Preparing your Garden for Winter

Although the past week has been gloriously sunny and warm, the end of October signals that garden season is coming to a close here in NE Missouri.  I’ve already pulled my cucumbers, cantaloupe, and zucchini out of the ground, and will soon strip my tomato vines and pepper plants.

Preparing my garden for the winter months is a task that I actually look forward to each year. It’s an opportunity for me to reflect upon the abundance of the harvest season, and yet also a chance to rest and renew my enthusiasm for next year’s garden (bigger and better!).

As I put the garden to bed, I like to remember the FIVE C’s of preparing for winter:

Compost, Cover, Collect, Create, and Celebrate.

1) Compost

As I pull plants out of the garden, I immediately bring them to one of three compost piles:  The first is a slower composting pile for for large woody stemmed plants, such as sunflower stalks, or tomato vines.  The second is for leafy greens such as brown kale leaves, or rotting tomatillos. The third pile, separate from the others, and outside the garden fence, is for invasive weeds that I’m trying to remove from the garden.

It may seem easier to leave dead plants in the garden, but I have found that when my garden is properly prepped in the fall, and all spent garden plants are properly composted, that I am rewarded with not only a much healthier garden, but also a super quick spring prep.

Preparing your garden for winter. Step One: Compost | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

 

2) Cover

Whether you like to cover your soil with mulch or with a cover crop, it is essential to cover that bare soil!  I typically cover my garden beds with 6 inches of straw mulch, but leaf mulch is also a great cover (and abundant in fall!). In the spring, I simply move the mulch layer to the path  to allow the sun to warm the soil, do my seeding or transplanting, and replace the straw when plants have grown up a few inches.

This fall I’m experimenting with a winter rye cover crop in the upper garden. I thickly sowed the rye and lightly raked it into the soil. I look forward to sharing my experiences with this crop.

Preparing the garden for winter. Step two: Cover | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

3) Collect

Fall is a great time to save seeds!  Love those brilliant orange cosmos and zinnias that you grew this year?  Save some seed! Did you grow a fantastic heirloom tomato or melon whose flavor knocked your socks off?  Save some seed!

Here’s a great resources for saving seed: Seed Savers Exchange Seed Saving Instructions

And one about Saving Heirloom Seeds.

Preparing your garden for Winter. Step Three: Collect Seeds | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

4) Create

Fall is the perfect time to create new sheet mulch (or lasagna garden) beds.  In fact, my compost pile for leafy vegetation is in my new sheet mulched bed.  As I remove healthy, but spent plants, I simply heap them onto my bed of straw, horse manure, and food scraps.  I’ll continue to layer throughout the fall, and in the spring, the bed will be ready to plant into.

For more information about how to create a sheet mulch garden, check out these posts:

Create an Instant Garden with Sheet Mulching

Building Soil with Lasagna Gardening

Preparing your garden for winter. Step four: Create new beds | Homestead Honey  http://homestead-honey.com

5) Celebrate

Yes, you’ve worked incredibly hard this spring, summer, and fall, providing food for your family and your community.  Now it’s time to celebrate your accomplishments.

Preparing your garden for winter. Step five - Celebrate!  | Homestead Honey  http://homestead-honey.com

I was really thrilled by our upper garden this year, as well as by the fall garden that will provide us with greens and roots into November or December.

What was particularly successful in your garden this year?  

Write it down in your own garden journal, and please, share it in the comments!

 

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Natural Dyeing

Natural Dyeing - Amazing color from plants on your homestead, or in your backyard! | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

This past weekend, my 6 year old daughter Ella and I participated in a Natural Dyeing workshop taught by my friend and neighbor, Julia.  The class was just one of many amazing monthly offerings hosted by the community down the road – previous classes included Canning and Foraging for Wild Edibles, and later this month there will be Knitting and Bow-Making classes.

I’ve dabbled in natural dyeing before, but have never gone through the entire process from beginning to end, including using pre-mordants.  My experience had been limited to using white vinegar as a mordant.  I’m excited to share with you what I learned, keeping in mind that I am an enthusiastic novice!

Natural Dyeing Workshop

1) Weighing the Fabric: First, we weighed the fabric that each participant brought to dye, breaking it up into two classes: protein-based fibers such as wool and silk, and plant-based fibers such as linen and cotton.

Measuring out fabric weights, in preparation for natural dyeing | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

2) Pre-Wash: Next, our fire-master Mike (also my neighbor), helped pre-wash the fibers.  Again, they were separated into protein-and plant-based fibers.

Adding clothing and fabric to pots for a pre-wash during our Natural Dyeing class | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com Pre-washing silk and wool in a natural dyeing class | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

A row of Rocket stoves simmering natural dyes | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

(Man does that community collection of Rocket Stoves sure come in handy for an outdoor Natural Dyeing class!  We had six going at a time!)

3) Pre-Mordant: After the pre-wash, we measured out appropriate amounts of the pre-mordant, Alum. The mordant helps the dye adhere to the fibers, and helps create an end product that is color- and light-fast. The fibers simmered in the mordant for one hour.

4) Into the Dye Pots! Next, it was time to add our fabric to the dye pots!  Julia had pre-prepared six dyes made from plants on her homestead, and in the neighborhood.  I helped her gather goldenrod, and was able to gather a very large bag-full just by strolling along our pasture path with clippers in hand!

The plants that she used, and the color they created were:

  • Pokeberry – Bright Pink (Note that the ripe berries are toxic to injest)
  • Goldenrod – Bright Yellow
  • Bidens (Tickseed Coreopsis) – Orange
  • Wild Sunflower – Yellow Orange
  • Comfrey – Greenish Yellow
  • Black Walnut Hull – Brown

Dyes created from goldenrod, Bidens, pokeberry and wild sunflower in a Natural Dyeing class | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

5) Wash and Rinse: After an hour of simmering in color, we removed the fibers from the dye pots, washed them with a bit of mild soap, then rinsed them thoroughly.

Removing naturally dyed items from the pot, and giving them a final rinse | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

6) Dry and Admire!

Cotton shirt dyed with Bidens, or Tickseed Coreopsis | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

A previously white shirt, turned brilliant orange in the Bidens dye.

Silk chiffon dyed with comfrey, Bidens, goldenrod, wild sunflower, and black walnut | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

We came home with an assortment of silk chiffon and silk crepe de chine play scarves.  From left to right, the colors were created with Comfrey, Bidens, Goldenrod, Wild Sunflower, Comfrey, and Black Walnut.

Wool dyed with goldenrod, Bidens, wild sunflower, and pokeberry | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

This may be my favorite image from the class – a gorgeous collection of wool fibers that a friend dyed.  The wool took up the color so brilliantly.

Wool yarn dyed with pokeberry | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

Ella and I dyed some wool in anticipation of her learning to knit in a few weeks!  The front yarns were dyed with Pokeberry, and the skein in the rear with Black Walnut.

Wool, silk and cotton samples from a Natural Dyeing workshop | Homestead Honey http://homestead-honey.com

We all went home with sample swatches of different fibers – wool, silk crepe de chine, raw silk, cotton, and jersey.  It was so fascinating to see how differently each fiber absorbed the color. For instance, the Pokeberry dye resulted in a gorgeous and intense pink color on wool, but on silk was a very pale pink.

7) Learn more! I’m so excited to continue on this natural dyeing journey!  A few books that were recommended for further reading were:



And one I’d like to read, as I LOVE the idea of growing dye plants in my garden!

Have you ever Natural Dyed?  What was your favorite dye plant?

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Welcome, October!

October in Northeast Missouri is a glorious month.  Bright sun reflects on the white gravel roads, leaves turn brilliant colors and then fall to the ground, hickory nuts litter the forest floor, and the first frost of the season leaves me scrambling to harvest the last of the garden glory, and protect greens from the cold.

As we welcome October, I’d like to also welcome a new Homestead Honey sponsor, Backwoods Solar.  Earlier this summer, we purchased our solar electric system from Backwoods Solar and we were SO thrilled with how they helped us put together a custom system specifically designed for our needs and our budget. Furthermore, they are available for tech consultations whenever we need them (and believe me, we are taking advantage of that service!!)

Backwoods Solar

You can check out Backwoods Solar’s full catalog of solar, wind and hydro electric supplies on their website:  http://www.backwoodssolar.com

I appreciate Homestead Honey sponsors so much, and encourage you to check out Backwoods Solar and these small businesses:

Lavender’s Blue Homeschool – A resource for peaceful parenting and holistic homeschooling, now offering a complete First Grade Waldorf-inspired curriculum, as well as a kindergarten curriculum!

The Aquaponic Source – Providing learning materials, products, and leadership to empower people to grow their own fish and vegetables in their homes and schools

The Dental Essentials -A nutritional supplement that has been specially formulated to reduce cavities. (Use coupon code Homestead for 15% off!)

TEND Magazine – A quarterly, downloadable magazine, designed to nourish a mindful life. (Use coupon code HOMEHON10 for 10% off!)

Ollie and Stella Children’s Outfitters – Featuring super high-quality DucKsday outdoorwear for kids

Gypsy Forest - Natural goods for home and play

The Sitting Tree – Handmade goods, for a free-spirited life

Randi Jo Fabrications – Soft goods for bicyclers

Are you a small business owner? I am currently accepting new sponsors for Homestead Honey, and would for you to consider joining me! Please take a look at my Media Kit on my Sponsorship page, and contact me to get started!

* * * * * * * *

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The Dental Essentials

A few years ago, my family found itself facing dental problems.  My daughter Ella, who was 3 at the time, had numerous cavities and one crumbling molar. Yes, crumbling.  I was astonished – how could our organic-eating, non-juice-drinking, no-candy-eating toddler have crumbling teeth?  We extended breastfed to get her off on the right foot, brushed and flossed, gave her plenty of home-grown produce and grass-fed meat, and drank raw milk. What could be we doing wrong?

In my readings, I came across a lot of information that led me to believe that our family was vitamin and mineral deficient (after all, my husband Brian had been experiencing dental issues as well).  I really dislike taking pills, so I’ve never been very heavily into supplements, but we found ourselves selecting a few high quality supplements such as fermented cod liver oil and supplements from The Dental Essentials.

Years later, I’m so happy to have The Dental Essentials as sponsors on Homestead Honey. This is a company that has had real impact on my family’s health and well-being and I’m happy that we can mutually support one another!  Today, we take a peek into their business, and be sure to scroll down for a discount code on their amazing product!

The Dental Essentials

Welcome to Homestead Honey!  Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Thanks for inviting us onto your blog! We are a small company started in 2010 based out of Vancouver, Canada. It’s run by two people, Rob and Melinda, plus one shipping assistant.
Tell us about The Dental Essentials – what led you to start such a unique company. 

We started this company after coming across the research of Dr May Mellanby almost by accident. We had been reading about Weston Price and his world travels documenting peoples and the devastating decline in the health of their teeth when they abandon from their traditional diets in favour of a more western diet. The information and photos were remarkable. We delved a bit further and found Mellanby’s trials with young kids and her astounding success treating their rampant tooth decay with nutrition and vitamin supplementation and started to get confused. We kept asking ourselves, ‘why doesn’t anybody seem to know about this?’ That was the start.

What are the joys and challenges of running this small business?

Hands down the best part is when we receive a letter from a parent saying how overjoyed they are to see improvement in their child’s teeth, or the first positive check up. Especially important for a lot of parents is avoiding invasive dental procedures on small, often fearful kids and when they find our products have done the trick, they are happy, very happy. That, of course, makes us happy too.

The challenges of this small business are getting the word out and also explaining what that ‘word’ means. Of course, there is a portion of the population that ‘gets it’. They understand how and why teeth (and in fact the whole body) can heal and become more resistant to disease through proper nutrition. But for the vast majority of people, they don’t understand the concept and, even after they’ve read the literature, they just don’t believe it. That’s a challenge for sure.

Besides taking supplements such as The Dental Essentials, what can you suggest to enhance dental health?

One thing is to keep in mind is that too much phytate in the diet can have an adverse effect on dental health. Grains such as wheat, corn and oats are high in phytic acid, which binds to calcium present in the body and basically robs it before it can be absorbed.
So if you think you’re getting enough calcium in your diet but you’re also consuming a lot of phytate through bread, cereals,etc… then you may want to consider supplementing or adding more calcium than you think necessary. Your teeth (and bones!) will thank you.

Thank you Melinda and Rob!

 

If you’d like to try The Dental Essentials’ supplements for children and adults, use the code “Homestead” on the order page to receive 15% off your first purchase of The Dental Essentials.

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What Every New Cow Owner Should Know…

I have some VERY, VERY exciting news (and I bet you can guess what it is!) – in a month’s time, we are going to become first time cow owners! (Cue the excited squeal!)  For months I’ve been connecting with an amazing farm that raises Jersey cows, waiting patiently to see if there would indeed be a cow for our family.  And the answer is yes, yes, yes!  She is a registered Jersey in her second lactation, she is in milk and has been exposed to a bull, so we’re hoping she’ll be bred when she arrives in mid-October.

Even though we raised Alpine dairy goats for years, we’ve never cared for a cow.  So, I reached out to my favorite cow-owning homestead bloggers for their VERY BEST tips for a new cow owner.  Here they share the advice that they wish someone had given them when they first got a cow!

Homesteaders share their best advice for new cow owners | Homestead Honey

Katie from livinlovinfarmin suggests that new cow owners be prepared!

“And in prepared, I don’t just mean physically and emotionally for the long hours and the physical strain it takes to manage and milk a cow, I mean a well prepared, well-stocked medicine cabinet.” (Katie has put together an amazing guest post detailing her cow medicine cabinet, which I am really excited to share in the near future – thank you Katie!)

Quinn from Reformation Acres reminds us that cows are creatures of habit.

“Know well the condition of your cow and give her proper attention. These gals thrive on routine and do best if they know what to expect each and every day and get the hands-on attention they deserve. Livestock is a huge and yet highly rewarding commitment and what they are offering to you and your family is an extremely valuable (and delicious) return for the time and effort you’ll put into them.”

Advice for First Time Cow Owners | Homestead Honey  (Thanks to TheToupsAddress.com for their photo of Belle!)
Connie from Urban Overalls shares her experience with the less glamorous side of milking a cow!

“While I currently do not have a milk cow, I grew up milking cows. The one thing I wished I had known or that my siblings who had milking duty before it was passed to me was … tie the tail to something to prevent it from swishing around if the cow has loose bowels that day. The last thing you want is a poopy tail swatting around you”

Ashley from The Browning Homestead at Red Fox Farm suggests having a cow mentor.

“Be sure that you have a few resources that you can turn to when you have questions or concerns. A few good books and then one other person who is experienced with family milk cows is invaluable!” (And by the way, Ashley is an amazing source of cow information. I have been known to email her photos of potential cows, just to get her advice!)

Great advice for new cow owners | Homestead Honey (photo credit TheToupsAddress.com)

Ashley from Whistle Pig Hollow votes for coming home with an experienced cow.

“For a first milk cow, I highly suggest getting one who has been milked before, so at least somebody (the cow!) knows what’s going on when milking time comes. And as soon as you get your cow, start working with her and getting her comfortable with the future milking routine (assuming she’s not already in milk). Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out to people with more experience than you! Our local dairy farmers, our neighbors who own cows, and the man we purchased our milk cow from have been so helpful.”

Heather at Green Eggs and Goats knows that a cow will win your heart!

“Be prepared for your cow to become more than just livestock. A milk cow quickly becomes a treasured member of your family.”  (Awww!)

 

For all of you cow owners out there, what is YOUR best piece of advice for a new cow owner? 

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Homemade Hot Sauce Recipe

Make Your Own Homemade Hot Sauce | Homestead Honey

Imagine combining the spicy zing of your favorite Tobasco sauce with the complex flavors and live-culture, probiotic goodness of a lactic acid ferment, and you get this amazing hot sauce – one that we make at the end of summer and enjoy all winter long.

Here’s how to make it:

Long Thin Cayenne Peppers | Homestead Honey

First, we start with ripe, fresh chiles.

These are Long Thin Cayenne Peppers mixed with a few yellow hot peppers, but you could also use green chiles like seranos or jalapenos for a green hot sauce.

Long Thin Cayenne and Hot Yellow Peppers | Homestead Honey

Cut off the stems and chop into a couple of pieces, and loosely pack into a mason jar.

Making homemade hot sauce with cayenne peppers | Homestead Honey

Mix a 5% brine (3 TBSP salt per quart water) in another container.

Mixing a 5% brine to make homemade hot sauce | Homestead Honey

Pour this over the chiles and cover with a cloth or a lid that is left slightly a jar.

The technique is exactly like making naturally fermented pickles.

Hot peppers fermenting in a salt water brine | Homestead Honey

I like to keep this jar on my counter where I will see it every day and remember to invert the jar 1 or 2 times per day to keep mold from forming on the surface.

After a week or two, the liquid should be cloudy, the sign of lactic acid bacteria proliferating, and the ferment should taste delightfully sour/tart.  Now we’re ready to blend!

Blending homemade hot sauce | Homestead Honey

Carefully blend the chiles and brine into a velvety red puree.

You might not need to add ALL the brine – start with a small amount and add to your desired consistency – more for a liquidy, Tobasco-like sauce, less for a thicker paste-like hot sauce.

Blending lactofermented hot sauce | Homestead Honey

We usually add a few drizzles of apple cider vinegar, just to increase the acidity, which helps the hot sauce keep longer.

Homemade Tobasco-style hot sauce | Homestead Honey

Store in a cool or refrigerated place, and enjoy a bit of summer heat all year long!

 

 

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A Homestead Pantry

A custom built homestead pantry for our tiny house | Homestead Honey

A few weeks ago, I shared a photo of our custom pantry-in-progress on Instagram. What a flurry of excitement it generated.  And it should!  In my mind, a well-organized, well-stocked, and beautiful homestead pantry is one of the best ways to store and easily access whole foods and canned goods.  Plus, for our tiny 350 square foot house, it is essential that we are using every inch of space wisely and efficiently.

Little by little, my carpentry genius husband Brian is creating these gorgeous, efficient spaces, and our tiny house is starting to look as divine on the inside as it always has on the outside. Details like tile flooring, a mudroom shoe cubby, plaster on the walls of the mudroom, and finally, this custom built pantry are making our house feel so much more like HOME.

Pantry before shot | Homestead Honey This was last winter’s pantry – a totally functional metal shelf unit on which we could store bulk food, glasses, and our beloved Berkey filter. If you look closely, you can see the beautiful wood backing that my husband spent countless hours planing, sanding and finishing.

This summer, we moved our kitchen outdoors so we had the spaciousness to finally finish the pantry. Brian created a gorgeous design with shelving just the right height for both gallon glass jars and quart mason jars. Some lovely pieces of oak and elm from an auction were planed and lovingly sanded and finished with Heritage brand natural oil finish.

We spent time this morning “moving in.”

Custom built homestead pantry | Homestead Honey I’m in total pantry heaven.

Storing canned goods in our custom built homestead pantry | Homestead Honey For those that were curious about the dimensions, the width of the shelves was built to fit the space that we had available in our house. The height of the bottom four shelves is simply 1/2 inch taller than gallon glass jars and the height of the top four shelves is 1/2 inch taller than quart mason jars.

Now onto the walls and floors!

 

 

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TEND Magazine :: An interview and giveaway

One of the best parts of my blogging job is getting to connect with amazing readers and small business owners.  My sponsorship program allows me to highlight businesses that I truly love and believe in, such as today’s featured sponsor, TEND Magazine.

A magazine whose tagline is “nourishing a mindful life,” whose pages are full of food, crafts, natural parenting, and homeschooling goodness – Yes, please!

TEND Magazine Issue 3:: Autumn

Today, I’m excited to introduce you not only to Issue 3 :: Autumn 2014, but also to TEND’s Editor, Debbie Qalballah.  (These images are all courtesy of TEND, so you can see the absolute gorgeousness that lives within its pages!)

Welcome to Homestead Honey, Debbie!  Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, thank you for having me over. I’m Debbie, I’m from the UK, I home-school two boys and live in a small house in the middle of a city. I dream of living on my own small farm one day, but until then I do what I can with what I have and we live as simply as we can. And I’m also the Editor of a new magazine called TEND.

How would you describe TEND Magazine to someone that has never read it before?
TEND is the magazine that I always wanted to read, but could never find. It is basically about slowing down, consuming less, walking on this earth gently, and encourages homesteading as a realistic goal, even for those of us in urban environments. It is filled with (I hope!) thought-provoking articles, parenting, craft, recipes (oh the food in there is SO good – our wholefood and herbal health editor, Denise Cusack, is a one-woman force of nature, and all recipes are allergy free), patterns, preschool ideas and an educational topic each issue for older children to work through. And we try to make it all modern and design led, because we all love beautiful things, right? We also have online communities on Facebook and else where, because I think in this day and age, our ‘village’ is in diaspora – we need each other, and we yearn for community, and we are so lucky to be able to forge that, even over oceans. So I like to think of this as more than a magazine, really. I’d like to think of it as a community.

TEND Magazine Autumn Issue

TEND just launched this year – what was the process like creating a brand new online magazine?
Well, I began work, behind the scenes on the concept well over a year ago in 2013, and really it has been a truly humbling experience. I’ve had to shift gears and ‘up my game’ in so many ways, and on so many levels. I wear so many hats, and I like to tell people that currently it’s like juggling balls whilst also running between several spinning plates and keeping them all spinning and in the air! It’s a little bit crazy sometimes, but I love it so much and even though I literally have no ‘spare time’ any longer, I still don’t feel like I’m working, because I love and believe in everything this magazine stands for.

But without doubt the over-riding feeling is one of humility, because this magazine would not have been more than an idea on the back of an envelope without the belief, good will, offers of help and hard work of so many people from the first step. From Deb Hendriksma Anderson, our graphic designer, art director and all round super hero who basically made me believe this could be done, offered to make it become, and stuck around after all my emails and nagging to produce something quite startingly beautiful (if I do say so myself), to Denise Cusack who jumped on board, took being professional to the next level, talked me down off several ledges and continues to have our backs whilst also producing mouth-watering dishes, to Heather Fontenot who graciously became our Preschool Editor with her soothing voice and crafty know-how, and to every contributor and helper and admin assistant and artist – everyone! Just everyone who has believed in this project and added their weight to it. The overwhelming belief and hard work is just a joy to work with.

TEND5

What can we look forward to in Issue 3?
This issue is all about re-centering on the home. Fall is a time where we seek the warmth of the hearth after the warmth of the sun and so this issue will be about finding comfort in home. There is GREAT food – I’m not lying, when you see it you will want to eat the page; there is a sewing pattern AND a knitting pattern; articles on tea; preschool crafts based on fall; and the education section is about weather – plenty for your children to do once the weather brings them back indoors; oh and fire! nature walks! building a fire pit! how we make jam in the UK; can toppers; (I mentioned the food, right?). I do love autumn and I hope this issue will add a little bit of warmth and beauty to your fall days too.

TEND Magazine Autumn Issue

Thank you, Debbie!

If you would like to purchase a copy of TEND, you can do so here.  And be sure to use the discount code HOMEHON10 for 10% off!

You can connect with TEND Magazine in all of these places:
Facebook
twitter
Google+
instagram
Ravelry

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A September Garden Update

What a gorgeous first day of September – just warm enough to jump in the pond, but not so hot that we had to hide indoors. The garden is full of bounty and our meals consist of pieced together bits of harvest – corn on the cob, a tomato basil salad, fresh ripe melons, and green beans.

I’ll take you on a tour of my late summer garden in just a moment, but first I want to give a great big shout out to all of Homestead Honey’s sponsors, including:

Moon in the Window – A delightful Etsy shop featuring children’s harvesting and cooking aprons, hand-bound books, reusable sandwich bags, a PDF pattern to make gardening totes for children, and more!

Lavender’s Blue Homeschool – A resource for peaceful parenting and holistic homeschooling, now offering a complete First Grade Waldorf-inspired curriculum, as well as a kindergarten curriculum!

The Aquaponic Source – Providing learning materials, products, and leadership to empower people to grow their own fish and vegetables in their homes and schools

The Dental Essentials -A nutritional supplement that has been specially formulated to reduce cavities. (Use coupon code Homestead for 15% off!)

TEND Magazine – A quarterly, downloadable magazine, designed to nourish a mindful life. (Use coupon code HOMEHON10 for 10% off!)

Ollie and Stella Children’s Outfitters – Featuring super high-quality DucKsday outdoorwear for kids

Gypsy Forest - Natural goods for home and play

The Sitting Tree – Handmade goods, for a free-spirited life

Randi Jo Fabrications – Soft goods for bicyclers

Are you a small business owner? I am currently accepting new sponsors for Homestead Honey, and would for you to consider joining me! Please take a look at my Media Kit on my Sponsorship page, and contact me to get started!

* * * * * * * *

 Now, let’s take a stroll through the garden…

Upper garden in early September | Homestead Honey

Remember the upper garden space that we created new this spring?  Some crops have done fantastically in this tilled garden – melons, peppers, okra, and sweet potatoes are growing and thriving. Sadly, the corn, beans, and squash did not fare as well. I suspect that this garden needs quite a bit more organic matter, and I’ll be adding this with a cover crop and additional manure and compost amendments.

Everettt harvests in the lower garden | Homestead Honey

The lower garden is a jungle of vegetables and flowers and herbs. You can see the cattle panel trellises have worked wonderfully for cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. I have been so impressed by a cucumber variety called Delikatesse, from Baker Creed Seed Company. This is a dual purpose cuke that just keeps producing!

Newly made sheet mulched garden bed | Homestead Honey

We expanded the garden fencing this spring, leaving space to create new beds. This is a newly built lasagna or sheet mulched bed, which I’m treating essentially as a compost pile.  Cardboard was layered, followed by decomposed straw. We continually add food scraps and garden matter, as well as manure. Getting this bed built now means that it will be perfectly ready for planting in the spring.

Ella's fall bed | Homestead Honey

Ella’s garden bed is a perfect example of successional sowing.  This bed started out with an early spring crop of fava beans, sunflowers, and potatoes.  As we harvested plants, new ones went in their place. We sowed a late crop of zucchini in late July to be sure that we had back-up plants in case squash bugs killed others.  Recently, Ella sowed lettuce, mesclun, radish, and purslane, and we filled in with a few kale transplants.

SeptGarden6 SeptGarden5

A few pin up shots of some of my favorite plants.  This cabbage (I believe it’s Perfection Drumhead from Baker Creek) has far surpassed my expectations, especially with the cabbage worm problem I seem to be having – I handpick easily 100 per day.  And the cayenne peppers!  We’ve already put a half-gallon jar of them in a brine to ferment for hot sauce making, and I plan to dry the rest to use throughout the winter.

Flowers, brassicas and more! |Homestead Honey

Flowers, bunching onions, new kolhrabi, and turnips combine in a bed, which is typical of how I love to garden.  In the background you can see the waning sunflowers which have given us such delight as goldfinch habitat and feed.

Now it’s your turn – what is growing in your garden!  Share a link or just comment below!

 

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Less Is More: The Tiny House Movement

Hello!  It’s been a very busy time on our homestead. While we spend hour after hour working on the interior of our tiny house – moving our bed and kitchen and all our furniture out of doors so we can plaster and install a pantry and wood flooring – I thought I’d quickly pop in to share this great infographic that was generously shared with me by the folks at CustomMade.com.  I’ll be back in a day or two to share the gorgeous custom homestead pantry that Brian built for us!

What do you think? Could you downsize to a tiny home? 

 

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Less Is More:The Tiny House Movement

Less Is More:The Tiny House Movement
Infographic by CustomMade

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