The Weekly Digs #187

by Becky

Good News in the Garden

Our vole problem is definitely under control now, Cam and I have been checking traps and the numbers are getting fewer. The broccoli looks better now too, and most is in really good shape.

In the garden we are working on a lot of cleanup right now. It’s pretty unexciting but is a necessary step towards having everything ready for next season. We pulled Tposts out where the tomatoes were growing this year, then brought them all to the barn for winter storage.

We harvested tons of mesclun mix, had a taste of the broccoli (it was so tender!), and have been doing daily harvests of carrots to eat with preserved lemon hummus. We also have tatsoi and other asian greens galore. 

I actually planted too many greens. We have been having lots of stir fry and fried rice to use it over the last month and now I feel tired of eating asian cuisine, which doesn’t normally happen!

Front Landscaping

We have lived in our house over a year, and one area that has been severely neglected is the landscaping around our house. Being a gardener, I opted to do our own landscaping and save a little money doing it myself.

However, with all the more practical food gardening happening, I put my focus on the vegetable garden this spring and summer instead of the plants around the house. 

One thing I learned after watching our home being built is that I can’t put any food producing shrubs and plants around the house. The reason for this being I watched as painters rinsed buckets of paint in the front, and other various contractors did the same dump of any water soluble chemical. So it’s only going to be ornamental plants.

Now that the craziness of the garden season has slowed way down, I’ve been able to turn my attention back to the landscaping and plants around our home. A few days ago, I stopped by Home Depot to get some landscaping pins and I noticed all the outdoor shrubs and perennials were 50% off! The selection was limited but I was able to get some things that I know will do well in our area like dwarf hollies and knockout roses. 

I also got tickseed flowers which is a perennial that I’ve never heard of or grown before but seems like it’s an appropriate fit for our growing zone and easy to grow. 

Cam helped me get a few of them planted, it’ll take another day to get it all finished. I’m definitely nowhere near finished with the landscaping. The area is huge- 12 feet out from the house and maybe 80 feet long. It’s going to be a multiyear project since the amount of plants it would take to fill that up would be so expensive if purchased all at once.

Even though it won’t all get planted right away, I’ll cover all that ground cover with mulch so it looks a little better. I’ll also probably grow some extra perennial flowers from seed this year so I can plant them in the front and save some money while I’m at it. 

I’m generally not a huge fan of landscaping ground cover and try to avoid it where I have food growing. However, since this is all ornamental plants and I can’t keep up with another area that is subject to weeds, I’m calling it worth the use. 

We still need to lay down some additional gravel on our walkway, and straighten out the ground cover. We got some strong storms this week and the nice smooth base I had for the gravel on the pathway isn’t so smooth anymore. I’m going to line it with some sort of stone or brick on the edges. It’s all definitely a work in progress, haha, I know it looks terrible as it is. Once we finish adding the gravel, mulch, and edging, it will be looking a lot better.


We’ve been working on freeze drying more apples this week. In addition, we did a batch of dehydrated apples since we have a lot of apples and freeze drying takes a long time.

For some fruits, like peaches for example, the difference in fresh flavor between freeze drying and dehydration is very noticeable, freeze dried peaches are so much better. 

But for apples I like them both ways so that’s why we are preserving them with both dehydration and freeze drying. 

Chickens and Coops

Another new coop was finished this week and filled with 60 meat birds. It works for now, but we need to split them up into two coops soon. The plan is to butcher the other set of heritage meat birds we raised within the next week or two. They are about 4 weeks overdue for freezer camp so it’s time and that will open up the availability of another coop.

These meat birds aren’t heritage. They are Freedom Rangers. At the last minute I ordered them because we weren’t getting the hatch rates we needed from our Delaware Broilers. We used an incubator to get the Delawares to hatch and the percentage started at 75% hatch rate and the next batch was 40%. Not sure if it was the chickens, user error, or the incubator. We got the extra Freedom Rangers to make sure we have enough chicken for the year.

We are up to five of the chicken tractors now.

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PamR November 6, 2022 - 12:52 pm

I had wondered if you would do landscaping around the house. That’s a huge area! I kept mine to 4′ wide as that’s as far as I can reach from a sitting position to weed. There are long ones: 18′, 20′ and 24′ and a series of (7) 14′ x 4′ along the fence line. I’m not doing the math, but all told they might add up to your big one.

I am contemplating putting composted bark mulch on the flowerbeds next year. I have never done it since they were planted in 1983 because I never had the $$. But I like how well it worked this year in the walkways in the New Herb garden.

Amy November 7, 2022 - 12:53 am

That seems to always happen with our duck hatching rate over the summer as well. We get 75% or more in the spring and then only about 50% /hatch in the summer. I have not found any data on it, but my guess is that it has to do with heat exposure and increased bacterial load.

theseasonalhomestead November 7, 2022 - 3:07 pm

Interesting! I was thinking it was something I was doing wrong but that is good to know.

Reese November 7, 2022 - 5:18 pm

Hi Becky! I have wanted to buy the canning jar sealer that goes with the vacuum sealer for a while now, and I’d like to know what brand you bought for that? The link for the canning jar sealer in your shop page doesn’t seem to be working. Could you tell me which one you have? Thanks!

theseasonalhomestead November 8, 2022 - 2:35 pm Thanks for letting me know! I’ve updated it on the shop page too. It’s Roots and Harvest Brand.

Jenna Julianne November 8, 2022 - 5:49 am

You sure keep your hands busy ! Your home is STUNNING. I love EACH of your blog posts! THANK YOU BECKY! Me and my 3 year old happily printed off your grape canning and ketchup canning recipes last week! Oh my YAY!! Tell your family we are so thankful for their help to you. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.


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