Jul 122014

Homestead Update and July Garden Tour

People often ask how I get everything done.  The short answer is, I don’t.  We make to-do lists, I have a scheduling notebook, and an online calendar, but sometimes things simply don’t get done.  This is one of those weeks.  In spite of my best intentions, a few big, time sensitive projects dominated the week.  On Monday, I thought I’d quick video garden tour so you could all see what really goes on behind the scenes here at Common Sense Homesteading.  (I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy investigating other people’s gardens.)

What I thought would be quick and easy turned into a very time consuming and aggravating mess.  Between our slow internet connection, youtube editing combining sound from one video with pictures from another video,  youtube simply eating three videos (WTH???), and my utter lack of experience with video editing, it was ugly.  I started Monday, and am still reloading damaged videos on Saturday.  Oy.  I hope you still enjoy the garden tour, in spite of the wind and rather primitive video.

Big News at Common Sense Homesteading

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Jun 202014

Tired of wimpy tomato cages? Check out these homemade tomato trellis ideas that are wind resistant, tall, short, funky and budget friendly to find the right one for your garden.

Tired of wimpy tomato cages?   In this post, I’ll be sharing my tomato trellis system, as well as several other tomato trellis ideas from my homesteading blogger friends.  We have trellises that are wind resistant, tall, short, funky and budget friendly, so I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that works in your garden. Continue reading »

Jun 162014

Dealing with Drought - 3 organic strategies to make your farm or garden more drought tolerant so you can still produce a crop when rain is scarce. #drought #organicgardening

Given the wild weather that’s been thumping parts of the U.S. and the rest of the world, I wanted to share an article I found recently titled, “Sustainable Methods for Dealing with Drought” by Dr. Phil Wheeler.  While the author is primarily focused on farm scale production, the advice is just as good for the home gardener trying to feed their family.  I’ll include my notes and additional resources in italics. Continue reading »

Jun 132014

Why Pole Beans are Better Than Bush Beans. Pole Bean Planting Basics. Best Varieties to Plant. Boosting production and trellising for easy picking.

Green beans are my boys favorite vegetable, so we grow quite a few – two double rows of pole beans about 5-6 feet tall and 15 feet long.  This provides our family of four (with two teenage boys) with enough beans for fresh eating, canning and freezing, plus extra to swap with the neighbors once we have enough preserved.  I haven’t weighed out how much we produce, but once the season gets rolling our vines are generally productive until frost.  We save some seed from year to year, so we’ve ended up with a pole bean that’s well suited to our area.  In this post I’m going to share some of my tips for growing abundant pole beans that are easy to pick, as well as seed saving basics. Continue reading »

May 192014

Smiling Gardener Organic Fertilizers - sustainably sourced fertilizers that work with the natural soil organisms to provide superior plant nutrition.

Who doesn’t want to be smiling in the garden?  I know there’s nothing like a perfectly ripe melon or tomato to put a smile on my face.  Some of you who have been around for a while may remember Phil Nauta (AKA The Smiling Gardener) from my review of his book “Building Soils Naturally – Innovative Methods for organic Gardeners” back in 2012.  Phil gave me a holler last month and asked if I’d be willing to do a review and giveaway of his organic fertilizers.  As I mentioned in “How to Grow Tomatoes Organically” one of my goals this year is to really step up my soil building and focus on naturally healthy, vigorous plants, so I was very excited to give these products a try. Continue reading »