The Weekly Digs #175

by Becky

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Caught One!

We finally caught one of the many animals going into the garden. This week it was a raccoon. Unfortunately, it and perhaps the rest of its raccoon family managed to eat about 50% of our sweet corn plus a lot of the kids dry corn. 

Corn all over ground where the raccoons had a feast.

Cam filled in the hole under one of the garden fences last week with hardware mesh but raccoons are very smart. It literally looked like it just picked up the mesh and moved it to the side. That night when we thought everything was safe was the night when the raccoon ate so much corn. 

The next night Cam intercepted and removed the raccoon before it made it into the garden. To make sure nothing else made it in, the kids and I tried to pound some extra reinforcements but the ground was so rocky it wouldn’t go in. 

Instead we left the metal stakes there and gathered a bucket of rocks and poured it over top. We haven’t had any animal damage or signs of anything getting in the fencing since then.

Hopefully we have no more problems because we have dent corn that will be ready soon! I bought some more sweet corn seed and I think I’m going to do a very late planting if I can muster up enough space in the garden. It has a 69 day maturing time + I add 10 days for going into fall with less daylight hours. At 79 days it will be ready right around our average first frost, risky but hopefully worth the effort.

In the Garden

We are doing lots of Fall planting! I have  carrots, cabbage, and kale that I direct sowed a few weeks ago. Kale looks good because it has a row cover on it. The carrots also germinated well thanks to the burlap. 

My favorite cabbage from last year, violaceo di verona, I planted about 4 weeks ago. Just yesterday I noticed they were reduced to just stems. In a flash they got mowed down by grasshoppers! I was slow to get it covered with a row cover and now I am regretting that.

Soil blocks for fall seeding, even if the blocks don’t look great they still get the job done.

I have one or two cabbages of that type remaining. They have a very long time until harvest so I’m not sure It’ll have time to mature before we hit frosts but I’ll plant some in soil blocks in the hopes that we might get a couple. 

We are planting many quick maturing cabbages as well. I had the kids do a lot of the seeding in the soil blocks so I’m not sure these are entirely accurate but I believe they did chinese cabbage and red express cabbage.

In soil blocks they also seeded mangel beets (I didn’t realize they have such a long maturing time but the hope is to grow this for the animals over winter), green onions, and arugula.

I recently put in an order for some seeds I’ve never tried before and will share what I’m testing here. Some of them come from seed companies I’ve never used before, Territorial Seeds and Uprising Seeds, because I wanted to try a specific variety I had heard about and they were the only ones to have it. They just came in the mail today:

Uprising Seeds

  • Broccoli- Solstice
  • Jacobs Gold Bush Bean (these will be for next year, not planning on planting them in fall)
  • Collards- Champion
  • Cabbage- January King, this is the main one I’ve really wanted to try. 

Territorial Seeds

  • Kale-Casper
  • Rutabaga- Magres
  • Thyme- German/Winter (will plant next year)
  • Lettuce- Winter Brown
  • Lettuce- North Pole, this is another I’ve wanted to try for winter.

High Mowing Seeds – They have a nice guide for good Fall crops to succession plant HERE

  • Mesclun Mix, planted this one earlier this year and loved it! Great germination and wonderful mix.
  • Spinach- Giant Winter
  • Carrot- Napoli, this is a hybrid variety. I don’t plant many hybrids because you can’t save the seeds but this one is very good. Even though I grow a few other types of open pollination carrots as well, I keep coming back to this one for winter growing.
  • Arugula- Astro
  • Beets- Guardsmark Chioggia
  • Watermelon Radish


I tell myself every year that this will be the year that I don’t stay up until 3am preserving. I have thoughts and dreams of finishing a preserving day long before it’s late. But with kids, we are still in a busy phase of life where not all days are dedicated to putting up the harvest. 

This week Cruz will go back to public school for high school and my three youngest will continue to homeschool. I’ve always left it up to my kids, letting them choose either way. 

So this last week prior to school starting has been crazy with kids nonstop get-togethers with friends, birthday parties, and wrapping up the back to school shopping for my oldest. Put that all together with gardening, harvesting, cooking, finishing up editing our garden tour video this week, other homemaking/homesteading tasks, and you get me preserving late, late into the night.

I stayed up until 2am finishing preserving projects more than once this week. Then needed to be up again at 6:15am for other commitments. It’s been kind of rough to be sleep deprived but it’s a short lived time and I don’t want to ever complain about a good harvest 🙂 The kids have been good about helping a lot when they can.

We did a lot of freeze drying of our peaches this week. Some are in slices and the rest we did in little bits. I’ll be sharing what I’m going to do with those soon.

We also finished making the tomato sauce and sloppy joe starter from THIS BOOK. The sloppy joe starter turned out so rich in vinegar, I’m not sure if I’ll like it yet but time will tell. We put up 4 quarts of tomato sauce and 12 pints sloppy joe starter.

spaghetti sauce

Last night on my other late night of canning, we made spaghetti sauce. It takes an enormous amount of tomatoes so I like to make it when I get a big amount all in one day.
I harvested 60lbs of tomatoes so it was perfect for making spaghetti sauce. We ended up with 9 quarts. I pressure canned them all and used the recipe found HERE but if you have an All American Canner the recipe can also be found in the instruction manual.

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Cheryl August 16, 2022 - 2:02 pm

My son is going to part time high school (2 classes in order to play sports), and it will be our first experience with school for him. Nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. Territorial seeds has been great for us. I get Hadrian celery there, and it is the best, most disease resistant celery. I highly recommend it. They have lots of winter lettuces too, so that’s another thing I always get there.

Erin August 17, 2022 - 1:53 am

My daughter is playing soccer with the high school team this year. We’ve always homeschooled as well, so I can relate to your feelings. So far it’s going well. In our area you don’t have to take any classes at the school in order to play on the sports teams

theseasonalhomestead August 20, 2022 - 10:10 pm

Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll have to get some of that celery. Hope everything goes well with your son in school! 🙂

Bobbie August 16, 2022 - 5:07 pm

Hi Becky,
Thanks for the seed recommendations! Can you tell me are Cow Peas the same as Black Eyed Peas? Are they peas or beans? Thanks!

theseasonalhomestead August 20, 2022 - 10:09 pm

Black eyed peas are a specific variety of cow pea. I grow Arkansas Razorback cow peas. Cow peas aren’t beans, they are a category all their own but we usually cook and eat them in the same manner as beans.

Theresa August 18, 2022 - 12:17 pm

Love your YouTube channel and your blog!

theseasonalhomestead August 20, 2022 - 10:11 pm

Thank you!!

Murphy's August 20, 2022 - 3:43 pm

You mentioned not saving seeds from hyrbids. If you haven’t yet, I would recommend checking out Joseph Loft house’s book on landrace gardening. He unpacks the concept of using hybrid veggies as good starters for breeding varieties truly adapted to your specific climate and area. It’s a really interesting concept. However there are some hybrids (like carrots) which have been bred to remove parts of the male flowers to make the offspring sterile. In his book he mentions which ones are safe to use the hybrids or not. Doing this, you end up with much hardier plants that all have “hybrid vigor” and grow more easily in your specific climate.

Your videos have inspired my wife and I to continue on in our homestead journey. Entering our 4th year of gardening. Thankfully summer will be coming to a close in central Florida at the end of September and we can start planting our favorite veggies.

Emma September 4, 2022 - 8:43 am

Hey Becky, it amazes me how much you get done in a week. You must be an incredibly hard worker. I’ve been down with a cold the past few days, so I’ve been enjoying watching all your YouTube videos while I recuperated. You inspired me to get out into my garden today and do some work in it as I had the energy, so thank you for that.


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