ON THE HOMEFRONT

White dusting

Three Storms – Over 7 inches of Rain

The storm not only brought much needed rain ( 5 1/4″, 1″ and nearly 1″ inch from our urban homestead’s rain gauge), but there’s a dusting of snow in dem dar hills!

Another chance of rain tonight. The rain’s been a huge blessing!

Natural pest control

Garden Helpers
In between the raindrops out come these little birds who take care of our aphid problem here in the garden. Hanging like circus performers, these little guys do a great job picking aphids from the broccoli steams. They are beneficial and so cute twittering to each other as they go about tackling those pesky aphids. Thankfully these OPC (a.k.a organic pest control) do such a good job the aphids remain in manageable balance.

Work on the New Journal

Thanks to a kind and generous PTF reader, work is progressing on the new PTF journal. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we are going forward. Thanks M for all your help, we appreciate it! You’ve saved my arm and our sanity!

The response to the ‘100 Foot Diet Challenge’ has been positive, glad to see so many readers (a hearty welcome to new readers!) participating on the internet and at home. Everyone looks forward to reading about your results – learning, sharing and growing as we dig for victory. The wheels are churning as we work on expanding this homegrown concept. We couldn’t wait for the new site to launch all these projects (and more); however, we are building the new website to incorporate such challenges to be even more reader and user friendly!

Lots of Q’s this week from our readers!

I’m curious as to how you track the management of your various planting beds. Do you follow a rotation schedule? How do you know when to start seed for transplant, I assume (especially if you are going for maximum tonnage) that no bed sits idle for long, that must take a great deal of planning. kory

A. Yes, you are correct. The beds do not sit idle, and and we do have a rotation plan. The plan this year is for planning better planned planting. Can you say that three times fast? 😉

I hope in a future post you’ll talk more about your beekeeping. I’ve never heard of top bar beekeeping. What does that mean? – Clare

A. Of course!

Top bar beekeeping is basically describing the type of bee hive. A top-bar hive has bars from which the honey bees attach and hang wax comb, an array of hexagonal (six sided) cells. Unlike the full four-sided frames used in a Langstroth hive (the “typical white box used by most beekeepers”). Top bar bee hive method that reportedly better suited for urban beekeeping practices and more holistic and sustainable than conventional beekeeping methods. The top bar hive is not designed for high-volume honey production, although there are anecdotal accounts that it has the potential to be as productive as the Langstroth system. Rather, the Backyard Hive is designed for the ease of taking care of the bees, for the bees’ health, to strengthen the bee immune system and to let the bees live in a more natural type of environment. If the body is healthy there is much less chance of an intruder causing harm. The top bar hive is not a new concept. This type of hive was written about as early as the 1600’s and today in it’s more modern form, it is used all over Kenya and other developing countries.

Here’s a helpful top bar hive

Oh, my. I thought that photo of the giant tomato plant was one of the new fruit trees! Do you guys happen to have a detailed photo of exactly how you trellis your tomatoes? I can’t believe they don’t bend and break under their own weight when they get that large. I know you’ve written about it before, but I guess I need a visual! Meg

A. Sure, Meg here’s a visual as requested. A friend, and artist friend of ours wielded some beautiful metal trellises for us. Seen here (photo above) before the tomato took over!

Are you counting the duck and chicken eggs in your goal towards 10,000 lbs of production? If not, I think they should be included as they too are produce of your homestead.Byron

I don’t know if you weigh your eggs, if those count toward your total, or if we are just talking about produce? Susan

A. We will be counting the number of eggs our feathered friends lay; however, it will not be added to the poundage tally. We haven

No Comments

  1. Meg says:

    Thanks for the tomato photo! Those trellises look great–I like the idea of making the fan out at the top. Smart.

    Another question, for the next time you do a Q&A: How do you keep the cabbage worms off your brassicas? Despite picking the little worms off our cabbage and broccoli every day last summer, we got annihilated–any tips?

  2. Lee says:

    OH congrats on all that rain! Perhaps mother nature is making it up to ya for last year?

    I’m wondering, have I missed the “how you grow your soil” Post? Thanks to a very hard one night freeze I am now looking out an a nearly empty garden and contemplating soil preparation as well as germinating seedlings and I wonder what y’all do to prepare for the next crop and do you ever let the beds go fallow or grow a green manure?

    Soil building is a major goal here since what passes for soil in my area is mostly sand. It’s taken a whole year to move from just sand to something that will hold water a little bit!

  3. Britta says:

    I love the Q&A posts. Please keep them coming!

  4. Mia says:

    I also love the Q&A posts! I also love those tomatoe trellis’s. I wonder if I could somehow get some cages made in that way. I don’t have a wall to put the trellis up against…. hmmmm

  5. Renee says:

    I love the Q&A as well! But I just have to laugh about whoever asked the dating question. It’s so NOT related to the PTF project, but I have to admit I’ve wondered the same thing… I’ve kept up with you guys for a couple years through the site and one just can’t help but be curious about the other aspects of people’s lives sometimes 🙂