Wednesday walk through the garden! 6/13/18

It has been raining here almost every single day! The garden could really use some sunlight and warmer weather! But, the plants are still growing!

The green bean teepee was weeded well and I even put down a nice layer of newspaper on the inside, under the mulch. The scarlet runner beans are looking great!

On the other side of the garden, I have the regular poling green beans growing! They seem to be taking off as well!

The glass gem corn is about ankle high and I’m really excited to see what the corn will look like! I’m hoping to be able to use it for decor in the fall and then grind it up for extra chicken feed this winter!

I love the beautiful yellow blooms coming on to the tomatoes. At least they seem to be enjoying this weather!

This year I’m trying the Florida weave on my Roma tomatoes. So far it seems to be working out!

In the pollinator garden, it’s still mostly mulch! Something has decided to eat a majority of the milkweed, but at least this black eyed Susan seems happy!

The last exciting news is that my paw paw tree is growing some leaves! I have 2 that are doing well in the house and I’ll wait to see how the ones I started outdoors are doing! (They are growing in a wooded area!)

It’s slow growing around here, but tomorrow is my last day of school! I’m looking forward to playing in the garden, swimming with my boy, trying out new adventures and going on our trip this summer! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

No Spend May

Last month was almost a complete fail in the whole no spending. My Mr. has had his heart set on needing a new tractor. We didn’t have one at the moment, so tilling the big garden is a lot of work. On top of that, digging holes, loading up heavy things and running mulch is always a task. So, he bought a new tractor. But, he has been selling off a ton of extras including: his 4 wheeler, the Panel truck, an old jeep, accessories for the jeep and Panel truck, and other things. The garage is a lot cleaner, and we also didn’t have to pay too much more for the tractor. So, no payments or credit card purchases!

A huge accomplishment this month is that I am now payment free on my braces! My teeth are straight and my retainers come next month! Yay!

A reader on my Facebook page keeps some feral cats warm in the winter by creating wind breaks with straw bales. However, after a long winter, they were not in the best shape. She got ahold of me and I gladly took them to mulch around the garden! Yippee!

The garden is all planted and I’m pretty excited to say that most of the plants look very happy and healthy! Starting everything from seed is a lot of work, but it does save money!

I’m still working on making more food from scratch at the house. Just last weekend the Mr. was frustrated because he claimed that we didn’t have anything to snack on. An hour later we have some super delicious homemade soft pretzels. Getting out of the habit of wanting instant food is hard. I’ll start trying to make more ahead of time. (Once my summer break starts!)

The garden is slowly starting to produce. That will help to take a small chunk out of our market budget!

And this has been my go to spot for relaxing when I get the chance. I love being home and most of the time at least one dog is curled up on the hammock with me. And that’s free entertainment. 😊

May wasn’t perfect, but the savings is continuing to grow. The house is getting paid off faster and faster. And, I’m hoping to continue working on spending less this year!

Wednesday walk through the garden 6/6/18

If I had one word to describe what has been going on in the garden, it would be weeding! I have been mulching to help suppress the weeds and pulling as many as I can.

Yesterday I was even able to start putting supports for the tomatoes in the garden. I hope that I don’t have to use any tomato cages. Those things are just the worst!

The zucchini are slow growing, but they don’t look terrible. I am hoping to get some of the 3 varieties that I planted this year!

The dragon tongue beans are doing great! I got them in a seed exchange on instagram, and I’m loving that they can be used as a regular green bean or as a dried bean. And, they are supposed to taste great!

A nice follower of my Facebook page gave me 7 bales of very weathered straw that she used as wind breaks in her yard. They definitely will help out with the weeds. And, they will turn into more soil food.

I planted the rest of the onion sets that I had leftover from the raised bed. Surprisingly, even though I though they weren’t good anymore, they all came up!

Strawberries, that planted themselves, gave us a handful of strawberries!

The green bean teepee is finally growing!

One of the raised beds has lots of onions and garlic happily growing!

The cucumelons are starting to trellis nicely up the cattle Panel trellis!

Everything is slowly growing, except for the apple melons in the big garden. I believe that there are flea beetles that are loving their leaves. So, I’ll just be happy with what is growing well, and try to save the plants that still have a chance. Keep blooming! 🌱💚

Planting, planting and more planting!

I have been busy planting every single night! I have planted apple melons, spaghetti squash, corn, beans, tomatoes and peppers. Plus luffas and sunflowers galore!

So many tomatoes that need planted!

The adorable garden stakes that are color coded! The red ones are all tomatoes and the blue ones are peppers. Tiny strawberries are coming on the strawberry plants that I didn’t remember planting!

And, I am in love with the view of our newly expanded garden with all of the trellises!

The spaghetti squash above will be trellised on our bamboo trellises, as well as apple melons, cucumbers and beans.

Above is the wonderful upcycled project that has already proven to be so helpful! The Mr. turned an old kitty litter container into a mailbox for me to keep my gloves, trowel, apron and twine in. I absolutely love it!

I hope that you all are getting your plants in the ground! My students only have 12 more days of school and we we all do ready for summer break! Keep blooming!

Seedlings are popping up!!

It is starting to get more plant-y here! I haven’t put much in the soil yet, but what I did start this early is starting to pop up! I  was so excited to see that my first pepper plant was already up through the soil!

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Golden cal (orange sweet pepper) 

And I had no intentions on growing onions from seed, but when I got the Walla Walla onion seeds in a swap… they just ended up in the soil!

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Onion seedlings! 

This weekend will hopefully not be bitterly cold, so that I can start putting down cardboard and wood chips to kill back the grass in the pollinator area. We are lucky to know lots of tree trimmers!

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Big pile of wood chips! 

And inside the house my African violet has finally bloomed! This baby started off as a single leaf cut from a plant with rooting hormone put on it! Now, it’s a full grown and beautiful plant!

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A year and a half waiting for this bloom! 

Over the past couple days, I have really been wanting to get outside and do something in the garden.  But, I’ve had a nasty cold and the weather has been feeezing! So, I decided that I would work on some seed tape instead! I will have to make a tutorial on that soon! And I will post back how well it works!

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Seed tape! (Carrots) 

And here is a preview of the top portion of my insect hotel:

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Isn’t it beautiful?! 

We used knotweed that is growing by a creek here and some drilled out branches that I pulled out of the woods. A lot of work, but $0!

And lastly, I just noticed this saying on the back of the migardener seeds:

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Grow big or go home! 

Im planning on growing big with the garden expansion that we are working on! Are you planning on growing big this year?! Whether you are or are not, keep blooming!

2017 Goals Update!

Last year was my first year setting and blogging about my goals. It was amazing to run into people and they would ask me questions about how I was doing with them! They went pretty well and here were the results: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2016/12/31/2016-goal-recap/

This year we are pretty proud of what we accomplished! Here’s our year in review:

✔️1. Zero waste our home! We are still working on creating less trash! We took inaround 130 pumpkins to compost or feed to the chickens! My hubby also made an awesome lockbox for our produce stand using old license plates! And, of course, we grew a lot of food and preserved it! Yard to table!

✔️2. Declutter 20 items per month. It might not have been exactly 20 per month, but we continued finding homes for things that we no longer needed!

✔️3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. We crushed this goal! I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s 7 bags for the year, because the one in the garbage can is pretty much full.

✔️4. Merge crafting and homestead business. Yep, we did it!!  I’m so proud of my hubby for really doing great with his Blacksmithing! We got so many compliments on his metal creations! I’m still sewing and crocheting away, which is my love!

5. Create a summer kitchen. Ugh! This just didn’t happen. I’m ok with that!

✔️6. Expand the garden. The fence line garden provided us with a lot more produce! Plus, we cleared out a lot more space for the 2018 garden!

✔️7. Grow some different plants. The okra grew great this year. We harvested tons of cucamelons, popcorn, okra and luffa gourds!
 Plus the mushrooms were delish and it turns out that I don’t like beets

8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, we decided against this! We have some other ideas for 2018!

✔️9.Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! The plastic bag recycling program has started, and we have recycled almost 200 pounds so far! I also convinced my principal to buy a zero waste glue stick recycling box and we are also recycling our cereal bowls and markers! My coworkers are now recycling their plastic in the lounge and I have been recycling their k cups. Oh, and my students (from last year)  also planted a beautiful pollinator garden!

✔️10. Track our solar panels. We are loving the panels! This month’s bill was still only $5 and some odd change. This year we created a total of 14.26 mwh!

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✔️11. Continue beekeeping. We are still loving our bees! We caught swarms, spun honey, sold honey and even made a nice watering hole for our bees! We are still going to enjoy our winged friends next year!

✔️12. Travel more with the family! This year we took a quick trip to an indoor water park with the boy and also visited Williamsburg. Next year we are planning on taking a nice trip out west and renovating this beast:

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Camper for next year! 

Accomplishing 10/12 goals is pretty great to us! We have some great ideas for next year too! How did your goals go? Did you check off something from your list? Just keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

Green bean teepee diy!

During the 2017 growing season, I decided to build my first green bean teepee. I had envisioned my boy enjoying sitting in or hanging out in the teepee.

I saw a couple diys, but they never posted whether or not they grew well! So, here’s how I built it (And the results):

First, I had to source some bamboo to make the beast out of! Lucky for me, my husband works with a guy that has it invasively growing in his yard. So, he told us to come get it anytime we want! (Cost free!)

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Bamboo! They were about 7 feet long! 

Next, you need to really shove those bamboo poles into the ground! Like, about 6-8 inches in the ground. I just pushed mine in the ground and used my body weight to force them to stay put!

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They aren’t going anywhere! 

Then, I continued on with pushing the rest of them in the ground. It was 100% constructed by just me! I used 6 poles placed about 18 inches apart.

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I really looked like a pole vaulter shoving these in the ground! 

Up next, I used paracord to tie the tops together. I just kept tieing them together and knotting them!

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I had to use a stool to reach the top! 

I continued using the paracord to tie knots on each post to give the pole beans something to grow on. I spaced them about a foot apart from row to row. You could do it a lot closer, but I was running low on paracord!

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Green paracord for the beans to grow up!

And here is my finished project! The next step was to plant the bean plants all around it!

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Fully constructed! 

I planted the pole bean seeds really close together because something kept eating the seedlings!

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At first only 1 side really took off! 

Once I put bird netting around the seedlings, the other plants really started taking off! They did make it to the top!

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Beans enjoying the teepee! 

You can see the progression in the photos below!

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Our teepee looking great! 

So, even though I had to fight off pests, I would consider it a success! I harvested a lot of beans! But, will I do things differently next year? Yes!!!! Here’s what I’ll change:

🌱Don’t make it so tall! I couldn’t harvest those ones on the top! Be sure you can get them!

🌱start off with netting to protect the seedlings from the beginning! (We have a lot of rabbits and birds here!)

🌱 place the paracord closer together around the teepee! Then you won’t have them having a hard time growing up it!

We really got a lot of beans from this single teepee! I’d recommend this for anyone, and I enjoyed getting in the shady interior to pick beans! If you give it a try, or have before, let me know how it went for you! Keep blooming folks! 🌱💚