It’s June…Here’s 17 Vegetables You Can Still Plant For a Full Fall Harvest!

It’s June…Here’s 17 Vegetables You Can Still Plant For a Full Fall Harvest!

It maybe June (can you believe we’re halfway through the year?), but there’s still plenty you can plant for a late summer/fall harvest!

 

(This is an excerpt from my #1 Amazon Bestselling book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening. If you want a great resource to help you grow everything listed below, grab it on Amazon right here!)

 

Believe me when I say that there’s veggies on this list I’ll be planting myself – I just cleaned out the greenhouses, spread rabbit manure to add nutrients to the soil, and I’ll be planting some beans, beets, and greens I hope to overwinter!

 

Even if you haven’t started your garden, don’t despair – there’s still plenty of time!

 

Here’s 17 plants you can still start this month!

 

Beans

Lots of varieties love the warmer weather! You can harvest some varieties in as little as 45 days. In hotter areas, stick with bush varieties to conserve water. Direct sow every two weeks for a continued harvest well into fall. Plant 10-15 plants per person in your family.

 

Beets

You can grow beets for either the roots or the greens. Direct sow in the soil now, and they’ll be ready to harvest in 45-60 days. Pickle them to preserve them!

 

Bok Choy

I love bok choy because it’s mild (aka not bitter), you can harvest it when it’s still young for a super nutritious addition to any sandwich or salad.

 

Broccoli

While you might not connect broccoli with something you should grow in June, especially in climates with a shorter growing season, you can start it now so it’s ready to harvest when the nights start to dip below 50 degrees.

 

Cabbage

If you plant cabbage now, you can harvest well into cooler weather (cabbage loves lower temperatures!) It takes a bit of time to grow big enough for harvest, so make sure it has a dedicated space you won’t need for anything else.

 

Calendula (C. officinalis)

This medicinal herb/flower can be used for so many purposes, from giving chickens golden egg yolks to creating healing salves for your family. Direct sow, and seeds will germinate in about 2 weeks.

 

Carrots

If you start your carrots now, you can still get an early fall crop – and they can hang out in the garden well into late fall.

 

Corn

Corn grows fairly quickly, but it needs full sun and lots of water. You can harvest it in as little as 70 days if you choose a fast-maturing variety. If you want to harvest enough for your whole family, plan on 12 – 15 ears per person.

 

Cucumbers

Consider bush cucumbers to save space and water. You can harvest them when they’re small for sweet pickles.

 

Eggplant

Eggplant loves heat, and you can see purple eggplants starting to form in as little as 60 days. Choose a fast-growing variety. If your family loves eggplant, you should plan on 3 plants per person.

 

Herbs

There’s plenty of herbs you can start right now, including:

 

  • Basil (grow several plants for a winter full of pesto)
  • Oregano (Greek oregano has great, large leaves)
  • Thyme
  • Sage (grow 7-10 plants for smudge sticks)
  • Dill (grow 3-4 plants for leaves, 10 or more for dill seed for pickling)
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Lavender

 

You can plant herbs outside or in pots so you can bring them in at the end of season. Remember you will need time to dry them – so don’t plant too many and get overwhelmed.

 

Melons

Now is a great time to start watermelons and cantaloupe! Plan on 3 – 4 plants per person in your family.

 

Peas

Count on 20 plants per person.

 

Squash

Squash loves heat, and will grow quickly in the higher temperatures. Yellow summer squash is a great variety, as are gourd varieties.

 

Sunflowers

You can let them go to seed for a healthy snack or harvest them for cut flowers.

 

Swiss Chard

Perfect if you have a shady spot in your garden, which will help the leaves from bolting and becoming bitter.

 

Turnips

Plant for greens and/or the roots. You will be able to harvest them long into the fall.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

What are you planting right now? Leave a comment below!

These 10 Frugal Feeds & Chicken Water Feeder Hacks Are So Easy!

These 10 Frugal Feeds & Chicken Water Feeder Hacks Are So Easy!

Raising chickens can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want to make it. These 10 frugal feeds and chicken water feeder hacks are easy – and we’ve used them on our farm to help our flock (and our wallets) be healthier!

 

When it comes to raising chickens, I definitely think cutting corners is a bad idea – it puts your flock’s health at risk and might harm them in the end.

 

But that DOESN’T mean you have to spend a million bucks on your hens. So, in this article, I’m going to show you 10 inexpensive hacks that will help your chickens be healthier AND that chickens love!

 

(Need a chicken feeder? Here’s the brands we recommend)

 

Raise your own mealworms and black soldier fly larvae as frugal feeds

Raising mealworms is easy. Mealworms are the larvae of the darkling beetle – and raising them doesn’t take much space or investment.

 

In this article about raising mealworms for chickens, I show you step-by-step how to raise them in a dark, quiet corner of your farm. And chickens (especially my silkies and brahmas) love them!

 

Raising black soldier fly larvae is another option. Black soldier fly larvae are extremely healthy for chickens – with lots of protein and calcium, they’ll help your flock lay better eggs, grow beautiful feathers, and more!

 

Here’s my best article about black soldier fly larvae for chickens if you want more information.

 

Raise Mealworms for Your Chickens is easy with this guide!

 

Grow a garden with herbs and greens in spring

We all know fresh is better – and nothing is better than fresh food for your hens! One way we save some money on chicken feed and provide the flock with some healthy snacks is by devoting a corner of our garden to growing herbs and greens such as lettuce, kale, spinach and more for our flock.

 

Herbs are wonderful – they have way too many uses in the coop for me to list here. Everything from helping your hens lay better to being healthier!

 

Here’s some ideas about how to grow your own frugal feeds with herbs and greens:

How to get started with herbs for hens

10 herbs for backyard chickens

How to grow greens for your chickens

 

frugal feeds chicken water feeder hacks

Build your own automatic chicken feeder in 15 minutes and under $12

This is truly one of those genius ideas that takes just minutes but can be a lifesaver for your flock, especially on those super hot days!

 

Water is critical for your flock to stay healthy – chickens have a higher body temperature than humans, and feel the heat more than we do. Every day, you should double check (and during the summer, check several times a day) that your flock has free access to water.

 

This water is also easy to clean – just be sure to use a food-safe plastic bucket. If you have extra buckets hanging around, then you can easily use this hack!

 

My full plans to build an automatic waterer for under $12 are right here.

 

If you don’t want to make one, you can check out our review of the 7 best feeders on Amazon here.

 

Stop waste by building a frugal PVC feeder

PVC feeders are pretty popular – you can just drill some chicken-sized holes in a PVC pipe to stop your flock from throwing their feed everywhere.

 

This also will help keep mice and other critters out of the coop, since they won’t be attracted by the grain everywhere.

 

You can use these plans – and it should only cost you a few bucks.

Grow frugal feeds by sprouting fodder for chickens

Sprouting fodder is really easy – and I suggest only using seeds such as wheat and barley. If you don’t know what it is, fodder is simply seeds that have been sprouted into grass.

 

Seeds such as sunflower seeds, etc are great for sprouting – but fodder takes it to the next level by producing an actual grass.

 

Chickens LOVE it – they get the benefit of the nutrients from both the seeds and the grass. Your wallet will love it too, because while you’ll have to pay for the seeds, you’ll be maximizing your investment by quadrupling the nutritional benefit of the seeds!

 

You can read my growing fodder for chickens tutorial here.

 

Keep your chicken water feeder clean with apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is wonderful for your chickens! If you’ve never made it, you can download my “How to make apple cider vinegar” video here.

 

It can help keep your waterer clean because it introduces beneficial bacteria – and it’s great for your flock’s digestive system!

 

In the winter, you can add it to their water daily (and if you have chicks, you can add it to their water too!). In the summer, if you’re concerned about the vinegar dehydrating your chickens, you can limit it to once or twice a week.

 

frugal feeds chicken water feeder hacks

Buy grain in bulk

One of my favorite frugal feeds hacks is to buy grain for your chickens in bulk – we’ve been able to save SO MUCh doing this, and we can get all non-GMO feeds this way.

 

The best way to do this is to contact grain manufacturers in your area.

 

Scramble eggs with fresh herbs as healthy & frugal feeds

If money is REALLY short one week, you can always scramble your flock’s eggs for them to eat. It’s not weird and it’s not cannibalism – eggs are full of protein, and chickens love them!

 

The shells also contain calcium, which will help your flock lay great eggs with strong eggshells.

 

Mix them with herbs from your garden to make them even healthier (try oregano), and (I promise) your flock will go BANANAS for them!!

 

Just be sure to add the fresh herbs AFTER the eggs have been cooked to preserve the essential oils in them!

 

Make your own frugal feeds with this recipe

Yes, you CAN make your own chicken feed! And in this organic chicken feed recipe, I show you just how to do it!

 

You will have to buy all the individual ingredients, so it’s a bit of a process, but especially if you can find a bulk supplier, you can save quite a bit!

 

If you don’t have time to make your own feed, then you can always try to buy non-GMO feed in bulk from a grain manufacturer (see above).

 

Add garlic to your chicken’s water feeder to boost their immune systems

If one of your goals is to save money when raising chickens, then making sure they stay healthy is important. Everytime you bring them to the vet, your care bill increases!

 

One thing you can do yourself is try to boost your flock’s immune system, and garlic is a great way to do it!

 

You can use garlic granules (which we sell in the store here) or simply chop fresh garlic and add it to their water. The essential oils – allicin – in garlic has been shown in studies to improve immune systems.

 

Plus, chickens love them!

 

You can start by adding garlic to your chicken’s water feeder once a week and make sure they’re drinking it. Go with 1 clove per gallon of water.

 

Maximize Space & Get Bigger Harvests With A Vertical Garden!

Maximize Space & Get Bigger Harvests With A Vertical Garden!

What do you do when the place you call home doesn’t have room to accommodate your love of gardening?

 

What do you do when you want to feed your family as frugally as possible without sacrificing nutrition or resorting to frequent fast food meals?

 

How about re-thinking your living space?

 

Vertical gardening is a smart way to enjoy a love of gardening in limited spaces such as apartments and homes in urban areas, and offers an eco-friendly, budget-friendly, inventive way of growing plants, fruits, and vegetables at home.

 

Low on space? Here's how to maximize it with vertical gardening!

 

Vertical gardening has a very minimal footprint because they take up so little space in your home.

 

Back in the day, before we moved to our homestead, I became the master of vertical gardening. I had a very small space to grow, which meant I couldn’t grow in traditional garden beds….but I could grow vertically!

 

We had some great tomato harvests in our 3-foot by 6-foot balcony, and even got to grow cucumbers, zucchini and, one year, we even did sweet potatoes!

 

If we had enough light in our living room or kitchen, I probably would have grown a living wall of herbs in the house as well! An indoor vertical garden can reap a harvest all year long without worry of frost or other outdoor climate conditions.

 

Vertical gardens are much easier to harvest than a traditional garden, and are also in some ways easier to manage and maintain (less weeding). Here are the steps you need to take to create your own vertical garden!

 

How to maximize space in your vertical garden

 

In all likelihood, you’ve already chosen a space for your vertical garden – it might be a balcony, patio, indoor or outdoor wall. You can also create a simple, freestanding wall on your own.  Just make sure your location is easy to get to, easy to water, and easy to harvest.

 

You will need containers – go with something 4 to 6 inches deep at a minimum, depending on the vegetable you’re growing. Any smaller, your plants will have difficulty absorbing nutrients and become root bound, especially as they begin to bear fruit.

 

Hanging planters also let you maximize your space – you can grow down as well as up.

 

For vining plants, you will need trellises. You can buy trellises, or make them yourself out of any material you choose.

 

We used bamboo sticks like these. They’re easy to manipulate and last a while. Be sure to install your trellises BEFORE planting to limit damage to your vegetable plants’ roots.

 

Low on space? Here's how to maximize it with vertical gardening!

Deciding what to grow

 

The location of your vertical garden, the climate you live in, and the amount of sunshine it receives are major factors in what you can grow successfully.

 

We did best with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash/zucchini. Tomatoes grew easily in 4-inch deep hanging planters like these.

 

Whatever vegetables you decide to grow, it’s best to go with bush varieties since they require less space and look tidier (if you’re looking into vertical gardening, I’m guessing you have neighbors – lots of trellises and sprawling plants might make them roll their eyes.)

 

Peas, greens like lettuce, and beans are other safe bets because they do not require deep soil. Choose vegetables that grow well in vertical settings using climbing vines and geo-bags for root management.

 

Herbs are another option, and we had good luck growing them in even shady areas (the exception is cilantro – we didn’t have much luck because the taproot is long and the plant itself is finicky). You can grow herb in pots – we would hang them off a wall, since they can live happily in a 6-inch pot.

 

Don’t forget that you can also grow edible flowers – pansies and violets are two that we love. If you want to grow medicinal plants, roses, dandelions, lavender, and calendula are some easy options (and the nosy neighbors are less likely to object to flowering plants.)

 

Just like with any garden, you should grow the food you actually like to eat – there’s no point in growing zucchini if you don’t like it. If you prefer tomatoes or greens, then grow more of them instead.

 

Remember, as well, that you will need to feed your vertical garden heavily – the plants will have a smaller area from which to draw nutrients. This is easily accomplished by watering with a compost tea – your plants will get water PLUS nutrients.

 

You CAN buy commercial fertilizers, but you’re wasting your money. You can usually source manure for free (you only need a couple gallons to make enough tea for the summer).

 

If you want to take your gardening experience a step further, you can create your own compost with a worm compost bin. It’s easy – we did it for years in a condo, and you can gather the worm castings as needed (and have a place to recycle your scraps).

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Are you a vertical gardener? What are you currently struggling with? Leave a comment below!

100+ Crazy Delicious Pickle Recipes You Can Make Practically For Free

100+ Crazy Delicious Pickle Recipes You Can Make Practically For Free

When your garden is in full swing, and you’re harvesting more than you can eat, what do you do?

 

Preserve your hard won vegetables of course!

 

Even if you shop at the farmer’s market, chances are, you won’t be able to pass up that great deal on cauliflower, radishes, and more, right?

 

Pickling your veggies is a way to preserve them that happens to also be crazy delicious. To help you out, here’s 101 pickle recipes for every vegetable from beats to watermelon rinds!

Beets

Pickled Beets

Quick Pickled Beets

Pickled Beets With Apple Cider Vinegar & Honey

Roasted Pickled Beets

Pickled Beets With Caraway

Pickled Beets With Dill

Paleo Pickled Beets

Pickled Beets with Cloves and Cumin

Pickled Beets with Red Wine

Pickled Beets & Fennel

Brussels Sprouts

Pickled Brussels Sprouts

Traditional Quick Pickled Brussels Sprouts

Refrigerator Brussels Sprouts Pickles

Hot Pickled Brussels Sprouts

Brine Pickled Brussels Sprouts

Zesty Pickled Brussels Sprouts

Pickled Sweet Brussels Sprouts

 

Carrots

Pickled Dilly Carrots

Quick Pickled Carrots

Vinegar Pickled Carrots

Mexican Pickled Carrots

Vietnamese Pickled Carrots

Moroccan Style Pickled Carrots

Vietnamese Daikon Pickled Carrots

Spicy Garlic Carrot Pickles

Lacto Fermented Carrots

Canning Pickled Carrots

Mint Pickled Carrots

Pickled Carrots & Radishes

Ginger Pickled Carrots

Black Pepper & Cumin Pickled Carrots

Pickled Carrots With Garlic & Cumin

Five Spice Pickled Carrots

Spicy Pickled Carrots With Honey

Pickled Carrots With Dill & Serrano

Lemony Pickled Carrots

 

Cauliflower

Pickled cauliflower

Curry Pickled Cauliflower

Lemony Pickled Cauliflower

Spicy Quick Pickled Cauliflower

Pickled Cauliflower With Hot Pepper & Cumin

Turmeric Ginger Pickled Cauliflower

Quick Pickled Purple Cauliflower

 

Celery

Quick pickled celery

Spicy pickled celery

Brine pickled celery

Super spicy pickled celery

 

Eggs

Chipotle Pickled Eggs

 

Green Beans

Pickled Green Beans

Homemade Pickled Green Beans & Carrots

Spicy Pickled Green Beans

Hot & Quick Pickled Green Beans

Overnight Pickled Green Beans

Spicy Pickled Dilly Beans

Sweet Pickled Green Beans

Lemon Rosemary Pickled Green Beans

Dill & Garlic Green Bean Pickles

Bloody Mary Pickled Green Beans

Spicy Cajun Pickled Green Beans & Carrots

Garlic Pickled Dilly Beans

Tarragon Pickled Green Beans

 

Jalapenos

Pickled Jalapenos

 

Onions

Quick Pickled Onions

Yucatan Style Quick Pickled Onions

Old Fashioned Pickled Onions

Instant Pickled Onions

Lacto Fermented Onions

Citrus Pickled Onions

Traditional British Pub Style Pickled Onions

Italian Roasted Pickled Onions

Balsamic Vinegar Pickled Onions

Asian-Style Pickled Onions

Grandma’s Pickled Onions

Wine Pickled Onions

English Pickled Onions

10 Minute Red Pickled Onions

Pickled Onions With Lime Juice

 

Peas

Sugar Snap Pea Pickles

 

Peppers

Sweet Pickled Peppers

Sweet Pickled Banana Peppers

Whole Pickled Snacking Peppers

Pickled Garlicky Red Peppers

Sweet & Spicy Pickled Peppers

Mildly Spicy Pickled Peppers

Jamaican Hot Pickled Peppers

Char Roasted Pickled Peppers

Pa’s Pickled Pepper Recipe

Hot Pickled Pepper Relish

 

Radishes

Spicy Quick Pickled Radishes

Fermented Pickled Radishes

Bread & Butter Pickled Radishes

Pickled Korean Radishes

Sugar Free Pickled Radishes

 

Tomatillos

Mexican Pickled Tomatillos

 

Watermelon

Russian Pickled Watermelon Rinds

Pickled Watermelons

Pickled Watermelon Rind with Jalapenos and Ginger

Pickled Watermelon Radishes

Quick Pickled Watermelon

Vinegar Pickled Watermelon Rind

 

I’d like to hear from you!

What’s your favorite pickle recipe? Leave a comment below!

Why Homestead: An Insider’s Look

Why Homestead: An Insider’s Look

 

Why homestead. This is the eternal question every homesteader must answer.

Why do we do it? Why reinvent the wheel of sorts, why put out the effort?

If you ask different homesteaders, “Why Homestead?” their answers are as varied as they are thematic. Usually, it’s something to do with getting back to a simpler life, reducing a carbon foot print, etc.

For me, the moment came when we suddenly were charged more for hay when a seller learned we moved here from an affluent part of the country and have horses.

In the horse world, people are decidedly more consumers than producers. Therefore, it must stand, we can afford to pay higher prices. That incident was the fundamental shift in my thinking. In short, I started homesteading because I was tired of getting ripped off.

The answer to “Why Homestead” became clear. I wanted to become more of a producer, and less of a consumer.

It hurts now to go to the grocery for meat because now I know sausage is usually the tougher parts of the pig and also the scraps left from the other cuts. Yet it still sells for $4/pound.

I can’t stand the cost of beef. We are on our way to producing our own pork. That’s some solace. We are further away from producing beef, mostly because of the cost.

I am working on the aquaponic system, which is slowly coming together. (Planning for 3 different types of fish and fresh water prawns eventually).

One thing I wasn’t prepared for, aside from the slow pace of things, was the financial side, which absolutely effects pace. I was prepared to build everything in a month, but that was just unrealistic. I also wasn’t prepared for the immense learning curve.

Things like plumbing to build my methane digester (I’m all about this methane digester, manure management is pretty much my life, and a part of homesteading I don’t see frequently addressed) and the aquaponic system.

Guess how much I knew about plumbing? It’s only slightly better now. 😉

The second reason I ventured into homesteading is after moving to rural America, after years of suburban/urban life, we couldn’t find any gourmet type food. Cheese especially. Our choices are cheap cheddars, or Swiss, made from who knows what additives. I’ve been dying for goats and sheep to start our own artisan cheeses.

Pretty much the only food you can get around here is super fried. And forget any Indian cuisine! (One of our staple cuisines. My husband had never even tried it before he met me, and neither had anyone in his family).

We decided to start our own chickens for meat, and not just eggs, when I read the USDA will allow chicken from China to be sold in the US. Now that I’ve studied butchering and taken apart whole chickens (we are still building our flock), I’m looking forward to harvesting from our own well-treated and well-cared for flock.

In addition to culling our excess roosters, we will add Cornish Crosses to our flock. While there might be more ethical or sustainable choices than that breed, I feel I will have an easier time emotionally butchering them since, if you let them live to long, it negatively effects the quality of their lives.

The two pigs we have here are for breeding, but their babies will be for butchering, or if they don’t breed, then they will be butchered, but it will be hard to do it.

I also like the whole idea of a closed-loop system, from everything from cooking to manure management. I like that after we fry chicken (I do like the occasional fried food!), we make gravy from the left over oil and chicken bits in the pan to make gravy (my husband likes biscuits and gravy for breakfast), and broth from the left over chicken and bones, which we use in rice, savory pancakes, etc in place of water to add extra flavor and protein.

Nothing goes to waste. Any leftovers go to the dog or the pigs.

We will install an orchard in the spring, and I’m looking at spots in the property for perennial beds (herbs, sunchokes and daikon radishes for livestock feed).

We are working on producing our own energy. We are actively looking at wind power, which seems an easier option for us than solar power, and at natural gas. With the wind we get and the animals, both are renewable sources of energy.

Since we have forested parts of our property, we are also looking at wood heating, which is a sustainable resource for us. I don’t mind staying tied to the grid for electric for now, but anything we can do to reduce our outputs, right?

We are looking at more sustainable heating options for next winter because of the cost of propane.

So, that’s why I homestead! Why do you homestead?

Why I homestead