Author: The Farmer's Wife (page 1 of 20)

How To Grow Tomatoes: Tips From A Large Scale Gardener

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Probably the most common vegetable you will find in any food garden is the tomato—which is technically a fruit.  Both new and experienced gardeners alike love to grow tomatoes for their color and fragrance in the garden as well as their flavor and versatility in the kitchen.

Because of the diversity of varieties tomatoes come in, you can grow a different size, color and even shape of tomato every year and never get bored.  Red, yellow, green, black, purple, and white are just a few colors you’ll find when you start researching these tasty treats.

Whether you’ve got a large plot to grow in this year, or just one pot of dirt, you’re sure to find a variety that will work for you and give you an abundant bounty during your growing season.

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Planning A Focused Garden On Intense Homestead Years

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There’s no doubt about it, some years on the homestead are so intense that you need to cut back in certain areas to get through it all.  Perhaps you’re learning a new skill that takes up your time.  Maybe finances, weather, or family circumstances keep you from your full homesteading capacity.  Whatever your reasoning, changing your regular garden plans to a focused garden plan is going to make that one area more manageable.

In my book, Raising Young Children On The Homestead, I talk about the basic principles of a focused garden, and how it will get you through your intense homestead years (such as when you have a newborn).  It discusses how to plan a unique focused garden that will meet the needs of an individual family.

I also tell you how and when I started doing my own focused gardens to meet the consumption needs of my own family.

This year is one of those years—an intense homestead year in which I have to cut back in some areas.  Gardening is one of those areas, and I’m falling back to the focused garden plan we’ve used in the past.

Here is the focused garden plan that works best for our family during the intense years.

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Repairing A Frozen Water Pipe On The Winter Homestead

Every winter it happens–we discover a frozen water pipe.  It’s just a fact of life here.  This isn’t the first time we’ve repaired a frozen water pipe, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

If we hadn’t repaired this pipe as soon as we noticed it was broken, it could have warmed up and made one huge muddy mess once the ice inside it melted and the water started spewing out.

Luckily, repairing this frozen pipe was easily done with tools we had on hand.

In order to fix this frozen pipe, we needed:

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19 White Fruits And Vegetables You Need To Grow This Year

It’s time once again to plan our gardens for the upcoming season.  Have you got everything planned out?  Have you got your seeds ordered, mapped out your garden plot, and written your plans in your garden journal?

No?

Then perhaps this year you’ll try something new–like a white themed garden. Did you know many of the most delicious  fruits and vegetables out there come in a white variety?

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10 Things A Homestead Kitchen Needs To Be Self Sufficient

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If for some reason the grid went down tomorrow and stayed down for an extended period of time, would your kitchen meet the needs of your new self-sufficient life?  Perhaps your kitchen would keep functioning just the same way it always has.  Maybe you’d get by, but it’d be a bit uncomfortable.  Or possibly, your kitchen wouldn’t be much use at all.

If you’re looking to increase your self-sufficiency, or decrease your footprint (or both), then your kitchen may need some of the following items.

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Making And Canning Homemade Pink Grapefruit Marmalade

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One thing I love about winter is when citrus season comes around.  Once a year all citrus goes on sale for a low, low price, and that’s when we get ours.  There’s a flurry of preserving zests, fruits, curds, and marmalades.  This week, I’m making grapefruit marmalade, and I’m sharing with you just how I do it.

An especially good thing about making grapefruit marmalade is that it uses nearly the entire grapefruit–peel and all.  Of course grapefruit is naturally sour, so it does take quite a bit of sugar, but it’s not your everyday jam, so it only gets used for special times anyway.

Moving on.  Let’s make some marmalade, shall we?

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How To Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap Cheap And Easily

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Homestead’s are dirty–there’s no way around it.  When you live on a homestead, you’ll find that you are washing your hands every chance you get.

You can spend a lot of money making multiple trips to the store to purchase your own soap, or you can make your own.  If you are anything like me, you prefer to make your own.

Once a year I make all the goat’s milk soap our family will use during baths and showers.  The rest of the time, we use foaming hand soap for it’s convenience–and I make that too.  I make foaming hand soap about twice a week.  Around here, it sells for $2.50-$3.00 a bottle, so that means I’m saving $25.00 a month on this one essential household item.

In less than one minute, you can also make your own foaming hand soap with just a few ingredients you probably already have on hand.

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How To Grow Cucumbers: The Warm Weather Vegetable

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Cucumbers are an annual warm weather crop that are easy for some gardeners to grow, yet others find nearly impossible to work with.  They require only a short growing season of usually 55-65 days from planting to harvest, and can be harvested for a month or more.  This makes them ideal for our 70 day growing season.

If the right variety is picked, cucumbers can be grown in just about any part of the United States.  For specific planting dates in your area, check with your local extension office.  They should also be able to suggest a good variety for your area, and if you have a longer growing season, they can help you with a schedule for succession planting if you wish.

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How To Make Candied Grapefruit Peels

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Thanks to the citrus that goes on sale this time of year, we were able to preserve a lot of curd, marmalades, juices and fruits recently.  One thing I always try to do is reduce the waste if I can.

When it comes to the peels, this means I preserve a lot of the zest for future use, and that we make some candied grapefruit peels with a bit of it as well.  These aren’t the kind of candy you’d want to eat every day, but once a year they are a wonderful treat.

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7 Thoughtful Valentine’s Day Gifts For The Farmer’s Wife

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Each year men everywhere wonder what to get for their wives as gifts.  Be it their birthday or Valentines Day, many men get flustered at the idea of trying to find the perfect gift for their wife.

While chocolate and flowers are the standard, the farmer’s wife may be a bit more picky–and thus easier to shop for, really.

Here are some ideas to help you farmers out there find the perfect gift for your wife this year.

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