opportunity to experiment with a few different varieties this season. Since last year was a bust for our sweet potatoes we are really hoping to get a sizeable crop this year. The mistakes of yesteryear will be the wisdom of today. You can see what varieties we planted in the video here.

Flowers & Eggs

The sunflowers have really showed up and showed out this year for our Flowers by BHG subscribers. They have gotten larger than ever before. As you know we are a on a corner lot in a rural subdivision. The sunflowers greet you over the top of the fencing as you come into the neighborhood, as if they are saying, “Welcome to Bain Home Gardens.” Since they are so large, the weekly bouquets have been rather large too. Our lady bugs have turned the large leaves into, how should we say, a motel of sorts. We are sure to relocate them before feeding leaves to our ravenous rabbits. In addition to the large sunflowers, our dahlias made a grand entrance as well! Talk about impressive! We really hope to add more color variations to the homestead as the seasons come and go. Of course we are always succession planting everything and flowers are no different. We have started Zanzibar, Zinnia, Daisy, Gladiolus and more for the Summer and Fall sessions. Flowers by BHG Summer session begins August 21st and will run through September 18th. Again, if you are local to the Dothan, Al area, we invite you to sign up while subscriptions are open. Sign up for Summer session ends July 31st.

We will only be offering the 3-6-5 package in the Spring of each year as the egg production can fluctuate throughout the heat of the Summer and decreased light in Fall. However, for now, the girls are laying well. You can purchase their beautiful butt-nuggets here.

High-Tunnel Planting

I was saddened recently as I did my daily inspections in Hoopty. It has never been this empty this time of the year. Numerous health issues and start failures have the high tunnel looking rather empty. What is there is very healthy and beautiful and that is what I chose to focus on. I also set down and came up with a planting schedule that would put us close to back on tract. Before the month is over we hope to have our next planting of tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplants set out in Hoopty. As for herbs we do want to get another planting of dill, & basil. Since Parsley overwinters well, we want to get it planted as well but a little later in the year, August perhaps. Our next planting of Sunflowers will also be in Hoopty as we are running out of space in the field areas. Finally we plan to add a few rows of bush beans along the rows with our eggplants and cucumbers to save space. This does leave us with one row still to be planted in the high tunnel. However, this row is in need of some compost so it will lay fallow until we can afford to purchase more compost.

Soon it is going to be beyond hot. We will need to get big planting and big projects done right away to avoid doing them at the height of Summer. Among these projects is completing the kennel for our Brady-Smore. Can you believe he is nearly 6 months already? He is also growing so fast that he’s outgrown two crates already. So when purchasing this last one, we just bought the largest one we could find recently in hopes that it is growth proof. We hope to get a video posted soon on the channel of Brady showing off all the commands and tricks he has learned. Perhaps we can get that uploaded before the month of June is over.

Speaking of our YouTube channel, we happened to notice that we have reached over 100 subscribers. Our daughter brought that to our attention. Our goal is to inspire others with various circumstances to work within those and create their own version of a homestead. We want everyone to know whether you grow big or grow small – JUST GROWING SOMETHING is better than growing nothing. To the 100+ subscribers that we have, we hope we at lest have conveyed that message to you & we thank you! As you watch videos we invite you to share them with others and post to your social media outlets. We’d love your help to grow this channel! Let’s show the world that the homestead doesn’t have to always, if ever, look like a picture from Home and Gardens magazine. However, it can and still will sustain your family! Till next time guys – love those messy yet sustainable gardens!

The Goings On – April 2023

The age-old saying, “April showers bring May flowers”, has rung loudly the last few week as we have had much rainfall. The farm has exploded with life. Everything is green and full of hope and promise.  Come along for a brief update of what our last days have entailed since March.


The month of April boost so much planting that we literally couldn’t keep up with the schedule we made for ourselves! The first round of soy beans have been planted along side our feed sunflowers and squash. We have enough space in this plot to plant another row of sunflowers and soy beans which will be done within a few days. These sunflowers will be used primarily as a feed supplement for our animals. As feed cost continue to rise we have to find sustainable avenues of caring for our flocks organically.  Rabbits will partake of the stems and leaves and the seeds will be harvested for the chickens. The goal is to plant in succession until Fall. This should provide a steady supply of additional feed and hopefully offset our feed bill during the warm months. Even the soy beans are a feasible option for feed. The leaves are safe for the rabbits and the cooked beans are are an outstanding source of protein for the chickens. While this is not likely to be something we do, as we have a small market for fresh soy beans, it is nice to know that it is an option.

Okra, roselle, and corn have been planted, and all are doing well except the corn. Germination was only about 50%. We believe that heavy rains lifted our seeds to the surface and the birds helped themselves. As a result, we will be replanting that plot. The corn that has germinated is growing beautifully. The Three Sisters method we did last year would have been even more successful if we had chosen a less vigorous bean. We are still deciding if we are using this technique this year with a different bean.

The primary variety of okra we are planting this year is Motherland okra from saved seed from our original planting of seeds from Baker Creek. These okra plants grow fast and attain very high heights. We are entertaining the idea of using these giants to train our pole beans to climb. It would be an interesting sight, to say the least. What do you think?

Roselle has been planted in the high tunnel and will soon be planted in an outdoor plot. We learned last year that it takes just a few roselle to have a nice harvest. However, since then, our tea blends have taken off! So this year we will be planting double the amount of roselle we planted last year! It will be a lot to keep up with the harvesting and dehydrating. Of this, we are well aware. It comes along with the territory.

Eggplants & peppers have been set out in the high tunnel, but only a few have been planted in the field plots. This worked to our advantage as we lost quite a few of each and needed to replant them. We think the loss was due to high temperatures directly after transplanting combined with inconsistent watering while I, farm manager, was recuperating from tendonitis. With this second planting, we were able to replant in a string of rainy over cast days. This allowed the plants to become well established and effectively cope with the high temperatures in Hoopty.

The cucumbers that were planted in Hoopty immediately took to the races! We have several right now with fruit on them. The ones in the field plot, however, are taking their sweet time. There is just something about the humidity in the high tunnel that the summer plants absolutely love!


That we have great gratitude for the rain is an understatement. The time it saves us when rain falls from above is precious. This time is able to be used for planting, weeding, inspecting, or whatever else our hands may find to do. The rain has blessed all of our March plantings. Lettuce, Choi,  & Asian Greens set out on March 20th are ready for harvest today, April 24th.  That is quick! We are not complaining at all. We got off schedule with our secession planting of the above as there should have been a tray of each ready to be planted as these are harvested.  However, that imaginary tray remains on our to-do list. As farmers’ market season will be in full swing next month, we can not afford these kinds of slip ups ANYMORE!

Our perennials are back in full swing! We are always happy to welcome them back. Lemon Balm, Wild Bergamot, Mint, Garlic Chives, Asparagus, and all the fruit & flowers are growing ecstatically as they have been programmed to do by our Creator. Lemon Balm was previously in a raised bed, so I was very interested to see how removing the bed would affect the return. It is a tad smaller than it usually is by now. We are hoping that as the season progresses, it will continue to rebound. We have come to love our Lemon Balm teas! We have seed still, so if push comes to the worse, then we will establish another plant. Bergamot also has become a welcomed flavor. I love to sneak it into dishes and see if the family notices the change. Hubby is often the first to inquire, “Can’t quite put my tongue on that flavor. Hmm.” That’s me! Finding fun ways to tease the pallet with goodies from the garden. Soon, the Bergamot will flower, and at that time, we will begin harvesting, although I can’t promise I won’t sneak a few leaves in the meantime.

Onions are ready for harvest. We simply haven’t had the time to pull them and begin curing them. This year will not be the bumper crop that we had last year, and we are not crying about it. We expected that our first time growing our own starts from seed would have its own issues. The onions we do have ready to harvest are a mix of ones we grew from seed and ones we grew from Dixiondale Farm. It will be nice to contrast and compare the two.

Sometimes growth can happens too quick and cause issues. We women are very familiar with stretchmarks resulting from pregnancy. Thankfully our skin CAN stretch! Veggies however are not equipped for sudden growth. We’ve seen watermelon, radishes, tomatoes, and even beets crack or burst due to and influx of water causing swelling of plant to the point of no return. We had not had the pleasure of seeing this with cabbages until recently. You can view that video here.

Although there isn’t rain falling indoors, there is still much growth happening in Hoopty. We have blossoms on the tomatoes, and cucumbers are growing on their luscious green vines! This is such a welcomed sight as we have been craving these particular homegrown veggies the most during the fall and winter. To say that the store bought ones are not the same would be a huge understatement! We left plenty of space on the cucumber row for succession sowing and to plant our Basil starts. This will guarantee we have plenty of cucumbers through the season for markets as well as for preservation projects at home. It is also a nice way to conserve valuable space. As far as tomatoes go, we finally got a few set out into the field area but have a whole tray to go! The hold up is preparing a space to plant them. As you know, nearly all of our wooden raised beds have been removed due to decay. We have yet to order and install the Olle Gardens raised beds we are planning to replace them with. This means that 90% of our planting space is in Hoopty this spring.  That is a little nerve-wracking when you consider the results of the heat wave from last year. Our plan to navigate any losses due to heat waves this year includes shade cloth and hoops. We are also planning on planting plenty of tomato, cucumber, and pepper plants outside of the high tunnel as well. It’s like my Mama always said, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket baby.”

We can’t speak on growth without mention of the chicks and bunnies. The chick are doing very well! They each have developed their own personalities and its becoming easier to determine the males from the females. Mama is still with them however that is about to change this week as we are giving them a run with in the larger run to protect them from the larger ones. They will be able to observe each other without being able harm the chicks. When time comes to merge them with the other flocks it will not be as if they do not know each other at all and it will be less of a shock to the chicks. Of course pecking order is just going to happen. We have learned there is no avoiding this determination of their hierarchy in the flock. We just monitor to be sure no one chick is bein abused excessively. We want to do our best to moderate any bad behavior and ensure all the girls are happy. This crew will be our Spring 2024 layers. By then they will be in the prime and ready to keep us stocked with colorful butt nuggets!

The rabbits have almost all found their forever home. Of Cher’s group four are left of nine and of Sweet Pea’s group one is left. We decided to keep the only female from Sweet Pea’s group whom we have named Calypso, after the legume… get it? She is a take charge kind of girl and knows no strangers much like her father. She is also very sweet. We look forward to watching her grow up. We are at the precarious time where the kits are old enough to begin mating so we will be separating the remaining girls from the boys very soon. We continue to have them for sale. If you are local to the Dothan area, please do reach out for more information.

Then there is Brady. Oh Brady! My fur-baby is already 30+ pounds and a huge goof ball! He fits right in! He is very smart but is not friends with the heat. He also need for good naps throughout the day to behave as he should. This means he has to be engaged mentally and physically enough to be tired enough to feel the need to recharge. He will not nap out of boredom! He will instead find mischievous ways to burn his energy. This is one thing we expected as it is well known of this breed and many other energetic breeds. We have several toys for him to play with indoors as well as out. His favorite activity now days seems to be fetch. He hasn’t quite mastered bring the ball TO YOU but he will bring the ball PAST YOU in hopes to get you to chase him. Speaking of chasing, he loves chasing the cats. They have no problem putting him in his place though if he plays too roughly. The chickens too are becoming more aware of Brady the bigger he gets. We are training on not nipping at them as he corals them back into their runs. This is a challenge because we are working against his DNA. It is our hope that with monitoring and intense training we can continue to help this sweet boy be the best dog he can be! Phase one of the fencing for the farm is almost complete! No one is more happy about that than our Brady boy.


It seems that every time we are on to a good routine there has to be some sort of setback. Many times, it is out of our control – weather or, in this case, health. Recently, I began having pain in my right foot and ankle. Those who know me know I deal with chronic health issues already, so pain is no stranger to me. In fact, pushing through the pain is also no stranger to me. That is exactly what I did for a whole week until I realized all my nursing and diy treatments were ineffective and another medical professional was needed – a doctor. I went and was diagnosed with tendonitis. It’s been a tough couple of weeks trying to heal during such a busy time on the homestead. I get the distinct feeling that this will be a reoccurring issue that surfaces from time to time. You gotta love aging!

Our nectarine tree, Rosie, had the most fruit it has ever had this year, and sadly, we ate the least fruit we have ever. A new challenger has taken the scene this season, and it ruined our harvest! I wanted to cry, but we have learned much as each season has passed from our various fruit trees. For that reason, the tears did not fall. We took to our Farming Basics app and found out that our newest nemesis is a fungus called Monilini fructicola. As it grows, it causes brown rot. It is pervasive! It causes the fruit to become mummified many times before it is even ripe. It affects peaches and plums, which are all planted next to Rosie. We have found that copper based fungicides are an organic treatment to this newest of challenges. We have also found research that says that even with copper treatment, organic farms regularly lose 75% of crops due to this fungus. No wonder there are no organic stone fruit growers in our neck of the woods!  One of these years, we will get it right, hopefully while Rosie is at her prime and before the plum and peach trees are affected. At that point, there will be CNG stone fruit growing at Bain Home Gardens!


Egg and microgreens subscriptions are moving along nicely. Flower subscriptions have not yet begun as we had to post pone the start date. The date to begin that subscription for the spring session is still tba. We did have to pause for a week as I recuperated. However, we are back on track. We have the absolute best patrons! Many of them offered to come assist us on the farm to take the load off of the family. That is the definition of CSA! My heart was so full of appreciation. If you have a CSA near you, find out about their practices and see if you can support them. Your support means so much to these farms. You also increase revenue for your local economy. This year we were able to use the funds from our CSA’s to purchase OMRI Listed soil for the high tunnel. Though we were not able to buy enough for all 936 square feet, we were able to take care of more than 75%! That is a huge undertaking! So if you are supporting Bain Home Gardens in any way, subscriber or otherwise please hear us now – WE THANK YOU!

We started this blog post on April 24th. Today it is May 8th. That should tell you just how busy we have been. There is always much to do. Right now there are cabbages waiting to be fermented and Kombucha to bottled to name just a few tasks waiting on us. It makes me smile. I read some where to look around and appreciate the things you have to day that you dreamed you would have yesterday. When I do that I just say wow!

The next time you hear from us we should have attended two local farmers markets. We will update you on those then. Sending well wishes – from our family to yours!