The Weekly Digs #180

by Becky

Garden Reflections for the 2022 Season

I told Cam this week, “Don’t let me go overboard again with the garden next year.” Winter blues and too much time inside from December to February led to me planning and planting a massive garden this year! It was exciting and for the most part, really fun to plan and plant and eat from.

I’ve planted so many succession plantings this year. Some areas have had 3 different crops in them over spring, summer, and fall. The good news is that we will have plenty of food over winter! Even though we’ve had a few flops (corn and green beans), we preserved an abundance thus far. And we still are preserving and will be until November.

The bad news is that the time involved with maintaining garden crops and preserving made it so I didn’t have much time for anything else, and I feel like it’s time to balance out a one sided schedule. I love to what we are doing but we also live in a modern world with other obligations aside from homestead. So I have a new plan for next year.

In my mind right now, I’m thinking next year will be a year of regeneration and soil improvement for the garden. I will do lots of cover crops, and scale back my overall vegetable garden area, not by a ton, but a reasonable amount. I am finding with each year my soil is getting better and the yield is higher per square foot and therefore, I don’t need the same amount of space I started with originally.

I also really want to do a better job of management and weed control. With a smaller area, I’m sure I can accomplish that easier.

I will still do plenty of succession planting and I think I can get the same yields in less area with careful planning, quick replanting after crops are harvested. Once I get on to garden planning in the winter, hopefully I’ll be able to recognize where I can conserve space and what garden beds to succession plant.

Aside from our main family garden, I also have the garden addition to think about. I will plant cover crops will also go in the new garden addition as well. This year it had silage tarp on it, probably for far too long, but with my schedule I never got around to planting it like I intended to do.

With a few years of cover crops in a large part of the gardens, I can get the weeds under better control and the fertility of the soil in a better spot.

At first I intended for the garden addition to be for grains, which I still want to do eventually but in addition the grains, I decided to set aside a 14x 100 foot area of that space for planting grapes under a caterpillar tunnel. I’m hoping the grape planting area will be ready two summers from now.

In the Garden

  • Transplanted kale. Our first planting of kale was spotty due to the heat and dry weather. The transplants will fill in the gaps.
  • Pulled out the dent corn. We got a decent amount but since it was planted densely the corn cobs were small. I’m still debating as to whether we should dry the corn for us, or feed it to the chickens as a supplement. There were some ears of corn that had earworm damage.
  • Transplanted more cabbage, January King. This time last year my cabbages were way ahead in maturity. The kids planted a whole bunch of different kinds of cabbage for me in soil blocks. I thought the majority was “Golden Acre” with a 60 day maturity time, it would definitely be ready by late October. But I think there was a mix up and instead they planted more Violaceo Di Verona. That one is 90 days if I’m remembering right so maybe we’ll just eat the leaves if it doesn’t form a head, haha!
  • Transplanted a few asian greens, we interplanted them with the cabbages and covered them with row cover.
  • Planted winter brown and north pole lettuce in soil blocks.
  • Did some weeding and maintenance around the berry plants. Cam and the kids pulled out a bunch of the ragweed so I could weed the rest. Since living here I discovered I have an allergy to ragweed. My eyes itch and water, and I get so congested- even from breathing in the pollen. I’m so thankful they pulled it all! 

Preserving

  • Made lentil soup this week with a bunch of fresh ingredients from the garden. Carrots, tomatoes, and squash all went in it along with the lentils (not grown by me). We ate some for dinner and the rest went in freezer containers.
  • Tomato based barbeque sauce. This also went in the freezer.

Other Projects

Cam got the trench all finished, the pipe in the trench, and the electrical wires through the pipe. Then he filled back in the trench. 

Later he got a load of gravel and used it for a base for the generator. The kids helped to level everything and tamp it down. We borrowed my sister’s furniture dolly and got the generator in place. It looks legit now!

Then our amazing neighbor who is an electrician came this week and hooked up the electrical from the generator to the house. Cam will hook up the propane soon.

I was talking to my neighbor about how we are at the end of the line of power. He agreed and said the power company takes a long time to come by if you are at the end of a line. 

He was telling me that where we live, if power does go out, in the past it has taken two weeks for the power company to restore it. I kept having this feeling we needed a backup source of power soon and now I know another reason why.

We have had really good luck so far, with only one flicker of a power outage. And he said that they came by a few years ago and cleaned up some of the overgrown trees and branches so it’s much better than it used to be.

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7 comments

Joanna September 19, 2022 - 12:49 pm

Hi Becky-
I wrote a while long message and then lost it because I accidentally hit the ad and I don’t know what I did 😂
Anyhow, is your generator all ready now? I didn’t really understand what you wrote.
Good luck scaling the garden down! You say that every year 😂❤️
I can’t wait for the pantry/freezer tours. Also, just your next video in general ❤️
Love you all…

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Ann Lown September 19, 2022 - 10:50 pm

Hi Becky. I’ve been binge-watching your videos and just live them so! Even my husband, who doesn’t even want to think about gardening, is living them too! Thank you for all your rich content — it is so uplifting!

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theseasonalhomestead September 22, 2022 - 3:21 am

Thank you so much! I appreciate you telling me!

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Cathy September 20, 2022 - 3:01 am

Can you say what type of roof you have??? I love the way it looks!!!! You are so fun to follow!!!

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TNGirl September 20, 2022 - 7:03 pm

You are an amazing gardener with no outside help except for your immediate family! A lot of hard work and dedication goes into all the gardening then preserving is on other whole level. Lots of admiration for all you do! I love following along.

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Jenna September 22, 2022 - 12:40 am

Becky!!! WAY TO GO! My husband’s on the same ship as you. We just installed a generator – same as yours – and have a massive propane tank. Now we are saving to fill it ! 😉 Your garden notes are so helpful! I use your pot pie recipe as a staple in my home. IT IS delicious! I made a giant pot pie in a cast iron pan for dinner – just days before I gave birth to our baby – as a special dinner. We were outside eating it, actually in the rain haha ! by our garden 🙂 Can I ask you, what stockpot you recommend??? Thank you!!!

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Susan September 27, 2022 - 10:54 pm

Hi Becky. I love reading your notes and watching your YouTube videos. I have a VERY random question regarding the Roasted Lime Tomato Salsa recipe you (and I) use. I’m pretty sure I saw you preserving this in one of your videos using pint jars instead of the 8 oz. jars specified in the recipe. We go through this stuff like crazy and I want to can it in the pint jars too since the 8 oz. jars disappear in a nanosecond. So, how long do you process your pint jars for this recipe? Thanks so much.

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