The Weekly Digs #242

by Becky
Published: Updated:

Cam and I are tag teaming the weekly digs this week. He cares for the animals on the homestead so it will be good to have him talk about what’s going on with all that.  But first, the update on the garden…

Rare northern lights view from last night!

In the Garden

It’s been a whirlwind week of planting! This is definitely one of my favorite times of the year! I love the excitement and anticipation of harvests to come. I do often forget about how many pieces of gardening are coming together all at once- spring harvests, adding compost, mulch, weeding, transplanting, direct sowing, and starting seeds in soil blocks. 

This is ginger… ignore the Roma label 🙂

Here’s what we’ve done since last Saturday:

  • Transplanted tomatoes, sweet alyssum, rosie basil
  • Added compost and directed sowed green finger cucumbers
  • Transplanted ginger
  • Picked off a thousand potato beetles and larvae
  • Started harvesting the strawberries outside the high tunnel
  • Harvesting asparagus
  • Mowed, trimmed, and edged the garden
  • Added mulch around the garden shed

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things too. 

As briefly mentioned above, we are already getting to deal with some of the pests involved with growing. 

Potato beetles are attacking our potatoes. I’d never seen them before last year and now that they’ve found our address it looks like they are here to stay.

We are already seeing them in large numbers. I’ve tried to catch them and remove all the visible eggs but inevitably some get missed. Now we are trying all different methods to get rid of them before they really get crazy. Vacuuming, duct tape, squishing them, drowning them in soapy water, etc.  So far flicking them into soapy water is the quickest and most effective.

I’ve learned over the years to not freak out as much as I used to about pests. It’s really all about managing them. They likely will always be present but as long as they are kept in check, the crop can still produce enough food. 

I did make a mistake in planting the potatoes only one row over from where they were last year. Next year, I’ll plant them on the opposite side of the garden and see if that improves anything. 

In the Kitchen and Preserving

With the major planting push we haven’t really done much as far as preserving yet. Dax’s new hobby has been pretty much a life saver during these busy weeks. He makes dinner at least twice a week which saves me SO MUCH TIME. 

I don’t ask for it, he just really enjoys cooking and filming. He is such a good little chef! This week he made a six layer dinner and an asparagus and bacon quiche. They were both delicious.

PIGS!!

Hi! This is Cam for a bit.  We got this year’s pigs this week.  The winter “off-season” is always a welcomed break from the pigs for a time, but when spring rolls around, I’m so ready to raise another set of pigs on the farm.  

This is our fourth year doing pigs, and I’ve learned a few things.  Three out of the four years I have had to find a new breeder to buy piglets from.  Farrowing is not an easy task, so I’m starting to understand better the timing of the breeders may not exactly line up with the timing of feeder shoppers like me!  

I am getting a growing network of pig farmers/breeders in my area, which is nice for many reasons.

Facebook is a game-changer in this realm.  For example, if my grandparents wanted pigs years ago, they would drive down to the local sale barn on pig night, check out the available pigs, and then bid on the ones they liked.  

Until last month I knew of two breeders in a 3 hour radius of me.  Enter Facebook, and the day I put a “want ad” on a Pastured Pig users group, calling special attention to where I live.  Within an hour I had more than a dozen local breeders share their info with me in hopes that their pigs aligned with what I was looking for.  What a blessing.

So, I picked up three pigs this week from a nice gentleman who lives 1 hour south of here on 42 acres. He’s got a decent breeding operation and lots of knowledge, so I’ll definitely be keeping his phone number. 

The pigs are settling in nicely.  I have them set up in a training pen so that they can learn a healthy respect for hotwire before I start rotating them through the paddocks. I am super excited for another year of pigs!

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5 comments

Joanna May 12, 2024 - 3:19 pm

Happy mother’s day, Becky ❤️🌺🌼🌹💐

Reply
Becky May 13, 2024 - 8:17 pm

Thank you Joanna!

Reply
Alisha May 13, 2024 - 10:14 pm

Thanks so much, Becky, for sharing your gardening adventures! It’s always great to hear about a fellow gardener’s ups and downs and thoughts about gardening/animal raising. I look forward to it each week!

Reply
Heidi May 14, 2024 - 5:40 pm

I do the same thing for potato beetles, pick them off. But eventually areas can get overtaken with them. I use a spray with an ingredient called spinosad in it. Spinosad is derived through fermentation of a naturally-occurring soil bacterium. it’s organic and really works! I only use it once or twice a season in spots that are bad.

Reply
PamR May 14, 2024 - 5:50 pm

Cam, I am curious about whether organically raised pigs are on your radar and if any of your responses were organically raised?

We also went through the different breeder each year and twice it was really nice organic weaners they stopped selling.

We’ve not had pigs for nearly 10 years now and I was wondering if things had changed.

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