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Old 09-01-2016, 05:57 PM   #1
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Default September 2016 Garden and Homestead Thread

It seems strange that its just now September. We've been having September weather most of August!

How does your garden grow TBM?
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Old 09-01-2016, 06:09 PM   #2
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It's finally growing again! Even though I watered when permitted under bylaws, the garden did poorly. Everything bloomed early & many of my plants appeared to die off by mid-July.

Although it's remained hot, (until yesterday), we finally got some much needed rain in the last few weeks. Lo & behold, many of what I thought might be dead plants are putting up lush, fresh green growth - phew! I'll lightly fertilize this weekend, then get busy cutting back all the scraggly stuff. I didn't dare do much up to now for fear of stressing the plants out further.

Think I'm safe now.
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Old 09-01-2016, 06:48 PM   #3
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Although I really missed having a garden, I'm glad that we didn't do one this year, not even the container garden. The amount of water we would have used would have bankrupted us.

But the orchard did surprisingly well and we did keep it fairly well watered. Right now, we're inundated with figs. So we're putting a lot up as jam/spread. It will make lots of homemade Newtons.

DH finally pulled the honey a couple of weeks ago. We ended up with about 35 gallons. And he didn't harvest any from the 2 new hives. We got them as swarms earlier this year and they still aren't very well established. We were surprised by how much we got, considering how dry it's been this year. We sow clover and various flowers and flowering plants for the bees, but the drought really decreased the usual amount of wild flowers available for them. So we actually expected a fairly low yield. But the honey just kept coming and coming and gave us a nice surprise.

DH has been selling it for $25 per quart and people are happy to pay it, and are even willing to pay more. He already has orders for next year. So that got me thinking that we might take a look at using a CSA model for the honey. And possibly expand the orchard/berry/grapes sections as well. But that's something for the future and it will take some research and number crunching to see if it's realistic.

The manager of the power plant where DH works bought a full gallon. His daughter is going to break it down and give it as favors at her wedding reception. If we had a marketing plan up and running, that would have been a fantastic opportunity to get a lot of local exposure. Unfortunately, we aren't at that stage yet, or at least we didn't think we were. But you can bet that between now and next year, we will have a marketing program up and running. And it's probably time to think about going online with it as well.

The money from these sales will put a big dent in the start-up costs that we've payed for over the past 3 years.

Honey makes the sweetest money!
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Old 09-04-2016, 10:22 PM   #4
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Yesterday, I ran the dozer a little and pushed some dry material and stumps into a long/low burn pile. Today, I burned the pile. Tomorrow I'll push it together a bit and let it burn some more.

I gave a couple of tours today. They were to the Mushroom man and the Dozer/Beef man. They were both impressed with the changes and direction things are going. Having the land cleared has really helped me hone in on the plan. I'm liking it better all the time.

I'm off to take a nice hot bath.
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:26 PM   #5
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We're into garden veggie harvest and blackberries here. I just finished the last batch of jam half an hour ago, and late this afternoon I made a whack of basil pesto. I had the pesto finished in time to have for supper (served over pasta with a garden salad on the side), and I put the rest in the freezer, along with some whole blackberries that I'll use for baking some time later.

The next veggies to deal with are the remaining zucchinis. I shredded a bunch and froze it in freezer bags this afternoon, but I still have half a monster-sized one on the counter and two more large ones still on the vine in the garden. I'm thinking if I bake a couple double chocolate zucchini loaves tomorrow (we'll have some for dessert after supper), that should make short work of the one on the counter and give me something else for the freezer.

I'm slowly getting the pantry and the freezer filled up for the winter, but there's still a whack of food outside that needs to get harvested and put up (tomatoes, lettuce, kale, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbages, beans, herbs, peppers, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, carrots, rutabaga, parsnips, parsley root, salsify...). Everything's growing well, but seems to be a bit late. It's a busy time of year but it's sure nice to be largely eating what the garden produces and only having to pick up a couple things at the grocery store every now and then. Soon the farmers will be calling to tell me my beef, pork, chickens, turkey and lamb are ready to be delivered, and I already got a big bunch of fresh mackerel from my niece's boyfriend that he prepped and dropped off at my sister's for me. We should be good and ready for winter by the time it gets here.
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Old 09-11-2016, 01:05 PM   #6
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I love hearing about your life, RottieMom! It sounds so familiar but more in earnest. Planning for Winter in your area is important. Here, I'm planting again for the fall/winter gardens and so the season continues. This morning I've done chores, worked on the irrigation system, watered, spent time pondering a hog sorting system so that later today we can load a wedding pig, moved some gates and supplies needed to build that system and am in the middle of cleaning the laundry room floor (I'm having a big laundry room clean out and reorganize party...its been going on for a week now LOL). The kids are coming to do their laundry (and they don't know it yet but I'm going to try to get a couple of t-posts relocated while they're here). I REALLY need to do some dozer work but won't do it while the kids are here. Just too much to watch out for. Maybe this evening when I have some free time after chores.....NOT... tomorrow is another day.
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Old 09-12-2016, 08:16 AM   #7
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I always enjoy reading about your life as well BG! I'd dearly love to add animals to the mix here but my health just isn't good enough to take that on. However, I think I may have convinced my husband to hunt rabbits this year. He used to hunt a bit when he was younger, but then got away from it. It's really hard to find rabbits to buy locally. I have two in the freezer that my beef farmer gave me earlier this year - I had asked him if he knew where I could get some and he happened to have a pair in his barn that he'd rescued from under the step at his church in a bad winter storm. I'll make small, individual rabbit pies with them (for the freezer) but I never have enough for my liking. If I was well enough to have animals, I'd probably have some rabbits, pheasants, chickens and maybe a goat. However, I'll happily support my local farmers and fishermen and hope my husband will start going hunting and fishing again. Rabbits this year and maybe we'll add pheasants and deer next year.
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:14 PM   #8
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The extent of my gardening this month is pulling the weeds from my plant pots that I left alone this year. We have wild catnip growing. I haven't tried to grow it in at least three to four years. I've also cut some of the vines on the bush by the ramp into the house. I did buy stuff for the yard. Some weed killer to spray on the cracks in the driveway and along the fence lines. And I bought pest killer spray to kill off all of the spiders. They are thick outside this year and we've had a few inside too. One scared poor little Livi in the bathroom. I squished it with the molding it was hiding behind but tols her that Papa killed it and flushed it just to keep her on the potty training.
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Old 09-13-2016, 07:51 AM   #9
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I noticed my asparagus plants went to seed yesterday so I went out and picked the little red berries and today I'll see about squishing them and harvesting the seeds. My seed saving book says to wash the seeds well and let them air dry, so I figure I may as well give it a go - I've never tried saving asparagus seed before, so it'll be something new to try. I also dug through the innards of a bush cucumber and a zucchini to save their seeds. I wanted to plant English cucumbers this year, but these bush cukes were the closest I could find, and I could only find started plants, so I'm really hoping these saved seeds will produce for me next year. I should have probably invited my three nephews over to help (they're 6, 8, and 10 years old). I figure digging through the goop looking for seeds would have been just gross enough to make them happy. Maybe I'll have them out when I do the pumpkins.
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Old 09-13-2016, 09:13 AM   #10
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Let's see if I can post some pics....hmmm maybe not. At least not from this computer. I'll try again from the office computer.
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Old 09-13-2016, 09:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RottieMom View Post
I noticed my asparagus plants went to seed yesterday so I went out and picked the little red berries and today I'll see about squishing them and harvesting the seeds. My seed saving book says to wash the seeds well and let them air dry, so I figure I may as well give it a go - I've never tried saving asparagus seed before, so it'll be something new to try. I also dug through the innards of a bush cucumber and a zucchini to save their seeds. I wanted to plant English cucumbers this year, but these bush cukes were the closest I could find, and I could only find started plants, so I'm really hoping these saved seeds will produce for me next year. I should have probably invited my three nephews over to help (they're 6, 8, and 10 years old). I figure digging through the goop looking for seeds would have been just gross enough to make them happy. Maybe I'll have them out when I do the pumpkins.
RM, which variety of bush cucumbers did you grow? English cucumbers are the only ones I care to grow but they are finicky and it's hard to find seed. So if you've found a reasonable alternative, I'd love to know about it! And please let us know how the seed saving project goes. I'm curious to see what results you might get next year from the saved cucumber seeds.
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Old 09-13-2016, 10:26 AM   #12
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RM, which variety of bush cucumbers did you grow? English cucumbers are the only ones I care to grow but they are finicky and it's hard to find seed. So if you've found a reasonable alternative, I'd love to know about it! And please let us know how the seed saving project goes. I'm curious to see what results you might get next year from the saved cucumber seeds.
My husband picked the plants up at a local nursery and I'm not sure which variety he got - had I bought them I would have made sure I asked, but I was just happy to get them so I didn't complain. I'll look through my stuff and see if I have anything to tell me what they were, but if I can't find anything I'll try to pop by the nursery and ask. I really should find out for myself anyway so I can buy seeds if mine don't produce next year. I'm really hoping they do well because I was quite happy with the cucumbers that grew. The seeds seem a bit fragile and soft, and may be a bit immature, but I still have a few more cukes on the vine and I may let them go a bit longer in hopes of getting better seeds. I'll try to remember to let you know how they produce next year, but should I forget, please remind me. I think seed saving is a bit of a lost skill/art and I'd be only too happy to share how it all goes!
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Old 09-13-2016, 11:22 AM   #13
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My husband picked the plants up at a local nursery and I'm not sure which variety he got - had I bought them I would have made sure I asked, but I was just happy to get them so I didn't complain. I'll look through my stuff and see if I have anything to tell me what they were, but if I can't find anything I'll try to pop by the nursery and ask. I really should find out for myself anyway so I can buy seeds if mine don't produce next year. I'm really hoping they do well because I was quite happy with the cucumbers that grew. The seeds seem a bit fragile and soft, and may be a bit immature, but I still have a few more cukes on the vine and I may let them go a bit longer in hopes of getting better seeds. I'll try to remember to let you know how they produce next year, but should I forget, please remind me. I think seed saving is a bit of a lost skill/art and I'd be only too happy to share how it all goes!
Thanks RM.

I can most definitely relate to having the husband do the plant buying and not complaining about what ends up growing in the garden.

I'll try to remember to ask you about the seeds and plants next year.
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Old 09-13-2016, 12:47 PM   #14
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Lets try it again from the office:


hmmm well you'll just have to make do with a teaser. The rainbow picture was taken by a friend of mine during a camp out along the Buffalo River. The rest of the pics downloaded from my phone are sideways. More later
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File Type: jpg Walter's rainbow.jpg (155.7 KB, 49 views)
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Old 09-14-2016, 03:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
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RM, which variety of bush cucumbers did you grow? English cucumbers are the only ones I care to grow but they are finicky and it's hard to find seed. So if you've found a reasonable alternative, I'd love to know about it!
I couldn't find anything here on the variety of bush cucumber I ended up growing this year, so I called the nursery and they told me it was probably the Bush Champion - since we were looking for English cukes, or something quite similar.
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Old 09-14-2016, 03:28 PM   #16
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Thanks so much for doing that RM! I really appreciate it.

I'll check my catalogs and websites and see if I can find it. If not, and your seed saving experiment works, maybe we can make a swap and exchange seeds for some honey. I think we'd both end up happy with that deal.
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:01 PM   #17
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I would be more than happy to do that trade Catbird!! I may try a few of my saved cuke seeds when I start my tomatoes and peppers in early April. If they don't take, and you can't find any seeds in your neck of the woods, I can check to see if the nursery has those particular seeds for sale. If they do, I can buy them and send you some of those.
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Old 09-15-2016, 09:56 AM   #18
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I tend to order a lot of stuff from Amazon, including stuff for canning and jam making. The delivery guy speaks broken German, and he has been here often. This last time, I noticed that he was still standing outside near my front porch after he had already delivered my package. When I opened the door, I caught him red-handed with one hand full of plums, and the other hand still picking in my tree. He turned beet red, and stuttered out that the plums were all ready now. I told him to pick as many as he wanted, and closed the door.
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Old 09-22-2016, 09:28 AM   #19
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Yesterday was my last day with the dozer. Sniff. I really had a good time with that machine. There are still things to do but my thoughts now turn to seeding. P was here yesterday and spent the day working on electric fencing while I raced around moving dirt and nudging boulders into place. There is still some tweaking to be done but J, the dozer man will make that happen just before he loads it onto the trailer. I will have to turn my focus to getting familiar with the tractor.

This morning I've been wrapping up a stock project, getting it and the tailings into the freezer so I can be gone a few days. I've got a farm sitter to do my chores twice a day, D to hold down the office and take care of Dad during the day and J covering the nights. I hope it all goes well. I could come to like being able to get away from time to time
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Old 09-24-2016, 11:25 AM   #20
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Herbs for making pesto have been harvested and processed. I've made regular basil pesto, parsley pesto (one batch with almonds and another with walnuts), as well as broccoli pesto. I'm thinking about making carrot top pesto, but the carrots are still a bit small, so I think I'll leave them in the ground for a while yet and focus on getting the rest of the tomatoes processed. I've made just over 2 gallons of pasta sauce with the tomatoes so far, and I've got pounds and pounds of ripe tomatoes yet to get through. I've also got half a dozen boxes containing green tomatoes that I wrapped up in newspaper and tucked away in the closet, with more sitting on the counter waiting to get put away.

I blanched, and froze broccoli, kale, string beans, and pole beans. I've got more beans in the fridge that need to be blanched, and there are still more in the garden that need to be picked. There's also still loads more kale that I need to pick, blanch, and freeze, and there's more Romaine lettuce, zucchini and cucumbers that are ready to come in as well. The blackberries are almost done, but I think I can get enough for another batch of jam - I had really thought they were done, but they keep producing, so I guess I'll keep picking. We also have a HUGE wild rose bush on the other side of the field and I'm going to take a walk over there in the next few days to see if there are enough rose hips for me to try a batch of rose hip jam. Pumpkins are ripening up nicely, Brussels are coming along, as are the red cabbages. We'll leave the potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, carrots, parsley root, sunchokes, and salsify in the ground for a while yet and focus on what's ripe that needs looking after right now.

Hubby's on an all day firearms course so he can start hunting again. The rules/laws have changed significantly since he used to hunt, and apparently he needs to take this course in order to get the licenses he needs to legally hunt game. I just saw 4 big, male ringneck pheasants in my garden, so he can start with them and the rabbits that are zooming all over the yard.

Break time's over and now I need to get my next batch of pasta sauce made.
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Old 09-24-2016, 10:34 PM   #21
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Well, last night we had our first freeze. Durned bug got it right, again. How do Katydids know when the first frost will be, and 6 weeks out ? Durned if I know, but it has happened 3 years in a row with only 1 or 2 days off.
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Old 09-25-2016, 04:30 PM   #22
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MIL came over on Friday to help me whip my garden into shape. It had gotten away from me badly when I was working the night shift for a couple of years. Then came the burn-out and depression, and the garden got even worse. I have been working around the edges, but it needed some major renovation. MIL and I worked for 7 hours, with only an hour break for rain. It looks great, but MIL is like the frigging Energizer Bunny in the garden. I was in serious pain Friday and Saturday. The way she was going, you would have thought she was digging out little speed pills in the garding, and eating as she went. OMFG! My hat is off to that woman.
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Old 09-25-2016, 10:05 PM   #23
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Once the vines climbing all over the bush out front have died off I'll be able to pull them and not have them growing back as fast as I pull. I'm going to see if I can get Miah to do the weeds in the cracks and maybe even get DS to edge the sidewalk. I also plan to put some steps going up to the patio so we don't have to go down to the garage and then up the hill in the back or go out the steep steps out the back door. Now if I just get the energy to do it all.
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Old 09-30-2016, 10:17 PM   #24
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The last few days have been spent focusing on fall crops that carry well into winter along with cover crop seeding in the larger barren areas. One thing about doing all of this dirt work that while you are clearing and grooming things it sure leaves a lot of bare soil LOL. So now that the dozer is gone I get to learn more about what I can do with the little tractor Max gave me. It's ready to go and fired right up yesterday so the fun is about to begin.

I'm planting long (~150 ft) contour lines of each variety and marking them with black marker on pine stakes. Planted so far: spinach, mustard greens, several varieties of turnips, 3 varieties of cabbage, kale, collards, broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts, several varieties of beets, several varieties of winter radishes, cover crops of oats, rye, Austrian peas and two different food plot blends. Isn't this fun?? In the larger open areas that I'll use from time to time for livestock I've also planted Mangels and large varieties of radishes. There is much to do and at the very least I hope to get cover crops started so things don't erode.

In the greenhouse and adjacent garden I'm putting in more tender specialty vegies and those that need to be under row covers.

I'm really excited about seeing the farm green again.

The office end of the project is coming along and things are really starting to feel like a business. We're focusing on sprucing things up and making it safe for guests. That's one of those things that just needs MONEY LOL.

One of the projects that is starting to shape up is what P calls the Creekosystem. I've cleared, dug out pools and moved big boulders into a little wet weather creek that runs by the house. I'm trying to make it feel like a nice natural stream complete with waterfalls when it rains. It looks pretty good so far. We're hand placing rocks to create the look and will do some thoughtful planting to complete the feel. It's also a part of the intensive composting system developing to handle farm waste. By the time the water/compost makes it through it will be ready to recycle into the plant ecosystem and the process will begin again. In my mind's eye its fabulous and very exciting LOL
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