Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Backyard Farming Connection #42



This week I have several exciting posts to feature and share with you.

Many of us homesteaders share our days with a love dog (or sometimes many dogs).  This week Timber Creek Farm shares some tips on training your 4 legged friends.


I also have cucumbers rolling in everyday, so this week I have 2 featured posts on making pickles:

From Traditional Foods, Natural Home, here's a post on Dill Pickles


From Small Footprint Family, here are 4 pickle recipes:


I want to know what's happening, in your garden, on your homestead, in the barnyard, and in the kitchen.  Whatever is in your backyard farm and home, I would love to hear about it.

Each week I will share some of my favorite posts on the Backyard Farming Connection Facebook page.  And in case you haven't seen, I have a 'featured button' so if you've been featured in the past, grab a button.

For details on linking up visit the hop page.



(I know, I know - it still doesn't work :( If the HTML for the buttons doesn't work, feel free to just save the photo and link it back to this page).

Friday, July 26, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?


With summer firmly underway and the early crops rolling in, we're entering the time of year when dinner is often simply plucked directly from the garden.  The cucumbers this year are sweet, the tomatoes are plentiful, the basil is lush, and the squash are all withering away.

My straw bale garden castle has been a fun experiment this year.  Half of the castle is thriving while the other half (the shady side) is weak and struggling. I'm thinking the moisture vacillated a bit too much.  The potatoes in the tower and in the castle look fabulous and I'm looking forward to a whole pile of early potatoes - I just hope they look as good under ground as the plants look. 

While we continue to make plans for our upcoming move at the end of August, I'm finding fewer and fewer moments to poke around and pull out those pesky weeds.  Luckily with the garden well underway, the plants are forgiving and I'm confident that our last month here we'll be enjoying many of those fresh garden dinners.




Check out some of these great photos of other people's gardens from this week and share some of your own in the gardening flickr group.

What's growing in your garden this week?
 

Each Friday I share photos from our garden with an update about what we're doing, what's growing, and what we're eating.  I invite you to come play along, I love seeing what others are trying.  You can join the fun in 3 ways:
  • If you blog, I welcome you to write a post or share a post from that week about what's growing in your garden
  • If you aren't a blogger, I invite you to join my gardening flickr group and share photos of your garden from this week - I will try to grab a few photos each week to share on my post.  Please include the date, a general location and your name so I can give you the proper credit.
  • And last - if you don't want to blog or share photos, just follow along and check out all the links and photos and maybe share a comment with your own gardening experience from the week

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Backyard Farming Connection #41

 Welcome to the Backyard Farming Connection Hop - a place to gather and share each week what is happening in the homestead blogging community.  Take some time to check out this week's features and visit the links below!

Do you dehydrate your fruits and veggies - From Living the Simple Life, here's a post with a great list and information on dehydrating.







Do you know the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes?  Do you prune your tomatoes?  Come learn a bit more from Northern Homestead.


I want to know what's happening, in your garden, on your homestead, in the barnyard, and in the kitchen.  Whatever is in your backyard farm and home, I would love to hear about it.

Each week I will share some of my favorite posts on the Backyard Farming Connection Facebook page.  And in case you haven't seen, I have a 'featured button' so if you've been featured in the past, grab a button.

For details on linking up visit the hop page.



(I know, I know - it still doesn't work :( If the HTML for the buttons doesn't work, feel free to just save the photo and link it back to this page).

Monday, July 22, 2013

Homestead Resource Guide: Chicken Feature

Learn more about producing your own chicken feed and making the most out of your yard and garden for feeding your flock at the Untrained Housewife.  Check out this post: Homemade Chicken Feed for Healthy and Inexpensive Backyard Flocks

Looking for more chicken related posts?  Check out the links below (if you're reading this on email, you will need to visit the blog to see these posts).

If you want to share your own posts here, visit the Homestead Resource Guide information page, for specific information and remember you may link up to 10 posts per person on each topic.  So post now and come back and post more later.

Friday, July 19, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?












A few days ago, I alluded to some exciting news in our home.  To give you some more of the details, we are uprooting our small homestead and moving to Southern NH at the end of August.  We knew this move was possible, but the time was a little unsure, and all of a sudden it is happening much faster than we expected.  Of course knowing we might leave didn't stop me from putting in the garden this spring, but I am feeling a bit hesitant at the idea of leaving behind all the potential bounty.

Luckily many of the crops will come in before we leave and I am gearing up to harvest and preserve as much as possible before we head off.  It is our first year with fruit on the trees and we may just get a few pears, quince and peaches in the next month.  While the tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers are looking great - many of the winter squash plants are struggling in this summers weather.  In these hot days much of our gardening is getting done in the early mornings.  There is something wonderful about being out there in those relatively quiet hours.

Our biggest challenge this year (besides the squash) is the sheer number of Japanese Beetles that are attacking many of the plants.  I could spend all day walking around plucking them off of my raspberry bushes, grape vines and beans.

How's your garden growing this week?
Check out some of these great photos of other people's gardens from this week and share some of your own in the gardening flickr group.




What's growing in your garden this week?
 

Each Friday I share photos from our garden with an update about what we're doing, what's growing, and what we're eating.  I invite you to come play along, I love seeing what others are trying.  You can join the fun in 3 ways:
  • If you blog, I welcome you to write a post or share a post from that week about what's growing in your garden
  • If you aren't a blogger, I invite you to join my gardening flickr group and share photos of your garden from this week - I will try to grab a few photos each week to share on my post.  Please include the date, a general location and your name so I can give you the proper credit.
  • And last - if you don't want to blog or share photos, just follow along and check out all the links and photos and maybe share a comment with your own gardening experience from the week

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Growing and Harvesting Garlic



Garlic is a versatile plant that is used in many different types of dishes.  Not only is it delicious, it is also easy to grow, and is one of the first things to poke up green shoots after the winter.

Types of Garlic

There are many different varieties of garlic but they are generally divided into two different categories: soft neck and hard neck.  Soft necks have a soft floppy stem that dies completely back, while hard neck garlic has a long hard stem that end in a scape with a flower.  In general soft neck garlic grows best in warmer climates and hard neck garlic thrives where there is a cold winter.


Planting

Plant garlic in mid-fall when you would plant other flower bulbs.  We plant in mid October here in Upstate NY.  Break the bulb into individual cloves and plant them 6-8 inches apart with the tip of the close about 2 inches below the surface of the soil.  Once small shoots form cover them with a straw mulch.  In the spring, clear off the mulch and water only during extremely dry periods. 


Garlic Scapes

 One of the best things about growing hard neck garlic is the garlic scapes that are produced in the late spring/early summer.  The scapes are the the stem and the flower that comes out of the garlic and curls .  Before the flower blooms, cut off the garlic scape.  This keeps the energy going towards the garlic and the scapes can be used on their own as flavoring.  Cut the scapes when they are around 5 inches long and still tender.  You can use scapes in the ways you typically use garlic (they have a slightly more mild flavor).  Try grilling them, sauteing them, adding them to soups, or my favorite: making pesto.


Scape Pesto

 I like to think of pesto as a basic, variable recipe.  You can increase or decrease the amounts of different ingredients depending on your own taste.  Here are the basic amounts I use:
  • 4 garlic scapes 
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan
  • 1 large bunch of basil
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and chop it until it is - well pesto.



Harvesting Garlic

Deciding when to harvest garlic is tricky since you can't see what's happening down where the bulbs are growing.  Instead, use the leaves as an indicator of the state of the garlic bulb.  You want to harvest hard neck garlic when several of the lower leaves have died, but the upper leaves are still green.  This ensures that the bulbs aren't overripe and split, while still maintaining some wrappers on the head.  The number of green leaves indicates the number of layers on the garlic.  You can harvest soft neck garlic when it starts to die and fall over.

To harvest the garlic, dig down near the garlic and loosen the soil with a shovel or rake.  Try not to damage the bulb or pull it up without loosening the soil.  It is easiest to do this if it's been dry for a while.  Lay the garlic out to cure as is for 4-8 weeks in a well circulated, shady location.  Once it is cured, cut off the stalk and the roots, brush off the dirt, and store in a cool area with some circulation (such as in a mesh bag).


Need more info? 

 

Have you written a post about gardening, animals or homesteading skills?  Add them to the Homestead Resource Guide.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Backyard Farming Connection Hop #41

This week the first green tomatoes popped out and the first cucumbers appeared.  As excited as we are here with our home, garden and animals, there is a lot happening in our personal lives: big moves, big changes.  In just over a month we will be uprooting our little homesteading and moving it 4 hours away.  I can't wait to share more with you over the coming months, but for now we are fully immersed in planning how exactly to move all these wonderful living things in our lives.

This week I am happy to feature two relatively new-to-me pages.  These are both great pages and I suggest you head over and poke around a bit.

From City Boy Hens, Canning Blueberry Jam


From Homestead Living, a recipe for Strawberry/Rhubarb preserves


I want to know what's happening, in your garden, on your homestead, in the barnyard, and in the kitchen.  Whatever is in your backyard farm and home, I would love to hear about it.

Each week I will share some of my favorite posts on the Backyard Farming Connection Facebook page.  And in case you haven't seen, I have a 'featured button' so if you've been featured in the past, grab a button.

For details on linking up visit the hop page.



(I know, I know - it still doesn't work :( If the HTML for the buttons doesn't work, feel free to just save the photo and link it back to this page).

Friday, July 12, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?


This week we're starting to see more flowers on some of those crops - potato, cucumbers, squash, tomatilla, tomato, and even the leeks I forgot to pull from last year.  We're already losing a lot of lettuce, peas and broccoli due to the heat, but I have high hopes for the heat loving vegetables this year.  We've happily settled into the small window of time where the gardens are somewhat weeded and the full harvest is still yet to come in. 

We find ourselves stopping to look at a certain plant or take in the whole garden more often these days.  These are the long summer, growing days that we think about all winter and we're doing our best to soak in all that green for the months ahead.







Check out some of these great photos of other people's gardens from this week and share some of your own in the gardening flickr group.




What's growing in your garden this week?
 

Each Friday I share photos from our garden with an update about what we're doing, what's growing, and what we're eating.  I invite you to come play along, I love seeing what others are trying.  You can join the fun in 3 ways:
  • If you blog, I welcome you to write a post or share a post from that week about what's growing in your garden
  • If you aren't a blogger, I invite you to join my gardening flickr group and share photos of your garden from this week - I will try to grab a few photos each week to share on my post.  Please include the date, a general location and your name so I can give you the proper credit.
  • And last - if you don't want to blog or share photos, just follow along and check out all the links and photos and maybe share a comment with your own gardening experience from the week