The Weekly Digs #191

by Becky

A New Garden Book (only to me, it’s an older one!)

After I did my YT video on my favorite books, I got some good garden book recommendations for myself from the comments. I don’t know how I missed it, but I honestly had never heard of Ruth Stout until I saw someone recommend her book. 

I bought the book, “How to Have a Green Thumb without an Aching Back,” and read it in about two days this week! What a fun read. She had some great stories to tell. Now that no-till methods are more mainstream the information about mulching wasn’t a revelation but I’m sure in her time it was unheard of!  

I was telling Cam she sounded like a kindred spirit because she mentioned in the book that she didn’t want to learn to drive because she didn’t want to leave the house and her garden. Haha. That is so me too, except of course with kids I have to leave the house more than I would like. 

I did find it fascinating that her corn earworms and a few other insect pests disappeared after mulching. I don’t think it was as instant as she makes it sound like in the book. Just based on my personal experience having bad bug numbers die down is due to holistic practices, disturbing the soil very little, mulching and most importantly TIME.

After year five in my previous garden I rarely if ever saw cucumber beetles, corn earworms, and hornworms! And they plagued the garden before then. 

We just finished the third season of my current garden and the bugs have been pretty vicious but I know as the soil gets better and with time everything will come back into balance again.

Anyway, If you haven’t read Ruth Stout’s book yet, I highly recommend it!

A little time to switch gears and goals for next year

As I’ve had more time to read seed magazines and plant magazines, I’ve come to realize something I’m going to change next year. I spend so much time in the vegetable garden, and I do love it, but all I’ve been dreaming about lately is having more fruits. 

If Cam calls me and asks “What do you want as a treat from the store?” My response is always either fresh blackberries or raspberries. 

blackberry rows

I bought hundreds of berry plants over the last two years and got them all planted. And yet I quickly neglected them when the vegetable garden became more demanding. The raspberries produced a little bit but I didn’t water them enough and they were small. The blueberries are still young so also not producing much but they too suffered from my lack of watering and a VERY dry summer.

blueberry rows

Luckily, we did finally get some irrigation set up for the berries by the end of last year so now I don’t have to worry about that anymore. My plan is to add 8 inches of mulch on all the rows so that they have less weed competition, less watering requirements, and I get to employ Ruth Stout’s no work method. 

We also need to get a trellis set up for the blackberries over the winter. I am employing Cam to do this job, haha. I hope he can find the time to do it. 


After Thanksgiving, I made a bunch of turkey stock and got to canning it this week. 6 quarts total was preserved. Prior to that we used 4 quarts additional in a potato soup for dinner. Turkey stock is my favorite, it is much more rich and flavorful than chicken.

We dehydrated some apples as well this week, but I was busy and didn’t put them away quick enough. So a couple of trays got eaten before they even made it into jars! 

I am hoping to get the pantry cleaned and organized so I can do a pantry tour filmed next week.

Seed Inventory 

I started working on my seed inventory this week. I used my chart of “How long do seeds last” to help me decide when to toss old seeds. 

Even though certain seeds can still germinate past the generally accepted time frame of being viable, my personal experience has been that it ends up being more wasteful in the end to try and plant them. 

For example, if I only get 50% germination on old kale seed, and lets say I’m direct seeding, half the seeds don’t sprout. Then I have to either go back and plant more, or have wasted space in the garden where the kale didn’t pop up. Or option three is overseeding and then thinning.

 All are not ideal and as hard as it is for me to throw seeds away, I’ve learned to do it because it actually saves me time and money to have fresh seeds. The same would be true for planting in soil blocks or indoor trays- lots of wasted soil and time for seeds with poor germination. 

So that was a long way of me saying I threw A LOT of seeds away this year while I did my seed inventory. My seed purchases will be pretty minimal this year to ensure I use up all my good seeds and do a better job of management. I really don’t like to be wasteful. 

Oh but I do plan on soaking and feeding the seeds to the chickens so perhaps it’s not a total waste. 

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W. December 6, 2022 - 1:13 pm

Ruth Stout’s deep mulching works well, but if you have a slug problem, it will greatly increase the number of slugs you are dealing with. Ask me how I know! : )

Kaitlyn December 8, 2022 - 5:06 pm

Love reading your blog! It makes me dream of living on a farm myself. I have a question though! Do you live in a state that gets a lot of tornadoes? I know there’s really great farmland out that way, but I have had recurring nightmares about tornadoes ever since I was about 6, when the SLC tornado came through our state. I want to move somewhere where I can have a great farm, but I keep getting anxious about tornadoes.

theseasonalhomestead December 11, 2022 - 1:34 am

Yes, most of the midwest gets tornadoes. I was worried about it before we moved here but have never even seen one. We get warnings every so often but the threat is pretty low. At least in our part of Arkansas.

Andy December 9, 2022 - 2:39 am

Do you have any previous blogs or YouTube videos that show how you do your indoor seed sowing and with the set up looks like?

theseasonalhomestead December 11, 2022 - 1:46 am

I start all my seeds outdoors in a caterpillar tunnel now, but prior to that I used regular shop lights placed close to the and a shelving unit. I have a picture of it here.

I also have a seed starting blog post HERE.

Right now I do the majority of my seed starting in soil blocks. I have a post on how to make them HERE.

Andy December 12, 2022 - 1:46 am

Thank you so much!

Cecilia December 9, 2022 - 5:41 am

Thank you for recommending Gaining Ground a while back! I just finished it and really enjoyed it (even more so as I mostly read children’s books these days 😉 Thank you for all the book recommendations!


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