The Goings On- Spetember 2021

Hello farm family! We hope that you and yours are doing well. On the world scene things have been quite tumultuous. We want to take a moment to send well wishes and condolences to those who have experienced loss in the wake of the latest disasters. Although we do not know, you we pray for you.

Fall Planting

So September is the month that most farms are succession planting those leafy greens and earthy root crops and we are no different. We began Fall starts back in July and they will be going into their planned spaces this week. Just what is on the docket?

Mustards planted with Marigolds
  • Kale – Since we started farming we found that kale really is our favorite leafy green! We love all types so it it ALWAYS included in the planting for Spring and Fall. Last Fall and this Spring we struggled horribly with pests and had a very minimal harvest. This year we are at it again! We have already implemented some prevention techniques that we believe will be very beneficial to the crops going forward. One thing is we are covering with mosquito netting from the start. This will protect from pests that prey from above. As for those that tend to live in the ground we plan to use pyrethrin as needed. So far we have started curly and flat leaf varieties. This week will will succession plant those and also start Lacinato & Red Russian varieties as well. Kale chips here we come! We also need to restock our greens powder and Fall is the best time to do so!
  • Mustards – They are our second favorite green. We like all varieties! This year in addition to our Red Giant & Curly Mustard we are planting a new variety called Ultra Violet. I’m so excited about this green I can hardly stand the wait! Our mustards suffer terribly from the beetles each year. They are notoriously hard to control. This year will try pyrethrin for them as well alternating with neem as needed. Alternatively we have interplanted some of them with Marigold flowers which we hope will distract some pests.
  • Collards – While we know most Southerners love collards we are not in as close of a relationship but what garden is complete without them! Of course you know we will be making these available to you as they are ready. We planted a small leaf variety and the standard large leaf variety and will continue to succession plant these until Winter. Worms target the collards like nobody’s business and can decimate a bed in no time! BT works wonders when applied regularly and reapplied after heavy rains.
  • Leaf Broccoli – A few seasons ago we planted broccoli in our high tunnel but we planted it too late or something. Either way, most did not form heads but we took advantage of the beautiful, tasty leaves. So this year we decided to plant leaf broccoli to have plenty to go around. Leaf broccoli tastes like a mix between kale and broccoli to me. We cook them the same as we do collards. Our first planting should be available by the end of the month.
  • Beets – We do not like beets, plain and simple but we cannot deny the health benefits so we always grow some to have in the freezer for smoothies. This year we are expanding the square footage planting more. If we get sizable roots we will be sure to let you know when we harvest.
  • Carrots – Again we are adding to our variety this year by adding more colors to the standard orange carrot we normally grow. Carrots did so well for us this year and we hope that means we have found the secret to the sauce. What is it you ask? Plant in Hoopty! The humidity of the high tunnel gives us the best germination for carrots that we have ever seen! We are also noticing sizeable roots and beautiful tops! What else could a farmer want?! I can say with confidence that the rabbits appreciated them!
  • Parsnips – When we first started growing for the public we had accidentally grew a bunch of parsnips. Accidentally because they came in an organic cover crop mix we used. That was our first encounter with the “white carrot” as our daughter referred to them at the time. We loved the flavor and have since tried to grow them unsuccessfully a few times since. They can be a little challenging to germinate. This year I think we have found a variety that will work. Time will tell.

Harvests

Pepper Harvest

We had planned to harvest our last round of potatoes but the rain had a whole other idea. As soon as we have some dry days we will hopefully get around to that. We are still harvesting peppers like crazy! We have come up with meal plans to include them in the weekly meal prep and we have also preserved them in many different ways. Two new varieties are finally coming into production and that is the Carolina Reaper and the Red Habanero pepper. Both pack a serious put you in the hospital punch, so we hear. The bushes are loading up with babies as I type and I should be able to harvest before the month is out.

White & Green varieties of eggplant are also in mass production. I have to say after trying for 3 years to grow the white eggplant IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT! I find it extremely funny that the eggplant varieties that most people love and commonly grow refuse to grow well on our farm. So you won’t find any Black Beauties (besides the humans) growing here – nope! You will however find those out of the ordinary varieties and we are just fine with that!

Long Beans are killing it! They have become quite the okra here of the farm. You best pick while your are looking at it because tomorrow it will be too big! Granted long beans are still edible after they reach longer sizes but not as a snap bean which is how our family uses them. This is the time of the year we prefer to grow the Thai Long Beans as they stand up best to the leaf hoppers, ants and (get this) wasps! Wasps love these vines! They hover around the flowers all day so harvesting must be done with care – not by me of course as I am deathly allergic. Our son harvests them for us daily and he observed that they are extremely docile after exploring the blossoms. His thought is that some chemical calms them to the point that he’s touched them with no consequence! There could be some truth to that after all who doesn’t feel calm after sniffing flowers – just sayin’.

We are always harvesting arugula this time of the year. It is our go to green of the Summer since the heat does not seem to be an issue for it. Succession plantings ensure we have plenty to go around!

Every Little Bit Counts Challenge

As we mentioned we participated in a yearly challenge that we just found out about whereby one preserves food items every day for the entire month of August. This is great because August can be a month of Summer abundance for many. This makes one more cognizant of finding creative ways to preserve their harvests. It did for me anyway. THIS WAS A LOT OF WORK! I did not actually make it every single day but only skipped maybe 5 days – one because I was simply too busy with other projects and the other days because of health and energy issues. I will definitely do this again. I can personally say this month forced me to grow as a homesteader. This month we tried so many things for the very first time:

  1. Raisins
  2. Eggplant Chips
  3. Honey Fermented Garlic
  4. Potato Flakes
  5. Ground Cherry Salsa
  6. Dehydrated Muscadine Leaves & MORE!

Home Life

Things have been a bit crazy here as far as home life. One huge adjustment our family is making is unexpectedly having another family member move into our home. At the end of March my brother came to stay with us. He is younger than me. He is also a special needs individual. This is where the crazy comes in. Our life is very busy as it is. Adding another person has just added a level of wild that we haven’t had to deal with in quite some time. We do not know how long this living situation will be but I have to say although it has been complicated he is adjusting nicely to our farm life. He has his farm chores which he looks forward to handling each morning and he has come to love the rabbits and chickens. It has almost been therapeutic for him. I have been working on a blog about how farm life can be beneficial for those with special needs. So many times we tip toe around these facts of life as if ignoring them will make them go away. I find addressing some issues head on is best. Many are caring for aging loved ones, sickly loved ones, or in our case ones with special needs. If we share ideas and techniques it creates a community where we can all find a little success. Who knows when I’ll get that blog done but be on the lookout for it.

The family has been very accommodating to my brother. Living with someone who has special needs requires compromise and structure at the same time. It is a tight rope to walk but this family with God’s help has done excellent. Our crazy silly attitude has risen above the challenges and created even stronger bonds of love and friendship.

Upcoming Videos

As we decided to join the every bit counts challenge last minute we were honestly way to wrapped up to get the videos planned for last shot, edited, and uploaded. So we will try all those again this month. Stay tuned!


The Goings On – AUGUST 2021

She sighs as she comes in from the steaming hot dessert and runs to the refrigerator to get water! This has most certainly been the experience this past month! It was wet and muggy for so long that these past few dry days have seemed like such a gift! It was so hot but no rain means we have been able to weed, cultivate, and plant. These things a much needed here on the farm and we have been really excited to do so. Check out what we have been up to!

This Week’s Listings

Before we get to far into this week’s blog we just wanted to let you know what home grown goodness is available for you this week!

  • Arugula – last week for it till September
  • Swiss Chard – back up after a nice pruning and fertilizing
  • Salad Tomato
  • White Eggplant
  • Purple Snap Beans and more!

For a more detail listing of availability please check our out listings page.

Red Bell Peppers From Hoopty

Hoopty Updates

Working in the high tunnel in the Summer requires some creativity! Thankfully Mr. Bain Home Gardener anticipated the complexity of growing in the Summer and added motion sensor lights to Hoopty. This means that early morning before the sun fully rises is the ideal time to get to work! I personally do not prefer it as I do not want to run into any spiders who may be still on the hunt from the night before. However when it is needed – AND IT IS – I do what I must! Working early in the morning has made it possible to get all 13 row 20+ foot rows in Hoopty replanted or ready for Fall planting. It looks phenomenal! We will show you later this month in our Hoopty Update video. We have to take these moments in and really enjoy the labors of our hard work because the cycles change so quickly. Before you know it Hoopty will be overrun with weeds again. It just is what it is. Some of our rows have had cardboard placed down under the mulch to slow the regrowth of grass. See Hoopty was planted on top of a grass covered field. Had we understood solarization we would have done that the first Summer. We have learned as we have grown. We have implemented it in certain areas of the high tunnel (This just includes laying out a heavy tarp and weighing it down for a couple of months. The idea is that the heat will kill any weed or grass seeds beneath it) but since we grow year round in Hoopty it hasn’t been possible up to this point to solarize the entire 936 square feet.

In Hoopty we have done quite a bit of new planting. We have replanted our cucumbers, Asian greens, cut sunflowers, Bells of Ireland, and Delphinium. The month of August we have plans to set out a few more Roma and Beefsteak tomatoes as we lost many early in the season. Along with that we will be planting Swiss Chard, Kohlrabi, Carrots, Fennel early this month while collards, mustards, and kale MAY be planted this month. The greens are iffy because that means installing some shade cloth to keep these cool season crops from bolting or just stunting altogether. We did this last year and it worked very well but was time consuming. We are working on a more efficient way to accomplish this task. One idea is to use the rebar and pvc pipe we used over the winter to hang frost blankets over our peppers and eggplant. The idea seems feasible and will likely be implemented very soon. We will keep you posted. In the way of herbs we will be restarting basil, dill, and bunching onions.

Soy Beans being planted

Field & Raised Beds

We have gotten a lot done in our field areas this month. Among these tasks include prepping beds for Fall planting, planting winter squash and a succession planting of Summer squash. Summer squash could literally be planted every month on our farm. There are so many stink bugs, squash bugs and aphids that even with diligent care these become overrun quickly. What has extended the life of our squash and zucchini plants more than anything is companion planting. Planting them with flowers and basil has been a real success. Just guessing, I’d say that we get an extra month out of them with this method.

Our second planting of corn was eaten by birds – we literally watched them eat the seeds. The irony there is last planting had no issue with this problem. I just took it as a sign to leave the second planting off for the rest of the year. In that bed we will be succession planting more Arugula. Speaking of Arugula it is now up for grabs over on our listings page.

This month we will also be planting turnips. Each year we struggle with keeping the bugs off our turnips. This year I’m sure will be no different in fact looking at the projections it could actually be worse. We will implement covering with insect netting, regular spraying with BT, as well as dusting with DE in hopes to get our turnip crop to maturity without it looking like a victim of WWIII! Hida Beni & Salad Turnips are thanking us already!

We are dedicating one of our raised beds to Rhubarb this year. This should have been planted in the Spring and we do not even know if it will be successful from a Summer planting but we figured it was better than holding on to the bare roots till next Spring.

We a proud to say our Winter Squash varieties are in! We planted spaghetti, acorn, custard, and even pumpkin! It will be very interesting to see how successful we will be this year!

Farm Sampler Baskets

Farm Sampler Baskets are back and from the way things are growing here they will likely be around for the remainder of the Summer. These baskets contain goodies grown right here on our farm. If you want to include a jam or jelly in place of one of your produce items please let us know when you order. If there are specific produce items you would like in your basket, you can let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you depending on what is currently available. Also keep in mind that some items do not harvest well in the heat of the day. These items include herbs and leafy greens. If these are in your basket then expect that your basket will arrive late in the evening as we want to deliver long lasting produce to your door.

Food Preservation

One of the fun ways to preserve food is jams, jellies and preserves. We have been working on these and have made one of each this far this year. I was actually inspired by a fellow homesteader on Instagram who has the goal of preserving one food item a day for the month of August. I thought – wow how awesome and now I’ve joined the challenge! August 1st we canned our Blueberry Pear preserves. We already have used it on pancakes and used it as pie filling in a dump cake and it is sooo good! It is now listed on our listings page. Today we will be dehydrating basil and garlic for spice blends we will be making this week. What the rest of the month holds – WHO KNOWS – but this is exciting! You can check out our journey over on our IG channel under REELS.

Blueberry Pear Preserves while cooking

BHG Fresh Flowers Subscription

We are thrilled to announce that we are offering a Fall Flower Subscription. Sign up begins today and remains open until August 30th! Those that sign on or before August 15th will qualify for Early Bird sign up which awards you with a bonus delivery week! Deliveries will potentially begin September 30th and end October 4th. We are still flushing out the details for the dates so bear with us. What we do know is that these bouquets will be gorgeous containing anything from Zinnia to Sunflowers! As with our arrangements in the past each arrangement will have some edible portion whether it be an herb or flower. So your arrangement is not only beautiful but functional too!

You may have noted that in our Hoopty plantings mentioned above there were several flowers and filler plants have already been started for this subscription. We will continue to do so in succession to ensure you have your beautiful bouquets all 5 weeks of your subscription. If you do not think the subscription is for you then you can always buy your arrangements as they are available on the listings page although they will be at a higher cost. If the subscription is for you then you can find out all the details here.

YouTube

We are so happy to have gotten almost all of our planned videos recorded, edited, and uploaded for your viewing and learning pleasure. Just what can you expect to be uploaded the month of August?

  • All time favorite flower and why
  • Hoopty update
  • Chicken update
  • How to grow cucumbers and melons in containers


FLASH SALE!

Each year we add another growing adventure to our belts because there is so much we want to learn to grow to sustain our family and bring to you – our community! Peppers have been at the top of that list since we began. This year we added 6 new peppers to the farm! They are growing very nicely. However this sale does not center on them but the oldie but goodies that over wintered in the high tunnel! Mr. Bain Home Gardener spent a good hour just harvesting peppers in the high tunnel yesterday evening. YES – WE HAD THAT MANY! Still there are more to harvest! So we are adjusting our prices just for today – July 12, 2021 for our flash sale. Each item has more quantity than usual at a reduced price as we want to move these peppers out today while they are fresh! Below is a list of peppers available. Remember orders before 2 pm. will be delivered before the close of that day. Orders after 2 p.m. will be delivered the next business day. Happy shopping!


The Goings On – July 2021

Summer is OFFICIALLY  here and while I love having the freedom from schoolwork with our baby girl, I could certainly do without the humidity! Notice I didn’t say heat. We have been getting a very steady supply of rain. As a result our temperatures as yet have not creeped up too high. The results on the humidity on the other hand is a whole OTHER STORY! Just checking the mail guarantees a clothing change! Let’s just say we are washing a lot more than usual! Fortunately, much of what we have growing now actually enjoys humid weather. Guess we just have to deal with it!

While the rainfall ensures everything is lush and green it also makes it increasingly difficult to manage pests. Squash bugs, aphids, slugs, leaf hoppers – ah the list goes on – thrive when the environment is moist. Not to mention many of our treatments for pest have to be reapplied after a rain. So you see how busy we have been! We have watermelon, tomatoes, and most recently some of our beans, fighting the above pests. The fight continues but we will stay vigilant!

Proper weeding goes a long way towards keeping the pests at bay. They have fewer places to hid and are easier to remove manually and much easier for our organic sprays to to find their desired audience.  This too has been a challenge due to the rain. Even with a scheduled program of weeding things can easily get out of hand. We find it best to spend a little time each day weeding. As we do we often find pests and are able to destroy them as we go, killing two birds with one stone!

Thankfully the pests have been a minimal problem in the high tunnel. Our pest exclusion system is certainly doing its job! The traps are changed out biweekly and the information is recorded. In the image to the right you can see Cabbage Looper (CL) and Squash Vine Borer moths eliminated from the inside! We are certainly thrilled to have any assistance in keeping the pests at bay!

All the hard work – we needed a get away! It was only a day that we got to break but it did just what it was supposed to! We felt so refreshed and ready to get back to the grind! We are planning more of these little mini vacays because we recognize this time together is a vital part of what helps us face day to day challenges along with staying vigilant prayer, meditating on God’s Word, and building our faith! These essentials cannot be lacking in our lives. It is okay to pause the farm to refocus.

Harvests

We began this month by harvesting our garlic. The oddest think happened with it- it was ready about 60 days earlier than projected! A few of our bulbs over matured and split. With the wild weather we have had, we aren’t actually sure why. It could be that this rate of growth is is normal for our particular zone. These split heads will make up some of our our seed stock for the next season. In a couple of weeks we will place them into the freezer to cold stratify them so they are ready to plant come October. Funny how when you’re a farmer you are always planning! We learned though exactly which varieties are good for growing in our soil and climate. Check out our analysis here.

We also harvested our first and second round of potatoes. The first batch was our Superior Early Potatoes.  We planted 5lbs and sadly only got 5lbs back! We aren’t sure if it’s the variety or again the weather. Our second batch, a red variety, of which we planted 5lbs yielded only 6lbs – what is going on?! While this is pretty horrible we believe we know the culprit is and have taken steps to correct the issue with the soil nutrients. Whether or not we are successful will be told with our third and fourth succession planting which has already been done. We are hoping the best! Look out for those results in the August and September newsletters.

We harvested our corn and potatoes on the same day. Corn harvest was really good for us! If you have followed our journey then you know that over the last few years we have tried our farmer hands at growing corn. First failure was soil content. Next issues was ants. This year we have applied all lessons learned and came out on top. We only wish we had planted more! It’s definitely been trial and error but much like the final success with carrots, we are well on our way to being even more successful with corn. We know it’s risky but we will be planting one more succession planting of corn this month of July. Stay tuned for those highly anticipated results!

While we love having a bumper crop we are happy to accept whatever the earth gives us back. So if it’s 5 pounds…  it’s 5 pounds of naturally grown produce that we didn’t have before!

Tomatoes are growing very nicely. If we can keep the leaf hoppers and worms off we should be good for the year. In our family garden we planted mostly Paste tomato varieties. We use tomatoes so often that we needed to restock on our salsa, tomato sauce, and this year we hope to can some whole & diced stewed tomatoes. If they keep producing as they are then there should be no issue there. In the high tunnel we have plenty of salad tomatoes or snacking tomatoes. These are excellent in salads or just eating as a nice snack.

Zucchini in the high tunnel is doing fairly well. While our squash and zucchini in the family garden had to be pulled though due to being over run with pests. Squash bugs, aphids, Leaf hoppers – you name it, they had it! While it was a little upsetting we did get to store quite a bit for the year so not all was lost.

Perennials

Perennials are a favorite of ours. We like that no  muss no fuss kind of life that they offer. On our property we have fruit bearing trees, bushes, and vines that fall into this category as well as a number of herbs, and of course asparagus.  Our newly established asparagus bed is doing fantastic! Our 5 year old asparagus bed finally gave us asparagus berries, better known as asparagus seed pods. We have collected these to save until we can figure out where we can establish a 3rd asparagus bed. Can you tell we love asparagus?!

Mint and Lemon Balm are doing great. We recently began dehydrating them and combining with other herbs like Basil to make loose leaf tea.  We will continue to experiment and we will let you know when our Certified Naturally Grown tea is available for purchase!

Our newly established rosemary bushes have been accidentally weeded and cut with the lawn mower and hedger and somehow they are STILL ALIVE!

Spanish Lavender is flowering while the English Lavender is just as green and lush as you would expect it to be after as much rain as we have had. Chances are they will not flower this year however I’m still holding out hope.

We are most excited about our Muscadine vines. We told you all about them last month but wanted to show you how much they have grown! I’m not sure when these will be ready for harvesting but we are keeping a real close eye on them.

The Flocks

The chicks are growing nicely. We settled on names for them. Zig & Zag. Zig is the one that genetically belongs to the hen and Zag is the brown one. They are very funny! If you missed our video documenting the experience of dealing with a Broody hen and meeting our chicks for the first time you can watch it here. Shrillex is the best mama hen ever! I absolutely love the call she does at breakfast and dinner. It is so adorable! Did you know roosters will make a similar call to let his girls know he’s found food!

Since we have allowed Shrillex to hatch these chickens almost all the hens have tried going into brooding mode. It’s made the daily egg harvest quite interesting.  One of our girls (the sassiest brooder) even growls when we open the nesting box… GROWLS! Well we call it a growl. Quite interesting! What she doesn’t know is that we plan to let one of them hatch out chicks again around September. I’m sure she will be pleasantly surprised! We hope to get more females as this batch will began to slow in their egg production by next Spring.

The other flock or herd that is growing is the rabbits. The babies are now two and a half weeks old and are already eating veggies and getting into mama’s feed. They have mama’s taste for fennel but they really don’t care for tomatoes. Thai is creating them their own channel and we may even give them their own Instagram page as well. We both have to just find the time to get it done. Stay tuned!

We have got so much more to tell you but we will save that for next month! Stay dry, hydrated, and keep growing – from our family to yours!

What to look for this month on our YouTube channel:

The rain also made it impossible to record two videos we planned to for your guys. We hope to get those done this month as well! Be sure to like, share, and subscribe!


The Goings On – June 2021

Hello garden buddies! We have be growing a whole month since we last updated you on the farm but so much is happening!

Fruit Harvest

As we mentioned last month this year has been a real struggle with our fruit crop. Our nectarines are officially done for the year. We are sad to see them go especially since we had so many losses. Our one nectarine tree produced more than 30lbs of fruit this year which is far more than last year! However we only go the benefit of maybe 12 of those pounds. I want to cry. It is so disheartening as farm life can sometimes be. We lost quite a few early on with heavy rain and wind associated with thunderstorms. These fruit were no where near ready to harvest. All I could see after the rain was my blackberry nectarine jam laid out on the yard. Ugh! Weather is beyond our control but what was more in our control was treating for pets, the plum curculio to be specific. It wreaked havoc on our nectarine tree for the first time ever! For three seasons we have not had any issue with pests whatsoever and I guess we were being naïve to think that would continue be the case. In reality we are always fighting some pests on everything else and we thought we were catching a break with our fruit trees. WRONG! In conversation with a friend who had a peach tree for many years it was expressed that her family had lost many of their peaches to a bug that lays its larvae inside the fruit. She wanted to give us a warning since we had told her we had a couple of peaches on our young peach trees. We researched the bug and what do you know – THEY LOVE NECTARINES TOO! OH NO! Sadly there are not many options for organic growers for peach, plum, and nectarine trees. So we tried an option we are already using on our other crops. It was too late however. Lesson learned! Next year we will treat as soon as the buds begin to appear and again when they start to swell and color. We also hope to incorporate the use of these fruit bags as was suggested by our contact at the local extension office to protect our valuable crop. Hopefully applying these techniques will mean a much healthier harvest come 2022!

Also our blackberries were a bit of a disappointment. Well not them, the timing of life really. Just as the majority of them were ready to harvest we ended up on a 4 day hospital stay with our baby girl and we forgot all about them – JUST FORGOT! Seriously though our mama, papa, and brother bear were completely activated as we all did our best to stay calm for Ms. Thai as she recuperated. It is what it is! Blackberries will without fail be back next year and we will try this again.

On the brighter side of things our muscadine vine is finally producing for us! It was installed in 2019 and we were told that the following year we should be harvesting our first muscadines. Well 2020 was just a wild year – I think we can all agree to that. So with all the madness it was actually around Fall that we realized the vine didn’t produce. The leaves were beautiful and healthy but no grapes. I did notice that the flea beetle and stink bug had took up lodging in the leaves so we treated for that successfully. Just about a week or so ago I noticed itty bitty grapes forming on our vine! So exciting! You best believe we opened our Farming Basics app immediately to see what pests we needed to look out for! Thankfully they are the ones already common to our neck of the woods.

Our strawberries are really confusing me with their production. We did plant out more this year in strawberry tower instead of a second row in the high tunnel. We are finally over the hump with the slugs and now it seems just as quick as the production rose it has slowed. We are researching more to see if we can get a real grip on what is going on with them. If we can then Spring of 2022 we will start a second row in our high tunnel but that remains to be seen. What we have harvested we have used in oatmeal and for fresh eating. We really want to be successful next year because you all deserve to taste these organically grown, delicious local grown berries!

Flowers

We could not be more pleased with how well our new flower varieties are doing! We have already begun to make these available to you in our Spring Flower Bouquet. These will remain available throughout the early Summer at the very least. We are not quite sure how the new flower will respond to our HOT HOT Summers so we will wait and see if we can keep these available through Summer right on to Fall.

Vegetables

Zucchini varieties are up for harvesting! We have already added these to our listing page and we have helped ourselves to some ourselves. Last Fall we researched deeply the various Zucchini varieties trying to find a second one that will remain tender and flavorful even at larger dimensions. We are happy to say that we found what we were looking for! We have grilled them and skewered them with shrimp, sausage, and roasting peppers. This week we will be freezing them in different styles to preserve for the year. Man I love the flavors of Summer!

Cucumbers are next to be harvested and although I’m typing this in May for our June blog I’m sure by May 31st we will have harvested our first cucumbers from our field areas and following closely is our high tunnel cucumbers as well. We are growing all our usual fun varieties of cucumbers and look forward to making pickles again!

Potatoes are growing very well and our early potatoes are up for harvest this mid-June and late potatoes the end of July. As soon as we pull these the cycle continues with Sweet Potatoes which ironically is more closely related to the Morning Glory flower than a tuber potato!

Garlic is not due to be pulled till nearly August (based on seed to harvest days) however it is showing signs of nearing harvest earlier than projected. Along with the scapes we are noticing some of the leaves dying back and falling over. We pulled just one just to get an idea of the size of bulbs. What we found was very interesting! What is going on here?! It could be the heavy rains that we have gotten or inconsistent temperatures we really don’t know but that is another research project. The smell is amazing though. We have placed this harvested garlic out to cure with our onions. We grew more garlic this year than we ever have because we wanted to have enough to store for the entire year. If these bulbs are sizeable enough we should have enough for our spice blends and for storage.

Squash is already under attack by the dreaded squash bug! We have diligently searched them out and have been removing them by hand along with their eggs so here is hoping we can harvest a few before having to pull them altogether!

Long beans are back in production and should be in full swing by the end of the month along with snap beans. In addition to our usual varieties of beans we are adding this beautiful Blauhilde bean. I’ll give you one guess as to why this German heirloom caught my attention. Yep. IT IS PURPLE! In addition the pods are stingless and remain tender even at larger sizes. This is important to us as we eat snap beans several times a week! We planted our crop in the high tunnel as well as in an uncovered bed. For the first time we actually treated our seeds with an OMRI Listed inoculant. We think this will become a common practice for us as soil health is very important so if we can add a little to our black gold – why not!?!

High tunnel eggplants are in some production but we are storing these for the family use for the year. As they get into the swing of things they will be made available to the public. Field eggplants will likely not be available till the end of July. Why? Because Bain Home Gardens eggplants are straight DIVAS! Peppers on the other hand are killin’ it! Field peppers (jalapenos only) will begin being harvested this month. We began preserving some of our peppers by making a very hot Cowboy Candy with our Serrano Peppers. We will replicate it with the jalapenos as they become available.

Still there is corn, herbs, tomatoes and more all to be harvested in the upcoming months!

What Is Going In the Ground

This time of the year we are scheduled to plant at least one thing a week. Arugula, lettuce, Asian greens, and radishes to name a few. I like this time of the year because we are basically on auto pilot. We know if something is being harvested then something MUST GO INTO THE GROUND! The only big crops to plant for the season and that is Sweet Potatoes and peanuts and we hope to tackle them this month. We also have a couple of beds to turn over for planting, tomatoes that always seem to need pruning and beds that always need weeding! Ah – farm life!

High Tunnel Happenings

Hoopty has been getting much attention this season; primarily because we are making needed adjustments from information we learned last season. We are learning as we grow. We have often talked with you guys about the Alabama Beginning Farmers Program has be so beneficial to our growth over the last few years. This year we are working very closely with Dr. Ayanava Majumdar on our pest exclusion system for Hoopty. You more than like have already seen our video of the upgrade on the side walls. Now we have the front and the back as well with this improved netting. Air flow is so amazingly improved and this will benefit our crops especially as the months get warmer. Dr. A also has set out insect traps for monitoring different moths and pests on our farm both inside and outside of the high tunnel. This data will be collected biweekly and used to map the flow of pest throughout the state giving farmers a heads up for the seasons to come. I love being a part of this! Networking with like minded individuals and empowering growth with knowledge is such an amazing process. Our farm cat Lucy really likes Dr. A as you can see in the photo. Thank you Dr. A for being such a good sport! We think she just wanted to say thank you too.

Upcoming Videos

What can you expect over on our YouTube channel for the month of June? Well one of our hens (Shrill-x) went is broody and we are allowing her to hatch a few of her own eggs and some of the other hens donated her some eggs to hatch out too. We have been recording the process thus far and whether she is successful or not we will be posting the adventure. You can also expect that video. At some point this month we will also be posting a video featuring our cattle panel trellis and raised bed set up. This idea was born to create a bit more curb appeal for our family garden. Lastly we hope to post a potato harvest video as well. There is so much going on you best stay tuned – from our family to yours!