Today while examining our potato crop we noticed a Colorado Potato Beetle. Time to spring into action!
We started by adding a little dish detergent to a bucket, then added some water.
These Beetles spend winter in the soil and emerge in May & June. They'll mate, then lay their yellowish eggs on the underside of the potato plant leaves making it difficult to detect without careful observation. The eggs will hatch within a few weeks and you will begin to see larvae eating the your plants.
There are a number of methods to deal with the potato bug.
First, it is important to always rotate your crops. This makes it more difficult for pests from the previous year that over-winter in your soil to find the plants they feed on.
You can lay down a layer of mulch such a seaweed or straw which may make it difficult for the beetles to find your plants thereby reducing their impact on your crop.
You can spread Diatomaceous earth over and around your plants which can help, or even use a bacterial insecticide such as BT which is harmless to the beneficial insects and humans alike.
We just pick them off and throw them into soapy water which seems to work well. The best option is probably some combination of all these options.
Have you found another method for controlling the Colorado Potato Beetle? If so, let us know in the comments.
Our Beets have done quite well this season. We may have left them too long, as they are quite large.
Today we're harvesting them. This is a relatively easy task as they remain close to the surface and give up their grip without much effort. It didn't take long to fill this container.
Now it's time to give them a quick rinse to remove most of the dirt, then, we cut the greens off and separate them. Just look at how big this one is!
With a basket full of Beets, and another full of greens we're not done yet. We'll eat a few, give a few to the chickens, and use the remainder to mulch our tomatoes.
It's getting close to lunch, so we'll pick some lettuce from one of the cold frames and enjoy a garden fresh salad with our meal....it appears we'll enjoy some ball playing well.
Scarlet runner beans, cabbage, eggplant, spinach, chard, kale, watermelon, winter squash, zucchini, basil and more are growing in this large garden.
In this one we've got tomatoes, beets, carrots, beans, cucumber, potatoes and onions.
This bed is almost entirely garlic.
Today's chores will be devoted to feeding a few of the crops in another garden.
We start with the corn. Last season we had planted beans here which help fix nitrogen in hopes of providing this years corn a great start. As you can see, it appears to have done just that. Corn loves nitrogen so we are fertilizing with a 21-7-7 mix to ensure healthy stocks and hopefully a fantastic yield.
Next we move on to the peppers using a 5-10-10 fertilizer. This will give them a much needed boost after enduring a late season frost which set them back quite a bit. Once applied we loosen up the surface where we've placed the fertilizer and give each plant a good drink.
Although we lost a few to frost this year, we still have about 20 tomato plants. The six in this garden will also be fertilized today. Just like the corn and peppers, we sprinkle the fertilizer, loosen the surface, then give them a good drink.
Now that the tomato's, peppers, and corn have all been fed, someone is telling us that all work and no play is not the way!
Cherry Tree Timber!
Every now and then you can expect the unexpected on the homestead. Today we awoke to this, a large portion of one of our Cherry trees lying on the ground. As you can see it had fallen from high, fortunately we were not under it at the time!
It appears this branch had been rotting, and after a little rain and wind could hold on no more.
Sadly it had an abundance of fruit that would have been ripening soon had this not happened.
Time to clean up. Using a chainsaw made reasonably quick work of dismantling this massive limb. Of course steel toed shoes, hearing and eye protection ensured safety during the process.
Once all the debris had been piled up all that was left was this one large log that we will use to border a new garden something like what we've done here.
In our Province there are strict burning regulations so we check to make sure we're in compliance and then we begin burning. It's a family affair as you can see. All we were missing was a few wieners and a long stick!
It wasn't long before the fire was burning well, and not long after that it was pretty much just embers.
Recently while out for a hike in the woods we were lucky enough to spot what many refer to as the "Mushroom of Immortality"!
The Reishi mushroom, "Ganoderma lucidum" or "Ling Zhi" in Chinese, have been used throughout history and are considered an "adaptogen" known to help with inflammation, hormonal imbalance, energy, and even damaged blood vessels.
These mushrooms are rarely found....out of 10,000 trees only 2 or 3 will have Reishi growth. They can be found in old growth Hemlock forests on fallen trees. They're also found an dead but still standing trees.
Having been used for over 4000 years it is one of the most researched mushrooms around.
With over 400 known bioactive compounds including Beta-Glucans, Polysaccharides, Triterpinoids, and Sterols, some of the researched benefits of the Reishi Mushroom include:
Immune system support
Lower blood pressure
Neutralizes free radicals
Cancer prevention - Preclinical studies have established that the Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide (GLPS) fractions have potent anti-tumor activity, which has been associated with the immuno-stimulating effects
You can read the abstract [HERE]( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12916709)
As you can see, today were cutting our Reishi to make a tincture. Once they have been cut and placed on trays we put them into the dehydrator for several hours until completely dried. Whatever we don't use for our tincture will be saved in jars, vacuum sealed and made into tea.
Our tincture is made by breaking the dried slices into smaller pieces, we place them into a large jar and submerge them in Vodka.
This will sit for between 4 and 8 weeks and will then be ready to be made into a dual extraction.
By bringing some water to a boil, placing the mushrooms from the tincture into the boiling water and simmering for about 2 hours and then mixing the alcohol tincture and the water extraction together we will have a nice supp..
This year we decided to give our backs a break and purchased a garden tiller. We ordered from Amazon and got a Sunjoe! More about this later.
Our first task was to till the garden that will be used for Potato's, Onions, Cucumbers, Beets, Carrots, and Tomato's. We tilled both ways to ensure a thorough job as we had previously only tilled our gardens by hand. This was really easy to do with the tiller, why hadn't we done this a long time ago?
With the garden tilled, we set up the tomato tower and moved on to the garden behind the garage that will be planted with corn on one half, and beans on the other!
Because this went so quickly using the tiller, we extended the garden behind the chicken coup to about twice its previous length.
Here are all three after we finished. This only took about 2 hours in total using the tiller and would have taken day's for us doing it by hand.
The tiller we purchased is a Sunjoe TJ603E electric tiller. It has a 12amp motor, operates at 340 rpm, and will till a path 16 inches wide and 8 inches deep faster than you can walk to the garage to get a shovel!
It's wheels come with a three position adjustment to determine the depth you will till. The handles fold for easy storage and are at the perfect height. It also has 6 angled, steel tines to that held up to a lot of rocks and clay soil.
It comes with a two year warranty.
So, if you have been thinking about getting a tiller don't wait. This little one saved the day and two backs!
Last summer we decided to remove the rail at one end of the deck and build some stairs. After watching several videos on how to, we gave it a try. They came out great but we discovered a lot of rot when we removed the rail and new we had to address it soon.
We started by cutting a pair of 2 x 10's to length for each section of rail to be built. We then went to Blocklayer.com and printed of a measurement chart for baluster spacing. Then all we had to do for each section was measure and mark the placement for each baluster. Next we secured two balusters to help keep the structure square. This was followed up with the installation of the remaining balusters.
Once all five sections were completed it was time to move on to staining them. Having them suspended on the horses made it quick and easy. Once completed and dried we moved them to the deck for installation.
Installation wouldn't start for a while. First we had to remove the old rails. You can see how rotten they were in these pictures. The support posts also had some rotting which required repairs. After using a wire brush to clean all the rotted areas we started by spraying them with PC-Petrifier. This product makes the wood harder than the surround wood. Next we mixed a two part epoxy called PC-Woody and filled all the areas that need repair.
Once finished and cured we primed all the support posts. The following day we painted. Then we installed the rails. We also wanted a handrail all the way around, so we measured, cut, stained, and installed them.
Here is the finished project.
Today on Homestead Homebodies we return to repair the rotted wood problems that came up in our video titled "Railing Roadblock". After quite a bit of research we decided that PC-Woody offered the best solution for us.
We started with their PC-Petrifier which is a liquid wood hardener. This can be poured, brushed, or sprayed.
First we used a wire brush and removed all the loose, rotted wood from each area that required repair. We then put the PC-Petrifier in a spray bottle and saturated each area. After it had dried we applied a second coat. This product on its own is amazing as all the soft rotted areas became hard as rock. We waited 24 hours for this to fully cure before moving on.
Next we used PC-Woody two part epoxy. This was easy to use. We mixed equal parts until thoroughly blended, and then used a plastic a trowel to reshape the areas that required repairs. This setup in about 24 hours as well.
Once these repairs were completed we used a wire brush and a scraper to remove any loose paint or debris from the support posts and face of the deck. We followed this up with a coat of primer all around.
Once the rain here stops, we'll paint it and finally get the new rails put up!
Today on Homestead Homebodies it's time to set up our rain barrels for gardening season.
We start by removing a length of downspout, and leveling out the gravel base. We place some lumber, set the first barrel on it and install the connector. This is followed up with more lumber and the second barrel. We also attach an over flow hose that will steer water into an underground drain we installed.
Here you can see how the barrels are attached and here is the overflow hose.
Next we screw on the lids, attach an angle to the downspout and were all set for watering the garden this summer!
We also hooked up the garden hose and picked up our daily but dwindling supply of eggs.
We stained the rails for the front deck, stained the rear deck and removed the old, rotted rails from the from deck.
With all of this weeks chores completed, it's time to play with Candy who has been waiting patiently with the ball in her mouth.
Created 2 years, 9 months ago.
We left the rat race and have found a better, more relaxed lifestyle through homesteading. Please enjoy.