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!


The Goings On – November 2020

Hey there folks! How are you? We are doing, well, ok I guess over on our corner of the earth. Things have been better to be sure but things could also be worse. This is just the highs and lows of farm life! When we started this blog we decided to be honest and share with you our successes and failures since we know farming is more times than not, not always pretty. Those disappointments happen! So let’s talk about some of them shall we.

Pests

Pests have been at an all time high! We knew it was going to be a bad year when entomologist Ayanava Majumdar communicated to us early Spring that the bugs were weeks ahead of schedule for the year. That is never a good thing! Later in June when he visited Hoopty it was abundantly clear to him and us that we were all the way in it! UGH! Ugh really is an emotion that readily describes 2020. So we have been fighting all season long & even harder than usual. In Hoopty white flies and spider mites were terrible at the height of Summer! At the top of the list of aggressors this Fall are flea beetles! They seem to love every crop that we are growing. In particular our Mustard & Asian greens varieties. Of these they have destroyed half the crop planted for the Fall! Some crop losses are inevitable but this year, when things have already been so rough, another loss just wasn’t what we needed. We have and continue to fight these pests by using mechanical and organic remedies. However these become nearly ineffective when yet another element comes into play…

Rain

It may seem odd to list rain as a problem however in our case it has really worked against our pest management program. While we know rain is absolutely necessary to grow healthy crops we are griping, if you will about the days on end of heavy monsoon-like rainfall. You see for Diatomaceous earth rain is a huge deterrent. DE washes a way easily and becomes ineffective when wet. Days of heavy rain fall are taken advantage of by the flea beetles and before you know it entire beds have disappeared literally over night!

Devastated Red Mustard Greens

There has been a joint attack on many of our crops such as our Turnip leaves. There seems to be some sort of an alliance between the Flea Beetles and Fall Army Worms. Although we use BT (Bacillus Thuringiensis) for worms, heavy infestations require application every other day and is far less effective if done in the rain. Speaking of the dreaded Army Worm, do you know why they are called “army” worms? One source says, “They are so named because of their habit of crawling in large numbers from field to field when they have exhausted their food supply.” We have witnessed this to be the case as they have moved from one permanent bed to another and leaving much devastation in their wake in a matter of 24hrs! This year, after just one day of heavy rainfall, for the first time we found them eating our Zinna as well as our Fennel! Fortunately we did catch them before those items were lost too.

Someone enjoyed our Salad Turnips

No rant about pests would be complete without mentioning the dreaded fire ants! This year they have given us grief in our raised beds and in the high tunnel! Not only do these pack a powerful bite but they too are army-like in the swiftness in which they can damage a crop as they build alliances with other pests! Our okra and corn have fallen victim to the ants this year.

Ants on okra bud

Although we have lost time, we continue to plant and take advantage of the long growing season our region offers. Currently re-growing is cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, mustards, lettuce and more!

TRIAL UPDATES

Cucumbers

If we had any idea the cucumbers would be so beautiful in the sea of green that is Hoopty, I’m certain we would have planted far more than we did. They are doing very well! The next set of data is to determine for how long they will grow into the cold months in an unheated environment. We chose two varieties for our trial. However, we have had 3 volunteer plants from a variety planted over the Spring pop up so that brings us to a total of 3 varieties. Of these we will see which yields will be the best under the cooler temps.

Cucumber Trellis

Squash & Zucchini

Consider my mind 100% blown when I went into Hoopty and harvested squash this month! I know others are probably like, “Yeah, yeah…you’ve got a hoop house – duh!” For me, however it will never stop being so amazing! We planted one variety of squash and one variety of zucchini for our season extension trials. We have harvested a couple of squash thus far and the zucchini isn’t far behind! We have already determined that we will allow for more space next year for Fall squash and zucchini! I can already taste the roasted zucchini and sweet potatoes!

Squash

Corn

This one gets logged in the fail colum unfortunately. We feel the failure was due to a combination of pests pressure from ants and late planting. We are not however giving up on corn. We will be planting again in the Spring.

Herbs

This year the herbs have really been the shining stars of the farm. Lemon balm & Lemongrass have really grown far better than they have in years past. Also Fennel, Purple Basil, Thai Basil, & Cilantro all really left their mark! We enjoy learning to cook new and exciting recipes with these herbs. Our trial with Fall Dill is underway and so far the results are a bit inconclusive. Stay tuned on that front. However the Fall propagated basil is doing fantastic. If things go as planned, we should have fresh basil right up until January meaning there will only be 4 months instead of 5 months we have to go without fresh basil.

Fennel

THIS WEEK’S LISTINGS

With all of the issues we have had the last few months we are honestly quite proud of our listings that we offer to you each week. As we have mentioned recently, seasonal farm boxes and a wider selection of produce will be available January 2021. This week the Bain family farm has the following home grown goodness to offer your family:

  • Lemongrass
  • Scotch Bonnet Peppers
  • Hot Pepper Basket
  • Sweet Pepper Basket
  • Jams Jellies

What’s To Come?

It seems that COVID is going to be sticking around a bit longer. So we remain vigilant to keep our family and community safe. We will continue the contacless methods of delivery for the foreseeable future.

On the farm in the upcoming weeks we will be pulling okra from Hoopty, planting turnips, beets, onions, tulips, carrots and rutabagas. We will also finalize winterizing our strawberries and other fruit bearing plants that require such. I’m tired just thinking about it all! On the brighter side, next month is yet another special month for our family. Do you remember why? Check back next month for more goings ons at Bain Home Gardens!


The Goings On – October 2020

October has arrived and for the first time in years, it actually feels like Fall. Admittedly, our bodies are still adjusting to cooling temperatures. Increasingly shorter days means all farm hands on deck while the sun shines in all its glory. All in the family have been very busy preparing for Fall. We have nearly gotten all of our long season crops planted and now we take a breath… a short one anyway! Check out what’s been happening since we last spoke.

The Produce

Okra has been growing like crazy! Finally with cooling night time temperatures it is slowing down. Thankfully we have been able to freeze quite a few gallons and should be set for the Fall.

Eggplants, for the second year in a row, have proven to be the divas of Bain Home Gardens. They finally decided to get with the program and are gifting us with delicious treats. All four varieties are coming along nicely, three of which are under the cover of Hoopty. We hope this means we can reap benefits for a few more months a least.

Asian greens are loving the cooler temps! Sadly the bugs love to munch on them as well as everything else! We have already enjoyed these as baby greens in sandwiches and cooked the mature greens in stir fries. We are filling more beds with these type of greens and they are available to purchase today on our listings page.

We also recently harvested the first mustard greens of the Fall season both green and red varieties. These were planted in succession. In about a month we should be harvesting from our second planting and so on and so forth. We always plant an obscene amount of greens because we like to freeze them for use later in Summer when it is a bit harder to come by tender greens.

The farm is finally starting to look like a farm again since the beginning of our Fall make over! FINALLY!

Replanting

When Sally hit last month we didn’t know what to expect. Our biggest concern of late has been the high tunnel (Hoopty). We are always concerned about the possibility of wind damage. Fortunately that was not a problem. The high water levels did wash away some newly established seedlings in the field areas. Since we had many of these on stand-by for the Fall plant sale, we simply replaced those from our own stock. Sadly this meant we had to remove these from the sale. Thus replanting has been done for mustards, collards, broccoli and chard. Although we are working hard to rebuild stock for the continuation of the Fall plant sale, we cannot guarantee that there will be any plants available. If and when they are, we will make an announcement. Here is hoping!

New Crops

Artichoke seedlings breaking ground

One thing you have come to know about Bain Home Gardens is that we thrive off growing the unexpected or unconventional. It takes a lot of research, prayer and a whole lot of experimentation! The rewards far out weigh the losses in most cases. Over the past few years we have mastered growing long beans, kiwano melons, Thai eggplants, & most recently Jamaican Scotch Bonnet peppers. On the agenda this Fall is artichoke. We experimented with one variety last Fall with no success. No worries; our tenacious spirit fueled more research and this Fall we are trying our hands at a different variety. Who knows how this trial will go. However if successful we should have our very first artichokes early 2021.

CSA Season

October marks CSA season! It is an exciting time for us. It is finally time to share all that we have planned and grown with our members! Not to brag but our CSA members are the absolute best! We strive to grow diverse crops so our members have a healthy abundance in their eight week shares. Therefore supplies for non members maybe limited the during the eight week CSA. Please check our weekly listings page. We do have a little extra love to go around.

This Weeks Listings

This week we are happy to add our Asian Greens to to our listings page. I just had some scrambled with eggs and cheese – YUMMY! In addition Mr. Bain Home Gardener just gave the go ahead to list his pet project – Scotch Bonnet Peppers! Both of these are now live on the listings page!

This year is almost over and I’m sure you may share the sentiments of others we have spoken to who say, “Good riddance!” However this year has taught us a lot about ourselves. We have come to understand the true meaning of friends, family, love and togetherness. We have grown in ways we didn’t recognize we needed to and for that I have to say to 2020 – THANK YOU! Of course the real thanks goes to our heavenly father for supporting us and helping us to grow during such a difficult time.

Who knows what November will hold for the Bain Family! If you would like to see then check back next month for more Goings Ons at Bain Home Gardens.


The Goings on – September 2020

So it has arrived – the month at which Summer turns to Fall! This is such an awesome time of the year for many reasons. It tends to be very beautiful. If you live in an area where there are many trees that are not of the evergreen variety then this stunning beauty is nothing new to you. Hues of orange & yellow meeting the blue sky is such a pleasing canvas. We have had the joy of vacationing in Tennessee early October and my, my, MY – JUST STUNNING! Alas… no vacation this year. Not going to beat that dead horse today – moving on! We have so many more positive things to focus on this month.

From Summer to Fall

The garden is always a mess this time of year. Some beds look just plain pitiful if I’m being 100% honest. The heat has ruined most of our Spring greens and what the heat didn’t get, the bugs did. This is nothing unusual but I felt the need to gripe just a little. So where does the positive come in? Well Fall is time to reinvent the farm a bit. Bed turnovers and crop rotation change the face of things rather quickly around here. For instance, the bed pictured below once had beans and Summer squash varieties in it. It has been amended with aged compost and now leafy greens live here and will until mid Winter. In a different bed where zucchini was planted our snow peas are coming up. Soon the area will be teaming with the beautiful lavender and white blossoms. Whatever failures and mistakes were made in Spring and Fall can literally be covered up and you simply start again. In this way season change over here at Bain Home Gardens is quite forgiving.

Sowing Our Seeds & Expanding

Creating new beds for our farm expansion project has been rather labor intensive. Our friends over at Hawkins Homestead Farm have been using a type of permanent bed system and with great success. They invited us to try it as well so we are experimenting with a few of those. You already know that these trials will be documented carefully so that we can assess how well these work for us as opposed to our usual high density technique. This has meant moving loads of compost, spreading, leveling… As I type my shoulders are saying, “massage me!” However the pain is so worth the gain! So far we have planted collards, mustard greens, kale, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, fennel and we didn’t even mention all of the root crops! We do not like to put all of our eggs in one basket so the planting has been split between the field and Hoopty. These have been and continue to be planted in succession to extend our harvest window.

In addition to the native Fall crops we are running trials with with a few non native vegetables, among these is artichoke. It is a beautiful edible ornamental plant that we would love to include in our landscaping. In addition we have heard that the flavor of a freshly harvested artichoke will blow your taste buds away!

Just recently we began to dig up our sweet potatoes. You can watch a short video of the beginning of the harvest here. These will be cured and most will be made available to our CSA members and our family. As we continue to harvest we will have a better idea as to if these can be made available to the general public.

Fall is also the time of the year that we plant our bulbing plants – flowers, onions and garlic. Beds also have to be amended and prepared for these as they should be shipped to us with in the next few weeks. Many of these will not be ready to harvest until May – July of 2021! TALK ABOUT PLANNING AHEAD!

September – Why Special for BHG?

We mentioned earlier that September is a very special month for Bain Home Gardens. We wanted to elaborate on why. On September 23rd 2019 a dream began to be realized for our family. That is the week we broke ground on our high tunnel that we have affectionately come to call Hoopty. To think a structure of wood and plastic could change the face of a business. Admittedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly limited just how much change has been implemented but we see great potential! Here is a cute little video in which we take a little walk down memory lane. I’m a firm believer in never forgetting where you came from. It took a little less than three months to complete our structure. It was well worth the time!

Because we were able to start planting earlier in Hoopty, this years cucumber, tomato, pepper and okra harvest have been more than prolific! We couldn’t be more pleased with the results. We have been able to supply our family, Kith & Kin CSA and and our loyal customers throughout the Wiregrass; not to mention the jars we have canned and bags we have frozen. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies however. We have certainly had our share of failures in learning to grow in this unique ecosystem. We have learned what grows well in this environment and what doesn’t. As I feared, pests have been a huge irritant. These issues you could say are a part of the learning curve for high tunnel growing. Thankfully we have received guidance from the best in the trade and are paving our own way by creating a knowledge base for growing organically. We are taking notes on every single thing and are certain that this will ensure that the 2021 growing season will be even more spectacular!

Kith & Kin CSA

This month also marks the beginning of our Fall CSA. Thanks to farm expansions on both farms we offered more shares this season than we ever have! This is very exciting for us. This community continues to grow each season and we are excited to welcome our new members as well as welcome back our members that have been with us since the beginning!

This Week’s Listings

You may have noticed that our produce listings have been more limited as of late. As aforementioned the Fall turnover on the farm will temporarily limit available produce options. However we are very excited to be able to offer even limited options year round. This is what we have available this week:

  • Basil – We have Purple, Thai, and Genovese varieties. If you have a preference please indicate.
  • Lemon Grass
  • Pepper Basket
  • Jams & Jellies

Keep in mind that our Summer Plant Sale is also underway. We are happy to help you get your Fall gardens established with plants from our Clean Starts selection. If you want to feed your family your own home grown goodness then this is a fantastic place to start!

All in all it has been an extremely busy month! We have the calluses to prove it! It is however so rewarding to work hard and see the fruits of our labor! Check back next month for more goings on at Bain Home Gardens.