Spring Plant Sale 2023

Our annual Plant Sale is here! This year we will have a smaller selection of plants but just as healthy and just as prolific! Below you will find a list of what will be available for pick up at the Market on Foster event on March 11th or delivery to your home after March 11th as long as the weather continues to show no frosty nights. As shown below this date excludes herbs and vining squash, which will not be available until April 1st. This year our plantings schedule for flowers was thrown off by health and weather so unfortunately we will not have flowers this Spring.

Listings are being uploaded to the shop as we quickly as we can. Until we add everything the varieties below are what you can expect to see!

  • Tomatoes
    • Beefsteak
    • Tiren (San Marzano type)
    • Garden Peach
  • Pepper
    • Shishito
    • Banana
    • Sweet Italian frying
  • Herbs (not available until April 1st)
    • Basil
    • Sage
    • Parsley
  • Cucumber
    • White Wonder
    • Burpless
    • Lemon
    • Apple
    • Beit (pickler/slicer)
  • Squash
    • Zucchini
    • Straight-neck
    • Gold Zucchini
  • Vining Squash (not available until April 1st)
    • Pumpkin
    • Delicata
    • Custard
    • Acorn

Balsamic Onion Pickled Eggs

Let’s talk eggs! This time of year we find the girls are super productive. It’s like the last push as the daylight hours decrease. Just what to do with all those butt nuggets?

There are many ways of preserving eggs – dehydrating, freezing, freeze drying, water glassing. Today, though, we are exploring a more tasty option – pickling.

As you search the internet you’ll find all kinds of techniques for pickling and canning eggs for shelf stability. However, the National Center for Food Preservation doesn’t not have a shelf stable recipe. The only recipes they have are for refrigerator storage and it is not recommended to store pickled eggs at room temperature. We store our pickled eggs in the refrigerator. There they can last up to four months but they never do in our home! Let’s get started.

The Ingredients

  • 1 dozen small – medium eggs
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Small red onion
  • Pickling salt
  • Cajun seasoning

The Prep

  • Jars – this is not a sterile project but of course you’ll want to clean your jars well.
  • Eggs – boil eggs to your preferences. We use mix a tablespoon of baking soda in the water to make peeling easier. IT WORKS! We put aside any that are damaged while peeling. We eat those right away.
  • Onion – chop or slice to your preference. Whatever you choose you’ll want to make sure the size is compact so as to not take up too much space in your jar.

Let’s Cook

Since this is a small batch we are doing things a tad differently than if we were doing a large batch. Since the brine we will be using would be hot we did warm our jars in the oven. We do this by placing just a tad bit of water on to a baking sheet and placing our jars on top into a 170° oven as it heats up. We leave them there until we are ready to use. You could just as well use your dishwasher or use hot water.

We layered our ingredients into the jars as tightly as possible. We started with the onion. After the onion, we packed those eggs in as tightly as we possibly could! Using small to medium eggs makes this much easier. Of additional benefit is that of using wide mouth jars.

After the jar is packed as tightly as possible we then poured in our balsamic vinegar to about 3/4 of the jar. Then we poured our apple cider vinegar in the remaining 1/4 of the jar. Be sure to make sure all the eggs are completely covered. At this point we did have to remove one of our eggs.

Now, using a strainer, (since these are being prepared just for our family, I used my hand) cover the jar securely and pour liquid mixture into a sauce pan. Add Pickling seasoning and Cajun seasoning (always to taste). Bring to a simmer. Pour brine over eggs. Secure with lid & ring. Allow to cool before placing in the refrigerator. If you want to seal the jar flip it upside down. The heat of the brine will seal the jar. Keep in mind it will still need to be stored int he refrigerator.

The hardest part of this recipe isn’t the cooking but THE WAITING! Wait a minimum of 2 weeks before cracking open your home pickled eggs! Trust us, it’s well worth the wait!

The Results

Our family was very adventurous in trying this recipe. I recorded video but haven’t convinced them to allow me to share it with you guys yet. It ended up being closer to 3 weeks when we tried these. Out of 5 only one family member didn’t like the flavor at all and another simply preferred a different flavor (Jalapeño Ginger) pickled eggs. The eggs do take on an ashen grey color on the outside but in the the brief time they remained in the fridge the Balsamic color didn’t reach the yolk although we think that would be quite an interesting looking egg! The Cajun seasoning flavor is there and it definitely enhanced the flavor however the heat was lost. If you are wanting a hot pickled egg we suggest perhaps adding actual peppers instead of just the seasoning.

We would love to hear from you if you try this recipe. Tag us! We would love to see your results!


The Goings On – February 2022

Hey there February! We missed you! While there is plenty to do in the month of February much was done in January as well. Check out what went on in the last 31 days.

Planting

January has been cold and boy do we welcome that! It is also the month we try to get our bulb onions planted. We are happy to report that we have checked this off our planting checklist! This year we planted two varieties: Texas Sweet & Red Creole. In addition to those we also planted Lancelot Leek. We have never grown leeks before but man do we love a good leek and potato soup! Onions are a staple food for our family. I cook at least one meal a day using them and sometimes we have them raw in salads and salsas! We love to have our own of course but last year just was not the best year for onions for us. We hope that this year will be much better.

We also added a few more perennial flower bulbs to to the ground. We have many already established from previous seasons so we are only adding varieties now that are new to us. This year we are adding Lilly and Allium to the flower garden. Although we have not planted them yet we are also adding flowering herbs to the flower garden. These will be used in our flower bouquets but also used in this seasons tea blends and tinctures we plan to make. Speaking of the flower garden, if you would like to have beautiful home grown flower bouquets delivered to your door then the Flowers by BHG subscription is just for you! You can secure your Spring subscription here. This year delivery for Spring subscription begins May 2nd and will run through the entire month of May. Dates for the Summer subscription are tba.

Back to planting. We have started many seeds for the 2022 growing season! Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are started and are growing nicely. We hope to have them ready to be planted in the Hoopty by March 15th at the latest and March 1st at the earliest. Although we are preparing for the Spring and Summer we cannot forget to plant those more cold hardy plants such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and kale. All of these have also been started. While we have been blessed to harvest Winter cauliflower this January, we want to get a second harvest early Spring so we are starting these plants now to set out in March. Some of these will go into the high tunnel and others will go into raised beds. Carrots, fennel, and kohlrabi will be direct sown this month. We want to plant more green mustards and collards however we are at a loss as to where we will plant them as we are already running low on space! Ah the life of the micro-farmer!

Harvesting

January was a big month for harvesting here! We harvested salad turnips and for the first time ever we had enough to share, eat, and freeze and dehydrate! It was definitely busy a couple of days getting them processed but we are so thankful to have had an abundance to store for our family for later in the season. After all, have you seen grocery prices along with the supply chain issues?! Cauliflower heads for the Winter were small but again we are thankful to have these tucked away for use at a later time. We also continue to harvest snow peas and brussels sprouts leaves some of which we have also had the pleasure of storing. We even processed the stems of the brussels sprouts by dehydrating them and then using the food processor to pulse into a powder that we can now use in smoothies or anything! Side note – WE LOVE FRESH SNOW PEAS! We have eaten more than we have frozen! Oops! Our field snow peas have definitely dropped in production due to the below freezing nights we have had but I have confidence they will pick back up.

Our hot, HOT peppers died on one of the below freezing nights simply because I forgot to cover them with the frost blankets. Silly me! This meant that loads of peppers had to be harvested and processed for dehydrating! I am so thankful that the Cosori dehydrator puts off less fumes than our previous dehydrator since it was well over three pounds of peppers we had to process. We find doing this at night while everyone is sleep and while the temperatures are lower in the house is great because no one is effected by the slight odor that does result and the heat it puts off helps warm the house. Win-win! Honestly the dehydrator has been a real work horse lately. We processed a pound and a half of parsley in it over a matter of a few days taking breaks in between. It takes about 7 hours at 145 degrees to get the parsley at the desired texture.

Special Announcements!

We have tried our very best to protect our family, friends, and community by wearing our masks, social distancing, and getting vaccinated. We feel good about our efforts as a family. Thanks to having been fully vaccinated and boosted and a slight change in family dynamic we are ready to attend farmers markets again! We are not sure yet exactly what markets we will be supporting this coming season however we will keep you posted.

While we look forward to entertaining farm visits in the near future we have to slowly get back into the community so we are not there yet but when we are you will be the first to know!

Several of you have already reached out regarding our Annual Spring Plant Sale. We are so glad that you know where to go to find healthy organic plant starts! Unfortunately, this year we will not be doing an official plant sale as we have done in years past. If and when we have extra plants we will create listings for them and inform you over on our Instagram and Facebook pages. We did learn that Hawkins Homestead Farm will be doing their plant sale this year so please do check out their organic plant start offerings!

Finally, we have been reworking our website behind the scenes to build a shop instead of a listings page. This is taking some time to be sure (just learning Woo Commerce ins and outs) but we “hope” to have our new and improved shop available for you by March 1st. This will allow you to create an account and have a cart to which you can add items to rather than having to purchase one item at a time. I know that has been frustrating for many of you but we thank you for your patience as we have attempted to get ahead of the learning curve with this new software.

YouTube

We are proud to say that we are back on track with regularly uploading videos! It feels good to be back on track. This Summer we hope to have reached enough subscribers to start doing some giveaways. So please do like our videos, subscribe to our channel, and share our content with someone you think would enjoy our journey. Each time you do you support our farm as we work hard to support our community. We appreciate you! Below you will find a list of videos from January. We hope you enjoy!

It was short and sweet but now you know what is going on over at Bain Home Gardens. We will touch base with you in March!

This Weeks Listings

We have plenty of greens for you guys from mustards to collards to kale – WE GOT YOU! Take advantage of our Greens Box or or Farm Sampler baskets while we have an abundance to share!


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 – 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?


Veggie-ghetti

Have you ever had so many vegetables you just do not have any idea of what to do with them? This is an issue many home gardeners will run into several times during peak harvest season. It is also an issue we were facing over the weekend. If you want to see how we turned a mess of veggies into a tasty vegetarian meal then keep reading! If you wanna get straight to the recipe, we understand that too!

This past Sunday it became abundantly clear that there was a need to have a veggie chop and freeze day. Baskets of produce on the counters and in both refrigerators spoke the same exact story. Things have been so busy as we have done final preparations for the Fall CSA that we hadn’t been able to work it in weekly as normal. So I got the youngsters to wash up all the produce and set up the chopping station. Ironically it was also time to prepare dinner. As I chopped hubby observed to see what he could use to add to our meal for the evening. I readily offered the three eggplants that I had chopped up. If you could have seen hubbies face as he said, “No. I don’t want those. It takes too much to get them to taste good.” Yep, he said that! See, unlike me, he doesn’t like the natural flavor eggplant offers. That is ok, many of us feel that way about various veggies. So he quickly grabbed up some Italian Roasting peppers and stuffed them while I continued to chop. Four quarts of okra later I was finally left with the remaining peppers, eggplant and long beans. I decided to do a stir fry mix. One contained eggplant, beans and peppers and the other contained eggplant and peppers only. I diced the eggplants into fairly small pieces. I wasn’t sure when I would use these mixes so I froze these as well.

The next day marked vegetarian week for me. So as I mediated on what to prepare to please me and my carnivorous family members I thought back to the eggplant stir fry mix and had an idea! I began to prepare the following. It was totally made up as I went however I’m sure that someone somewhere has done something similar before. So let’s get cooking shall we?

The Ingredients

  • Eggplant
  • Bell Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Fresh Basil
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Spaghetti Noodles

The Prep

You will need to chop your veggies into a suitable size. Although I had no idea that we would be using these veggies for this meal when they where initially chopped, it just so happened that the size mimicked pieces of ground meat. So if you are going for a fake out then be sure to consider chopping small. If you are going for more of a ratatouille vibe then chunky is good.

Tip: Before you start chopping go ahead and fill your large stock pot with water for your noodles and put it on and medium high. Add salt if you prefer.

Let’s Cook!

This is so easy peasy that you really do not need the instructions but since this is after all a recipe we thought we better.

  • Add two tablespoons of olive oil to your pan and bring to a medium heat. Add all of your produce at the same time except the basil. Fry for 10 – 15 minutes while stirring frequently
  • Add seasonings (always to taste)
  • Add fresh basil
  • Add tomato sauce and allow to simmer on low for 10 minutes. Within this time add your pasta to your water which should be at a nice boil.
  • Add sauce to noodles & enjoy!

Click the photo for a short video of our preparation!

While eating dinner I asked hubby what he thought of the spaghetti. “It’s real good.” he mumbled between bites. I, feeling quite surprised and impressed with myself, had to tell him, “It’s those 3 eggplants you didn’t want to eat yesterday.” To which he laughed saying, “Touché, touché.” Mission accomplished!

Are you going to experiment with our Veggie-ghetti recipe? If so we would love to see your creation. Share your photos in the community section of our Facebook page or tag us in your Instagram post – #bainhomegardens. From our family to yours!


How Can a CSA Help Me?

After the holiday season most of us make resolutions to eat better and to exercise. “This year will be the year!” we convince ourselves. Week one and two are usually gravy (pun intended). However, if you are among the few that make it to weeks three and four then you already know how this short story ends. Now I’m not saying that all are unsuccessful but let’s be honest people – most are!

I am no health guru by any means but in the last year I have lost more weight and kept it off not by dieting by making lifestyle adjustments just as in my “Journey to a Healthier Me” series. Growing food is not light work by any means. Working outside growing the vegetables, having fresh vegetables on hand, learning how to cook them in tasty and creative ways, and having the understanding support of my friends, has been life changing for not just me but the entire family. Our children, particularly our daughter, loves eating foods raw right from the ground. It really is our new normal. The family is now overly critical of any store brought vegetables all because they now understand how it is “supposed” to taste!

The Bain & Hawkins Family are the first shareholders of Kith and Kin CSA. We both got into growing food because we wanted to feed our families clean, wholesome food. So when Kith and Kin CSA is in season we harvest for our families as too! As a side effect, our quality of life has improved. Kith & Kin can be just as beneficial for you and your family! How?

Having fresh vegetables on hand is really a huge step in the healthy direction! As a fast paced society, we generally eat what we have on hand. Old habits die hard! If our cabinet and/or fridge has junk foods then that is what we will go for. You know I’m speaking TRUTH! Let’s say it is a Thursday evening after work. Are you inclined to go to the grocery store, fight the 5 o’clock rush and buy some fresh veggies for dinner (and cook them), would you make due with what you have, or pull through a drive thru and get the family meal? Obviously none of these choices are wrong. We do what we can to provide for our families! Having said that, why not make it easier? When we harvest our baskets, we prefer prep by cleaning the produce and storing it in the fridge. So when the above mentioned situation comes around we can prepare a hearty home cooked meal fairly quickly!

Learning how to cook fresh vegetables may seem like a “duh” sentence but is it really? Did you know that a fresh cut head of broccoli may require more cooking time that one that is frozen? If you cook it longer then how do you preserve the nutrients? What if you are making a stir fry? When using fresh vegetables you are in control. No cooking or prep has been done at all. To some that maybe somewhat overwhelming but to us we like knowing that we are in control of our food and as a direct result our health! The salt content, tenderness, and nutritional value – all in your hands!

Rachel, I and our families have been homesteading for some years now. The mistakes we have made do not have to be yours! When we prepare our meals we are always thinking about our members so we take photos and I personally take notes (because my memory is unreliable) so as to be able to share our successes with you in the form of recipes and tutorials. Even in the off season as we are working with the fresh picked produce, we are creating recipes to share with shareholders in Spring or Fall.

Having the understanding support of friends is INVALUABLE! There is a support group for nearly everything! This is rightly so. A support group is defined as (according to the google search engine) “a group of people with common experiences or concerns who provide each other with encouragement, comfort, and advice.” I personally called up my mom when I was making a new recipe or one she had taught me and I’ve forgotten a step or two. When we shifted to trying to eat healthier I found that I needed to adjust ingredients here and there but I didn’t always know how to do so without ruining the recipe. I failed many times. I learned from those fails and I am happy to share that knowledge with our CSA members via our private Facebook group. I have only my knowledge to share however in our Facebook community of friends, in our private group, there are many who are vegans, vegetarians or even ova-pescatarians. There are some who eat exclusively organics and ones who mix it up. All that experience is there for all of us to tap into. Let’s face it, not everyone understands the journey of eating, no, living healthier. So having the encouragement & support of a group that does, is priceless!

So yes, a CSA can be beneficial for you and your family too. The above areas are just a few of the many ways Kith and Kin can benefit you. If you think about the unique needs of your family, we are sure you will come up with a whole host of other ways Kith and Kin can improve your lives. So rather than being among the thousands that go on fad diets and secure gym memberships that will only occasionally be used – CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Kith and Kin offers two options for you. A half share feeds a family of two (2 adults). Each week you will receive 5 to 6 items. A full share feeds a family of four (2 adults and 2 children). Each week you will receive 6 to 8 items. Our feature image above is from week eight of the full share. Among the goodies were Thai Eggplant and Fennel which are not commonly found at farmers markets in the area. Our members did not have to fret about how to prepare because we already shared recipes earlier in the season!

If this seems like something you want to be a part of then we invite you to join us before December 31st when our early bird special concludes. Early bird members get a free jam or jelly as a nice sign up bonus! If this does not seem like something you want to be a part of, that is just fine. We understand that this is not for everyone. We will continue to offer our fresh produce at farmers markets and online via our online shop. However, our shareholders come first and will always be given priority when it comes to what we have growing during our Spring and Fall seasons. Our expansions do allow both Bain Home Gardens and Hawkins Homestead Farm to offer more than we ever have so stay tuned as we bring quality produce – from our family to yours!


2018 Fall Re-Garden

Well sometimes you get a clean slate in the garden such as the start of Spring when the ground is warming and you finally have the chance to scratch that itch you’ve had for all of 2 months (here in our area, planting is basically a year round thing)! Sigh. It has been my goal to not be too negative about crops lost to hurricane Michael. In fact I’ve attempted to get this blog done for nearly two weeks! The reality is that what we lost pales in comparison to the thousands who are still without power and many others without homes. Also on the agriculture front here in the South there were millions of dollars of Cotton crops lost. I never paid too much attention to local agriculture prior to becoming a homesteader. The truth of the matter is that on the small scale of which we operate, it is easier to recuperate than if we were larger. For that, I am thankful. So how do you get over losses of crops? Here is what we did:

  • Inventory: This was perhaps the most depressing part of the process. Just walking through and seeing things wilted, leaning, dying – so NOT cool! This however is a very necessary step. During this particular time of the year we still had some summer vegetables that were still productive. These were not included on our list since they were already at the end of their life cycle.  What we did include were plantings relevant to the Fall growing season.  In our case this meant that our Swiss Chard, Peas, Scarlet Kale, among others, needed to be added to this list.
  • Organize:  This step is all about the numbers.  Now its time to see if you can get the lost crops replanted and to a suitable size before your fist frost date. Get your seed organizer out and read the backs of those packetsFortunately for us, since most of our crops are ready for harvest in about 50 days, we had time to replant. Here is an area you can prioritize if you are running short on time. We were still cleaning at this point and as areas became clear we replanted. If this happens to be your case then prioritize planting in these are by 2 criteria:
    • What you need – Plant things you absolutely need for your family, your farmers market, or wherever you are sourcing your produce. This could be your cash crop or even a member of the dirty dozen that you never buy commercially.
    • Seed to Harvest time – Plant those crops that have a lengthier harvest time  right away! Even if your dates for first frost and harvest date overlap it is OK, especially in the Fall crops. For us these included our root crops – Carrots and Rutabagas.
  • Plant: Put all your research and planning to action! Get those seeds in the ground with the confidence that you did your best, despite the challenges, to have a successful crop!

Down Sunflower

Sunflower Down!

When I am down, I turn to my soil, my garden beds, and plots for solace.  When they are down I just feel awful! I’m sure you agree. So for a change, let’s help our gardens to regrow & rejuvenate. That is what our 2018 Fall Re-Garden is all about! Follow our journey on our Facebook & Instagram .


The Goings On – April 2023

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

Planting

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setbacks

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

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

Subscriptions

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

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

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


The Goings On – February 2023

February, the most challenging of the months to spell, has arrived. With it we dust off our hopes and dreams of phenomenal Spring gardens and strive to bring the dream to life. Seed trays and supplies are awakened from their slumber and told of the glorious growing prospects on the horizon. Truly, no one is more hopeful in February than the gardener, the farmer, or the homesteader. Those hopes are built not on unfounded fantasy but on prayers, planning, & execution. Its our own PPE. Let’s review some of the PPE over the last month.

Planning

In our December blog we talked about planning quite a bit. Its one of the most crucial areas we find in having even a mediocre success. Haphazard farming and gardening will surely lead to a massive loss of money. Of course if that is something you do not mind then have at it. For us as start up small business owners it is not a risk we can stand to take. There are digital files and notebooks full of plans for our corner of the earth for up to the next five years! It may seem to be much however those five years will pass by quickly! With each passing year we hope to implement our plans effectively.

Our planning for the Spring and Summer seasons usually begins around June of the year before. We prefer to begin with our bulbs. These include our garlic, onions, and leeks. This year we chose to do some onions and all our leeks from seed. That process went better than we could have hoped for! The data from that trial, however, will be inaccurate as we lost much of the onions in the Winter storm. We will have to scrap the data and try again Fall 2023. We did learn a valuable thing. In the future we will plan to plant our onion starts in beds that are already set up to have a cover secured on them. This will preserve them despite any freeze. Next we focus on potatoes. We study the season before and examine our results to determine if the same varieties will be included in our beds or if there is a need to change it up. This year we are sticking with Beauregard as it has been successful for us in previous plantings. As for seed potatoes we are more limited for space so we are only trying one variety for now unless things change and we are able to purchase more Olle raised beds. That variety is Caribe. It is purple skinned with white flesh. I love purple but have not had the best success with the Adirondack Blue seed potato so changing it up this year.

Once the aforementioned things are ordered we move on to seeds. This takes longer since a deep dive of what seeds we currently have will determine what seeds we need to secure. As we file through our collection we make notes of what is low or out of stock completely. That list is then compared to our garden notes from the previous season to determine if the variety was successful or not. Stick with or change it? This is a process that is on repeat when it comes to everything, even our chickens!

Execute

We have long been fans of the Jiffy pest pellet starter trays. They have always just seemed to work for us. However, as we expand our operation to include more for the community and our own family, its has become less sustainable for us fiscally. Also we have found that certain crops perform better when started in cell trays instead. Adjustment was needed. We have been following the Bootstrap Farmer company for a while. It seems that many farmers hold them in high esteem. With no real sustainable options out there we have decided to give them a try. We executed a small order initially to get our planting started and as funds became more available we did a larger order. So far we have been pleased with the quality of the products we have purchased. Time will tell if this really is a sustainable option for us. This will be determined by how well these trays hold up for us. We have secured cell trays, air pruning trays, microgreen trays, as well as pots. So far we have used them for planting flowers, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tomatoes, brassicas – basically everything! These trays have been moved to the growing station in the high tunnel and are doing well. The plan is to build our store of cell trays, pots, humidity domes, and etc over this next year. By 2024 we will not have the overhead expense of purchasing these items which should set us up immediately for a more fiscally successful year.

This year we have also executed more items from the five year plan for the property. That is installing more fruit trees. This year so far we have planted two pear trees and two apple trees. Before December we hope to have planted our Elderberry seedlings that are growing well now. We are also investigating cherry tree varieties compatible with our zone. Soon food will be everywhere! That is the aspiration anyway!

Brady Smore

Recently we lost one of our silkie chickens to some sort of predator. It was sad but thankfully it didn’t go to waste as the animal ate mostly all of the remains. We only found a small piece of the intestines and a wing. At this time we decided we would need to get another dog. Our dog Athena moved in with our son and our dog Duke died last year of intestinal issues. We have had no real security protecting the birds and we knew what we had to do but just didn’t really want to open our hearts right now. Not to mention the commitment involved in raising and training a dog. It can be a load! To counter point, however, we have been also entertaining the idea of getting me a service dog. This dog would go with me shopping and be with me outside while farming in case of a fall or other issue. This would preserve my independence and keep the family from feeling like they needed to babysit me or better yet, keep me from feeling like I needed to be babysat.

Enter Facebook. While scrolling through some of the pages we follow I saw a post with the cutest puppy EVER! After inquiring and more communication we took a drive and picked up my baby – Brady Smore. He is a Catahoula Leopard dog and true to their history he is very intelligent. These dogs have a history of being farm dogs and hunting dogs. We kept contact with the farm that put us in contact with the breeder. As it turns our their male dog was used to stud the female of the breeder. They also obtained a puppy, a female. While conversing over email we found out the most delightful news! Brady’s father is a service dog! I squealed and just said prayers of thanks. This dog seems to be exactly what this farm and I, personally, need. Brady has been immersed in pretty intense training. I am no dog trainer to be sure. We have been researching all over YouTube for the best techniques. We’ve also put out feelers for tips from trusted sources. A friend of ours, who owns a German Shepard and has a long history of animal husbandry, suggested the book, “Mother Knows Best” by Carol Lea Benjamin. It explores the way the mother dog trains the pup and translates that to human use. Many of the ideals we have already put into practice. So far he has mastered several commands, knows his name, and is learning the names of the family members. This dog has nudged his little self right into our hearts. He goes nearly everywhere with us and has his own personalized bedtime lullaby that he looks forward to each night. We’ve even noticed he rests longer when he get his bedtime snuggles and song. He’s our new baby. We will keep you up to date on his training and development.

New Life – More New Adventures

We have kits! Yes we have been successful in breeding two does to the same male. Our Giant Chinchilla, Cher was mated to our Giant Chinchilla buck Sonny. Cher had 13 kits! As it stands today 8 are alive and have full bellies. Sweet Pea, our Angora Lionhead doe was mated to Sonny as well and has 5 fluffy kits that are doing well too. Because her fur is so thick, Sweet Pea required shaving prior to her kits being born so that they can actually find the nipples. That was quite the undertaking for us ALL!

We hope to be able to sale these kits to either the public directly or to pet shops locally. If we are able to do so then we will be able to put this money towards feed and other costs associated with the rabbitry side of BHG.

There is more new life in the future for us. We have been planning on learning the ropes of incubating and hatching our own chicks. After much research and many videos (and more still ahead of us), we finally ordered the Nurture Right 360 incubator. Although it was at Tractor Supply we found it cheaper on Amazon and purchased it there. We have eggs on the way and are excited to see what breeds we can hatch out right here on our own farm! Our goal is to get Black Copper Marans, Legbars, Whiting True Blues and maybe even some Showgirl Silkies later on. This will definitely prove to be a fun project and it will definitely make us more sustainable as we will be able to hatch our own layers and sell extras to the community.

Farmers Market Season

Oh that time of the year is upon us again! Last year we dusted off the cob webs and got back into the game. This year we are more ready than we ever have been to get back into the swing of things! So far this year we will be participating in two farmers markets local to Dothan, AL One is the one we participated in last year the Poplar Head Farmers Market and the other is not really a farmers market per se but it is an opportunity to get our brand out there and meet the community. It is Market on Foster. Both of these markets are widely known to the local communities as well as surrounding towns. Since we are people, people, we are ready to go!

We will release official dates that we will be attending on our social media platforms and/or on our “Where Are We Now?” page early March.

This season we will continue to bring you our homegrown produce along with our bread varieties, homegrown tea blends, infused oils, infused vinegars and let us not forget the precious butt nuggets!

Just like last season Shima will be there in all her furry glory. This year she will have dino masks, tails, perhaps some art pieces, and even slime up for grabs!

We look forward to seeing you all soon! Take care!


The Goings On – January 2023

The grass plays patchwork on the farm this time of year. There are no flowers to share their glorious garments. The trees leaves reside on the ground where it seems wind and gravity have so purposefully placed them. Their branches, naked stand in expectation of what is to come in a matter of weeks. We learn a multitude of lessons from nature. What we learn from the trees is patience. Wait. It all comes back around in due time. The sky, every changing, however, manages to capture so much beauty all at once. With all it hues of blue, orange, pink, and purple, it has observed many highs and lows at our corner of the universe over the last month.

Artic Blast

We were absolutely exhilarated to see freezing temperatures on the forecast in December. If you are following our journey then you are aware of the constant struggle we have with certain pests. Aphids in particular have become the reoccurring nightmare that tortures us year after year. This Winter, thanks to the Artic blast that brought consistent freezing and below temperatures for days at a time, we received respite, however brief. When temperatures began to rise we noted a heavy presence of ladybugs in the high tunnel, all over the farm in fact! These little creatures waged the next battle in our war of pushing back the aphid population. They are quite adept at their job and have very healthy appetites. We are more than grateful for the assistance.

In September we took on the challenge of growing our own onion starts from seed. It was less of a challenge really and more of a test of our patience. While we waited for most our own starts to reach appropriate planting size, (some varieties grew notably faster than others) we ordered from our usual suppliers. These were already planted in various beds throughout the farm and in the high tunnel when the Winter storm hit our town. We lost 90% of those purchased starts and about 20% of what we grew from seed. This even after we took the time to cover beds with frost protection. It was just far too cold. The frigid temperatures along with high winds secured their fate. This was a blow to our yearly harvest plan. Onions sold well at the Farmers Market last year so we hoped to have enough for this season for returning customers, enough for our family to make use of, and even more to dehydrate and use in our spice blends. Rolling with the punches we simply replanted some of the areas that experienced losses with our own starts as they are all good sized now. They have been replanted in the Olle raised bed on which we plan to install hoops for a more secure protection should our temperatures drop & remain below freezing again this Winter.

In the high tunnel things were not as severe however there were losses. Our Snow peas took the biggest hit. They had only about 2 more weeks or so of heavy production before they would have tapered off. Still, we wanted those harvests to stock the freezer with these delicious legumes. It is what it is. Soon we will be enjoying the fruit of our last succession planting of snow peas since they managed to survive the freeze. How? Well the first couple of days of the storm the wind was high. We were not aware until too late that in one area of the high tunnel the plastic was ripped from the rail & wiggle wire. The space was only about 2 feet or so. Through those 2 feet concentrated, wintry air flowed freely down the right side of the high tunnel killing most of the producing peas. Also on the right side was dill that also took a hit. Thankfully, with some time, much of the dill has recovered along with the fennel which happened to be on the left side. The fennel is greening back up beautifully however the bulbs may be stunted. Time will tell. Celery – Chinese Pink & White – had some damage. The rabbits readily accepted those damaged leaves. After some fertilizing with fish emulsion, it also bounced back, put on new growth and much of it is being harvested as needed for customers and for our own personal use.

Our citrus fruit trees that we were storing in the high tunnel certainly did not approve of the cold, specifically the grapefruit tree. She lost all of her leaves however she is putting on new ones. The tangerine tree responded a tad bit better. Pear trees of course are very cold hardy and have since found their forever home on the farm.

Cauliflower, broccoli, and collards planted in the raised beds died. The collards likely because they had been transplanted just a couple of weeks before and had not been established enough to endure. All of these will be restarted from seed this month and planted in February for a Spring harvest.

Mustard greens seemed absolutely unphased by the cold. The existing mustards along with the succession planted younger plants are doing very well. Green mustards are available on the shop page. Mizuna mustard in the high tunnel took off after the freeze. We think it is because the pests that were feeding on it died giving it every opportunity to do what it does best. You can find it now on our shop page.

We were very happy with how well the chickens and rabbits faired throughout the subzero temps. Our Olive Eggers and Easter Eggers both began laying this month. Out of 22 hens all except perhaps one (our rescued Barred Rock who we believe to be too old to lay) are of laying age. With it being Winter of course production is lower. Our new layers are eager to lay so we are getting 8-10 eggs a day. This allows us to have enough for us each week and a couple dozen to share with our friends & subscribers. Considering what is going on in the grocery stores right now, this make us very happy. We will come back to that.

Our Giant Chinchilla buck, Sonny, seems to think I control the weather. During the freezing temps he was very unhappy with me that week, even refusing pets and bunny boops that he usually embraces. Oh how I do wish I had control over the weather! Then again, it maybe best to leave such things out of human control. He has been mated to Cher (Giant Chinchilla) and Sweet Pea (Lionhead/Angora). We hope to have kits in February. It is rather exciting and nerver wrecking to be entering this new arena. We have already experienced some losses which is very sad but that does come with the territory.

From Our Garden To Yours

When we began gardening with just our family in mind, we spent a lot of money on fertilizer. Organic this, organic that… the wallet was broken! While we are not allowed to use it directly on our garden areas due to our CNG certification, you should feel free to. It is not a hot manure and adds valuable nutrients to the garden. With an NPK of 2.4-1.4-.6. it is easy to use and will not burn your crops. If you are looking to grow a Spring garden, now is a good time to work it into the soil. Our rabbit manure is now available for shipping. For local delivery we are offering our rabbit manure tea which we aptly call Bunny Brew by BHG. It is sold by the gallon. It is great for use on your plants as they are in the growth stage however we do not suggest using on leafy greens for contamination issues or any plant that is flowering.

Let us not forget to share with you our eggshells are also available for use in your gardens as well! The average egg shell contains about 0.3% phosphorus and 0.3% magnesium. Although they only have a small amount of sodium, potassium, zinc, manganese, iron and copper it is the high calcium content that makes them so valuable. If you experienced any blossom end rot last season, sprinkle these in your garden beds right away as they do take a while to decompose. We have sped the process up some by decreasing the surface area by pulsing these into fine pieces. If you need immediate assistance you may consider using them to create a tea. We will show you how to do this over on our YouTube channel in the next month. If you have not already, please subscribe to our channel.

Moving Forward

In planning for the new season there is so much we want to do that we are bubbling over with excitement! One thing that is exciting is our Flowers by BHG subscription for Spring 2023. We anticipate many colors and varieties for the upcoming season. We have already planted many bulbing perennial flowers as well as some annuals. Tentatively, the Spring session will run from April 3rd – May 1st. These dates are subject to change depending on weather conditions. Since we are starting early Spring, many of our flowers are being started now and will be grown in Hoopty. Weekly we are starting many seeds to create beautiful arrangements for your homes and businesses. In addition to flowers our arrangements include edible herbs. These are very aromatic and give you the added benefit of use at your leisure. We hope that you will consider signing up for this exciting, educational subscription!

We had to take an extensive break from our MICROgreens by BHG after catching COVID. Thanks to our extremely understanding subscribers we were able to recuperate without the burden of worrying about deliveries. We are happy to announce we are opening up subscriptions again for Spring 2023. Dates for the Spring session will run from April 3rd – May 15th. We love how versatile the microgreen is. All in our family love them. Just the other day our daughter was rummaging the refrigerator looking for some for a wrap. It is a nice way to add a refreshing crisp to sandwiches and wraps.

Eggs are a huge commodity now days. With the avian flu taking out so many bird, prices of eggs are on the rise. As a result many have reached out to us looking to pay cheaper prices. We do need to take a moment and address this. Before the avian flu our large 12 count eggs was already $6. Our entire farm is certified naturally grown. This means everything we grow and everything our chickens eat is certified organic. At this point in life they eat better than us! From the feed to the garden scraps that they receive… everything is organic! Traditional feed prices have been on the rise for a while so imagine what has happened with organic feed prices! For this reason our eggs may seem higher in cost however this does not even begin to cover the cost of feed. It does provide some funds to put back into the feed bill making our chicken operation more sustainable. For now, that is the best we can hope for. We hope that things improve soon with the egg market. We also hope that you understand a little better why our prices are what they are. Although we didn’t go into great detail about wood prices, fencing, and other things that have also been subject to inflation, we think you get the idea.

Prices are all over the place. Up and up (seldomly down)! How would you like to secure your egg prices for six weeks? Well we are happy to announce Eggs by BHG our new egg subscription! Enjoy six weeks of eggs delivered to your doorstep! We are so excited but also very nervous to help our community in this way. We go to great lengths to keep our chickens healthy and happy so they continuously offer us beautiful golden yolks. Since we and our birds are new to this we are starting very small allotment with hope to expand later. You may wonder what is the benefit of the subscription verses buying eggs as needed. One outstanding benefit is that our subscribers get 14 eggs per week instead of 12. That is 2 free eggs each week. If you do the math that is one free dozen of eggs! Our farm is all about spreading knowledge. This subscription also locks you into weekly emails teaching you a bit about your beautiful yolks and how we care for our flocks organically. If this is something you have any interest in, we advise you to secure your subscription right away! In keeping everything as streamline as possible, dates will be April 3rd – May 8th, running alongside microgreen and flower subscriptions. There is a possibility we will do a Fall subscription but that will depend largely on how the hens are doing and how Spring goes. Check out our complete terms and conditions here.

We know we have just thrown a lot of new listings your way but we are not finished yet! If you have interest in flowers, microgreens, and eggs then we would like to offer you our BHG 3-6-5 subscription. It is a bundle of all three subscriptions we currently offer. This subscription saves you $15!

Well, friends, that is all for now. Thank you for you loyal support. Sending well wishes – from our family to yours!


Eggs by BHG

What a joy it brings us to offer this 6 week subscription service from our family to yours! Our hens are the only ones laying Certified Naturally Grown eggs in the state of Alabama! We proudly offer this homegrown goodness to you and yours!

Below you will find what to expect from us and what we expect from you should your sign up. Please read carefully prior to purchasing as purchasing is an agreement to the terms below. Contact us with any questions.

  • Subscription cost is $65.00 for 6 weeks and is non-refundable.
  • Subscription the Spring session will run from April 3rd – May 8th. Dates are subject to adjustment should our hens have an unexpected molt.
  • Due to Alabama Egg Shell Law eggs will arrive washed.
  • You will get 14 large eggs per week. Eggs in this subscription are large which means they weigh about 2 ounces per egg, 28 ounces per package. Colors may include blue, brown, green, pink, and/or white. Please leave a a cooler out the night before to receive these beautiful butt nuggets. If a cooler is not left out your eggs will be left on front porch or other specified location. Please ensure your delivery is taken in promptly as we are not responsible AFTER delivery is made.
  • If you are planning to be out of town on a delivery date we ask that you please give us a 7 day notice so that adjustments can be made. We will ensure that your skipped week (s) is added on at the end of the session. If we are not informed and your eggs are delivered with no one to receive them we are not responsible. That week’s eggs will be forfeited. If a change is unexpected or last minute just inform us as soon as possible.
  • If you have cold or flu symptoms please let us know. We will make your delivery for that week in disposable cartons instead. The following week we will get back on rotation with your reusable carton. Please dispose of disposable carton.
  • Each subscription comes with two complimentary plastic egg cartons that will be labeled for each customer. One we will use weekly to deliver your eggs, the other you will return each week to get your next weeks allotment. This cycle will be done weekly, excluding week one. To be returned at the end of the session.
  • Delivery is included within the Dothan City Limits. If you are not local we would love to be able to accommodate your needs. Please contact us to arrange a convenient drop location prior to purchase.
  • If purchasing as a gift please ensure that the recipients address is within the Dothan City Limits and is informed of these terms and conditions. Please provide recipients contact information including email.
  • Subscribing locks you into our email list. There you will receive notification of delivery, updates to the schedule, and other important news and updates. Please be sure to check your spam folder and add us to your contacts list.
  • Occasionally we may need to reach you by phone. Since we are aware that many of you are working during the day we will do this by text message. Please let us know if you DO NOT TEXT.

If you are ready to join, we advise yo do so as soon as you can. Subscribe here!