THE GOINGS ON – APRIL 2021

So it is officially Spring! Feel free to insert your own personal happy dance here! Seriously no matter what is going on nothing seems to lift my spirits like a clear blue sky! We have been very studious over the last month or so as we have enjoyed the weather. Check out what we have been into!

Planting

We have throughly enjoyed getting back into the swing of things. Daily watering, weeding, bug inspections, and such make us feel like real farmers again.

In addition to farm planting, this year we are really working towards creating more curb appeal at our home. Our home is one of two homes you get a visual of when you pull into our neighborhood. While we love growing vegetables and think that they are just gorgeous, we know not everyone may feel the same way. Therefore we have decided to dress up our raised beds a bit to create a little visual interest. We also added vertical trellises using cattle panel. These will be used for pumpkin and smaller melons. We also are working on a little farm retreat off the front porch. It is in this area that we have established a second asparagus bed. We planted the standard crowns but also ventured on the wild side and planted a purple variety as well. They both came up in a weeks time. This area also boasts our perennial flowers. They were so beautiful this year. It seems they bloom earlier and earlier each season. To this bed we will be adding aromatic herbs such as basil and lavender. Inter planted in this bed is also a new eggplant variety – Casper Eggplant. It doesn’t look like much now but give it about 2 months!

We also planted zucchini  plants in this retreat area. As you can imagine with the cooler night temps we had over the last few days we were a little concerned about them. We used a tried and true method to protect them and we are happy to say that all survived unscathed. You can see what we did here.

This month Hoopty got beans, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and cucumbers. We grew some great varieties of these last year and see no need to change them up this year. We did learn NOT to plant okra in Hoopty so that was planted elsewhere.

Lettuce, spinach, arugula, turnips, and snap beans have have been planted. Potatoes are going in the ground… finally… this week.

More compost is being worked into the remaining beds that need planting. Into those beds will go potatoes and corn.  Peanuts will be planted in the high tunnel (this is a first for us) this month too. In addition our new pepper plants are about to find their forever home in the high tunnel this month. We are adding 4 new pepper varieties to the farm this year. These new varieties will take our pepper jellies to the next level this Summer!

What We Are Harvesting

Monday morning we began to harvest the early carrots. They are so good! After this batch is harvested it will be another 3 weeks (more or less) before the next batch is ready. Grab yours while you can. We harvest to order so fresh it is!

For the first time (successfully) we planted our fennel in succession. We also planted leaf and a bulb type. Currently they are both being harvested. We love to freeze it when we have more than we can get to quickly. We just pull it out when ready and add to soups and smoothies.

While our flat leaf parsley has gone to seed our curled variety is hanging in there so it is up for grabs.

Swiss Chard, eggplant, and pepper varieties are all being harvested from the high tunnel. As soon as the temperatures warmed the flowers started appearing and now life is just doing what it is programed to do and I absolutely love it!

YouTube Channel

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We announced a little while ago that we have started a YouTube channel. Most of our video content is being uploaded there as opposed to IGTV. There you can follow our journey and learn with us. We also share tips and tricks we have learned on our little farming adventure. Included in these are helpful tools, equipment, soil amendments, & fertilizers etc. We appreciate your support of this endeavor. Eventually we hope to grow our brand even more so please to like, subscribe and share!

Pest Management

You may know that recently we integrated ladybugs into our high tunnel to assist us in getting the aphid population down. It worked very well. The next step in our pest management program is to remove the current netting and replace it with a looser one that will allow for beneficial insects to come and go. We hope to get that up this weekend. Of course this will mean more access to pests however minimal. We are so thankful for the assistance with this from our entomologist Dr. Ayanava Majumdar, aka the bug doctor, for helping us work out just what we need to do to improve our pest management program. If you access to an extension office in your area we advise you to take advantage of all the knowledge that exist there. It could save you time, money, and a lot of heartache.

Shena’s Baked Creations

We really enjoyed having this shop page open for you guys this past Fall – Winter. We have contemplated if we wanted to continue it throughout the Spring & Summer. While we would love to we have decided to take the modest route and not. We plan to reopen in the Fall. We will let you know as soon as we have an official date.

And Now This…

You may notice that this blog is a few days late. On Monday morning I was attempting to finalize it but time got away from me. I had some errands to run. We left the house to do these around 9:20 a.m. About 10 minuets later we were involved in an vehicular accident. I have to say it was very frightening. After seeing all the airbags deployed and the condition of the the vehicle after the fact I can honestly say that I don’t think I would ever drive any other minivan besides a Toyota Sienna. The safety features all worked as they should have and I’m know that had a lot to do with our lives being preserved. All parties involved are fine.

We adjusted our deliveries for a few days in order to get a grip on what happened, to heal both physically and emotionally. No one likes to talk about the trauma that occurs emotionally when an accident happens. Some even experience a sort of PTSD and it is so understandable. In 2017 we had an accident in the same vehicle pictured below. For months I tried to avoid the intersection where it happened as I got very tense when getting close. It felt silly. I felt silly. I prayed and prayed about it as the intersection is in the route of many of our daily destinations. Over the last few years it has gotten easier and easier to travel that stretch of road without feeling nervous. As I have talked to others who have had multiple accidents or a really bad one, they say that it left an emotional scar. They express that it is not something you ever really get over, rather you just learn to cope. Several of those lost dear loved ones and friends while others suffered serious injuries and then others miraculously escaped with little injury at all. Whether extreme or not these things take a toll on our existence. So if you ever experience this don’t feel ashamed at all. I certainly do not.

The very next day after our recent accident I had to complete the business I was leaving to complete the morning before as it was time sensitive. As I got into our truck and adjusted the seats, steering wheel, and mirrors, I admittedly felt some nervousness. I prayed. Being in a big Ram truck certainly made me feel a little better too. The soreness is real. I type this blog 2 days after the incident and everything hurts but what a small price to pay!

We wish you and yours well and we will catch you in May!


The Goings On – March 2021

Hey there folks! We hope this blog finds you and yours well. Things have been a bit upside down for us as we caught COVID – UGH! Still there is so many positive developments!

Spring Plant Sale

Here on the farm Spring is in the air as our perennial flowers are blooming, the fruit trees are budding, and the bees are buzzing! Smells like Spring to us! It is always around this time (sometimes sooner) that Spring fever kicks in.

2021 Clean Starts

Now I know we are prone to at least one cold snap between here and April but the fever takes over and we plant away! This year we are planting more than ever because of our Spring Plant Sale. We have had some adjustments to our listings – removed somethings and added others. We are really excited to offer everything from flowers to pumpkins this year. Our tomatoes had to be restarted so there will be a slight delay on those but trust us when we say the selection is well worth the wait! However eggplant, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and leafy greens are right on track for our April 1st start date. We have decided not to create individual listings for these plants as we previously stated. Instead please contact us with the plants you want and quantity and we will send and invoice. Once invoice is paid your Clean Starts will be delivered & you will be well on your way to a tasty 2021. Pre-ordering is now open until March 31st.

Our Flower Bouquets

Flowers are quickly becoming a new love for me. At first it was purely scientific – flowers = pollinators & pollinators = food. Now, however, I am in love with Zinnia. They come in so many different colors & shapes that it is like a new flower every time you plant them. Zinnia self sows which is THE BEST! It also looks so beautiful in an arrangement all by itself or accompanied by other flowers. Having said, that we will be making our flower bouquets available to the public as soon as our cut flowers are ready. We will not be doing the subscription service with our flowers this year but next year is looking quite promising. If you are wondering about when these will be available our projections are around May 1st… tentatively.

Early Morning Flower Harvest

We know that in our area there are many choices for bouquets so we do our best to bring you the highest quality farm fresh flowers. Our flower bouquets are arranged with at least one edible portion. That may be an edible flower or an herb. They last anywhere for 5 – 10 days depending on variety. Each bouquet will come with suggested instructions for longevity. In addition, we are considering offering standard bouquets this Spring as well. These would be all Sunflower or all Zinnia. Both would be very beautiful. As far as flowers are concerned we have already planted:

  • Sunflower varieties
  • Zinnia varieties
  • Gladiolus varieties
  • Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth
  • Calendula
  • Marigolds & more!

We have Hydrangeas patiently waiting on their forever home as well as more Gladiolus. Where will we find the TIME?!

Coincidentally about half of the flowers we are growing will also be available to you in the plant sale. Don’t miss out!

What About the Produce?

Okaaaay! So – things are growing very well in the high tunnel. Peppers, eggplant, mustards, lettuce, carrots, dill, bunching onions, parsley, Choi, peas, snap beans and strawberries are have all made themselves right at home. If you are looking for kale then you will have to wait a bit longer. Our crop was decimated by aphids. We implemented some measures but it was too little too late. Kale varieties will be replanted in the field beds. On the other hand, bunching onions are up for harvest in a week or so. This is a new variety that we think will have a permanent home at BHG. Choi is nearing its harvest day & Swiss Chard is growing beautifully so look for them over on our weekly listings page next Monday (March 8th).

In the next couple of weeks we will be setting out cucumbers & squash in Hoopty and one more planting of lettuce and spinach (well we hope we can squeeze that into Hoopty before it gets too hot).

Field planting areas are on the docket have their cover crop (Crimson Clover) mowed down in preparation for Spring planting. We are a bit late but given the circumstances I think we are doing all right. This green manure will certainly be beneficial in our okra, squash, and kale beds. We are toying around with the idea of planting our corn with clover this year. The idea is that the shaded clover will drop its leaves and the leaves will breakdown and feed the soil which in turn feeds the corn. We are still researching this technique so there’s still a lot to learn. Isn’t that the fun part of this adventure though? We are so glad you have joined us!!!

For more details about what is growing on check out this video. Speaking of videos have you checked out all of our YouTube content? We are still uploading as we have time and will continue to do so. Be sure to thumbs up, subscribe, and share (specifically the Weekly Tip videos). We can learn & grow together.

Shena’s Baked Creations

Just a quick note. We are allowing another month to roll by before reopening the Baked Creations Shop. It will reopen April 12th.

Well that’s all folks. See ya’ in April!


The Goings On – Feburary 2021

Holy smokes January went by fast! Time really does fly when you are having fun! Just what fun have we been having?

MICROgreens by BHG

Today marks week 3 of our microgreen subscription service. So far our members have received pea, broccoli, and mizuna microgreens! We have enjoyed growing all these varieties but much more is in store for the next 5 weeks! Our members will receive sunflower, cabbage, wheat grass & we hope to squeeze in some basil as well!

Our microgreens are a source of pride here at BHG. Since they are grown indoors we watch them everyday. Watching them grow has been a really special treat. Even Mr. Bain Home Gardner (who doesn’t excite about much in the farm world) has expressed how nice it is watching them grow. About a week ago he installed a Wi-Fi Smart Plug just for our microgreen lights. This splendidly takes the place of a timer and if for some reason the lights need to go off earlier than we have already discussed with the Google Home device then we simply say, “Ok Google, cut off the plant lights.” and viola! It is pretty neato!

We are excited that many are embracing microgreens! They are packed with nutrients and really under rated in our neck of the woods. It brought us so much pleasure to see this article in the February issue of the Alabama Living magazine! It has some great tip and info for those who want to grow microgreens for themselves. If you need anymore assistance we would love to be of assistance to you. Just email us any questions you have and we will do our best to help. If you want us to grow them for you we can do that too! This week we have pea microgreens available over on our listings page – so GOOD!

YouTube Content

You may already know that we have started a YouTube channel. This is something that has been in the works for quite sometime. I remember the first time the idea was presented to me. I was completely adverse to it! I was like, “NOPE – WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT?!” What happened? Well in short, COVID! Of course as farmers we do not have more time. However, with so many moving towards digital shopping, even for produce, we wanted to show our customers where and how their food was being grown so we began to record “Weekly Check – Ins” since we are not accepting farm visits. This allows us to be as transparent as possible with our community while remaining safe! Then we realized so many were joining the grow your own food movement and we wanted to help so we begin recording “Weekly Tip” videos. All these were posted to our IGTV channel. It was only one more step to make it official at this point – so we did! We still upload content to IGTV but some of our content is exclusive to YouTube. Have you subscribed? We would love to have you join & follow our journey!

Clean Starts

This year we are doing our plant sale bigger than we ever have before and the star is of course our Clean Start plants! This year we are even including flowers! We have already begin to plant peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and tomatillos since they tend take a bit longer to fruit. By the end of the month we will have started leafy greens, flowers, cucumbers, squash, and zucchini! Keep in mind these are the very same starts we use here so you best believe you are getting some high quality starts! You can see our tentative list of Certified Naturally Grown starts here.

Planting & Growing

We have planted nearly everything in the last few weeks! There is no way we can list it all! However here are some honorable mentions:

  • Lettuce has been nearly completely devoured by pests each time we have planted it. We always manage to get a family salad or two but this past year the pest pressure was HORRIBLE. This year may be no better but we are focusing more on examining our crop daily to hopefully stave off disaster. If it all works out we should be adding our salad blends to our listings no later than mid-March.
  • Carrots are growing nicely. EVERYONE loves a homegrown carrot! We hear you Wiregrass and have doubled our carrot planting this year! Come Spring there should be plenty enough to go around for everyone!
  • Kale has been planted and we love watching those little curly leaves grow! We direct sowed it because it is the easiest for us to grow. The lacinato, rainbow, scarlet and flat leaf varieties will be started this month along with our other starts and transplanted in about a month.
  • Turnips are growing nicely. If however you are looking for the larger Purple Top turnips, you will have to wait a bit longer as they take twice as long as our salad turnips which will be ready in March. Purple Top will be ready in April IF all goes well.
  • Beets are the least favorite food we grow. We grow it because we know it is good for us and if we are in a pinch (experiencing anemia or fatigue) we will blend it into a smoothie and chug it! We cannot deny the health benefits. We really plant beets for YOU! We are experimenting with some new varieties this year and hope to be able to bring you some sizeable ones this Spring!

Updates

We regret to inform you that Shena’s Baked Goods page will not be opened this month. We have some training to do this month for which we have to prepare for so we are removing some things off our plate so that we can benefit 100% from our upcoming program. We will promptly reopen March 8th. This is also why we are not doing any weekly newsletters until the week of February 22nd. We will, however, post what is available on our Facebook page. Our Farm Sampler basket should return that week as well.

This Week’s Listings

We just did a farm walk through as the sun set. While walking the dog we came across this interesting little fungus called Stinkhorn. We find it kind of cool and kind of creepy at the same time. Our eldest just stopped and yelled out, “Umm, mom? What is this upside down carrot looking thing?” as he bends down to touch. Getting close I immediately recognize what this is from the many posts I’ve seen on Facebook. I exclaim, “NOOOO! Don’t touch it! It stinks!” Well it is supposed to but there is no noticeable odor as yet. Still it sits in the front yard just as pretty as you please! Now on with the produce…

This week we are taking Cilantro down from the page. We will be harvesting what is left and drying it over the next week or so. We will have the following available for ordering:

  • Parsley
  • Swiss Chard
  • Mustard Mix (in very limited supply)
  • Dill
  • Sweet Snap Peas
  • Pea Microgreens
  • & our host of jams, jellies, and spice blends & sauces

Remember if you are ordering multiple items we can supply you with an invoice.

Well that’s all folks. See you in March when it officially BECOMES SPING! AAAAAAAHHHHH – FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS!


The Goings On – January 2021

Hello 2021! If you are like us you maybe waiting to see if you are happy to welcome 2021 or not! Having said that it is our hope that this calendar year will be less stressful than the last!

2021 marks the fourth “official” year that we have been growing for the public. We have really come a long way. We have learned quite a bit and continue to add to that knowledge to ensure we are making the best use of our corner of the planet. Recently we have taken several online courses about soil health . These have been so very informative and we have some new techniques that we hope to implement in the upcoming months. Caring for the soil is something that we all can do a little bit better with. Whether you are a home gardener, conventional farmer or organic it is our responsibility as stewards of the land to care for it. Soil care is an investment of time. Benefits are often not seen right away but when they are seen they are in fact undeniably REAL! Let me get off that soap box! What’s been going on?!

Peppers Finally Slowed!

This year we dedicated more space that we ever have to peppers and eggplant. We made this space in our high tunnel (Hoopty). We planted Jamaican Scotch Bonnet, Red Hot Cherry, Serrano, Orange Habanero, Early Jalapeno and Aji Amarillo peppers along with 3 varieties of sweet peppers. WOW! We had an overwhelming success with Scotch Bonnet and Orange Habanero peppers. These have certainly earned a permanent home on our farm. They took a while to begin to fruit (June) but once they got started they totally killed it! They love the heat of Summer which makes sense considering their natural tropical environment. We have harvested around 15lbs of Scotch Bonnet Peppers from only a few plants! We have made jerk sauce, hot sauce, pepper jelly and all kinds of other creations. We recently launched Terry Spice Shop page and are adding new creations monthly. Today we are releasing the Mango Jamaican Jerk Sauce & Orange Jamaican Jerk Sauce! These were a long time coming since some of the authentic spices needed were a little hard to locate but we found them! You can find them over on Terry’s Spice Shop page. With the last cold snap the peppers finally slowed down. Maybe we can catch up with them now!

Fall Planting & Winter Trials

We have almost completely planted Hoopty up! Every row except two are currently growing home grown goodness! We have planted peas, kale, chard, mustards and carrots in the last few weeks. Left to plant is are successional planted items like lettuce, arugula, salad turnips and radishes. It will get done as we find the time and energy to do so. In addition to that we have also planted beans – THAT’S RIGHT BEANS! You may have seen our Weekly Check-In video were we showed the row of water bottles. We used them to create mini green houses over the individual seeds to give them a nice warm environment to germinate in. We still cover these when temperatures are below 40 degrees. We have planted these for a couple of reasons. For one we wanted to add some nitrogen back to the soil and this is a nice way to do that. If we allow the beans to fruit it will drastically reduce the amount of nitrogen to be released back into the soil. We are not quite sure what we will do but it will be largely determined by how well they fair in the hoop house. The second reason we planted beans is we love fresh beans! We hate being limited to one season for them so this is a nice trial to see if it is reasonable to grow them in the Winter. Stay tuned!

Farm Sampler Basket

As promised, our Farm Sampler Basket in now available! Your farm basket can be customized or we can build it for you.  To customize just purchase and contact us to let us know what you want in your basket. You get 6 produce items from what is currently growing on our farm. Check the flyer below for details!

Our YouTube Channel Is Going Live!

At 4 p.m. today the Bain Home Gardens YouTube channel goes live. If you have been following our journey then some of this content may be familiar as some has been posted on our Instagram and Facebook pages. You can expect videos from our From Our Garden to Your Table, Weekly Tip, Weekly Check-In and Our Garden Adventures series. We also have created a silly little family show we call Bain-boozled and it will be exclusively available on the channel. We encourage you to subscribe! However this is our disclaimer: THIS IS OUR JOURNEY & WE ARE LEARNING AS WE GROW!  We make mistakes, we have failures and  we certainly get tongue tied! Too many times we see farming being painted a perfect craft – IT JUST ISN’T! Bloopers are the theme of the day nearly everyday at BHG and we are okay with that! We just love having fun being happy doing what we love! We are also sharpening our skills when in comes to video editing & production as well so if you notice issues – we apologize ahead of time. Though we are growing in our skill and understanding we still thought it would be exciting to bring others along. You will most certainly get a laugh or two! It is our hope also that you may learn something too from our successes and our failures.

Flowers by BHG

Flowers benefit any farm and garden simply because they draw pollinators. Though I am allergic to many of them, pollinators are the life of any farm. So flowers are a dual fold purpose in both beauty and functionality. We told you that we are working hard to determine if we are going to provide a flower subscription service for 2021. We are currently working on planting and cultivating new areas on the farm for even more planting and we are exploring more seed variations. We will have a final decision for you in our February Goings On blog post. Even if we do not open the subscription service you will still be able to buy our bouquets as they are available on our listings page.

We have really enjoyed growing new varieties over the last few years and more of the old stand by varieties. Our bouquets are unique because we add at least one edible item to your arrangement, usually an herb but it could be an edible flower. Our Farm Fresh Bouquet arrangements are also picked the day of delivery and most will last a 7 day minimum. They include anything from gladiolus, sunflowers, zinnia and cosmos to name a few. We will be expanding our selection in 2021. If you would you be interested in a flowers subscription please let us know!

Well “that’s all folks!”! Check back with us next month for more goings on at Bain Home Gardens!

Next Month’s Blog Post…

  • How much space will we allow for potatoes for 2021?
  • We are building hinged covers for our raised beds!
  • Will there be a Flowers by BHG subscription for 2021?
  • What plants will be available for the Spring 2021 Plant Sale and can I pre-order?


The Goings On – December 2020

Old man Winter took a deep breath and blew and boom it is Winter if only for a brief moment. We are happy to have the pests put back in some type of balance so that hopefully 2021 will be a little less challenging in that arena. We do need more cold though so come on old man… do your thing!

Thanks for checking in with us! Come on, let’s see what’s been going on!

Garlic

Garlic has literally been planted EVERYWHERE! We are not looking to gain viable bulbs from all that we have planted however we are using them as a companion plant to most of our brassicas. So far so good. We have a lot to make up for in the way of losses to pests this year. Now that the cold weather has come we have a little help from nature with the pests and man let me tell you how welcome it is! In the photo below you can see some of our Asian Greens hiding comfortably in between the garlic. Let keep their location top secret!

Onions

For the very first time we planted 50% of our onions from our own seed stock! Sustainable – I think so! We are very excited about this and again we aren’t counting on any real bulbs out of this but we do love onion tops in just about everything! These too have been interplanted with leafy greens for a little witness protection… if you will.

Hoopty

Hoopty is a hot mess and I mean that literally! Eggplants, peppers, and cucumbers are among the last remaining Summer crops and they are doing exceedingly well. The peppers in particular have been out of control! We are using them to make homemade blends of hot sauce and my oh my the flavors have been amazing! We have also been working on seasoning blends! Most of these have already been posted on our listings page however the seasoning blends are still being perfected. Mr. Bain Home Gardener is our taste tester and thankfully he is brutally honest. This means whatever comes out of the kitchen is sure to please!

Okra was finally pulled just yesterday and squash will be pulled and possibly replanted. Swiss Chard, green onions and celery are brewing nicely! With all the new areas to plant in Hoopty we hope to get more kale, mustards, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower planted before the month is out. I just realized just how much work that is!

Restructuring

You may be aware by now that Bain Home Gardens has begun restructuring our business dynamic. This has meant many adjustments already. You can read about most of those here. Much of this process has already been placed in motion and more is yet to come and it will certainly be an exciting transition. As we close the doors on some journeys more open up to us quicker than we are able to travel. Our job is now to decide which roads to travel & for how far. It’s ok, we have our backpacks and are ready to go!

MICROgreens by BHG

Our new subscription service is now open to accept subscribers! You can get the details here. This is one venture that we are so very excited about. See we have a love of microgreens and use them often here at home. So to be able to bring you yet another product that is near and dear to us is just the best!

Flowers by BHG

Our flowers delivery service with Kith & Kin CSA was really enjoyable in the Spring. Just watching the the flowers growing and watching the pollinators hard at work was a wonderful treat. Our farm fresh bouquets will be available throughout the year in 2021 in our Flowers by BHG line. We have yet to determine if we will resume our bouquet subscription service in the Spring and/or Summer but stay tuned. We will have definite news on that in our January 2021 newsletter.

A Special Month

You may recall that this time last year we completed our high tunnel who when affectionately call Hoopty. To be exact we completed it on our 20th wedding anniversary! As the year rolls around again we look back with awe and appreciation for year 21. We had no idea what the year 2020 would be for us! We were hopeful and positive about the possibilities. A pandemic was certainly not on our radar. Things certainly did not go as planned this year but it many ways they went better and other ways, well we are all the more stronger as a family and as a brand for enduring. For that we are so grateful. As we celebrate year 21 of us & year 1 of Hoopty we look forward to many more!

December 11, 1999

This years familyvesary feels a little different … no trip & no gathering with friends for a celebratory meal however the most important part is soild – us.

Sorry to be so brief this month but there is so much to so and so little time that we must really get to it even at this hour (9:30 p.m.). Bundle up – from our family to yours!