The Weekly Digs #193 (Highs and Lows of 2022)

by Becky

With the holidays coming up and the cold weather here, we haven’t been able to do as much on the homestead. Winter is also our time for taking vacations! So the weekly digs may either pause for a bit or come periodically as I have enough to write about. 

However, I do have a goal to get at least one blog post up every week at least until February and hopefully beyond so be sure to check back every week for that! I have some good ones coming up!

Pigs!

We still have our chickens and turkeys, but the pigs went to the butcher last week. We raised six pigs this year (or I should say Cam raised haha). I asked Cam if he had a recent picture and he didn’t so here is a throw back video of July of this year when they were more like piglets.

They have been raised on mainly garden scraps and supplemented with non-gmo pig feed.

Last year we kept two, and will do the same this year. The other four we will sell. Pasture raised pork is the best!

In the Garden and Preserving

In the Garden, I harvested the last of my napa cabbage, some carrots, and daikon radishes to make kimchi. It ended up being 45 lbs of cabbage! So I made a VERY large batch of kimchi.

Garden Highs and Lows of 2022

It is the time of year for reflection so I’m going to document my highs and lows in the garden this year and what I’ll do differently next year! 

Fall garden 2022

Highs

  1. This has been by far my best year for a fall and winter garden. We have had an abundant harvest. I’ve been able to preserve some and we eat the rest daily. No sign of running out anytime soon but the weather is going to be frigid -5ºF next week, so I’ll see how the lettuce, spinach, radishes, greens, and carrots hold up. I think I’ll harvest my celery before it gets so cold.
  2. Great strawberry harvest this year too. We got enough to freeze and freeze dry, although I am planning on expanding the strawberry area next year to transition from one area to another. We are going into year three of these strawberries so I need to take the runners and replant them elsewhere.
  3. Despite all the odds, like attacks from plagues of insects, voles, birds, and a deep raccoon hole under the fence I didn’t find till late in the season, we harvested so much food this year. So much that next year, I’ll be able to dedicate more area to solely cover cropping because I grew too much of some things! The more cover cropping I do the less weed pressure there is and I love it!

Lows

Raccoon ate some of our watermelons too. Be we had plenty to share so this wasn’t a big deal 🙂
  1. I can think of two main major issues we had this year. The first was the terrible drainage around the tomatoes. I have never seen anything like that before. 50% of the seedlings I grew died after two weeks in the ground.
  2. The other was blister beetles. I had many nights vacuuming, scooping, and shaking beetles into buckets for anywhere from 1-4 hours a day for several weeks. So many tears and so much fatigue over those beetles attacking our garden.  I’m so grateful we had the miracle of the frog that came to help us, and the clustering of the beetles together so I could get rid of them for good.
  3. The third was not enough sweet corn to preserve for winter. I love sweet corn. It was sad that the smaller than average harvest was consumed by a raccoon. 

Plans for next year- remedying problems and creating more successes!

  1. Fix drainage by taking soil from walking paths and placing it on the garden beds. We started this project but haven’t finished.
  2. Fill the raccoon hole. We actually already tackled this.
  3. Creating better soil for next year’s garden. 
  4. Shrinking vegetable crops and increasing cover crops to help combat weed pressure.
  5. Finishing setting up irrigation. 
Early June 2022 Harvest

I think this list could go on and on, but I’ll settle for that right now. I’m so excited for next year, I learned a lot this year and had a lot of growth through the ups and downs. 

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3 comments

Joanna December 18, 2022 - 4:31 pm

I love you so much!! I CANNOT wait for next year 😁 I’m so happy you got the irrigation on the berry plants. I watch another channel and he “easily” trenched a water line a quarter mile all around his land to be able to water his animals/orchard. Can Cam do that? It didn’t look like that big of a deal 🤷🏼‍♀️
Anyhow, thank you for sharing your lives with us ❤️ You and your family give me such a warm place in my heart

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Renee December 23, 2022 - 8:43 pm

I’m sorry if you’ve shared this and I’ve missed it. What are the actual dimensions of your vegetable gardens or how much square footage is used for vegetables? You are an inspiration! One more question, do you feel that you have to refrain from buying other vegetables at the grocery store? I also live in Arkansas. I feel blessed to live here!

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theseasonalhomestead December 31, 2022 - 5:24 pm

The vegetable garden is 100ft x 100ft, I recently added another 100ft x 100ft garden next to it. However, the only thing in the new expanded garden last year was my kids gardens- 12x 100ft. Actual use for vegetables is less, I have two beds for strawberries, and a border around the garden of flowers. I would guess we had about 10,000 square feet total in vegetable production last year, including the kids gardens.

My goal is always to grow enough that I don’t need to purchase vegetables at the store. The last two years we have been successful in that endeavor. There is no need to refrain, because we have plenty at home. I just learned how to be creative with using them, especially in the winter. How fun that you live in Arkansas too! It’s a great place.

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