Mushroom Log Tower
How to Grow Mushrooms on Logs
By Erin Huffstetler | 10/14/2015 | 3 Comments
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Last week, I took advantage of the gorgeous fall weather, and set up some mushroom logs on our weekend homestead. We’ve been working on our cabin for over a year now, but this is our first farm-related project on the property.

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Butternut Squash - Not Ripe Yet
When to Pick Butternut Squash
By Erin Huffstetler | 08/21/2014 | 48 Comments
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This spring my husband added some soil from one of our compost bins to our front beds, and before long we had butternut squash vines coming up in the front yard. Nice!

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Crabapples
How to Tell When Crabapples are Ripe
By Erin Huffstetler | 08/18/2014 | 16 Comments
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I’ve been watching the crabapple trees near our house closely, and it’s almost time to pick them! If you’ve never picked crabapples before, here’s a simple way to tell when they’re ripe and ready!

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Koi Pond
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Naturally
By Erin Huffstetler | 07/23/2014 | 5 Comments
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Mosquitoes are annoying, but you know what else is annoying? Most of the advice on how to get rid of them. Do a quick web search for “get rid of mosquitoes” and you’ll get two basic pieces of advice:

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Dehydrating Basil
How to Dry Herbs in a Dehydrator
By Erin Huffstetler | 07/09/2014 | 11 Comments
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Buying herbs always leaves me with sticker shock, so I try to grow as many of my own as I can. This time of year we pick herbs as we need them …

A few basil leaves for tomato sauce …

Fresh Dill

A big handful of dill for our salad dressing …

Sage Plant

A couple sage leaves to season a chicken or turkey …

Fresh Oregano

It’s a wonderful way to eat, but it’s not something that we can do during the winter months. So, I also dry our herbs. The process couldn’t be easier.

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Toads
We Have Toads!
By Erin Huffstetler | 06/23/2014 | 4 Comments
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Saturday, our farmer friends brought us five toads, and we released them into our garden. They’re our latest in a long line of organic pest control measures.

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Dibble Planting Guide
Dibble Planting Guide
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/28/2014 | No Comments
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If I haven’t convinced you of your need for a dibble, I’m back to try again. This is what your typical dibble looks like:

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Organic Weed Control
Organic Weed Control
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/25/2014 | No Comments
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Tame the weeds in your yard without chemicals and without a major time commitment. Here’s how I do it in my yard.

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Organic Pest Control
Organic Pest Control
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/23/2014 | 1 Comment
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People gardened long before pesticides existed, so how did they deal with pests? By working with nature, instead of against it. Here’s a look at some of the organic pest control measures that I have in place in my garden.

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Ladybug House
How to Build a Ladybug House
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/15/2014 | 5 Comments
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We built mason bee houses to attract pollinators for our fruit trees. Now, that that’s worked, we’re working to attract more beneficial bugs to help with the pest control.

Since this is the first year that our apricot bushes have fruited, making sure they’re well protected is top priority. I did some research to figure out which pests we were likely to be up against, and learned that aphids are one of the biggest threats. Knowing that ladybugs have a voracious appetite for aphids, I decided it was time for us to finally build that ladybug house that’s been sitting on my to-do list for ages.

We already have a good ladybug population in our yard, but by building them a house, we hope to encourage them to overwinter in our yard, so they’ll be ready to go to work for us as soon as the warm weather arrives each spring. And since we’ll be placing our new ladybug house next to our apricot bushes, that should mean our bushes will be well protected from aphids all season long.

Ladybugs also eat mites, white flies and scale, so we may just have to build another one for our vegetable garden.

Want to build your own ladybug house? Here’s how we made ours:

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How to Organize Seeds
How to Organize Seeds
By Erin Huffstetler | 02/18/2014 | 1 Comment
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Looking for a cheap and easy way to organize your seeds? I finally found a winning solution.

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Lawn Mower
How to Winterize a Lawn Mower
By Erin Huffstetler | 10/29/2013 | 1 Comment
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Done with your mower until next spring? Before you put it away, set aside an hour to winterize your lawn mower, so it starts right up next year. Here’s how it’s done:

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Oiled Garden Tools
How to Clean and Oil Garden Tools
By Erin Huffstetler | 10/23/2013 | 2 Comments
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Before you put your garden tools away for the year, take a few minutes to clean and oil them. It’s a simple task that will greatly extend the life of your tools. Here’s how it’s done.

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Leaf Mold Bin
How to Make Leaf Mold
By Erin Huffstetler | 10/10/2013 | No Comments
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Raking leaves is a chore, so I like to make sure I get something out of the deal, and that something is leaf mold. Instead of piling my leaves up at the curb like most of my neighbors do, I save my leaves in wire bins, and allow them to break down into a nutrient-rich amendment for my garden. Sure, it takes a few years for the leaves to turn into leaf mold, but I’m willing to wait for a free soil amendment (especially one that I don’t have to lug home).

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Hose Guide
Glass Bottle Hose Guides
By Erin Huffstetler | 07/01/2013 | 2 Comments
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Tired of having your garden hose run over your plants when you’re watering your garden? Use glass bottles to solve the problem. Just dig a hole right in front of the area that you want to protect, and stick a bottle in your hole. Leave a few inches of the bottle sticking up; then, pack the dirt back in around it; and viola – you have a hose guide. It’s an easy fix to a frustrating problem, and it looks great, too.

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