Fall Garden Update 2018

Well the fall garden is on the way. I was able to move my rain barrel to the side yard, so now I can hook it up and provide utilize the rain water instead of paying for water! I also moved my green house. I will be removing the cover so that it will not dry rot over the winter and I can use the shelves for my winter sowing jugs.


There is already new life sprouting in the containers! I have both arugula lettuce and radishes all ready sprouting. I hope to see some other sprouts really soon.

As the weeks progress I hope to continue to prepare this area for planting. Of course all will need to be free or nearly free! So I am out scouting for materials as we speak.

So how is your fall garden coming along?


Fall Garden 2018

So I am finally getting around to planting a small fall garden. Fall gardening is new to me so it will definitely be an experiment. Usually folks begin their fall planting in September however her in Southeast Tennessee it is still very hot outside. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts our first frost to be around October 17th, however, it won’t be a hard frost so I feel like I still have plenty of time for my plants to grow. I am in Zone 7B, to find your zone visit www.garden.org there you can find lots of information about the garden Zone you live in. Here is what today’s weather is like:

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Exactly! Not what we would expect to have on October 6th. I actually built this small raised bed last year after moving a large plastic storage box. It is a great place because of the close proximity to the front door and it is protected from the hottest part of the day. The front of my house faces south so everything that I attempt to plant their just burns up, I finally planted drought resistant ornamental grasses across the front because it is the only thing that will survive and thrive, while still offering a little curb appeal. Beside the raised bed I have some pots in a stand that I have planted with several kinds of lettuce, and in front of that is a pot planted with radishes.


So what did I plant? Well after doing a great deal of research, I decided to try a few different things. In the raised bed I have planted Little Finger Carrots, fall planted carrots tend to be much sweeter and they love the cold weather. Next, I planted a few rows of Napa Cabbage, followed by some Spinach, and then some Swiss Chard. In the pots, I planted a mix of salad greens, slow bolt Arugula, and Leaf Lettuce. And finally, in the pot on the ground I planted Early Scarlet Globe Radishes. I purchased all these seeds from Mlgarderner, which sells high quality heirloom seeds for a great price, all of these cost just $1 a pack. Check out their website: https://migardener.com/  and check them out on YouTube and Facebook because they always provide some great information and tutorials.

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This side yard is where I am hoping to plant this spring as well. I plan to cover the area with cardboard and then sheet mulch with free tree mulch from a local tree cutting service. I hope to do a combination of raised beds and straw bales for spring planting. I also have plans in the works to have a traditional garden at a local farm, where I will trade produce for space. This is how my side yard looks now:

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Over the next few weeks I will be working to transform this area. I will be bringing around my small green house, where my winder sown seeds will live during the winter, I will be constructing a roll back cover for my fall garden to protect it from frost. I plan to put in a rain barrel and begin sheet mulching. All of this will in preparation for a spring garden. The fall is the best time to prepare for spring!

So what are your fall gardening plans? Let me know in the comments!


Where have I been?!?

Hi everyone! It has been ages since I posted! A great deal has changed for our family. We have adopted 4 children. So we permanently have 7! All our children are teenagers except one! I no longer have any in elementary school. I also went back to college and I am in the last two semesters of getting my degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. As my children are getting older, some are getting ready to leave the nest and fly on their own so it is time for me to finally move forward with a career!

As for homesteading, it has been a very slow go. Most of my earlier projects have been abandoned, however, I have a renewed passion for growing and preserving food and have found that it is also an interest to my daughter Lacy. My mother moved back to our family farm a few years ago so we still have access to wonderful produce. My dream is to also move back to the farm and keep up the traditions that have been passed down through the generations.

Lacy has been learning how to preserve food through canning. She helped me process about 20 pounds of tomatoes into crushed Mexican style and Italian style sauce. We also had a great time making pickles and pickled okra! Here are a few pictures of our efforts:

We are planning to plant a small fall garden and hopefully a cold frame in the next two weeks and prepare for having a raised bed garden in the Spring. I have also become friends with a local farmer that may provide our family with some space for a garden this Spring.

We are working on a few home improvement projects over the next two months so I will also document our efforts here! A large part of homesteading is fixing things yourself!

So thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy watching us go through all this craziness as we learn as we go!

The Crazy, Crazy Summer!

This summer has really been insane! We took in two more foster kids so now we have 7 kids and 2 adults in one house! We have had tons of fun this summer, it has been one of most active in years! We spent many days at our local “river” beach at one of our county parks.
We always managed to find this nice shady spot where we could keep an eye on kids and relax at the same time.

We also were blessed to spend a day at our local amusement park! I had such a great time with my kids!
We were blessed to spend time at our community pool after one of our awesome neighbors bought us a family membership! When I wasn’t making a wedding cake (the first I have made in several years), I was reading and studying for my theology class on BiBle Doctrine!
We even found time to squeeze in some mission work with the organization Feed My Starving Children where we helped pack nutritious meals for starving children around the world.
Even with all this we still managed to grow a pretty successful garden! Did I get to can a bunch of food or fully stock my freezer, no but for my first year with straw bales I think we did great. All summer I had loads of yellow squash, zucchini, lettuce, bell peppers, and watermelon! Most of all I had tomatoes! My 6 plants grew to well over 7 ft tall and were healthier than I could have ever expected! I have made sauce, roasted tomatoes, chopped them up for salads, and even just sat around and munched on them whole! Starting tomatoes from seed was harder than I expected and out of the 25 I planted I only had 6 plants to survive and 5 of those were a variety called Matt’s Wild Cherry. From what I have read they are self seeding so I have been throwing the split tomatoes places where I wouldn’t mind having some volunteers next year!
On my next post I will talk about the clean up of my summer garden, my transition into a fall garden, composting, and the installation of my first rain barrel!

I hope your summer was as fun and productive as mine! I will leave you with a picture of my largest watermelon of the season, she was decorated my son, Tott and was named Lady WaWa by my girls, and she tasted delicious!

Straw Bale Garden Update

Well it has been a while since my last post, it has been quite crazy around my little suburban homestead. I am so pleased with how well my garden is going. Here is how they looked just weeks after planting.



Here things are still small but I can see progress! I did go ahead and cage my tomatoes because every year I seem to wait to long and struggle to get them over my plants! At this point my everything is growing great, but with all gardens there are some hiccups along the way.


This was the best my cabbages looked. My broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts grew huge but did not produce any heads, then they got attacked by some kind a bug that I just couldn’t get ahead of. I suspect that the crazy hot summer we are having has really affected this crop, but not to fear…I will try again this fall! Last week I pulled them all and planted some more tomatoes and some bell peppers.




My squash and zucchini are doing amazing and I have collected over 25 pounds!  I also finally succeeded at growing spaghetti squash and even though I only got 2 I will plant more next time!

My tomatoes are to the top of their cages and covered with blooms and small green tomatoes. And I have several cantaloupes and even some watermelon!



My next step is to start my seeds for the fall growing season and start a second round of squash! Start some okra and begin planning for a winter crop!

I hope you enjoy my little update!

My daughter is Awesome!

My daughter Lbug is one amazing kid! She came to me a few weeks ago and told me that the Lord was leading her to shave her head to raise money for our local children’s cancer center here in Chattanooga, TN. Anyway, she is halfway to her goal of $300, if you would like to help please follow the link! Thanks for your support!

Winter sown seeds going into garden today!

Wow, what a difference a few weeks make! On April 1st, I transferred my winter sown seeds from their milk jug green houses to large pots. Here is how they looked today before I planted them in my straw bales.




As you can see my lettuce is doing great, we regularly go out to clip lettuce for salads and here you can see my son munching on some greens as we hang out!


Not pictured are my yellow squash and my lone spaghetti squash. I had given up on these winter seeds producing but out of the blue I went out and they were farther along than my indoor sown seeds and ready to plant!

We shall see how they all produce!