Garden, Kids!, Pioneer spirit, Uncategorized

Carrot 🥕 ‘n Cabbage Pickin’ – A Lovely Afternoon

Yesterday my family went out and harvested most of the remaining carrots and some of the cabbage that was ready to pick! We got quite the haul! Yesterday was a true testament to the importance of letting your kids play outside and including them in homesteading chores:Sunday morning was brutal! My 4 year old and three year old were fighting all morning. Arguing over toys, books, anything! They were yelling at each other, tattling etc. I was trying to get some house work done but I thought I better get them outside and playing, maybe that would decrease the tension. I brought them outside, gave them their gardening gloves and away we went. For 2 full hours they did not argue one time. They were laughing together, helping me pick and wash carrots! They gathered all the carrot stems up and fed the bunnies, chickens and quail. It was like a peace and calming washed over the whole family. Not that a homesteading life will always be rainbows and butterflies, but I believe that afternoon was a true testament to the importance of giving children age appropriate tasks and responsibilities. This is the type of ‘education’ they will never receive in school. It is one that generations past always gifted their children. We as a society have to get back to teaching our own kids how to garden, cook, forage, animal husbandry etc. If we don’t do it no one will, can you imagine a society where no one knew how to do any of these things? It’s a scary thought.


Back to the carrots and cabbbage…

Most of the carrots I peeled, chopped, blanched for 3 minutes and then froze them in ziplock baggies for use in a nice fall time soup!

The rest I left dirty, unpeeled, in a brown paper bag in the fridge for use later this week. I am going to cook them with a nice pork roast.
The cabbages I cut into quarters and blanched for a few minutes and they went into the freezer as well!
Thanks for stopping in today!

Garden

Cucumber 🥒 and Zucchini!

My cukes and zukes are doing awesome already! They are growing like weeds. I think is it because we had a lot of rain in the spring and now we have a lot of sunny, warm days! Anyway, I am thrilled because they did not do well last year, so this is a nice change! The good thing about getting a lot of rain upfront is that my rain barrels are full, which saves me on my water bill and feeds my plants nutritious rain water, instead of dull tap water. (A future post is going to be about rain barrels and how easy they are to make, they cost a fraction of what you would pay at Lowes or Home Depot)

Back to the cukes and zukes…

My neighbor, who is approximately 85, and grew up in Italy came over and gave me some advice about my zucchinis. When she talks to me about vegetables, I listen. She knows her stuff, to say the least. She told me to pick the zucchini when it is the length of your elbow to your wrist and thinner than your arm. She said in the case of zucchini (and cucumbers) bigger is not better! She used the term ‘woody.’ When they get so big, they taste woody – which I am assuming is not a good flavor LOL! I will be taking her advice, and not letting them get too big!

They are growing! This variety of zucchini is called ‘Raven’

The leaves are enormous!! They almost look prehistoric!

They are growing right out of the raised bed 😂
I love eating zucchini on the grill with some olive oil and salt and pepper, get some good grill marks on them. I chose to grow pickling cucumbers this year and will be making pickles (future post to come with recipe included). My family goes through JARS of pickles so I will also be buying some bushels from the local farmers market. I am hoping as the years go on to be able to rely less and less on outside sources for my vegetable needs. However, I definitely love supporting local farmers. I am almost passionate about it, you could say. I know how hard they work to make a living, and I would rather see my money go right into their pocket instead of Walmart’s. I have no problem bringing $60+ to the market on Saturday morning and spending every last cent on veggies. I love talking to the farmers, getting tips from them! They are a wealth of knowledge, and they are dwindling in numbers. We need to tap into this knowledge, and support them directly! As one of my favorite farmers, Joel Salatin would say “Don’t you find it odd that people put more work into choosing their mechanic or house contractor than they will into choosing the person that grows their food?” Powerful words.

 
 

Garden, Kids!, Pioneer spirit

Harvest time! 

It is so important to get your kids involved in all aspects of homestead life. That is how they learn, by doing. Today we harvested radishes and strawberries and my girls were so happy to be helping me, and got right in there and starting pulling them out of the soil (watch out though, radishes have prickly leaves!). They helped me wash them, and put them all in the basket and carried them in the house. The excitement they get from counting the zucchinis that are on each plant, to watching the flowers on the cucumber vine bloom. It really is wonderful to see their passion for gardening at such a young age. I wish I could have triple the amount of garden space that I have, I would love to grow 70-80% of our vegetable intake. However, I work 40 hours a week, with a ½ hr commute each way. So I know at this time it is not possible and that I have to be thankful that I am able to tend to the garden that I have. It is important to stay within your means and not overwhelm yourself. It is tempting to want to jump right in with two feet, but you WILL tire yourself out that way. Adding to your homestead should be slow and steady. Test the boundaries of what you can handle and stay within them.

Radish (purple, red and white) and strawberries
My ‘farm hand’ lol
The strawberries have already been eaten, and the radishes are going to be pickled! I will be doing a post on that, and sharing the delicious recipe with you also!

Happy harvesting everyone! 🌱🥕🥒🍆🍓

Garden, Pioneer spirit

A few more pictures of the raised beds

I took a few more pictures of the raised beds, I have 5 in total. I chose the Square Foot Gardening method so that I could utilize as much of my limited space as possible! This bed has pickling cucumbers, beets, radish and zucchini!This bed had celery, more beets, carrots, cabbage (2 varieties) and Swiss chard.one whole bed dedicated to strawberries!!! For some reason this bed isn’t thriving like the others, I think it gets a little more shade. It has a few cucumbers, peppers and onions! This is the kids ‘for fun’ garden. It has watermelon, pumpkin, cucamelons, squash, sunflower and poppy!

I added a few marigolds into each bed for pest control! Seems to be working so far! Last year I lost my entire cabbage crop to slugs 🐌 

🙂 

Garden, Uncategorized

Raised Bed Gardens

Today I am just going to give a few pictures of the raised bed gardens I built last summer, that are now thriving this summer! Raised beds are hard work to start, you have to purchase the wood and build them (which is pricey), then you have to buy dirt or empty your compost bin, which is a lot of shovelling and wheelbarrow work! However, once you are done the benefits are amazing!!! It has been over a month since I planted all the vegetables and I have only pulled a few weeds! It’s amazing! My front garden which is not a raised bed, I have to weed almost daily :/

IMG_0074
Thriving so far!

I purchased 2×10 boards (not pressure treated), 3″ screws, and 6 yards of dirt/manure combo from my local gardening store. I built them (with the help of my Dad!) and filled the bottom with cardboard and hay, this helps kills the grass and prevents weeds. I then filled them with dirt (which was back breaking I must say :/ ).

Adding paper and hay

Adding the dirt = backbreaking work!

To add some calcium I ground up dried chicken eggs shells, and sprinkled it in and turned the dirt over. I also added bunny manure from my bun-buns Loopsey and Scooter. That is their only contribution to the homestead, their poop! AKA bunny balls. One of the best manures to add to a garden, it does not have to be composted first! Bonus! That is all for today! Next post I will get into transplanting and such! 😄