Expanding the garden!

We are already thinking about the 2018 gardening season and how to improve our soil, because I don’t think that our soil could ever be too healthy! There is a nice area between the garden and the sheds that I would love to turn into more garden.

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More garden! 

Here is exactly what I have in mind:

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A girl can dream, right? 

Well, the Mr decided to help me get started on this idea! He worked on tilling the area, while I picked out some rocks and planted rye and wheat cover crop seeds.

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Tilling away! 

And now we are waiting for the seeds to sprout and we will have nice green manure for the garden in the spring!

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Finished for now! (And yes that’s a chicken finding crickets!) 

And since it’s Wednesday, I decided to share a few gardening pictures too!

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Last night’s harvest! 
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Strawberry popcorn that we grew! 
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A preview of our sweet potatoes
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Beautiful sunflower! 
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My first hybrid zucchini/pumpkin
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Zucchini cake made from the franken-fruit above! 

This week is moving at a turtle’s pace and I can’t wait for it to be over. I need a nice weekend to recover from my busy week! Keep on trying to bloom where you are planted!!💚

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So much canning! (And fall garden prep!)

You’d think that mid- summer is the busiest time for gardeners. Not true! Im busiest in late summer and fall! It’s prepping, picking, and preserving all of that produce!

We had another sale yesterday! Only a few customers, but the rest of the produce was preserved for the winter months here!

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Another produce sale! 

The Mr.’s sister has an apple tree and doesn’t use the apples. So, we went and picked about a bushel of apples and made some yummy applesauce! And we have some leftover to turn into something else!

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A few apples left! 
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Making applesauce! 

I spent the majority of the day today making some chili sauce! That stuff is super labor intensive! It takes a ton of peeling and chopping of veggies to make! But, my Dad loves it, so I make it!

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Chili sauce! 

And just like every other Sunday morning, we are out of food for breakfast! So, I baked some zucchini cake using the last of our homegrown zucchini!

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There were 2, but it’s really good! 

The wheat and rye that I planted to help add fertilizer to the soil is growing fast!

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Future green manure! 

And now to leave off on a few beautiful things!

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A honeybee on my sunflower! 
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One of the adorable stray kitties around here! 

I hope that you had a productive weekend too! Keep blooming where you are planted!

August Goals Update 2017

August was a month of birthdays, our 14th Anniversary and buying our new-to-us camper!  So, pretty great if you ask me! And, here’s how the ol’ 2017 goals are going!

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! We are still rarely eating  out, making our own cleaner and buying second hand when possible!

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My thrift store haul! (Back to school clothes for me!) 

2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. A major high five goes to the Mr!! He sold our roof top tent, camping trailer, and 2 sets of tires and rims! Go him!!

3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. Americans are super wasteful. We are going to try to only produce one 13 gallon kitchen trash bag per month. We also cancelled our garbage pickup because for $15, we can take our whole year’s worth of garbage to the landfill and still have extra money to spare!

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Still only 4 bags for the year! 

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. I have not been getting too crafty lately. The beginning of the school year does that to me! But I am still getting some things made!

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I’m working on more garden aprons! 

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. #comeonmrllewellyn!! Well, he isn’t an electrician so we shall see about this! But not to worry! We are still preserving all of our harvest!

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6. Expand the garden. I widened the area along the fence and planted plants all throughout my yard. The fence garden is starting to fizzle out. The sunflowers are huge and the green bean trellis is growing pretty well too!

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year, and we are growing more this year! We are also growing popcorn, okra and my favorite: cucumelons! All are growing great!


8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, I don’t think we are going to do this now! I love watching the chickens, but life has kept us busy!

9.Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film this year, and we are going to be doing the same recycling program this year! Plus, I’m going to green up the faculty lounge!

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Our beautiful little pollinator garden! 

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached 1.7 mwh! And our electric bill was less than $6 again!

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We are loving our panels still! 

11. Continue beekeeping. We are still providing lodging for our flying insect friends! They will be getting a mite treatment and I’ll be checking in on their food supply! Right now they are really busy collecting nectar and pollen

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All the pollinators are loving our sunflowers! 

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and only a few this year. But, next year has us excited! We got a great deal on a truck camper! With a little work, this baby is going to help us travel out west in 2018!

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Our new to us camper! 

Hopefully you made August a productive month too! Tell me how your goals are going!!

Walk through the garden 8/15

It has been raining every other day here, so it’s hard to get into the garden to gather our harvest. So, when I went outside I was pretty surprised to see a watermelon that might actually have time to be harvested before the weather changes!

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Our tiny watermelon! 

I have been picking what feels like millions of cherry tomatoes every time I go in the garden! I’m thinking about just freezing some for later use.

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Cherry tomatoes 🍅 

I know that I posted a picture of an okra bloom earlier in the month, but it’s hard not to share them. They are such a beautiful bloom!

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Another okra bloom

The later planting of the popcorn is growing tall! I’m hoping that we will get to harvest this too before the weather change!

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Popcorn growing 

After forever, I’m finally seeing some pumpkins growing! They had male blossoms since early summer and just started getting female blossoms.

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Tiny pumpkin growing! 

Another late Fall harvesting plant, sweet potatoes, are growing well! The vines are growing everywhere!

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Sweet potato vines

I have never seen the birdhouse gourds grow this large before! My neighbor said that we will have eagles trying to live in these sized gourds!

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Birdhouse gourd (on the chicken run)

And here is our big ol’ harvest today!

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So much deliciousness! 

And after getting all of the veggies picked and grass cut and raked (it was sooo tall!), I was able to sit and relax with the Sherman dog!

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Life is obviously hard! 

At some point tomorrow we really need to can some peaches anc work on processing the tomatoes!

Keep blooming where you’re planted! 🌱💚

Composting!

Rotting food doesn’t make too many people excited, but I never claimed to be normal! Composting is an important part of our whole journey to creating less garbage, and a major win for the garden!  People most frequently ask how we create such a small amount of trash, or how a bag of trash that is in the garbage for over a month doesn’t stink! Well, keep reading to learn how easy it is!

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4 bags of garbage so far in 2017!

So let’s get into the basics of composting! There are some rules to it because you don’t want a sloppy, stinking mess that attracts rodents! (By the way, I haven’t had that happen!) There are greens and browns, which are listed below:

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The md extension website has a ton of great reliable info!

So, basically you collect these things instead of throwing them away. I keep mine in this ceramic crock that I empty out every few days. (If you empty it regularly, you don’t get fruit flies!)

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Ceramic crock for scraps! 

You should try to keep your pile about 3 parts brown to 1 part green for optimal decomposition. I don’t focus on it being a perfect ratio. If it seems really wet, I add more brown (like leaves or shredded newspapers). If it seems dry, I add water and try to put in more greens. It is microorganisms at work, but perfection isn’t necessary! The biggest thing is to keep it moist and turn it about weekly.

Now, I’m not afraid to admit that I willingly take compost donations! Even my mom saves things for me! She knows my decomposition hierarchy:

1. Any edibles that are still good, go to the chickens. (If no people want it!)

2. Any moldy, slimy or just peelings go into the compost pile! 

Examples below:

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Headed to the compost! 

Below is a picture of my first, and still slightly used compost pile. Your pile should be around 3 ft x 3 ft x 3 ft.

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My grassy compost bin

As you can tell by the picture, this wasn’t working amazing. So, when we found a second hand composting tumbler for sale, we jumped at getting it.

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Composting tumbler

Since it’s close to the house, it’s easy to use. I never smell it and it has 2 sides, which means one side is composting, while I’m adding scraps to the other side.

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Almost ready! 

This compost is put right around my plants and it provides an enormous amount of nutrients for them. Healthy plants can fight off pests and disease better and grow better produce!

I have done my best at providing the basics to composting! If you have any questions, please ask!

 

 

July Goals Update 2017

Oh July, why did you have to fly by? We are now quickly approaching the beginning of a new school year. But with that being said, the garden is being really productive!

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! We have been continuing to not eat out, and we even made the Mr a cookie cake for his birthday! I’m also pretty thrilled that our thieves cleaner is in an upcycled vinegar bottle now!

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2. Declutter 20 items per month
. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. I got rid of some of the boy’s clothes and a few odds and ends around here.

3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. Americans are super wasteful. We are going to try to only produce one 13 gallon kitchen trash bag per year. We just had to throw out bag 4 for the year.

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 4. Merge crafting and homestead business. It’s going pretty well! We made a few bucks on our honey and egg sale! Plus, we have made our 40th sale on our Etsy store!

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Honey/egg/craft sale

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. #comeonmrllewellyn!! But, we did put a nice little pond in to give the bees a watering hole!

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6. Expand the garden. I widened the area along the fence and planted plants all throughout my yard. The fence garden is doing great!

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Grow, growing, grown! 


7. Grow some different plants.
Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year, and we are growing more this year! We are also growing popcorn, okra and my favorite: cucumelons


8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, I don’t think we are going to do this now! I love watching the chickens, but life has kept us busy!
9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film this year, recycled their plastic cereal bowls and even planted a pollinator garden! Watch out 2017-2018 school year!!

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached 1.78 Mwh.  And our electric bill was less than $6 again!

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They are paying for themselves! 

11. Continue beekeeping. We are still providing lodging for flying insect friends! Plus, a friend gave me a barrel of honeybees that were trying to make a home on her porch!

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and have some major traveling ideas for this year! We didn’t do much of anything this month, and it was pretty great!
If you set goals, how are yours going?

June Goals Update 2017

It’s really summer! We are starting to get some food from the garden including garlic and potatoes. I’m looking forward to gathering lots more this month!

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! The summer challenge is going well! We (all 3 of us combined) only sent about 10 ounces of garbage to the landfill this whole month!


2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. We got rid of a big gaming table and a few other not played with things!

3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. Americans are super wasteful. We are going to try to only produce one 13 gallon kitchen trash bag per month! Yep, still on the same bag of garbage, #4! We might just make it through the summer!

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. This has been going pretty well! I had a craft set up at a local friend’s store and a few online sales. I’m sewing some round earbud holders now to see how they sell and the mister has been blacksmithing hooks for keys and hanging heavy things!

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. Thank goodness that I don’t need this yet because it’s not been accomplished yet! But I did just buy some peaches at the farmer’s market that I might need to can! Come on Mr. Llewellyn!

6. Expand the garden. I widened the area along the fence and planted plants all throughout my yard (grow food not yards, right?) And, it’s looking better!

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Green bean teepee is starting to fill! 

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year, and we are growing more this year! We are also growing popcorn, okra and my favorite: cucumelons!

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Adorable cucumelons! 

8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, I don’t think we are going to do this now! I love watching the chickens, but life has kept us busy!

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But we are growing birdhouse gourds around it again! 

9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film this year, recycled their plastic cereal bowls and even planted a pollinator garden! Watch out 2017-2018 school year!!

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached 1.9 MWh! And our electric bill was less than $6! 💚

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11. Continue beekeeping. The bees have been doing well! I pulled off some honey to spin from our largest hive. I’m hoping to add more boxes soon!

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Bees love the echinacea!

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and have some major traveling ideas for this year! We were able to take the boy to an awesome indoor water park in Ohio on Lake Erie. It was a great time and we were able to go to a military vehicle show close by. (Of course the guys enjoyed that!)
If you set goals, how are yours going?