Manage Your Homestead’s Food Supply Successfully

A LOT of just harvested garlic bulbs!

How do you process all this garlic? Dry some, crush some! Click for more info about Lehman’s super garlic press.

When you grow and raise a lot of food, one of the tricks to making it pay is managing the inventory. That means record keeping, not always my favorite thing but necessary if I am going to avoid waste.

Last month we harvested our garlic and it was phenomenal. I harvested 15o heads. That might seem like a lot but we are garlic lovers and I need enough to eat and to save for seed for next year. The biggest bulbs were pulled out immediately. The temptation is to eat those but that would leave me inferior seed. I put those heads away to plant in this month, and dry the rest to use throughout the year.

Continue reading

4 Simple Steps to Cure And Keep Winter Squash

A perfect butternut squash--make sure yours are this clean when you put them in cold storage.

A perfect butternut squash–make sure yours are this clean when you put them in cold storage.

It is hard to believe that summer has wound down, and we’re all looking at fall gardening chores already.

One of those fall gardening chores is the harvest and proper curing of my Butternut Squash. Butternut Squash is one of the most popular types of winter squash.

Don’t get confused with that term. By no means does that mean that you plant or harvest your squash in the winter. It simply means that the squash was bred to be harvested late in the season, and eaten throughout the winter. Continue reading

American Gardens: Birke’s Garden Diary Hilarious, Helpful

Radishes gone to seed...at least I can save the seed!

Radishes gone to seed…at least I can save the seed!

Thoughts on the Garden: May 19, 2014
For us, this gardening season (so far) has served as a reminder that we are not in charge of our garden and how things will work out. There’s been rain, sleet, heat-then-freezing-temps-back-to-back, and my Indianapolis garden plot is looking battered.

Despite months of planning, re-arranging, re-planning and…let’s call it dreaming about the perfection that will be this year’s garden, we are now officially 3 weeks behind plan.

We have harvested a grand total of three (you read that right, 3) radishes, and they were minuscule, because everything is either languishing in the chill or bolting to seed before setting full roots.

The peppers and tomatoes went in on May 19, 2014, the latest I have ever planted anything, and it’s because I didn’t want the poor little plantiwuzels (totally a word) to freeze in the ground, but I had to get them in, because they were starting to not like being in seedling pods.

And don’t even get me started on the sunflowers just poking their little leaves out, because those are the support system for the cucumbers, so those JUST got seeded out. Slackers all around me. I NEED cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, fresh from the vine, for my continued happiness. Does Nature not understand my needs here? And no, buying them is not the same, I have been forever ruined for hothouse produce. Continue reading

Glynis’ Garden Fortress In The Desert

Garden is walled and netted on top.

Garden overview–note the net on top to keep birds out.

Out here in the desert, gardening is quite challenging.  I guess that’s why it’s so rewarding.

We live amidst volcanic craters.  They last exploded in about 1100A.D.  Our dirt is volcanic ash and cinder.  Under the cinder is clay.   This type of soil requires constant fertilization and compost.  We also dump old potting soil into it.  We do just about anything we can think of to improve the soil.

Fortunately, the people who lived here before us dumped their compost in the garden area.  They never grew anything, just dumped their compost.  This actually helped when I was cleaning the garden and preparing to grow food there.  We also compost everything, but we have a big composting bin.  The rodents would go crazy in an open compost pile. Continue reading

American Gardens: Mountain Garden GROWS!

Radish and carrot plants.

Radishes and heirloom Dragon Carrots from Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, growing thick and fast!

In the foothills of the mountains, between the borders of North Carolina and Tennesee, there’s a nifty little microclimate. In that area, our gardener Kendra is having some great results! She’s sent two updates, one from mid-May, and one from the end of the month.

May 13, 2014:

The radishes and carrots were growing thick, so I harvested the radishes a few days ago to make room for the carrots to grow.

The lettuce is looking gorgeous. I haven’t harvested any yet, but I expect to be able to in the next few days.

Lazy Housewife beans thrive! Heirloom seeds were provided by Lehman's.

Lazy Housewife beans thrive! Heirloom seeds were provided by Lehman’s.

The tomatoes are loving this hot weather, and are looking lovely.

On April 24th I planted the beans. They’re about six or seven inches tall now.

On May 6th I planted the cucumbers, which I’m still waiting on to sprout. So far no problems with pests yet. Keeping my fingers crossed! Continue reading

Down East Gardener Welcomes Spring…Finally!

Black Cherry Tomatoes

Originally found in the Ukraine, these colorful heirlooms have been widespread since the 19th century. Get yours at Lehmans.com!

I was beginning to lose hope but at long last my seeds have decided to welcome spring. I have flats and greenhouses and all many of crazy places around the farm, and they’re getting green, with little growing things.

Experimenting with Tomatoes
I was especially pleased to see my Black Cherry Tomatoes have sprouted. The germination rate is 90%, a good number for me. The real test will be, not just what emerges but what makes it through to productivity. I only planted 15 pots and I spread them among three different kinds of pots.

I seeded 5 in plastic seed flats, 5 in paper pots I made and the final 5 in soil blocks. I want to see if there is any difference in vigor between the three.

I have another idea I want to explore. I always cut off the suckers on my tomatoes although there is disagreement among experts as to whether or not it’s necessary.
Continue reading

Will Alternative Gardening Methods Work For You?

Maine Garden Hod

Maine Garden Hod

Allison Geraci is a recent graduate of Kent State University’s Zoology program, and has an interest in native plants and restoration of native habitat–and how that works for plants, animals and people. This is the first in a short series of articles looking at native plants and plant habitats that she’ll be writing for Country Life this summer.

Going Native?
In today’s world of industry and technology, there is also a trend, a yearning to get back to the land: to be out in the fresh air, green grass, getting dirt on your hands. The weather has finally broken in my area of northeast Ohio, and I’m hoping the ground will be ready for planting soon, as things dry out. These days the majority of what is planted in our gardens comes from foreign areas and is planted in native soil. (Foreign meaning any plant not native to your region, not necessarily plants from other countries.) Continue reading

The PotMaker Makes Seed Starting Simple

The PotMaker

Make biodegradable seed starter pots easily with The PotMaker from Lehman’s in Kidron, or at Lehmans.com.

Today’s article comes to us from Ann VerWiebe, a staffer at 89.7 WKSU, a service of Kent State University. We’re proud to help support public radio, and were thrilled when Ann jumped at the idea to test one of our products. Ann’s an avid gardener, crafter, sewing maven and all-around creative person.

This winter in Ohio has been tough and persistent. Even now, weeks after it has officially turned to spring, we can’t be sure we’re passed the final frost of the season. I decided to force the issue by starting seeds on what is commonly known as a “sunny windowsill.”

I used the PotMaker to create tiny starter pots. What’s really great about this product is that it allowed me to easily – and cheaply – make something that can be planted directly in the ground once my seeds have sprouted. The simple strip of newspaper used to make the pot biodegrades in the earth without disturbing the roots of the seedling during the transplanting process. Continue reading

Our American Gardeners Get Going!

Heirloom seeds in packets from Lehmans.com.

Choose from a variety of heirloom seeds at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Last week, Country Life announced our American Gardens Project, where we sent a selection of heirloom seeds to gardeners all over the country. Each gardener has received his or her seeds, and is, as we say at Lehman’s, “starting their seedlings” in the race to harvest. We’ll track each one, and see how the various seeds do in gardens across the country.

Our Arizona gardener, Glynis, lives in the high desert, and has some big challenges to overcome. She shares her thoughts with us below. Our other gardeners, who are scattered through the South, East and Midwest, will have updates here soon. Continue reading

Lehman’s Has The Heirloom Seeds You Want!

Heirloom seeds in packets from Lehmans.com.

Choose from a variety of heirloom seeds at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

As many of you may have noticed, we’ve started thinking spring here at Lehman’s Country Life! (Just because Ohio’s buried in snow and cold doesn’t mean we can’t dream…) Right now, many of our readers in the South and West are starting their gardens, and are ready to start seeds, and may even be considering getting cool-weather plants in the ground.

When you’re starting to plant, you can’t pick anything finer than heirloom seeds–unless those seeds are certified USDA organic. We’re pleased that you can choose from our extensive group of heirloom seeds here at Lehman’s, with many certified organic! This year, we’re pleased to add seven new varieties–they’re conveniently grouped at the end of the list.

Take a look at the list below, and then visit Lehmans.com to order your favorites! Continue reading