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Friday, September 5, 2014

August Update

Well hello there! I know it's already September, so here's an update some projects I started (and finished!).

Some New Friends

In early August, we acquired two Nigerian Dwarf goats. I never thought I would be a "goat person", but these little guys are so cute! Obi (short for Obadiah) is a wether- a castrated male- and Adi is a yearling doe. Currently she is at another farm being bred.

The wonderful thing about these goats is that they don't eat a whole lot, plus they are small and manageable. And the best part? Come March, I'll have a little bit of goat milk to play around with! I can't wait to start making cheese again.

8 First Year Garden Mistakes

My gardening duties are finally winding down a bit- August finished off my cucumbers, brought corn, watermelon, and winter squash, as well as more broccoli, green beans, and summer squash (the never-ending vegetable. Now I'm working on one last weed-pulling marathon to find what's left and prepare for next year. Some changes I'll be making:

1. Raised beds. I spent waaaaayyyyy to much time weeding this year. I don't like rototilling very much, so I put down plastic between the rows. This seemed like a good idea, but it was more work than rototilling and I still had weeds.

2. Lasagna gardening. This is something I've never tried before and I'm excited to see how it works. The basic concept is layering compost, "browns" (like dead leaves) and "greens" (like grass clippings) and letting it all rot over the winter into a nice rich soil.

3. Plant less squash. In my spring gardening zeal, I planted three different kinds of squash and two different kinds of cucumbers. The result? The tyrant squashes and cucurbits started taking over my garden and strangled my watermelon plants.

4. Pre-sprout sweet corn. I spent almost $10 on corn seeds this year trying to get a decent patch going. Finally on my 3rd or 4th seed packet, I tried sprouting the seeds in a little bit of water indoors before planting. Almost every single seed came up!

5. Grow peas on a trellis. Might keep 'em a little more contained. I'll probably try to vertical-grow my melons and squashes too.

6. Plant lettuce in intervals. I made the common mistake this year of planting all of my lettuce (like 3 packs... I know, what was I thinking?) at one time. Considering the fact that salad is not even in our menu plan, I had WAY more lettuce than I could ever use. Next year it will be 3 or 4 heads every couple weeks.

7. Seed saving. I'm attempting to save some seeds this year to shave a few dollars off next year's gardening cost, but will do more next year.

8. Start tomatoes, peppers, and basil from seeds or cuttings. A majority of our garden cost this spring came from buying three pepper plants and a basil plant. We got married in March, so I was not exactly thinking about starting seeds at that time. :)

I want to consider the 80/20 principle here: which 20% of the vegetables are 80% of the work and cost? On the flip side, which 20% of my garden is giving out 80% of the return?

Some victories this year included growing basil from cuttings for the first time, figuring out that I can use a cake dome just like a greenhouse, and the ever-spoiling Hubs building me a little cold frame. I
have always wanted to make a cold frame, so that was pretty exciting for me.

Announcing... A Book!

On a whim, I decided to write a short ebook on meal planning. When I was growing up, my mom tried a lot of different planning programs, websites, and just winging it. I've come up with a fantastic plan that I think is the best! It allows for both consistency and variety, and utilizes both on-sale and in-season foods.

Tentative cover!

The book, Wednesday Is Pizza Night, is scheduled to be on Amazon in mid to late September. I've wanted to write an ebook for several years, and I've finally got around to making it happen.

In addition to publishing the book, I'll be making some exciting changes to the blog. Stay tuned!

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