The Weekly Digs #230

by Becky


A new season of gardening is beginning! When I make my first set of soil blocks that marks the start for me. This week we started onions from seed.

Back in December when I bought seeds, I had trouble finding some of the usual onions I grow. Onion seeds have a very short shelf life and because of that they go out of stock quickly. Instead of Patterson, I am growing NY Early instead, along with my usual Rossa Di Milano and Australian Brown.

I have several onions in the garage that are sprouting so I may plant them and save the seed this year. Anytime seeds are out of stock it frustrates me and I am more motivated to just save my own seed.


I planted 48 Chandler strawberry plugs in the tunnel in October but they didn’t fill a whole garden bed. After looking at it for a few months, I decided it would just be best if the whole bed was filled. 

I LOVE strawberries but the maintenance of strawberries is terrible if there are any perennial weeds around. I laid down some more weed paper in hopes that it will help reduce that problem.

I have 75 Earliglo bare root strawberry plants and I’m slowly planting them in the tunnel. 

While I’m on the subject of strawberries, my strawberry plugs in the high tunnel are flowering and I’m concerned because it’s so early. They are unlikely to get pollinated this early in the year and very likely to have frost problems. 

Picture taken Feb 10th. This is one of the strawberry plugs in the tunnel planted in October. All my other strawberry plants outdoors are still in dormancy.

It is supposed to be 28ºF tomorrow so I think I’ll cover with row cover in the hopes that it saves the flowers and by a miracle the strawberries are able to get pollinated. 


This week we finished installing our irrigation in the high tunnel. It is a relief to have it done and ready to go for spring. I have a video about it HERE and will be sharing two more videos on drip irrigation and overhead irrigation this coming week!

We used a kit this time to set up the irrigation and it really connected a lot of dots for me and helped me to understand what pieces I was missing and wished I had in our family garden irrigation set up. 

We were getting some pictures for the YT thumbnail and I was laughing so hard at Cam being a goof ball. His true personality is starting to come out in our videos now. He is silly and I’m more serious but we balance each other out well!

We will be revamping the irrigation in the main garden this year and I am going to set up automatic timers on everything. Do you guys have any recommendations for garden timers? I’ve bought Orbit and Melnor in the past and both broke within a year!

 I’m leaning towards a Rachio Smart Hose Timer found HERE as of right now.

Pantry Challenge

We are now about 6 weeks into the challenge. I originally gave myself permission to buy fruit as needed. But actually thus far we haven’t bought any. Our refrigerator in the garage was full of apples and we have been munching on those. 

I have a small amount of lettuce in the high tunnel but I reserve that for hamburgers usually because it’s not much. What I’ve been using for salads is we have been making a cabbage and apple mix or cabbage, carrots, and onions. 

Chicken, kale salad, baked sweet potatoes

This week I had harvested a bunch of kale for soup and had so much left over. When it was time for dinner I knew I needed to use up that kale so I made a kale salad and it was so good! 

I think it tasted even better than usual because we’ve had so much of the same cabbage over and over. 


Pigs went to the butcher at the very end of December and Cam picked up the pork on Wednesday. We went to a new butcher and are so much happier with the end results! 

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Gabrielle February 12, 2024 - 1:21 am

Hello! I’m wondering what irrigation kit you guys ended up going with? Thanks in advance!

Becky February 12, 2024 - 2:10 pm

We used a drip irrigation and overhead irrigation kit from farmers friend. I have them linked here.

Joanna February 12, 2024 - 9:18 pm

As far as irrigation timer, you might want to ask Ke in from Living traditions. He is an expert with all things irrigation 👍

Lauren February 16, 2024 - 2:58 am

Hey Becky! I was wondering how you order your pig butchered from the locker. We love sausage, ham, bacon, brats etc., but they always have such terrible ingredients in them. Have you found a way to order your pigs from the butcher with wholesome ingredients? It’s frustrating to put so much work and passion into growing pastured animals only to have them come back from the locker laden with harmful ingredients that make us feel unwell. We live in rural MN, so I wonder if we just don’t have good locker availability, or if we’ll have to start looking into doing it ourselves.

Becky February 18, 2024 - 2:27 am

Hi Lauren, it’s difficult to find. We found a butcher near us that used natural ingredients but the end result tasted bland and the meat was unappetizing in color. We sell some of our meat and our customers didn’t like it. So we found a new butcher two hours and fifteen minutes from us. They are much better, the flavor is good, and they will use a natural celery cure, but only for bacon for some reason. Everything else uses the normal nitrates. For us that is where all the bad ingredients come in- with the cured meats. It is definitely something to looking to doing yourself. We are doing the same! Although we can only do the meats we personally eat, all the ones we sell are USDA inspected and can’t be altered afterword.

Lauren Back February 18, 2024 - 4:46 pm

Okay, good to know! Thanks for your response. We can’t even get sausage without dextrose, msg & nitrates added to them. Hopefully it will soon be more common for butchers to offer good tasting, natural options.
Please let me know- or I would love to see a post/video if you do end up doing it yourself 🙂

Kate Cavicchi February 16, 2024 - 9:09 pm

Hi! My husband Dave and I are also in zone 6, but we’re in Massachusetts. We put up a farmers friend caterpillar tunnel last year and didn’t do as much as we wanted. I would love to see how you plant up your tunnel and what you plant in/outside. Ours is 16′ wide x 50′ and last year we had 3 long rows, but I don’t feel like I utilized the space well. Any suggestions/resources are very much appreciated! Thank you!

Becky February 18, 2024 - 2:17 am

Awesome! I have 3 rows in my 14 foot wide tunnel. Our new high tunnel is 16 feet and fits 4 rows perfectly. I think you might like that better. 30 inch wide garden beds with 18 inches in between each one and nearest to the edges a 9 inches pathway on each side is what fits. I will be doing lots of garden tours this year on YT. Usually we start with cool season crops and move to tomatoes and peppers in summer. I am doing strawberries in ours right now and they are flowering 2 months before when we usually see flowers!! It’s good to utilize it for season extension and heat loving crops. I will try and share as much as I can throughout the growing season of what we are planting in there. I wish I had more resources, but most published authors who use a tunnel are selling produce and they utilize it differently than a home gardener would in most cases.

Cathy February 20, 2024 - 6:30 pm

Where does your water for outside come from? A well or city??

Becky February 21, 2024 - 4:03 am

Hi Cathy, our water comes from a well. We had it drilled about 6 months after we purchased our land. It’s 650ft deep!


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