The Goings On – October 2021

Why hello October! We are excited to see you! For a change we can actually feel it in the air. There has been so much activity here on the farm!

Reflection

When I look back at The Goings On for October 2020 I realized that this is the common thing this time of year for us. Last year it seems we had an abundance of eggplants as well. Our Scotch Bonnet Peppers reached their peak harvest period this month last year. This year, however they have been super productive since around June. This explains why we have several quarts in the freezer at the moment! I think the reason for this is that we over wintered some in Hoopty. We also replanted more in the high tunnel and in a raised bed. Yeah man – there’s plenty to go around!

Looking back I also see that we were harvesting Sweet Potatoes as well. I’m so hurt that we didn’t even plant them this year! What kind of homesteader am I – NO SWEET POTATOES?! See what happened was – of course this is how every outlandish story starts – I started the process of trying to order them super early. It must have been too early because the company we usually order from wasn’t even sure they were going to be able to order them this year because of shipping issues so they referred me to their supplier who quickly informed me that it was a couple months too early to order but to let them know what exactly I was looking for and they would email me once the slips are available to order. Here is the problem… once I sent them the information, my brain checked “buying Sweet Potato slips” of the to do list. So I’m sitting wondering where my slips are when I NEVER ORDERED THEM!!!! (FACEPALM) Yep, that happened. I blame it on the increased complicated nature of life due to COVID. This Fall/Winter we are building a deep raised bed that will be primarily used for root crops and planted with cover crop when not in use. I hope seeing this be will remind me to order appropriately! As a result I will not be able to offer the sweet potato bread this year in the Shena’s Baked Creations shop. Apologies folks. On the brighter side the shop will open on October 25th for preorders and stay open (baring unforeseen circumstances) till January sometime.

Last year our Asian greens where doing great! We already had one round in harvest mode while the next one had already been planted. This year we are one batch behind. We are also using a different variety of this year as well in an effort to find one more resistant to the beetles. We think we have found exactly what we need! They grow a tad bit slower but are holding up nicely!

Last year we started a few new crops to experiment with. One of these was Artichoke. We planted it in the high tunnel as well as in the field areas but neither did great. The most success was in the field areas which we will be trying again this month.

Last year our supplies for the community were more limited because were also planting for the Fall CSA. Since we are not currently participating in the CSA we have more options for our community and that in of itself is a reason to smile just a bit. We hope you guys take advantage of all our offerings over on our listings page or our Square Site. If you prefer you can always email or text us with a list of items you want to get and we can create a farm box for you and send an invoice. There are plenty of options for getting your home grown goodness!

Harvesting

Well if you haven’t noticed by our various Instagram and Facebook posts & videos peppers and eggplants are really overt the top right now! From sweet peppers to spicy peppers – all of them our growing so well right now. As a result we have been freezing the peppers to give me plenty to do this Winter when the farm chores are a bit lighter. As for the eggplant, the preservation technique of preference has certainly become dehydrating. We are using them quite a bit too in our weekly meal prep and also at breakfast. We also just learned how to make Baba Ganoush. Its a hit with this family!

We did get to harvest the potatoes and it was such a disappointment! The seed potatoes themselves weren’t even there! How is that possible?! Best we can figure is that due to the excessively wet season, perhaps they rotted and broke down in the soil. It was definitely one of the the strangest things to ever happen here on the farm. Our son, who was assigned the job, seemed to think I was pranking him because even at the worse harvest we have had in the past – SOMETHING was there. If you guys have any ideas as to what could have happened please do send me an email!

We just harvested arugula again and will be harvesting it once a month (if the planting schedule holds) through the Winter. That number could extend to every six weeks as the cooler months take hold.

Although it wasn’t a large harvest, in fact it was one single solitary pepper, we are so excited about it that we have to share with you that we harvested our very first Carolina Reaper pepper just this evening! You can celebrate this Bain Home Gardens first by watching the harvest here. Also the Fish Pepper plant that we found at Whole Foods is bearing beautifully! There are many peppers on the bush but we are waiting for them to turn red.

I am proud to say we have harvested the very last of the Thai beans for the year! These things have be so super abundant in their production this year that I literally became tired of harvesting, cooking, and preserving them! This is our third year planting them and I’m suspicious that they must just love the rain and heat we had this year because this is the by far the best year to date! We pulled them primarily because the leaf footed bugs and aphids were becoming an nuisance but I cannot say I was sad to see them go.

This month we also harvested a small soybean harvest. We had planted them with the mail purpose of serving as a cover crop but the harvest was a nice bonus.

Planting

This month is the month to plant our flowering bulbs, onions, and garlic. Although in our zone you can plant later, we find the most success when we plant in October. Beds are currently being amended to accommodate these heavy feeders. We are sticking with the garlic varieties that were successful for us this harvest season. We are primarily using our own seed stock to replant for this season while supplementing with a few we ordered. Finding success with the garlic crop this year means that we are in a new position to possibly offer our community Certified Naturally Grown seed stock come Fall of 2022! That prospect is absolutely mind blowing! Stay tuned!

As far as onions go we weren’t able to order sets before our sources were sold out. Now I am relegated to creating our own starts. For this I am late as well which leaves me no choice other than to plant these in the high tunnel. Besides that, I’m not very excited to plant onions because they are such a struggle for me. If it wasn’t for the fact that we use them so much I would probably would just give up on them altogether. Then I am reminded of the struggles I had with carrots & garlic – both of which we had a bumper crop of this year! The moral of this story is DON’T GIVE UP!

Last month we planted fennel, kale varieties, lettuce, parsnips, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage, mustards, collards, peas, leaf broccoli, and swiss chard. You would think with all this planting we would be done for the season but that is just not the case! Some of these plantings were not successful for various reasons. We start early so as to allow enough time to restart if need be. Cabbage and broccoli are being stubborn for me so far but all a farmer can do is regroup and replant! I should coin that because that is quite literally my whole life these days!

Of the leafy greens we like to plant we have yet to plant spinach. Of the root crops yet (besides the aforementioned) to be planted is beets, turnips and a succession planting of carrots. As beds have been cleared and amended its clear we have the space to get these items planted, however, we just have to find the time!

We are taking what we learned last year and we are trying our hand at the artichoke again. I will be starting these indoors this evening!

The Flock

The flock is doing very well. I am very happy with just how well they are flourishing! Our brooder, Shrill-x has done it again and hatched out another chick. This one is not biologically hers but there is no telling her that! She does very well protecting her new chick and training it too. She gives Zig and Zag a run for their money at every feeding! Besides the newest chick she is the smallest chicken in the coop but it doesn’t matter – SHE IS MAMA! She trusts us with the chicks which is absolutely amazing! The chick on the other hand as you can see in this video does not! It is by far the noisiest chick I have ever heard! It was natural of course to name it Noisy! You can check out this video for more flock updates.

The Rabbits

Diamond on the way to the vet

We sadly lost 2 of our adult rabbits. It is amazing how quickly you can get attached to the little fur balls. To be on the safe side we took our doe to the vet. Did you know that rabbits are considered “exotic”. I find that ironic considering they are randomly in the wild all over our community. There is only one vet in our city that will see rabbits – one! Thankfully he is very knowledgeable and patient. He put her on a four week treatment & she is all clear. For those that have asked she has been mated to the buck and we should have kits available soon.

This Week’s Listings

This week we are making our Rosemary and Lemongrass available for purchase. The Lemongrass is only being offered the first two weeks of this month as we need to trim it back and mulch it soon to prepare it for the first frost. So if interested please grab it while it is available. Jalapenos were accidentally removed but have been added back. Arugula has also been relisted and Green Mustards remain this week until supplies are exhausted. For a full list of what is currently available head on over to the listings page.

Well that about covers it! See you in November!


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!