Tag: sweet potatoes

Happenings Around the Homestead

WEEEEELLL – it helps if you hit the post button. ¬†ūüėÄ ¬†This week you will get a double update.

It’s been a bit of a slow week around the homestead, at least outside. ¬†Inside I have been drying some herbs, both oregano and mint. ¬†It might be better to air dry these both outside, but I prefer to use the dehydrator on low (around 95 degrees) because it is consistent. ¬†When things are dried outside I have to keep a closer eye on them to ensure pests aren’t getting into the items I am drying, and I have to watch for the rain. ¬†I don’t have either of those worries inside.

The oregano I am drying is a nice, strong, True Greek Oregano, whereas the mint is Chocolate Mint (my favorite), Orange Mint, and Spearmint. ¬†There is something special, I think, about herbs that have been dried at home. ¬†I don’t know whether it is simply knowing where they come from, or if there is a quality difference (I am sure of that, btw), but I sure do like it.

The plants I started last week are all doing well though.  I am so hopeful that the sweet potatoes take off and grow well.  My biggest concern is the deer.  Once they find these plants, they will certainly eat the leaves off of them.  They always do.  I probably need to get a covering for them as soon as I can to try and keep that risk down a little.  I may put the tomato cages over them temporarily until I can get something more appropriate.

I am a little surprised that the brassicas I planted early in the spring haven’t all bolted yet. ¬†They are in a part of the yard that gets afternoon shade, so it may be that this is enough to keep them from bolting, but it is also enough to keep them from growing like I want to see them grow. ¬†Even so, I don’t mind the plants taking their time as long as they don’t bolt. ¬†ūüôā

Since I originally wrote this, last week, I have successfully finished drying the mint and the oregano.  Today I plan to put Feverfew on the dehydrator.

Perhaps the item of most interest this week is that some of the winter sown plants have just been happily living in their milk jugs since winter.  My oldest son has been wanting to plant some things, so I showed him where to move them yesterday.  That means I now have Skullcap, German Chamomile, and two types of Echinacea in my raised flower bed.  Woot!  Here, let me share a picture or two:

German Chamomile

One of the new flowers/herbs in my garden, German Chamomile.

Chocolate Mint

My Favorite Fresh Mint: Chocolate Mint

Happenings Around the Homestead

As I have said in a previous post, I am not planting my garden in full this year.  I decided to only plant those things which were already ordered (sweet potatoes and herbs) and some things I had already planted before deciding this (corn, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and garlic).  So even though I am not doing a lot this year compared to previous years, I am still planting quite a bit.  This weekend I needed to plant some sweet potato slips that arrived a couple of weeks ago, as well as Goldenseal plants.

I must have ordered more sweet potatoes than I remember ordering. ¬†I planted 45 slips, 15 each of¬†Beauregard, O’Henry, and Purple Passion. ¬†Those are orange, white, and purple sweet potatoes, respectively. ¬†Oh, you didn’t know there were different colored sweet potatoes? ¬†Yep, and while they taste similar, they do not taste exactly the same. ¬†I find the purple sweet potatoes to be more dry and a little less sweet, while the white sweet potatoes are more mild, and actually make a pretty good white potato substitute. ¬†Here is a picture of one of the slips I planted:

O'Henry Sweet Potato Slip

O’Henry Sweet Potato Slip

The garlic is coming along nicely, and it won’t be too long until it is ready to harvest. ¬†It is not all that is doing well though – the mint is growing like wildfire this year. ¬†Check out these pictures:

Chocolate Mint

Chocolate Mint – one of my favorites!

Orange Mint

Orange Mint

I mentioned the Goldenseal.  Check out the roots of this plant!  They are so golden in color:

Goldenseal Roots

Goldenseal Roots

Here is picture of the leaves.

Goldenseal

Goldenseal

I am anxious to see how this grows.  It is native to this area, so it should grow well.

Happenings Around the Homestead

Work and a special photography project I have been working on have kept me busy enough lately that there hasn’t been too much activity from me around the homestead outside of the chickens (more on that tomorrow), but some things of note have happened.

  1. Cicadas! ¬†Wow, these things came out in force this past week! ¬†I don’t ever recall seeing so many that they were on car tires, grass blades, small plants, and anything else they could latch onto. ¬†Wow, this is a bumper crop this year. ¬†ūüėÄ
  2. Sweet Potatoes – despite not putting much of a garden out this year, I am putting out sweet potato slips. ¬†They arrive this past week, and I neglected to get them out over the weekend. ¬†I’ll try to do that Tuesday of this week. ¬†This year I have purple, white, and orange. ¬†Hopefully some will grow this time.
  3. Volunteers РAgain, despite not putting out a garden this year, the leftover seeds in the compost had a different idea.  We have at least three volunteer tomatoes growing that we will let continue to grow.
  4. Grass РWe have a buch of grass peeking its head through our new woodchip covering on our garden.  Time to move the chicken pen to let them take care of it.

Finally, I ran across a good article about Ten Things We Can Learn From Old Homesteads.  I really liked this list.  Is there anything you would add?

Happenings Around the Homestead

It is October 20 and we still haven’t had our first frost. ¬†In fact, there is not one in sight, though that could change tomorrow. ¬†The average first frost of the year is normally October 17 here, so it isn’t as if we are breaking new ground with a late frost, but it still feels as if we should have already had one.

Due to the weather outlook still looking like it will stay above freezing with no frost in sight for the next week, I have chosen to leave my super-hot peppers in the ground another week. ¬†I am still getting about 3-5 ripe Carolina Reapers a week, and there are probably a dozen or more that could still ripen, so I plan to leave them in the ground as long as I can. ¬†I am also going to pot my two Pineapple Sage plants as well, though I don’t have the room in the house to let them continue to bloom, so I am leaving them in the ground as long as possible too.

The work this weekend consisted of pulling up most of the tomato plants, which have really given out already, though they were still full of green tomatoes. ¬†Even if they had ripened in time, they sure don’t taste like a summer tomato. ¬†I did leave a few cherry tomato plants, as those are still palatable. ¬†Once I was done with that, I planted three new types of garlic: Purple Glazer, Duganski, and Mount Hood. ¬†Let me share a few pictures:

Purple Glazer Garlic

Purple Glazer Garlic

Duganski Garlic

Duganski Garlic

Mount Hood Garlic

Mount Hood Garlic

I have traditionally planted my garlic in my raised Square Foot Garden beds – wait, that is not true. ¬†I have planted as much in the ground each year as I have the raised beds, but all of this new garlic has been planted in the ground. ¬†I am hopeful that I have picked a location where the garlic will get plenty of sun in the spring and early summer. ¬†Here’s a pic of the planting:

Planting Garlic

Planting Garlic

Though some say the garlic needs to be a couple of inches deep, I have always just put mine right below the surface and then ensured there was adequate ground cover to protect it from cold weather. ¬†I suppose I might regret this if we have a bitter cold winter, but it hasn’t failed me yet.

The one last harvest I look forward to this year is the sweet potatoes.  This is a new crop for me, last year being the first year I attempted to grow it, to no success.  This year I have changed things up a bit, and I am hoping to have a nice crop of them to harvest after the first frost.

I think that has covered the happenings of the week, but don’t miss out on tomorrow’s post on the chickens – you will be surprised!

 

Happenings Around the Homestead

One of my favorite things to do, usually, is walk through the garden in the morning.  I love the cool of the morning, the dew on the ground, and the quiet.  It is a real source of enjoyment for me.  However, I do NOT like walking through the garden at 7:00 AM when the humidity is high and the temperature is already warm.  Unfortunately, that happens sometimes, and Saturday was no exception.  I knew I had some work to do in the garden, and I was so hoping for a cool morning, but alas, that was not to be.

The tomatoes seem to be on their last leg now.  The plants are looking quite haggard, and the tomatoes themselves are not even as appealing.  In fact, the chickens were able to dine on several of them today.

The corn is getting most of my attention this year, and today I harvested several ears I hope pop well, as I would love to get their coloration worked prominently into the popcorn seed.  Let me show you four of them:

Landrace Popcorn

Look at this beautiful white kernel licked with flame-like colors!

Landrace Popcorn

More of the flame-licked colors on this cob, and I love the variety of colors.

Landrace Popcorn

I am confident this one has some glass-gem corn mixed in with it, and I like it. I love the greens – they are a rare treat in my seed stock.

Landrace Popcorn

More flame-licked colors. This one looks a lot like some seed stock I saved last year, which I am sure is what has pollinated all of these. I sure hope this pops well.

Look at that last picture a little closer.  See the red kernel just to the right of the middle?  See the spots?  I wonder what they are.  If you look at the one below it, the purple one, it has the same spots.  Even so, these kernels are things of beauty!

Believe it or not, we have a winter squash plant that is growing like gangbusters!  I doubt anything will come from it, as it has yet to set fruit, but it was a late starter, and it happens to be the only winter squash I have that survived the squash bugs and squash vine borers.  I sure would love to get some seed stock from it.

Sweet potatoes are a new crop for me, and even though I grew some last year, I cannot remember for the life of me when to harvest them.  I think it may be after the first frost, but I need to look it up.  I am so hopeful that I have a good crop of sweet potatoes.  I grew purple and white sweet potatoes, which taste very similar, though the purple ones are generally more dry.  Even so, I enjoy them.

Usually at this time of year I am not yet thinking about next year, but it sure is on my mind this year. ¬†I think it is because I didn’t do such a good job getting the garden out on time this year, and I am hoping to redeem myself a little next year. ¬†ūüôā ¬†It won’t be long until I start planning. ¬†Until then, I have a few other projects I am working on which I will be sharing here, including a homemade smoker and a homemade dehydrator.

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