Deep Mulching the Garden: An Update

deep mulch

I’m finding that nothing motivates me like someone telling me that something is impossible.

And that just might be the very reason my garden is doing so well this year…

Since deciding to pursue the deep-mulching method earlier this year, I’ve had plenty of naysayers shake their head and tell me I’m crazy.

But that’s OK… I like that.

It’s given me the boost I need to tackle my garden with renewed vigor, especially after my miserable failures in recent history.

This post will give you all the info on why I decided to use deep-mulch this year, and how I started.

Considering the garden has been in for over a month now, I figured it was time for a little update!

deep mulching garden

The Plants:

My seedlings are coming right along, and are as happy as ever.

I’ve had a little bit of trouble getting my beans and peas to show up, but after talking to several neighbors, it sound like I’m not the only one struggling this year. We’ve had an unseasonably cool summer so far, and I suspect that they just didn’t get the warmth they needed after I put them into the ground. I’ve been replanting here and there, so we’ll see how it looks in a couple of weeks. (I think the rabbits might be munching on them as well, and that definitely doesn’t help…)

The carrots finally popped up (they take for-ev-er!) and the kolhrabi germinated nicely. I have a few bare spots in my beet rows, but I think that’s due to my sloppy seeding methods…

deep mulch onions

My onions are growing like crazy–their germination rate was spectacular, and they seem to love the protection the deep mulch provides.

My cabbage seedlings were stunning, right up until they got shredded by a crazy hailstorm… Thankfully, it’s still early in the season, so they should make a full recovery; they just look a little battered right now…

The potatoes were a mystery, as three weeks after planting, they still hadn’t risen above the thick layer of mulch I had spread on top of them.… [Continue Reading]

How to Use the Deep-Mulching Method in Your Garden

deep mulching for garden

I always get a little sheepish when I write posts about gardening.

As I’ve admitted before, gardening just doesn’t seem to be my special talent, and I’ve really struggled growing much of anything the last few years…

Last year I excitedly announced my foray into the hugelkultur method. I was oh-so hopeful, but it turned out to be a disaster. Not a single thing grew on my hugelkultur bed. Not even weeds. (And that, my friends, is an accomplishment since I am incredibly talented at growing weeds.)

I assume as the wood in the base of the bed decomposed, it tied up the nutrients in the soil, which resulted in a no-grow zone. (All the tutorials I read said that wouldn’t happen, but I don’t know how else to explain it…)

So, I was back to square one.

Being the stubborn determined homesteader that I am, I wasn’t going to give up that easily, so I burrowed back into my research to figure out which avenue to take next.

My latest idea came from a pile of old gardening books that I inherited from my grandfather’s estate. To be honest, I didn’t really expect to find any gems in the pile of musty smelling volumes, but boy, was I wrong!

ruth stout mulching method

The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book by Ruth Stout and Richard Clemence (affiliate link) was originally written in 1971, yet her methods are still widely respected to this day. I was immediately drawn to her sassy style of writing– I think she and I would have gotten along just fine. ;)

I had been leaning towards the idea of mulching for a while, but this book was just the push that I needed. I started dreaming about mulch… And lots of it.

How to Deep Mulch Your Garden

First off, let me start by saying there are LOTS of schools of thought on this–and many, many different mulching techniques.… [Continue Reading]

70+ Homestead Hacks: Nifty Shortcuts to Make Your Life Easier

homestead hacks

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about homestead/farmer folk…

…it’s that you guys are a ingenious bunch (especially when it involves baling twine or duct tape!)

I’m all about conserving time whenever possible, and I’m always on the look-out for a good homestead hack to add to my collection.

What’s a “Homestead Hack?”

Good question. Here is how Wikipedia explains it:

“Life hacking refers to any productivity trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method to increase productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life; in other words, anything that solves an everyday problem in a clever or non-obvious way”

Apply that definition to homesteading, and that, my friends, is a Homestead Hack.
I’ve featured various Homestead Hacks in the past, but this, my friends, is the granddaddy of all Homestead Hack posts. I hope you are ready for this! ;)

70+ Homestead Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

tour21

For Your Animals

  1. How to Weigh a Pig without a Scale
  2. A Cheap DIY Waterer for Ducks and Geese
  3. Turn an Old Kitchen Sink into a Dog Water Bowl
  4. 5 Tips for Putting Your Chickens to Work
  5. DIY $1 Chicken Feeder and Waterer
  6. How to Trim Your Goat’s Hooves
  7. How to Make a DIY Goat Feeder
  8. How to Make Your Own Udder Balm
  9. How to Stop Your Milk Cow from Kicking
  10. How to Remove Skunk Smell (without tomato juice)
  11. DIY Beehive in a Mason Jar

mint

For Your Garden

12. How to Kill Squash Bugs and Eggs with Duct Tape

13. How to Freeze Root Vegetables

14. How to Get Free Containers for Starting Seeds Indoors

15. How to Repurpose Masonry Ladders in the Garden

16. 6 Tips for Planting and Growing Beans

17. 10 Tips for Growing Awesome Tomatoes

18. How to Warm Up Garden Soil for Early Planting

19. How to Get Superpowered Garden Soil

20. … [Continue Reading]

DIY Gardener’s Hand Butter: A Recipe for Hard-Working Hands

body butter recipe

Hands that belong to a homesteader take a lot of abuse…

Especially when said homesteader is not a fan of wearing gloves.

Like me.

I mean, yeah, I do wear gloves when it’s really cold, or when I’m doing something really rough (like rolling up barbed wire), but otherwise, I like to be able to feel and touch what I’m doing. And gloves just hamper my style.

As a result, I’ve been told several times that my hands look rather “old” for my age.

diy body butter recipe

But you know what? I rather like my “old” looking hands. And these hands have done a lot of stuff in their 28 years…

  • They’ve held the reins of the hundreds of different horses that I’ve ridden.
  • They’ve kneaded countless loaves of bread.
  • They’ve assisted with all sorts of different surgeries (back when I was a Vet Tech)
  • They’ve rocked my babies.
  • They’ve torn down/built/and fixed a whole lot of fence.
  • They’ve played piano music for church services, weddings, and funerals.
  • They’ve milked cows. And goats.
  • They’ve shook the hands of some really amazing people.
  • And they’ve shoveled manure, cleared brush, weeded, and planted…

So, if my hands want to look a little “well-used,” well, I’m totally fine with that. ;)

I’ve found that spring time is especially hard on my hands. I usually jump right into digging, planting, and weeding, which results in crusty, chapped skin. (Playing in the dirt really dries my skin out quickly–has anyone else noticed that?)

Sometimes regular lotions/hand creams just don’t cut it–especially if they are the cheapo kind.

That’s where this amazing hand butter comes in. I use a variation of this on my cow’s udder, but I tweaked the recipe a bit to make it more suited for hands that are sandpapery and rough after days spent out in the garden.… [Continue Reading]