The zucchini looks like it’s doing great this year – right?
It looks so nice and lush – but at a closer look, there are squash bugs hiding in there!
What are squash bugs? Well, they’re brownish black, about 3/4″ – 1″ long, and they feed on vining crops like squash, pumpkins, and melons. As you can see, they cause the plant to wilt and eventually die. They’re generally found wherever these vining crops are grown. Ugly, aren’t they?
Organic controls for squash bugs include planting other varieties that repel them (obviously I didn’t do enough of that) such as marigold, nasturtium, and radish. Garden sanitation and weed [...]
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I can remember when you went to your local feed & seed supply store to buy garden seeds; and your choices were limited to a few – how things have changed! Today there are numerous seed catalogs available with hundreds of offerings, and you can also order from thousands of varieties online – but the choices can be confusing. What’s the difference between GE, GMO, OP, Heirloom, Hybrid, Organic, Pelleted, and Treated seed? Here’s the explanation:
OP (Open Pollinated) – open pollinated seeds are those that are produced by pollination from wind, insects, or self-pollination. You can save seed from open-pollinated varieties and [...]
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We were fortunate to visit the beautiful island of Kauai over the past several weeks; and it was just gorgeous - it truly feels like you’re in paradise. We did a lot of relaxing things while there – snorkeling, hiking, horseback riding, and whale watching to name a few; but we also visited several farms (mostly organic) to see if we could learn new techniques or ideas that would apply here.
One farm in particular was very exciting for us, Kauai Kunana Dairy. They’ve worked at it for quite a few years (originally started in 1979) and now produce artisan goat cheese, goat milk products (soap & hair/skin care products), certified organic produce, [...]
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In the US today, we’re being offered more and more choices in food quality; and it’s because many of us are demanding locally grown foods that are antibiotic, hormone, and pesticide free. In terms of eggs quality, it’s not clear sometimes what the choices mean – here’s a rundown on the different types of eggs:
Commercial or “Factory Farmed” Eggs
These are the standard grocery store eggs; and unfortunately, the “farms” that produce these eggs are typically poultry houses where the hens are housed indoors in tiny metal cages. They’re routinely debeaked (part of their beaks are cut [...]
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Right now, it’s very important to focus energy on cleaning up the vegetable garden. I wish that all my cleanup chores were done; but I’m still working on it because I know a few hours of work now will make a huge difference in next year’s garden.
It’s most important to remove and destroy (not compost) all the remains from this year’s vegetable plants because many vegetable pests survive from year to year on old plant debris. This will help prevent insect and disease problems from starting next spring and summer.
After getting all the plant debris removed from the garden, I like to get a good layer of leaves [...]
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After successfully raising the six Red Comet chicks to laying age and twenty eight Buckeye chicks through the first twelve weeks this year, we thought it was going to be smooth sailing. But no, things never go quite as planned…..
As the Buckeye’s were moving into week 13, they abruptly started picking the feathers off of each other’s back and eating them. Within two days, some of them were beginning to show bare backs where all the feathers had been picked away. Naturally, we were anxious about this behavior (a form of cannibalism) and wanted to get it stopped ASAP.
After posting [...]
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Our 10 acres is officially Bramblestone Farm! The paperwork from the Ohio Secretary of State arrived yesterday confirming Bramblestone Farm as a “for-profit” LLC. I also reserved the domain name bramblestonefarm.com on the Internet and a herd name of Bramblestone has been registered with both the American Goat Society and the American Dairy Goat Association.
It’s been an interesting journey since acquiring this land – we’ve built a house and barn, acquired a tractor and chicken coop, created a garden and pasture, installed fencing, and started raising chickens and goats. Every step of the way, we’ve complained about how many big [...]
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Adult Potato Beetle
Almost overnight, they’ve attacked our Yukon Gold potatoes, but thankfully they haven’t found the Purple Viking potatoes, peppers, eggplants, or tomatoes. Every gardener growing potatoes is likely to run into this beetle, as it’s a devastating pest of potatoes. Both the yellow, black-striped adult and the black-spotted, red larvae feed on potato leaves, and can completely consume them thereby greatly reducing tuber yields and even killing plants. The potato beetle can also be a serious pest on tomato, eggplant, and pepper; and the damage is so severe, the beetle must be controlled.
Adult potato beetles overwinter in [...]
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When I think about “real” food, I mean food that doesn’t contain artificial ingredients, hasn’t been fed antibiotics or growth hormones, wasn’t genetically modified, isn’t covered with pesticides, and most importantly, tastes great. It can be hard to find “real” food today, and the pesticides used on much of the produce in grocery stores contribute to the problem.
There is a growing consensus that small doses of pesticides can adversely affect human health, and eating the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to about 15 pesticides per day, on average. But we can lower our pesticide exposure [...]
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