Homesteading for the Average Jane

An average mom, trying her hand at suburban homesteading!


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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.
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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!
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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!
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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.
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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!
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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!
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!


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Planting my Straw Bale Garden!

Well today was the day! I planted a great deal of my garden. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and one lone spaghetti squash!
This is how my straw bales looked before planting!
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The bales have been out all winter, soaking up the rain and decomposing! Now they are ready to plant. As you can see they are dark brown inside and nice and wet, of course we had a big storm here last night so everything is wet! To plant I just used my garden trowel to separate the straw creating a place for the transplant.
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Once the plant is in place, I put some more soil around each plant and pushed the straw back together. When I finished I gave them all a good drink.
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Here they are all planted!
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Next week I will start my okra and carrot seeds!