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Archive for May, 2010

It was too rainy here most of the morning to get any work done in the garden or anywhere else for that matter. But it finally cleared up in the late afternoon so we decided to finish the garden gate.

We were good little homesteaders and built a nice LOW COST rustic gate.

Gardengate 
(Click on image for larger view.)

We still need to work on making our perimeter fencing "critter" proof…. more about that in a future post 😉

Do you like it?

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It's starting to look like a garden!

Hickoryhollowhomesteadgarden 
(Click image for larger view.) I did a panorama shot… hope you can see it ok 😉

Like I said in my last post we have everything from asparagus to zucchini planted. With just a few exceptions, everything we planted is either open pollinated or heirloom plants so we can save seeds for next year's garden.

While we planted lots of "staple crops" we also planted some stuff just for fun 😉

Here's a more complete list:

  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Basil
  • Beans (Bush & Pole)
  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Borage
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Buckwheat
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Chives
  • Feverfew
  • Flax
  • Gourds
  • Grapes
  • Ground Cherries
  • Hyssop
  • Jelly Melon
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Oats
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Pecan Trees
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Strawberries
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Wheat
  • Zucchini

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We had someone contact us recently asking how we were dealing with the ticks and chiggers. Let me just say that we’ve won a couple of battles but the war is still ongoing.

If you can’t handle the nasty bugs then homesteading isn’t for you! We picked off the first tick about the end of March and haven’t had a “clean” day since. You don’t want to hear how many we’ve picked off one another 😦 Not to mention how many we’ve picked off poor Blaze.

We do “Tick Patrol” several times a day. The goal it to get them off as soon as possible!

As you can tell from our previous posts, we’re not too crazy about spraying a bunch of chemicals on our skin so that rules out that option.

TICKS

One of the natural options that I read about for Blaze was a supplement called Ledum PAL. After some more research I found out that it was also good for us two legged dogs — us people that is 😉 It’s good for insect and other puncture wounds.

Then we read about using sulfur to reduce your desirability to the little beasties. The article I read in Mother Earth News suggested taking it internally. One-eighth teaspoon every day for a week, then three times a week, then once a month. Supposedly then made you taste so bad that the ticks would walk around on you but not latch on. This worked… mostly!

We’ve also made a solution using aloe vera gel and the sulfur and applied it directly to our legs, arms and neck area. We use this solution mostly when we’re planning to go into the wooded areas of our homestead.

We’ve started using Oil of Oregano as an antiseptic agent. We put a drop of it on any attached ticks that we find. I should mention that they don’t seem to like this stuff much….. too bad! Sometimes it will actually make them back out on their own. Then they’re toast!

We’ve begun using the sulfur solution on Blaze with good success. We add a few drops of Oil of Oregano which makes her less likely to lick it off. We also add a little bit of vegetable oil to it to help it stick better. This has drastically reduced the number of ticks that she gets – especially between her toes and foot pads.

I found a recipe for natural tick repellant which contains vegetable oil, aloe vera, geranium essential oil, and lavender essential oil. I haven’t tried it yet but it probably smells better than the sulfur solution 😉

CHIGGERS

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Garden Update

We've been planting like crazy! Our hard work is starting to pay off. It's finally starting to look like a garden.

We've planted everything from asparagus to zucchini. Along with the usual veggies like potatoes and corn, we also have interesting plants like Jelly Melons that we're trying out this year.

The strawberries are beginning to ripen. YUM!

Ripestrawberry 
(Click image for larger view.)

Bob's potatoes are just about ready to be hilled.

Potatoes 
(Click image for larger view.)

There are blossoms on the sugar snaps… FINALLY! Don't you just love our rustic trellis!

Sugarsnaptrellis
(Click image for larger view.)

Somebody asked us if we were done planting. There are so many good veggies that you can keep planting throughout the season, like radishes, carrots, beets, and then there'll be late summer crops to sow, that the answer is "not until the winter". We hope to be harvesting kale and swiss chard (and more) out of our cold frame like we did last year.

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