The Weekly Digs #223

by Becky

My sister Amy is here visiting this week! Amy also has a farm and does a lot of gardening and preserving. We both have the same “don’t like to sit still for too long” genes, haha. 

So even on vacations to my house Amy is out helping me in the garden and even her kids come out to the garden pitch in.

It’s been so nice to have extra help because a job that would normally take me several days, we finish in a day.

In the Garden

Here’s what we’ve done so far:

This week we got all the dry black beans picked and shelled. There are many more green black bean pods remaining on the trellises.

I used a cattle panel for trellising and some of them got so weighed down that they fell onto the adjacent cowpea row. This created a semi-shady spot so they didn’t mature as fast as the other end of the row.

Unfortunately this means I will likely have to take them off and hang them to dry indoors if we get frost soon. 

That being said, I’m pretty excited that the weather forecast is looking good and frost free for the next 14 days!

Also in the garden, we got three rows all prepped for planting cover crops by hoeing, raking, and broadforking. 

We almost got them planted today but then I realized I didn’t have any winter rye seed. This is a favorite winter cover crop, along with crimson clover, and hairy vetch. Those three make a great mix!

Another thing I have been working on all this week is prepping a row for planting strawberry plugs. They should have been planted several weeks ago but I’m slow when I’m working by myself.

To get the area ready, I pulled out our green beans and holy basil, then did some hoeing, raking, then added compost, and finally weed paper. Next is to actually plant the strawberries but I haven’t got there yet.

Getting ready to mow this cover crop down!
All mowed. In the past we would crimp and tarp a crop like this but now we have the flail mower. Both methods work well.

Acorns and Black Walnuts

Earlier this week, Amy was talking about collecting acorns and feeding them to her pigs. The same day, the kids attempted to collect acorns to feed to our pigs but weren’t able to get as many because ours are smaller (Amy lives in mid Atlantic region).

All the acorn talk reminded Cam that he had seen a black walnut hulling machine at a local farm stand. He called them and they will hull black walnuts with the machine for $5 a bag. 

So we decided to go on a hunt to find black walnuts and it turns out we have several trees all over our property. In about an hour, we were able to collect a bunch of black walnuts. By the way, these are for our family to eat, not for the pigs.

We loaded them in the truck and took them to the farm stand to get them hulled. In a matter of literally 3 minutes, they were all hulled and the guy said it was 50 lbs worth. We happily paid our $5 and came home with the walnuts!

We had watched a Youtube video prior to going to get them hulled and decided it was well worth the five dollars not to have to do it by hand. Saved us about 3 hours worth of work and we didn’t have brown stained hands, boots, and everything else from the black walnuts. 

We are still researching on if a black walnut cracking machine would be worth it. For the first few, we used a hammer and picked out the nuts. The nuts last a long time in the shell, so we’ll keep them as-is for now!


No preserving this week. I’ll probably have one more big push to wrap everything up and then be done for a little while and do a pantry tour.

I know just by looking at my pantry, this wasn’t our biggest year for preserving due to having a baby. But at the same time, I feel quite a bit better than usual with where we stand going into Fall and Winter.

Now that we have the high tunnel, I’ve tripled my protected growing space and feel good about how much food is still living in the garden. We should be able to make it through the most difficult months of February and March without needing to outsource any vegetables. 

And we also have our year’s supply of meat. I’m super grateful for that too.

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Joanna October 22, 2023 - 12:13 pm

Hi, Becky 😁 I am so happy you got to visit with your sister!
I’ve been on a Seasonal homestead YouTube video binge again this whole week 😂 And right now I am watching the 31 days of August video. I was thinking, since you are surrounding your garden with ground cover that it might be smart to use electric chicken fence on top of it to keep the raccoons and rabbits away. It’s very affective on top of ground cover because you have no weeks to get in the way. Just a thought 🤷🏼‍♀️
Love you, girl ❤️

theseasonalhomestead October 29, 2023 - 2:21 am

Thanks! I do like that idea about the chicken fencing… we need to update some of ours (battery is dead) but may try that next year!

Joanna October 22, 2023 - 12:16 pm

I meant to say no weeds. Also, you can maybe try to plant your garden and put the vegetables those critters like in the same basic area so you only have to surround PART of your HUGE garden 😂 Like maybe plant your corn near where your strawberry are

PamR October 22, 2023 - 3:51 pm

I was wondering how the pigs and cows did this year. I don’t remember seeing much about them. I’d love a post about how you handle them, what the breeds are and your breeding program and general stories.

theseasonalhomestead October 29, 2023 - 2:24 am

Thanks for the idea Pam! Pigs and cows are mostly taken care of by Cam and he is the expert. I’ll tell him about your request and have him write about blog post about it soon!


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