Homestead Experience – Fall Edition – 3 Weeks Away!

Come join us for a day of learning about homesteading and farming!

Event Schedule

Friday Night

The event on-site camping at the farm (spaces limited) on Friday night.

Schedule | Friday

5:00 – Check In at the farm

Saturday

Lets share and learn about how to be more self-reliant by raising more of our own food. Here are the topics, each with practical experience to go with them:

1) Preparing beds – see our BCS walk behind tractor in use as we prepare the beds using a low till approach

2) Planting garlic – learn the basics of planting garlic. Get your hands dirty and put what you just learned into practice as we plant garlic together. We’ll provide the garlic.

3) Sugar snap peas / beans / tbd – learn how and actually plant sugar snap and then trellis the peas. We’ll have everything ready for you to help make it happen.

4) Economics of starting a homestead – we share the real costs of starting our farm, with Q&A

6) Starting a community garden

Schedule | Saturday

8:00 – Breakfast (provided) and Check-in

8:30 – 12:00 – Practical classes / demonstrations / hands in dirt

12:00 – Lunch (provided)

1:00 – 3:00 – Practical classes / demonstrations / hands in dirt

3:00 – 4:00 – Economics of starting a homestead with numbers from our farm

4:00 – 4:45 – Starting a community garden

4:45 – 5:00 – Wrap up / final Q&A

Unexpected Consequences of Food Inflation

This podcast was recorded in the car and there was more road noise than I wanted, but these are some important thoughts, please bear with me.

Lets talk about how rising food prices can lead to reduced food production. Also why the return on investment for buying a freezer full of beef might be better than putting your money in the stock market this year. I’m not giving financial advice, just a discussion of current events.

Grow Your Own Food – Protect Your Community from Tyrants

Sounds crazy, but it you were a tyrant, how could you get control of a nation.

How to lose control of your life and liberty

  1. create a food shortage or make food so expensive people can’t afford it
  2. give it some time, let the prices rise
  3. tell the people that the shortage has a solution, but we have to give more control to the government
  4. wait for the us to get more and more desperate for food for us and our families
  5. remind us that the problem was caused by X but the government has a solution
  6. wait for us to beg for food
  7. promise to fix the problem, take more control and take our liberty away
  8. never fix the problem, but its too late we gave away our liberty

Is this the most likely scenario? I don’t know. However there is a way to protect your community and your family.

A Real Solution without the Government

Steps to Keep Control of Your Life and Liberty

  1. Grow some or part of your own food.
  2. Preserve and store that food
  3. Teach your neighbors to grow and preserve food
  4. Help your neighbors grow and preserve food
  5. Your community can thrive

Join me as I discuss how to help your community thrive in tough times.

Rolling with the Challenges on the Farm

Some days are easier than others. Being flexible helps turn a frustrating day into a productive and happy one! The zero turn is fixed and the garlic bed is weeded and hay put down around the garlic.

Time to pull the scapes
Nice to see the garlic doing well

The blackberries are starting to fruit!

The Food Forest is Growing

Our food forest is starting to grow with the warmer weather. Here are some pictures

Elderberries are taking off and even trying to spread
Blackberries in bloom
So pleased with the blackberries, looking forward to a summer crop

Planting Time

The last two days have been a blur. We have been busy. Even with 4 people on the farm working hard, we still have more stuff to do before everything is been planted.

We are on still on a rapid learning curve as we work hard. The garden area in the pictures below was pasture for decades so we had to work to plow up the grassy area and then build new beds.

Using the BCS Tractor

The BCS tiller was also a new piece of equipment for us. The biggest challenge we’ve had with the BCS is laying out beds so that the rows come out the width that we want. Our BCS tractor has the 5.5 inch extensions added to the the 749 tractor. This makes the tractor wider by 11 inches.

The vegetable garden beds are on a sloped face. To help minimize any erosion issues during rain events, we kept a 10 foot ribbon of grass between each plot. Each plot was laid out to have 2 rows per plot (30″ wide rows) with an 18″ wide walkway between each row. When I added up 3 walkways plus a quantity of 2 of the 30″ wide rows, then we should need a plot that is 9.5 feet wide. In practice, it just isn’t working out that way. I suspect we’ll have to till and hill a plot and measure to see where I’m off in my estimation of the total width of each 2 row plot. There is definitely a learning curve to becoming a better farmer.

Trellis

We just installed rows of trellis for pole beans and tromboncino squash. We are using a curved trellis for the tromboncino squash and pole beans. I keep seeing videos and picture of the curved and over trellis configuration, so we wanted to see at try and find out if it works as well as we keep hearing. The curved trellis (when covered with tromboncino squash) should provide provide shade for the young rhubarb.

One of my projects for this summer is to install posts in the field, near the rows, where we can hang the cattle panels (used in the trellis) this fall after we take the trellis down and store it for the winter.

This is our first year of using an arched trellis
Trellis for climbing beans

Tagging Each Fruit Bearing Tree and Bush

One of the projects this month was to map and tag each fruit bearing tree and bush. My wife took this project and ran with it. We now have a map that shows the location of each fruit bearing tree and bush, indicated by a unique tag number. The unique tags number are recorded in a spreadsheet. Information about each plant is recoded with the tag number, such as variety and date planted. This will also us to track historical data about each plant. This data is also useful when we propagate cuttings, allowing us to properly identify plants for sale.

Elderberry with drip watering tree ring and metal tag

Almost Time to Plant

It is the time of year where you never know if it is going to be an 80 degree day or a 40 degree day. We are still getting ready to start planting our summer garden. This was also the first time I mowed the grass for the season. More and more plants are starting to grow. The drip irrigation system is still a work in progress. Once we have the planting beds made then we can put down the drip tape and test the system.

Leaves coming out on the peach trees, but it looks like the frost killed the blooms
The elderberry plants are really starting to take off
Blackberries are growing too
The garlic is continuing to thrive

We had a fairly mild winter so the weeds started growing early in the garlic beds. This year we put down hay twice to try and suppress weed growth. Hopefully we can avoid a lot of weeding this way. I was pleasantly surprised that our garlic beds survived our neighbors cows getting loose and trampling the plants earlier in the winter.

American Mandrake

We have several patches of wild American Mandrake. It grows in the shady areas. I’m hoping that we can actually try some of the fruit this year. That would mean that we would have to time picking it just right. If we wait too long the squirrels and deer will beat us to the ripe fruit.

Our American Mandrake is flowering

Meanwhile on the farm, mayapples and the preparations continue..

The Mayapples are up and thriving. We noticed the fruit starting to form. We are hoping to try the fruit this year, assuming we can beat the deer and raccoons from eating it first.

Mayapples patch
The Mayapple fruit is forming

Weed Control with Silage Tarps

We put down silage tarps earlier in the winter. The goal is to help with weed control and terminate the fescue grass under the tarp. This weekend we moved the silage tarp from the vegetable rows to what will become a cover crop area adjacent to the first row of fig trees in field #2.

Ground after silage tarp was down for part of the winter

Weed Control in Garlic and Onion Beds

The garlic should be ready sometime in early July. This year we’ve used hay to help and control the weeds in the garlic bed. This is the second application of hay to these rows. The hay adds organic matter to the soil as it composts.

Hay around the garlic to suppress weeds

Iris Bed

The Iris are coming up. We planted them in the fall. We just added partially composted wood chip mulch around them to help protect them from the summer heat and control weeds. The chips came from a local tree service company.

Iris peeking their head up. Fresh mulch to keep the weeds down