Get Pickin’! How to Make the Most of a U-Pick Harvest

upick farm tips
A big welcome to Renee from Raising Generation Nourished to the blog today! She ‘s writing about a topic that honestly, makes me a bit green with envy… I grew up around U-Pick farms and absolutely love them. Unfortunately, they are pretty much non-existent where we currently live, so I did drool a bit at Renee’s buckets of blueberries! ;)
Years ago when I first made the switch to eating more whole foods, I wanted to “do it all.” I am definitely one of those jump in with both feet kind of a person.

I would walk into a health food store and walk out completely broke. After a few months of this my husband and I decided there was going to have to be a different approach to this whole foods thing. Four bucks for a little quart of organic berries to put in my oatmeal was not cutting it!

We slowly learned how to stretch our dollar here, make our pennies buy more there. I figured out how to use a slow cooker for whole chickens so I could make bone broth and then stretch the meat in soups and stir fries. I learned that not everything that says “organic” on the box means that it is healthy for you.

And the biggest thing I have learned in making my dollar stretch is taking advantage of in season produce. The first time I went blueberry picking, it was on a whim just because I happened to see a sign for it on the road one day. I almost fell over when I saw that the price to pick was $1.50 per pound and I had just bought a little pint of blueberries in the store that week for almost triple that!

Tending To Your U-Pick Harvest :: Simple tips to find U-Picks in your area, how to keep your haul fresh long, & how to preserve the rest!
I dove into a search on how I could take advantage of local U-Pick farms and how to store them so I wouldn’t have to pay top dollar for summer fruit in the middle of winter.… [Continue Reading]

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

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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]