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 September 2022

September – the month that Summer turns to Fall. Let’s just say it is the month it is supposed to turn into Fall! August was a whirlwind for us. Between pest issues, health problems, and scorching heat, and extreme humidity it has been one wild August!

The Flock

The chickens are doing so well. They have been the one positive throughout this season. Our girls are growing very well and have the sweetest demeanor. They have now been merged with the 4 that we hatched out in May and our two Welsummers. For our largest flock yet! Twelve! That may not seem like a lot to you but building a run to ensure there is plenty of space to keep the peace was an undertaking to say the least. But using recycled goods, some new fencing, t-posts, and some pallets – we got it done!

There are two cockerels in this flock – Hope & Faith. Faith being the larger of the two and most outgoing has already begin to assert his dominance with the younger girls. It is quite interesting to watch. Hope on the other hand stays out of the way and occasionally will let the girls know he’s a dude. You may remember that Hope is the chick we almost lost. Our daughter took the task of hatching him out herself. We are so glad that we made that decision. He is just beautiful! He takes after his father and grandmother with the adorable feathered feet! And in the blackness of his feathers there is the most beautiful reddish brown coming through. Yes, him is a handsome fella! We are loving learning animal husbandry first hand by watching these traits pass from one chicken to the next. Best of all, we love that fact that each hatchling set seems to become more and more personable with us. As we observe them grow we admire our Creator more and more!

Right now we are at a whopping 25 chickens! That may not seem like a lot for a farm but just remember we are a microfarm. We started with 6! You could say this getting out of hand but we wouldn’t. While we didn’t intend to ever have this many, we have found something we love. Raising chickens is a dual fold benefit for us. We get beautiful eggs weekly that we can share with the community as supplies allow. When hens are past laying age we get meat and of course we use those bones for broth. We really can’t see why everyone doesn’t have chickens. Just saying!

When Spring 2023 comes around we will have a total of 21 laying hens. That is a lot of eggs! We are tossing around the idea of a small member egg CSA late Spring or early Summer. I mean who wouldn’t want a dozen Certified Naturally Grown eggs delivered to their door weekly?! If that is something you would be interested in please let us know. It would be nice to know what kind of market we have for it before diving in.

Fall Planting

Fall Planting has continued though not quite as planned. Our brassicas were doing very well, that is until They got leggy. After reviewing last years garden notes we think the culprit may be our favorite peat pellets! Last year we were able to save a good bit of the seedlings so we thought we could save these as well but when trying to set them out it was clear they were beyond saving. This is a real set back for us. This likely means that we will not be harvesting in Fall harvest on our brassicas. While that is disappointing it is not all a loss as we can still harvest in Spring. Those brassicas included – Collards, Broccoli, & Cauliflower. Late is better than never – right?

For the first time ever we are growing out our own onion starts. We decided to do this because there are more varieties of short day onion seeds versus short day onion starts. We really wanted to include some Granex varieties in our planting this year and we were having a difficult time sourcing starts. Ergo we are starting them from seed ourselves. We have started these so that by January they are hopefully at a sufficient size to set out.

We are not going to put all of our eggs in one basket though. Since this is a new endeavor we will still order our starts as usual. This will ensure we still get harvest if our starts somehow fail.

We planned to do a video but when the time came we totally forgot. We were in JUST GET ID DONE MODE! This is what we did:

  • We labeled 4 cups – one for each variety:
    • Timon (yellow, Grano)
    • DP Sweet (yellow, sweet, Granex)
    • Chianti (red, Grano)
    • Sapelo Sweet (yellow, sweet, Granex)
  • We poured the seeds in to each cup – about a teaspoon each variety
  • We covered with cool filtered water
  • We allowed to sit on the table uncovered for 3 days.
    • By day 3 all had began to sprout except the Chianti (red onion). If your seeds have sprouted be sure to plant sprouted portion down into the soil and part with seed attached up.

We will keep you updated on this journey!

In the Way of Available Produce

There a few times of the year where our farm is looking a little rough. Those time are usually times of transition. Now we are transitioning from Summer to Fall. Sadly there is just not a lot of produce items currently available. Our tea blends, infused oils, spice blends are in stock however. We hope to add fresh produce items to the shop page within the next 30 – 55 days as we have planted some fast growing leafy greens and root veggies. For now our microgreens are available to grow to order and we have opened subscriptions for Fall MICROgreens by BHG. Deliveries will begin October 21st and run through November 9th. We will remain open to accept subscribers until September 30th.

Life Changes

As we all grow and age we come we learn to adjust to the different changes our lives throw our way. Whether we like change or not it comes for us in some fashion or another.

Many that know our family know that I, Shena Nicole, deal with chronic health issues and have from birth. I don’t discuss these issues often as I have chosen to not let them define me. I just live my life. In fact, I forget sometimes that I have limitations and those are the occasions my body will rudely remind me. Recently I have had to deal with far more pain & limited mobility than I have in the past making it more and more challenging to accomplish even the most basic activities of daily living much less homesteading. Not being able to monitor the farm as needed has sadly even accounted for some of our crop losses this year. This in turn just made me an emotional wreck! Something needed to be done! A couple of doctor visits & tests later and we have a potential culprit but only time will tell. In the meantime chronic pain is being managed with new pharmaceuticals. While I am not one who cares for taking pills this is absolutely necessary for my quality of life. It is taking a lot to adjust to the new regimen. At first focusing was an issue which is why this blog is so extremely past due! However, I have already noticed some improvement in pain levels & mobility. Along with exercise & more diet adjustments, I am hopeful that with this improvement will come with more freedom to do what needs to be done to run a farm, a home, a family. Backing down is just not something I know how to do. With many prayers and the support of my friends & family, I do hope to put this phase of life in the rear view soon. There is just too much to do!

By the time we come back to you next month we hope to be installing new raised beds, planting garlic, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Cabbage, Carrots, & more! Like I said, THERE IS JUST TOO MUCH TO DO!


The Goings On – August 2022

Summer, summer, summertime! Admit it. If you were born in the late 70’s or early 80’s you likely sang that didn’t you! I sure did! Sorry DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince but here it is NOT – I REPEATE – it is NOT “time to sit back and unwind”! Summer is time for putting away the harvest and preparing for Fall on most farms. Things have been a little out of the ordinary this year for us with a little more of the same.

The Animals

The new females chicks that we added to the flock back in June are doing quite well. They are so stinkin’ cute! Even at month old they are retaining their adorable nature. I have noticed that some of them have a cute little tuft of hair on their heads, a mohawk if you will. From our research it seems that these should be the Olive Eggers. If you’ll recall the mix up at the store… so this is our somewhat educated guess. It may well be next year before we know for certain. However, for now they are happy and healthy. They have been moved from the brooder coop and into the bottom half of one of our larger coops. They will remain there till the 19th of this month at which time they will be moved to the teenage coop from which the current inhabitants – Hope, Peace, Faith, & Patience – will be migrated into the coops with the grown folks! It’s a process folks and with the limited space we have it has to be pretty precise. We hope to get a flock video update done this month so be on the look out for that.

Sonny and Cher have completely settled in! They are at home-sweet-home! Sonny is the ham of the two ALWAYS in need of attention and Cher is getting used to the attention – wanted or not. She so food motivated! She really loves to get fresh garden treats and who doesn’t?! We just speed the breakdown of our garden goodness by pushing it through their little bodies and out comes pellets of gold! We have their fertilizer available for purchase over on our online shop. It works!

Well we have gone and added yet more animals to our little farm. If you follow our social media then you are well aware of our newest additions. For those that do not know, I have long wanted Silkie chickens. I finally got some! We were given a rooster whom we have named Elvis. His girls are Anita, Dolly, and Gladys. They are the cutest little bunch! They are tricky little escape artists and have had us chase them ALL AROUND THE PROPERTY! We work fast to get them back into their runs because hawks are always nearby. I just like to sit and watch them under the shade trees in the morning with my cup of coffee. They really are an entertaining bunch, living up to their names. They are laying small beautiful cream eggs. Since they are pets we are not sure that we will have them Certified Naturally Grown although they are partaking of the same delicious Certified Organic feed. The thing is, these girls love to hide their eggs! It is an egg hunt everyday and we just aren’t sure we can guarantee the highest quality of freshness of their eggs for the public. However we are using them for ourselves. They are the perfect size for pickled eggs. It has been a while since we dropped a recipe over on our recipe page but rest assure a pickled egg concoction is coming soon!

We finally got around to butchering Kong. I was a little sad. Our son took that task on while our daughter and I handled the remainder of the processing. This time went much smoother than the first time. It felt so good to put that meat in the freezer! We will continue to rotate through our flock as needed but we hope soon begin to grow birds exclusively for meat production for our family. Although I personally have ceased eating land dwelling animals I really would consider reintroducing it into my diet if there was a steady supply of home grown available. Again much planning is on the horizon in order to achieve that. Perhaps by 2023 we will be in a position to do so.

The End Of Summer Farmer’s Market Season

July marked the end of Summer Farmer’s Market season for us. Man it was extremely hot! Next Summer we plan to be a tad better prepared to deal with the heat. We are researching now some personal fan options as well as some battery powered options. SOMETHING has to give! While we were not able to attend the last scheduled market due to COVID exposure we still celebrated as a family. This season taught us so much about how to really use what we grow to help our own family and our community! While many of our cash crops for the Spring & Summer did fail we had an oddly successful year with herbs and flowers. Play the hand you’re given right? We thus learned more ways to use those to make spice blends, spiced sugars, infused vinegars, infused oils, and potpourri – all of which will be added to our shop page as we restock our supplies. We also used our herbs to craft homemade breads that were a real hit with the community! It makes a lady feel good to know her baking is enjoyed by others!

We have tossed the idea around about joining a market for the Fall but it is not too likely. Although no one in the family has outright said no, I can tell we are all just tired and need a break. If we decide to take on the markets for the Fall we will inform you where and when. Whether we attend markets this Fall or not we have big harvesting plans as you can see from the aforementioned planting list. If we do not attend markets you can purchase these items via our shop page individually or you may choice to get our farm sampler baskets.

Our Summer pumpkin harvest is being preserved this month for use in those Fall recipes we all love! And you know we are definitely going to craft some new ones. How about a pumpkin spiced flatbread or brioche bun? Oh – THAT IS HAPPENING! We are deadheading echinacea blossoms weekly for teas that will most definitely come in handy this cold and flu season! In addition we are making a final push to plant, harvest, and preserve as many herbs as possible to create more spice blends before the first frost is here! These make excellent gifts! No, these hands aren’t resting one bit!

Hoopty

We shared with you last month all our disappointments with our tomato crop in the high tunnel. I wish I could say it stopped there. This season has spiraled into one that will truly induce depression if I so choose to focus on all that has been lost. Currently the high tunnel is nearly empty. Roselle, long beans, strawberries, a few eggplants, and peppers remain. Grasshoppers decimated the okra. Thankfully they left the roselle and we should be able to harvest calyces soon. Long beans are just putting on flowers and beans. Is it fanciful thinking to think the grasshoppers will leave these for us? The good thing about the Hoopty being empty is that she can be prepped to receive Fall plantings and our last hope for tomatoes for the year. Our tomatoes that we started for Fall harvest are ready to be set out and we will be doing that this week. Among that planting will be broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, cabbage, collards and various herbs we need to stock up on the spice rack.

Learning From Failures

A lot of our crop failed this Summer. It is a fact that this Summer season is the worse one yet for our farm and at such a terrible time. Groceries are at an all time high and if you hadn’t noticed we are in fact in a recession. Our freezer will not be stocked as it was last year. There is no way around it – THIS IS A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT! However, we have learned so much in just these last 7 months. I subscribe to logic and logically if you learn and grow from failures then I steadfastly believe they do not have to be viewed as failures. Instead could it be training? If so, then the Spring & Summer 2022 growing seasons have been training sessions like no others for the Bain family farm. We have learned the ways of the ever developing farmer-gardener! There is no class to graduate from as we are always learning from God’s beautiful creation & from each other. We have learned to network among our fellow farmers. We have learned how to aggregate more goods from even a meager harvest and merchandise these to sustain our farm financially. These very items too have saved us money at the grocery store because we no longer have to buy what we have the skill and ability to make. We have learned to take what we have in abundance and use it in various ways to benefit us and our junior livestock. We have learned to use rabbit manure effectively. We have learned to feed our rabbits off the land we live on, understanding what is safe for their consumption and what will make them happy. We are improving butcher by butcher our technique of harvesting & processing our chickens. We have mastered turning their manure into useable compost that will feed our beautiful fruits and vegetables for a whole season. We have been reminded yet another year that for every step we take towards self sufficiency we have rich blessings from above amplifying our efforts. Even when these do not quite measure up to what we hoped today they are still more than we hoped for many yesterdays ago, before our eyes were opened to such a wonderful way of living. After praying it out, after crying it out, and talking it out with Mr. Bain Home Gardener this is my take away. If you have had a disappointing season as I know many have, take your training to your next season. Whether that be Fall for you or Spring of 2023 just take it with you and share it with someone else.


The Final Summer Market of 2022

We have thoroughly enjoyed the Summer Farmer’s Market season but it has come to an end. This Saturday will mark the final Summer Market for us with Poplar Head Farmers Market! Its been hard work. It’s been super hot! Despite it all we are really excited to have had this experience in getting back into the swing of Farmer’s Markets. Our family has really re-learned to work together in putting up and taking down, preparing, and selling. It really is a good team building exercise. In addition to that we have made new friends with our fellow growers and vendors! Let us introduce some of them to you here.

With just one more week left we are calling out to all of you who perhaps have not had a chance to visit yet to come on down! We want to see you – our community! After all isn’t that what these markets are all about!? We are celebrating the successful end to the season by offering all visitors to our table that spend $20 or more one free home delivery within the Dothan City limits. Coupon code will be emailed to you the following day and is redeemable to the end of 2022! Just what goodies can you expect to see?

  • Eggs
  • Kale
  • Microgreens
  • Freshly baked bread
  • Spices
  • Herbs
  • Tea blends
  • Jams & jellies
  • Infused oils & more!

In addition to that we will have a FOR THE GARDEN section of the table that will include: Certified Naturally Grown eggshells, rabbit manure, Sunflowers, and Zinnias! If that isn’t enough incentive for you then come on out and see Shima and all her furry creations! This is the last week to snag her fur paws, tails and more while they are on sale! We look forward to seeing you this Saturday, July 23, 2022!


The Goings On – July 2022

Heeeey y’all! It’s a whole new month with whole new farming fun! Come along and let us give you the scoop!

New Farm Additions

Farm life is all about growth and that is exactly what we are doing! We’ve added 3 Olive Eggers & 3 Easter Eggers chicks. We are very excited to add these sweet girls to the BHG flocks! You may recall that in May our skilled brooder Shrill-x hatched out 4 chicks – 2 boys & 2 girls. They are growing so fast! The plan is to give these girls to one of those boys, Hope perhaps. We have named the 4 chicks as follows: Males – Hope & Joy; Females – Faith & Patience  all qualities we are developing day by day! These chicks will serve as a reminder to not give up in becoming better people.

In other chicken news we are unfortunately being forced to cull two of our original flock – the rooster (Kong) & his cohort at the top of the pecking order (Brownie). The two of them began eating eggs just as we got our eggs Certified Naturally Grown – THE NERVE!!! We have tried everything to stop this behavior but it’s continued. We separated Kong first but we were still not getting the amount of eggs we should so we knew that there was another culprit. Then we caught Browine yolked-beaked & yolk-footed! After seperating her as well the egg count returned to acceptable numbers minus Brownie’s eggs of course. We had planned to cull some of this flock anyway in the Fall so the sting isn’t quite as bad. However, in this time of uncertainty and inflation we are happy to add these birds to our freezer!

Well we did say farm “additions”. Here is the plural. Meet Sonny & Cher! These beautiful thoroughbred kits are only 10 weeks old pictured here. Huge right? Rightly so because they are Giant Chinchillas. Adults average upwards of 17 pounds!They are a beautiful addition to the BHG fertilizer crew! These two have the sweetest disposition! We got them from a local rabbitry. They really know what they are doing and we have learned so much from Lauranna the owner. Before the year is out we may have expansion completed on the farm to add 2 Flemish Giants. That would complete our rabbit wishlist!

This month we will have more additions to the farm but we can’t say what just yet. It’s a secret for now but we will be posting a video over on our YouTube channel. I am so stinking excited!!!

Disappointments

The extreme heat wave we had last month absolutely destroyed all of our tomatoes that were growing in Hoopty.  This is troubling since tomatoes are on demand at our home daily. I’ve accepted responsibility for not planting all greenhouse varieties. You can see me rant about that drama here. However, in speaking with other growers in our area we, have found that they also have had the same result in their high tunnels. Fortunately, we didn’t have a total loss as the tomatoes yielded well before giving into the heat. Some of these went to market, some we ate fresh, and the remainder went into the freezer until we can make time for a canning day. Thankfully since we have a long growing season we are able to start over. We have already started 4 more greenhouse varities and within the month they will be ready to be set out.

In other disappointing news are our tomato trials of Accordion, Pink Fang, & Gezahnte beautiful though they may be are not standing up well against the pest pressure in our area. We do belive the fight against the heat wave did weaken them so we are restarting a few of them as well.

Success

The 3 Sisters Garden plot really took off & was very successful for us! We yielded beautiful pumpkins & tasty corn. With this trial we’ve learned a lot! Summer squash didn’t do so well in this set up for us. While the pumpkins did. Our Blauhilde pole bean is too vigorous for the corn so we will try a different variety next time. There’s still a couple rows of corn left & a few pumpkins left to harvest before we pull everything and start leveling out the ground to prepare for building our simple greenhouse. This structure will serve as our seed starting & seedling storage space. We are still working on building plans. Mr. Bain Home Gardener has a lot of work ahead of him! I so appreciate & love this man. If you have a supportive man holding you down spiritually & emotionally, helping you reach your goals, and smiling while he walks the fire with you – TELL HIM & HOLD HIM TIGHT!

Waiting & Planting

We are patiently waiting the harvest of our sweet potatoes and other potato varities. We like to fertlize them once a month with bone meal. The OMRI Listed brand we prefer has become increasingly difficult to source. When we finally got our hands on some we decided to stock up! We have more potatoes to plant this month, garlic to plant before the year is out as well as onions – all of which require bone meal! Oh – & our last batch of tomatoes too! Supply issues are of serious concern now a days so if there is an product you use regularly in the garden or otherwise, stock up!

Fall Planting

This month will wrap up farmers market season for us and right in time too! We have to get ready for Fall! Fall planting is so important for us! Cauliflower, broccoli, collards, mustards, & the aforementioned all are started now for an Fall harvest and planted again in Fall for Spring! Having the freedom from the weekly markets will make it easier to get everything done. Hopefully our Fall will look slightly better than our Summer has.

So that is what’s going on over at Bain Home Gardens. We are off to get some farm chores done. Till next month…


The Goings On – June 2022

June is known for a lot around the world but we here at Bain Home Gardens know it for graduation parties and oh yeah – THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER! Before we get into June let’s review what happened in May!

Flowers By BHG

May started and concluded our Spring Flowers by BHG subscription. It was definitely a whirlwind of a month of harvesting and arranging the bouquets. We won’t complain since we rather enjoyed creating these living works of art.

We harvest arrangements for our home as well and we were very impressed at how well the flowers held up. Even when delivery day was extremely hot and humid our subscribers report that their arrangements perked right back up once indoors.

Particularly have we been thrilled to add new selections to our bouquet this year like our Bee Balm Wild Bergamot. Unfortunately our lilies are being little divas and the majority of them have not opened. Not to fear Summer subscription is here! That’s right, Summer subscriptions are open now and will remain open till subscriptions sell out or until June 15th. Deliveries begin July 4th and will continue for 5 weeks. You can expect zinnias, lilies, petunias, marigolds, and of course SUNFLOWERS! Grab you subscription while they are still available or grab one as a unique gift for that flower lover in your life!

MICROgreens by BHG

Microgreens subscriptions are also up for renewal and open for new subscribers until June 15th as well. We have adjusted our model since we first begin growing microgreens for the public. You can read about the changes here. Like everyone we are having to make adjustments in how we manage things due to the increasing cost of supplies and shipping. For example we bought a package of seed for microgreens to try. After realizing we really enjoyed them we decided to purchase again. The cost had already gone up significantly in only a month! We have found that buying in bulk for our seeds as we do for our pantry does of course save us a few pennies. We accounted for that savings and inflation when adjusting our prices for our microgreens. As we work to grow from sustainably sourced organic seed the cost sometime can be prohibitive. We do not want to give up on growing our microgreens however so adjustments have been made to continue this journey. If you would like to join us this Summer, you can join here.

Big News

You guys joined our journey back in April of 2021 when we got our first flock of chickens from our friends at Hawkins Homestead Farms as they were thinning their flock. Since then we have learned so much! We love our chickens so much! They each have so much personality and their own preferences. It been such a joy having them. Only a couple of months into being chicken parents, our resident brooder, Shrill-x hatched our first two chicks, shortly after, one and just recently, FOUR! Needless to say our flocks has really grown! We have no complaints either since farm fresh eggs are definitely at the top of all of our favorite things to eat! The flavor, the color – what’s not to love?! Ensuring the eggs have the highest quality possible for us and our customers is a bit of a challenge now a days as the economy shifts. Organic feed is really expensive but we’ve carried that weight because we know its worth it. We recently even found ways to stretch our feed which decreases our feed bill while actually increasing the quality of the feed!

That’s all good and well you maybe thinking but what’s the big news? Well you know that our farm is CERTIFIED NATURALLY GROWN. This includes our microgreens as well. We are very proud of that! As of June 2, 2022 our chickens & eggs are too! This means our eggs & meat (if & when we begin meat production) all CNG! This feels so good as we already know that we put forth great effort to ensure our girls are VERY well taken care of. Now when our customers see that CNG seal on our carton of eggs they too can feel like confident in what they are buying. If your are curious about CNG and their standards please feel free to check them out here. Also here is our CNG profile. Today we will be combing through the millions photos we have of the chickens and eggs & uploading some! Truly exciting! What do you think of these above?

New Product Line

We are excited to offer a little bit of our homestead with the public by creating a name for what we already do! Introducing Real Simple Surface Cleaners by BHG! Around our homestead we commonly use vinegar to clean our counters and stove. We sometimes infuse with orange peels and at other times we use our herbs that are grown right here on our farm. The first in this line is our Lavender Infused Vinegar. I love the label on this because there are literally 2 ingredients – vinegar and lavender! It really does not get any more simple than that! You may wonder if the vinegar smell is still there and I have to say that yes it is but not as strong as vinegar on its own and it has undertones of lavender. Each 16 ounce jar makes a total of 32 ounces of cleaner. The next in the line will be Basil Infused Vinegar. We will have these at our table at Farmer’s Markets but you can also purchase from our shop.

Trials

The Three Sisters trial area is growing WILD! Beneath the large leaves of the Winter Squash are beautiful fruit. I honestly cannot tell if its pumpkin or some other squash but the good thing is time will tell!

The beans, although started a couple of weeks behind the corn, have managed to outgrow the corn! We think this particular variety may just be to vigorous for this set up. In the future we will choose a variety that does not grow quite as densely. You can see that the corn is setting nicely although the plants themselves are rather short. We are not sure what that means as the actual ears of corn but we do remain hopeful.

Our heirloom tomato trials are going nicely too. Orange Accordion and Pink Fang have set fruit and we are just waiting for them to ripen. They have held up nicely through high winds and are standing up to the Summer heat well. We are already in the 90’s here in Alabama and it isn’t even officially Summer yet!

This heat is desirable for some plants such as okra. Our Motherland okra has not done very well. The initial plating died except for one plant. We replanted it in the high tunnel and that planting is still very young so it is too soon to tell how it will do. We are really hoping that it is successful!

We also planted for the very first time Roselle which grows a lot like okra, in fact they are cousins of sorts. We acquired this interesting plant from a fellow organic gardening enthusiast. We hope to be as successful as they have been but if not we know who has the goods!

Planting

We have recently planted sweet potato slips, 3 types of potato, grape vines, final plantings of peppers and tomatoes, beans, arugula, sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias, & more! Up for planting this month is succession plantings of dill, basil, squash, and cucumbers. We have a lot of work to do!

Harvests

We have harvested and cured the last of our onions. This onion harvest is our best to date! Have we found the recipe? We are afraid to say yes as these things can be so fickle. As with our Garlic harvest which was just terrible! We actually know what the problem was. We made two mistakes. One we didn’t trim the tops as we normally do which lead to the tops falling over and the bulbs not growing as large as they could have. Second we did not trim the trees around the bed we grow our garlic in . This meant the area was shaded out far too much. The bulbs are so very small that peeling them is going to be a real nightmare! Trust me next year – WE WILL DO BETTER!

The Bee Balm Wild Bergamot was harvested. We noticed that some were so top heavy with blooms that they were falling over onto the ground! So these are the ones we started harvesting first leaving the upright ones for the bees. We are preparing them now for tea blends.

Fruit

We have enjoyed using our Blackberries in our tea blends. The flavor was quite amazing! We will welcome them back next year so we can do it again!

Blueberries are coming in nicely. We have planned to add more blueberry bushes to the farm for a couple of years now however more pressing issues have take precedent. Lets see what Spring 2023 holds.

Muscadine vines are pretty loaded this year. We hope to make more muscadine jelly this year with our harvest! You know we also will be eating more than our share too!

The Nectarine tree sadly will not be yielding any usable fruit this season. We are sad about it however this was beyond our control. This tree sets fruit really early in the season. The late freeze we had destroyed all the fruit that had set and the secondary fruit was tiny. The chickens enjoyed them.

The Fig tree is doing great! We do however have a concern. We have noticed an increase presence of squirrels on the side of the property that holds our fig tree. We are hoping that they do not rip us off as they did with the Loquat tree.

Lemon trees are growing very fast however we have noticed no blossoms again this year. Someone said to us that there is a chance that it may blossom in the Fall but we are not sure if that is accurate or not. We will see. What did bloom and has fruit is our Grapefruit tree! For the interesting story about this tree click here. We aren’t expecting these to reach maturity but its nice to see some signs of fruiting.

Well that is all folks! if you are local to the Dothan, Al area then we hope to see you at Farmer’s Markets throughout the Summer!