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.

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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

Meagan’s Loving Cuke Trellis and Raised Bed Set

Double Yield Cucumbers

Double Yield Cucumbers

Out in Iowa, there’s a small family working on making it on their own, growing their own food, and living a frugal–but fabulous lifestyle.

Early in the summer, we sent Meagan and her family our Cucumber and Squash Trellis and a Raised Bed Gardening Set. And they did great things with it! You can see step-by-step as their square foot garden grew. Thanks, Meagan, for sharing the results with us.

Grow The Perfect Cucumber Patch

Cucumber and Squash Trellis

Still in stock at Lehman’s in Kidron and at Lehmans.com, this Cucumber and Squash Trellis is the best!

I’m a gardening enthusiast.   My summers growing up were spent outside in the garden with my mother. 

She taught me everything I needed to know about loving the garden and the outdoors, growing my own food and even some canning, pickling and preserving skills that I still use to this day!  

Now I would say, I’m pretty much the queen of canning.   I remember my mothers cucumber patch.  It was always beyond spectacular.  We made so many delicious pickles and had the most delicious salads from the cucumbers my mother grew. 

But after I got older and moved away from home, I could never get them quite right.  I cant really say that I’ve been able to have a successful cucumber patch since I’ve been out on my own.  Until now that is!  Lehman’s carries tons of products for gardening and now a days, raised beds are all the rage!  And I can see why!  

The Raised Bed Gardening Set makes it so easy to plant and harvest. We love it.

The Raised Bed Gardening Set makes it so easy to plant and harvest. We love it.

The wonderful folks at Lehman’s sent us two of their gardening products.  They sent us their Raised Bed Gardening Set and their Cucumber & Squash Trellis so that I could try them out and try my luck at creating the perfect cucumber patch using Lehman’s products!  And I think I’m well on my way to cucumber heaven!   Read more–click here

Farmer Hannah’s Hoe Doe-Si-Doe

The European-Style Grape Hoe from Lehman's. The blade sharpens easily, and the broad head moves lots of soil.

The European-Style Grape Hoe from Lehman’s. The blade sharpens easily, and the broad head moves lots of soil.

Hoes are marvelous tools.  They come in so many shapes and sizes, and all are useful in their own unique ways!  As a gardener who does not use herbicide sprays, I have to deal with weeds regularly, and I have plenty of other jobs to do related to cutting, turning, and moving soil… so a hoe turns out to be my best friend most days.

A large number of people in this day and age have no idea how to use a hoe, and this has led to more hoes being made poorly, since people don’t know what they’re looking for.  Continue reading

Beat Those Bean Beetles Naturally!

Beetle on bean plant

The dreaded Mexican Bean Beetle in its natural habitat.

How Do You Know You Have Mexican Bean Beetles?
Anyone who has grown green beans east of the Rockies has probably encountered the dreaded Mexican Bean Beetle.

It starts in mid-Spring, when you begin to notice holes in your bean leaves. It doesn’t look too bad, so you just keep an eye on it.

Before long you begin to find funny little yellow critters on the undersides of the leaves. With each day they get bigger, and fatter, and your bean leaves are looking more and more lacey. 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

Why Buy It When You Can Grow It?

Bull Nose Bell Pepper Seeds - Sweet

Bull Nose Bell Pepper Seeds – Sweet

There’s all kinds of information out there about eating organic foods, avoiding pesticides, and generally, having a good idea about what you’re eating, and what happened to your food before it gets to you.

Sometimes, the information makes a run to the grocery sound like a trip to a chamber of horrors!

How can you be absolutely sure you’re doing the best for your family?

Grow it yourself. Even now, when June’s only 24 hours away, it’s not too late to get some (organic) plant starts or seeds, and get growing!  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

American Gardeners Seeing Some Green!

These Black Cherry Tomatoes made their appearance April 4 for Kendra!

These Black Cherry Tomatoes made their appearance April 4 for Kendra!

Kendra, NC-TN Mountains

We’ve enjoyed a good rain, and the seedlings are thriving. My carrots are just emerging from the soil, and are finally making an appearance among the radishes in the garden.

The lettuce is also making its first showing, safely covered with chicken wire to keep the cat from scratching in the bed. I was excited to find my Black Cherry Tomatoes sprouting indoors recently. The seedlings are now warmly growing under fluorescent bulbs on my kitchen counter. Continue reading

Book Review: Seed To Seed

There's still time to save seeds for next spring. Get Seed to Seed at Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio, or Lehmans.com.

There’s still time to save seeds for next spring. Get Seed to Seed at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or Lehmans.com.

One of the most important things you can learn to do when trying to become more self-reliant is to learn how to save seeds for next year’s garden. It used to be that farmers naturally saved seeds from their crops to grow more the following season, but many home gardeners have fallen out of the practice of saving seeds, and rely on nursery plants or a new pack of seeds for each new planting.
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