Planning The 2018 Garden

Raised Rock Beds

Raised Rock Beds

Planning the 2018 garden is already in the beginning stage. Our garden this year was a waste. Except for the food we ate from it like lettuce, tomatoes, kale and herbs. Larry had too many projects going that he couldn’t stop doing to work in the garden. Bugs were extremely bad and I am not one to whine about them too much. I got some pretty bad stings and bites. In one of the raised beds I uncovered a yellow jacket underground nest! I stayed away from that area. We also had numerous mice and moles digging everywhere. Our two cats were killing at least two a day for awhile. That is reason enough to leave the garter snakes alone. They like to eat the mice and moles, but I wish they would leave my frogs alone! I once rescued one from a snake in the process of eating it.

Wood Raised Beds Removed

Wood Raised Beds Removed

When Larry finished some of the major projects we had going on (I’ll share them with you in a future post), he removed the wood raised beds on the side of the house. I was sad to see them go, as I had spent many happy days in those beds. I remember the cats out there with me or even longer ago when I had my pet red hen, Lil’ Red, following me around the garden while I worked. A very peaceful way to spend a day. It was just too much for us to manage. We had fifteen total beds, seven wood ones on the side of the house and  six rock ones in the backyard. Then there are two block ones where the guy wires for the wind turbine are anchored. Add in the fact that I am having trouble getting around and my poor husband ends up doing all the hard work. He doesn’t complain though. At least not to me.

The Jurassic Bed

The Jurassic Bed

Some of the rock beds in the garden are huge and keeping the weeds down in them is a major job. We plan on changing one or two of them into a hoop house so we can get a head start on the gardening season here in NY. The area where the wood raised beds was is going to be a small fruit orchard with fruit trees and some berry bushes. We have talked of doing this for some time now and next year is the year. No more excuses!

The Snake Bed

The Snake Bed

As I have been analyzing our garden and what we want to grow, I found these ideas to implement in the garden next year:

  1. Two soil test kits. One for the PH and one for minerals.
  2. Find a good method to start the seeds in the house that keeps them warm.
  3. Fruit trees and bushes in the side garden area.
  4. Order “Blight Free” tomato seeds (NON-GMO hybrids) or we will never have any growing again.
  5. Use Ruth Stout’s “no dig” method of growing potatoes.
  6. Mulch all the beds and make them as “weed free” as possible.
  7. Next fall (2018) plant a cover crop in them and maybe in the paddock too.
  8. Plant a strawberry bed in several hanging baskets or bags.
  9. Build trellis for vine plants.
  10. Tomato cages and red mulch for the tomato plants.
Going to Seed

Going to Seed

It sounds like a lot to do but I think buying the items needed will be the most difficult. So going to buy them little by little over the winter so in the spring we are prepared. Once that is accomplished our gardening time will be much more enjoyable. Especially harvest season!

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Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole


Cats In My Garden

Rocks In Bed for Cat Protection

Rocks In Bed for Cat Protection

Cats in my garden! Yikes, they are my own too! Cats are my biggest pest in my raised beds. My own cats! I had to figure out what to do so I could replant them after the cats ruined most of the plants I planted earlier. I got a lot of ideas of what I could do. One of them that I really like is the idea of using hardware cloth laid down on the top of the bed. Then plant each seed in one of the little squares. That would work. But at this time I needed something I already have. What do I have plenty of? Rocks, of course! An unlimited supply. I knew my cats, being elderly, are quite lazy. They don’t want to have to go to a lot of trouble to dig. I put the small rocks around each plant so there wouldn’t be enough space for them. These cats dig DEEP holes! Even if you chase them out of it when you are out there or see them, they will come back to it later. It is a never ending battle with them.

Small Rocks Around Plants

Small Rocks Around Plants

It is not just the stone beds that they are attracted to. The wood beds they destroy too. I am fortunate when I have any plants coming up. Next year I will make sure to plant with the hardware cloth. This year though, I took smaller sizer rocks, but not too small, and put them around each plant. I wish I had done this before I planted another bed of bush beans. If I had, I would have made a circle of rocks and put the seed in the center. Anything else I plant from now on, I will do in that way. Trying to make it uncomfortable for Patches and Hobo to use it for a litter box. Cats in my garden is not a good thing at all. My biggest regret is that I allowed our cats, since we moved here in 1999, to be indoor outdoor cats. Before that my cats were always indoor only cats. It is okay until they get old and you feel it is safer for them to be inside only. They get stressed over you trying to change that status so late in their lives. I gave up on trying to make that change. So I end up living with a lot of stress caused by the choice of so many years ago.

Rocks Keep Plants Safe

Rocks Keep Plants Safe

Over the years, we have saved rocks and stones in a big pile. The paddock is full of rock, big ones too. Our three horses uncover them running around all the time. We try to pick up the rock often. Keeping it stored in one central place makes it easy to work with it when you need various sizes for a project. The cats in my garden is one project that I am hoping will be accomplished with our rocks. When my husband originally built the bed I call the “snake bed” (due to its shape and size, not that it had snakes, though it does), he took the rock out of the area on the house that he hand dug to add a room onto our cellar. These rocks were huge and he had to carry them up a ladder and all the way to our backyard. I should add, without me knowing what he was doing. I was right in the house and he did it without me ever seeing him do it. Then he built that bed and came in to get me to come outside to see it. I was amazed, to say the least.

Cats in my garden

Here comes Patches!

 

Hopefully, I have solved this problem of my cats in my garden and ruining all the new plants. Once the plants get to a larger size, they are pretty safe. We don’t even have wild life in our garden and to think the biggest problem is our own pets is unbelievable to me. My father always had wild animals destroying or stealing his plants and produce. I live in the state forest and don’t even have that problem with any wild critters. We’ll see how this works.

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


Fall In Upstate New York

Homesteading on the Internet

Forest Across the Road


Fall is here in upstate New York! It is a beautiful time of year. For some people, me especially, the cooler temperatures are a welcome relief. No matter how much I try, I just don’t care for hot weather. Hard to believe I lived in Florida and loved it back then. Of course, air conditioning was constant the years I lived there as an adult. Now that I am older, I definitely cannot take the heat. There will be no “snowbirding” or retiring to a warmer climate for me! I plan to stay right here in New York state, and quite happily.

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Fall for me usually is a time of gardening and canning. This year the garden didn’t do so well, so not much work to speak of. I didn’t go the local produce market either, which I usually do. Not enough time this year. I will get back to canning, besides I’d rather get some meat to can and that is something I do all year long. Especially during the winter. This year I am planning on making a variety of fast meals in a jar that are low carbs only. No potatoes, rice or pasta! After the potatoes I have in my pantry are gone, I won’t be buying any more. My husband can eat the last of them as I am not touching them.

Purple flowers

Purple Flowers!


Finding fresh greens outside for a our pet house rabbit, “Rabbit” is almost over with. He has been loving the big variety we find for him every morning and evening. I am hoping to find a source of organic carrot tops for him. They are one of his favorite foods and we had a huge amount growing all summer. He gobbled them up heartily. In the future, we plan to rebuild our deck into a sun room and can hopefully, grow greens all winter for all of us. I will miss the cucumbers too. We do not buy cucumbers in the store very often. We just give them up when the garden is done. This year I didn’t start them inside, which is probably why our garden wasn’t as good as usual. Lesson learned!

Planter

Empty now!


This bed in the picture has our guy wires from the wind turbine inside. These beds were finished early this fall. I have two of these beds and I have written about them in a previous post or two. This one had cucumbers and cilantro growing in it. They did very well. I have considered planting some cold weather greens in these beds and covering them with some heavy plastic. One year we had kale in the garden and left it over the winter. I dug down under the deep snow to harvest some and it was good. Not ruined at all. So I believe I could do that again. If you dig down deep in the snow it is warmer than you think. One year when I was cleaning the outhouse roof off, my feet were deep down in the snow and they were hot. If you walk out into the forest behind us in the cold winter months, you will find little deer beds all over the place. They just scrunch down into the snow and sleep, the mothers with their tiny fawn beds right next to them. Loved seeing that! 

Fall in NY state

Beautiful Fall Days!

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Preparing For Winter

Peaceful Forest

Peaceful Forest


Preparing for winter is always on a homesteader’s mind. Summer is officially over for me on the Labor Day holiday. It already felt like fall here in upstate New York anyway. The trees surrounding our homestead have been steadily falling and turning color. Fall always means a time to set goals and get to work. Must be my brain associates it with the back to school time period from my youth. Normally, I’d be canning up a storm right now, but our garden didn’t produce as much as it normally does. The weather was the culprit, not I! Does that mean I do not have much food in my pantry this year? No! It doesn’t. Every year, I can as much as I possibly can. The years my garden has produced a lot of vegetables, I did not give them away or throw them out. I canned them. Even when I had summer squash coming out of my ears. I saw it in my sleep……I swear, I did. 

Preparing for Winter

Home Canned Pantry

If you took a look at my cupboard of home canned vegetables, you would see quite a variety. Right now the one thing I am low on is meat and fruit. Soon I will be at my local markets to pick up some to can and that will round out our food supply in no time. Fall is the best time for those delicious NY apples, grapes and pears. Fall is also the best time to purchase local meat from farmers. This is the time they send livestock to market so they don’t have to feed it over the winter. Having a cupboard full of fast food, which is what I call it, makes winter easier, so when preparing for winter, keep that in mind. Especially if you have power outages where you live. I am fortunate not to have any, but that is another story.

Gathering Kindling

Gathering Kindling

My list for preparing for winter this year includes:

  • Firewood – a good size pile to start with. We get more all winter.
  • Kindling – we still have a supply of that, but will get more anyway.
  • Wood Stove – cleaning out the wood stove, if it needs it and the chimney. The chimney my husband cleans all winter long as needed.
  • Gasoline – for our generator and chainsaw. 
  • Fuel Mix & Extra Chains – for chainsaw. 
  • Windows – they are not energy efficient, still have wavy glass. Cover them with clear plastic for extra protection.
  • Wood Cook Stove – take the whole stove apart, piece by piece and thoroughly clean it. The chimney on this stove never needs cleaning.
  • Vehicles – they have been worked on a lot this summer, so should be good to go, unless something else happens to them.
  • Horses – no worry there! Winter is their season………..they live for it!
  • Food & Supplies – always adding more and replenishing what we have used. Lots of home canned foods.
  • Griswold Bolo Oven – Bring it downstairs near the wood stove. We will be baking and roasting in it all winter.
  • Warm Clothing – this is what we need this year. Both of us are lacking in the shoe department. So new boots, shoes, slippers (for me), gloves, jacket and socks and jeans for my husband.

This is about it for us. Preparing for winter gets easier the more years you have done it. It seems to be easier for homesteaders living off the grid. Whatever you do, plan for it and work on it during the summer. Winter will arrive no matter what. In NY, winter is hard so we do what we must.

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Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

 


Bush Beans Are Finished

Bush Beans All Done

Green & yellow beans are done for 2015.

Bush beans in our garden are finished for this year. I didn’t plant as many as I usually do. The reason for that was I have a huge amount of them canned from previous years. I have to admit that I thought I’d get more than I did. I usually do. This is one of our worst garden years yet.I did get some though, so I will not complain. Some is better than nothing. Today I picked what was left, half a basket. Then I pulled up the plants. They had turned yellow and didn’t have any flowers left. 

Bush Beans done

First Bed Done

The bush beans I plant are two different types, the contender and yellow wax beans. I can these and they are still crisp and fresh when I open the jars. They smell fresh picked. I cook them often and we love them. I can’t remember my mother making green beans that often when I was growing up. I know my husband’s mother probably didn’t either, because one time when I asked her if she wanted some fresh from the garden, she said they didn’t eat those. We certainly do. I fix them with a bit of bacon grease or Italian salad dressing. But you can use all types of seasonings or salad dressings to make them appeal to the fussy eaters in your house.

Working on Bush Beans

Working on Bush Beans

These two beds contained only bush beans, but the other beds have cherry tomatoes (that I did not plant! They are volunteers that come up all over the place every year.). There are also carrots, kale, three different kinds of cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, herbs, zucchini and some other things that I have probably forgotten. Gardening is fun for me and it is a good excuse to get outside. Otherwise, I’d probably be on the computer most of the day. In winter, I hardly ever get outside. As you can see in the pictures, I just move my chair along the beds and it makes it easy for me since I can get down on the ground to work in the garden. 

Bush Beans Cleaned Out

Both Beds Cleaned Out

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Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.

 


Dual Purpose Planters

2014 Butternut Plant

2014 Butternut Plant

Dual purpose planters are all around my forest homestead. Many containers I end up planting in serve another purpose or did at another time. My husband built two planters with rock that he mortared together. These are really meant to keep the guy wires attached to our wind turbine safe. Nobody can accidentally back into them unless they hit the planters. These planters are a good size. Last year I had planted butternut squash in them and it gave us a good harvest. 

Boothby Blonde Seedling

Boothby blonde Seedling

This year, I have planted cucumbers in these dual purpose planters that are deep and warm. Filled with our own compost that has set a number of years to become a rich black dirt. Our plants do well in this dirt.  My idea is to get the plant to attach itself to the wires that go to the turbine. So far the planter out back is doing the best. The one out front seems to be growing in the wrong direction, away from the guy wire. I will have to force that one a bit. 

Mortared bed out back

Mortared bed out back


The type of cucumber I planted in this bed is the heirloom, Boothby Blonde, that I purchase from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds every year. I also buy their Lemon Cuke Cucumber and we like that quite a bit too. They are both good producers. So much so, that we usually eat them for a snack freshly picked from the vines. 

Cucumber plant climbing the wire

Cucumber plant climbing the wire


Every time I checked it, I tried to steer it toward the wires from the turbine which are cemented down deep in this bed.I left the clover growing in here for feeding to our pet house rabbit. A bed like this would be good for a root crop as well. 

Still climbing attached to wire

Still climbing attached to wire

As you can see in this photo the plant attached to the wire and was climbing up the wire. All I did was to check it daily and if was not attached yet, I’d push it closer to the wire and cable. Pretty soon it had attached to the wire. This is not a big cucumber at all and neither is the Lemon Cuke. So when they start growing, they should hang off the plant. If they are hidden on the ground, they rot or are missed when we are picking them. Now if I can keep it doing this! 

Cucumber on Turbine wire.

Cucumber on Turbine wire.

 

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Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole


Fall is in the Garden!

Fresh Vegetables

Just picked!

Fall is in the garden! Gardening time for us is winding down. Fall is definitely on the horizon. The leaves are changing colors and some are falling. Our plants in the garden are still producing, but they are almost done. The leaves of my best producers this year have turned color and are wimpy now. I am sad to see them go. They have given us an endless supply of yellow squash, cucumbers, bush beans, and soon to be harvested, winter squash and pumpkins. I can’t complain. Even the robins have abandoned us and are in the forest behind us now. Blue Jays are making noise all day long with the chickadees. That is a sure sign to me that fall is almost here. I am not sad about it. I enjoy fall and the cooler weather.  

Squash plants dying

One of my best producers this year!

The squash plants I planted this year were all non-GMO heirlooms and they provided so much for us, and for my son. I carried bags of squash and cucumbers to him. He loved it and so did the others who live in his apartment building. I’d rather give it to him to share, than for it to go bad because we can’t eat it all. This summer was a strange summer. I think we watered our garden only once. There were no bugs or pests in the garden at all. Even the one rabbit who visited the garden, only grazed on the clover in the grass surrounding the raised beds. He never once crossed that line. 

Bee in Squash Flower

Still have bees in my garden!

We had an abundance of bees in the garden this year. Not only there, but around the wild plants surrounding our property. Plenty of bumble bees, as well as, the hated yellow jackets. The yellow jackets made a nest in a stack of firewood, and my husband and one of the cats, I think, got stung by them. My husband was stung twice at the same time.

Always one more basket full!

Always one more basket full!

Every morning I go out to the garden with the intention of pulling up the plants that look like they are done. Instead, I see baby squash and cucumbers all over them. I end up lugging a basket full of squash and cucumbers, that I just picked. Not complaining at all. My cupboard is full of home canned squash and beans, ready for winter meals. Now I am getting prepared for tomato canning this week. What about you? How did your garden do?

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


From the Garden to the Table – Summer Squash

Produce From The Garden

From The Garden – Summer Squash!

“From the Garden to the Table – Summer Squash,” is the first blog post in my “From the Garden to the Table” series. I will be writing posts on various fruits, vegetables and wild plants that grow around my Peaceful Forest Homestead. This way I can share with you how to grow various plants, and how to preserve them and  serve them. I will show you how to make them become a part of your homestead food plan.

When I first started out in this lifestyle, I canned sweet jellies, jams and pickles too. Did we really eat all of them? Over time, we did. Only because we do not waste any food at all. I have stopped doing that type of canning long ago. For one thing, we never put jelly or jam on toast, especially now, since we both eat low carbs. If I am going to eat something that is a high carb, I’d much rather buy some ice cream! No way am I going to waste it on jelly or jam. I want to research and hone in my skills on growing, preserving and preparing foods that we love and want to eat again and again. That is what this series on my blog will be about. 

Yellow Squash Sliced

Don’t slice summer sqush to can it!

 Summer squash can provide plenty of winter meals. I use it in casseroles, as well as a side dish covered in butter. Does your summer squash really need to be sliced to be preserved? No, it doesn’t. Cube it instead. Even if you are not canning it, freezing it this way should prevent it from cooking up mushy. If you need some slices for some of your recipes, like squash chips, you can dehydrate those. Can up the rest of it and it will sit on your pantry shelves until you need them.  

Peeling and seeding squash

Peel and Seed it!

The steps to preparing summer squash for canning is:

  • Wash the squash off  real good. Nothing is worse than getting dirt on your newly peeled squash.
  • Cut each end off and then peel it.
  • I usually cut them in fourths, down the center. Standing up on one end, you can easily slice it right down the middle to the other end. Keeping them together that way, while I cut it in four long slices. Like a cucumber. 
  • Now I take each fourth and scoop the seeds out of the center.
  • Put them on the cutting board and cut in cubes. I put all four on the board at once, if they aren’t too big. 
  • They are cubed! Now wasn’t that easy?

 

Summer Squash Cubed

Summer Squash Cubed

The next step will be how to can summer squash, which will be in my very next post. I have the directions on my old blog, but I am changing that blog and want all my homesteading information on this one. One of the questions people have with canning squash, is that they think it is not safe, due to what the “professional canners” say. They had the recipe in the older canning books, but decided it is not safe to do. You will be using a pressure canner, and you need to use one, as this is a low acid food, and needs to be pressure canned only. Here is what they say about it: 

“Why is canning summer squash or zucchini not recommended?

  • Recommendations for canning summer squashes, including zucchini, that appeared in former editions of So Easy to Preserve or USDA bulletins have been withdrawn due to uncertainty about the determination of processing times. 
  • Squashes are low-acid vegetables and require pressure canning for a known period of time that will destroy the bacteria that cause botulism. 
  • Documentation for the previous processing times cannot be found, and reports that are available do not support the old process.
  • Slices or cubes of cooked summer squash will get quite soft and pack tightly into the jars. 
  • The amount of squash filled into a jar will affect the heating pattern in that jar.
  • It is best to freeze summer squashes or pickle them for canning, but they may also be dried.”
Canned Yellow Squash

Canned Yellow Squash

After reading that you will need to decide what you feel safe doing. As I know, I feel safe doing it and I know my squash is pressure canned properly. I am not new to this and have always followed safe procedures. It is not tightly packed in the jars and I can’t imagine any summer squash becoming tight in the jars. In fact, many times, in the process of making a recipe, I have to use an extra jar, because it didn’t fill the jar completely. My jars of canned summer squash are boiling inside, when I take them out of the canner. I feel that the “canning professionals” are always on the look out for some new rule or regulation. If they had it their way, nobody would be canning their own food to begin with. Though then they might be out of their jobs! Stay tuned for my next post on how to can your summer harvest of summer squash and zucchini.

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience of living an off-the-grid life, as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click, or products I recommend, may or may not compensate me, for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.

 


Garden Made It Through The Storm

Wooden raised beds

Our garden yesterday/

Our garden made it through the storm last night. Actually, when it was happening, I wasn’t even thinking about the garden. I was praying that our house, barn, horses and solar panels and wind turbine would not get hit by the constant lightning. I heard a loud crack and then a crash. I figured a tree had fallen in the forest. It sounded close, but I didn’t realize how close till morning. I looked out the window when I got up early and was sad to see my favorite tree laying on the ground, across my newly planted raised beds!  

Tree split by storm

My Favorite Tree!

This cherry tree is my favorite of all trees. I have always liked looking at it and it’s shape reminds me of a woman dancing. I spend a lot of time in my garden and my tree is right there with me. It is a huge old cherry trees with six separate trees all growing from the trunk. It is awesome and I was just talking about it the other day. I meant to get out and trim the elm trees’ leaves that are growing right behind it. In fact, I had taken my clippers out to do it. I needed to trim back those leaves on the elms because they had created too much shade over the ends of the raised beds. You could see the plants in those beds were stretching toward the sun, and their leaves are smaller than the other plants. I never got to that job before the storm though.

Tree Hit By Lightning

Almost got my plants!

It almost smashed some plants and I am amazed it didn’t. The newest raised bed (that my husband had just completely rebuilt!) was hit hard. Some of the plants were missed by less than an inch. One of my Hopi Pale Gray Squash plants was hit, but survived. Shows you how strong they really are. My husband got to work right away to remove that tree. I am thankful to have a husband who doesn’t put things off. In this case, I needed to get those plants back to normal as quickly as possible. Now I will be afraid of a storm bringing down more trees on our property. Thankful that it didn’t hit our house. 

Tree down on garden

Tree down on garden!

At least the storm caused us to get a start on next winter’s firewood supply. While my husband was cutting up the tree for firewood, I started working on transplanting some of my seedlings that needed to be planted. Then I started trimming the elm trees. Then he told me he could cut those branches off the elm trees faster with the chainsaw. And he trimmed them quickly. Now the whole area is getting more sun. It is opened up nicely. I like it and I think when a certain deer comes back today, I will see him much faster and can chase him away immediately. I think if I keep at it, he will not want to return here, or so I hope.

Tree fell on raised bed.

Tree on the new raised bed!

Maybe this storm caused the tree to come down to get me to work on the trimming around the beds. Now it is not so shaded and that should make the beds produce much more. Even the tree that came down, shaded the beds at that end quite a bit. Now it is really open and nice. But I will always dread the sound of thunder and lightning storms. We lost one inverter and a printer last year to lightning. Scares me to death! But it could have been worse and I am thankful it wasn’t. 

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Homestead Projects In the Springtime

Wood raised beds

Wood beds on side of house.

Homestead projects for the springtime are being worked on and some, even finished. I transplanted my seedlings into the garden the past couple of weeks. We have been having a tough time around our homestead these last couple of months. I was so excited that I could finally plant my garden, but there have been other things raining on my parade, so to speak. For one thing our electric lawn mower broke and it appears it needs replacing. I think my husband wore it out. He mows a lot of lawn here and most people use these for a small area. I keep telling him I can add more raised beds…………the more the better!

Tomato Plants in containers

Tomato Plants in containers.

Another homestead project is how I can grow tomatoes this year to produce. We need them! I planted my tomatoes in containers last year, but didn’t use deep enough containers. They need to be really deep. As deep as you can get. I am using the ones you see here. If I had access to 50 gallon drums, I’d use them. These will do, I hope. Ever since we started getting the Late Blight, I have not grown any tomatoes except for cherry ones. I used to grow two or three rows of tomatoes in the wood beds along the side of the house. I remember having bushels of them. We even brought in the last of them in the fall, before a hard frost was coming, and packed them in two big bushel baskets covered up with newspapers. I always had jars of home canned tomatoes and sauce. Now I haven’t had my own home grown tomato in a few years. What happened? Is this a result of GMO spores in the air? Seems fishy to me.

Bush Beans

Bush Beans

My hubby worked hard last fall taking down two trees that shaded this area of our backyard. Now the raised beds he rebuilt back there look awesome. I love it and hopefully, our garden will take off soon. It is really nice to have more room to plant in. The raised beds weren’t producing as well due to the trees’ roots in the beds, and the shading, of course. We still have shade back there, but not over the bed. I have moved the bush beans to this area to give the other beds a rest from beans this year. It is not good to plant the same plants over and over in the same area or raised bed.

Transplants

Ready to plant in the garden!

How is your garden doing this year? Hopefully, everyone can get a garden in. Not only is the food in the stores expensive, but now it is all GMO  and not safe to live on. Kind of scary times we live in. My list of homestead projects never gets shorter though, the more I do, the more I think of do. What about you? How are your homestead projects coming along? 

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole