The Weekly Digs #150

by Becky

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I have been taking some time this week to do a lot of reading and planning for the next garden season. I’ve been revisiting a few favorite books and learning so much. Sometimes it’s not really the words that are there that give the ideas, but rather they spark other unrelated ideas in my mind of what I need to do in my garden and with our animals. 

All the sparks that fly in my mind need to be tempered with a little bit of reality. Last year, I really overdid it and had so many plans that I couldn’t do them all credit. 

Here are the books I’ve been reading over the last week:

I also ordered this one and can’t wait to dive into it next week when it arrives:

I already did something I said I wasn’t going to do this year and that is to expand the garden further. What happened was Cam brought me home blackberries from the store one day (my favorite treat) he said, “Why aren’t you growing these?” And I declared I had no idea since they are one of my very favorite fruits and they grow so well here. 

Sunrise from this week. I love them! We spent ten years living in a place where we couldn’t see a sunrise or sunset. The view here will never get old.

Consequently, I spent hours on the computer researching varieties and in the end I ordered 75 blackberry plants. I am excited about it, but also now thinking I need to prepare 3 or 4 one hundred foot long rows for them by March 1 when they ship. 

Nothing like a deadline to get some work done! 

Here are the types I got: 

Prime-Ark Freedom


Prime-Ark 45


Ponca is supposed to be super sweet so got the most of that type but also wanted to try a few others. At our previous home we grew Kiowa and Navaho blackberries. I liked Kiowa but my family said, “No more thorny types, please!” so I didn’t purchase them again.

This is a Kiowa blackberry along with my sweet daughter, Kiowa gets HUGE! Photo from 2020

I also got some Tay berries (15 plants)  and thornless boysenberries (10 plants). My favorite place to order blackberries from is Pense Nursery. They are local and therefore the plants are better adapted to my area. I’ve bought berries from other places and Pense Nursery has the BEST blackberry starts. 

I actually would have ordered less plants but they got me with their bulk discount pricing so yeah, that’s what happens when I get excited, I get 100. We had 40 plants at our previous home and it was never enough. I could eat them every day of the year! I will freeze them and freeze dry them too.

A sunset from this week.

In the garden this week:

I planted onions directly in the ground. 

As soon as the snow melted and the soil was soft I got to work. Onions can handle a lot of cold but just in case, I also covered them with a row cover for warmth and to keep chickens from messing up a newly planted garden bed.

I’m not quite finished yet, but so far I planted gladstone onions, and australian brown onions.

I am working on getting an area inside my caterpillar tunnel set up for seed starting. I would like to do a backup batch of onions sown in soil blocks just in case!

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Joanna Kowalewski February 14, 2022 - 1:45 am

You always amaze me ❤️ I’ve been meaning to ask you, how did the chickpea’s turn out from the garden? I think they were chickpea’s 😂

PamR March 10, 2022 - 5:13 pm

I’ve spent this week reading your blog since 2014 forward. One thing that struck me was your heavy pest problems. I’ve seen all the sources you’ve researched, but never saw you mention soil biology in a serious way, nor serious remediation of soil for lack of micronutrients. I started learning about this in 2010 and have used it on my homestead since then.

It comes down to there are 4 levels of plant health and most people have never seen a Level 4 plant, at it’s healthiest. When the soil is really balanced and the biology is alive and healthy, plants can reach Level 4 easily.

In Level 4 they have the ability to kill some pests that eat them and resist easily diseases. I know this works because I’ve seen it in my homestead garden.

If this interests you, and you want to reduce your pest and disease load, check out this organization:

Attending these conferences, especially when John Kempf was a lecturer, but also many other well know people spoke, was the catalyst to raising the most nutrient dense food I could. I was also doing to treat my Lyme disease (had it since childhood) relatively successfully. At least I was no longer using a wheelchair and I was raising most of my own food.

I think the piece you are missing in your gardens is the biology and the soil balancing. I hope this helps you, as you work so hard and seeing your produce eaten by bugs has been so hard on you.


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