Common Sense Home Good News Letter 2/4/24

“One of my favorite things about gardening is that it gives purpose. Every small step you make in your garden takes you forward on your journey to a bountiful harvest.”

“Why bother with a garden when it’s so much easier to buy food from the store?”

I’ve heard this many times over the years, along with reasons not to garden – no room, no time, limited mobility, etc.

Of course, with grocery store prices continuing to creep up, some are finding motivation to garden to try and cut costs. Even if you can’t grow a lot, a pot of herbs or edible flowers can brighten up budget friendly meals.

With innovative gardening products like this ​combination vertical planter and vermicomposting tower​, you can grow over four dozen plants in four square feet, and make your own organic fertilizer.

I’m hoping 2024 will be a good year for growing the gardening community, big and small. Every harvest we provide for ourselves brings a little more satisfaction into our lives, which is no small thing.

Speaking of harvest, I’ve been thinking about expanding our winter squash production this year. The duck patrol loves winter squash as a feed supplement when foraging is scarce, and the chickens enjoy them, too. (Of course, we eat some, too.)

Winter squash is also a good food source for mealworms, and we’ve been thinking about raising our own mealworms since the poultry greatly appreciate them.

I love ​storage crops that keep without processing​. We’re cutting into our last watermelon tonight. It’s hard to believe that some varieties will hold for months in good condition. (This one was picked at the end of September.)

One of our projects for this year is replacing the glazing on the attached greenhouse, which is showing its age. When the installers built it, they didn’t seal the ends, and the mason bees started using the walls and roof for nests. They’ve built so many nests that much of the light coming in is blocked, which is fine for curing, but not great for seedlings.

Other projects for the year include a new wood storage shed, so we can stockpile more firewood. The guys are currently working on the interior of the wood working shop. Once the ground thaws, they’ll be able to run out electricity. That’s the curse and blessing of home ownership – always more projects to tackle.

All our best to you and yours,

Laurie (& August IV, August V, and Duncan)

This week’s featured articles…

Squash bugs can be a terrible garden pest, so I put together ​my best tips to get rid of those little buggers for good​.

If you have a pest, weed, plant disease, or other issue that makes your gardening a pain, hit reply to this email and share the problem. We’re looking for ideas for upcoming articles so we can make gardening easier and less stressful.

Side note – not sure if your garden seeds are still good? Check out this chart and simple germination test.

We are still processing yummy apples from our orchard. (I love bumper crops!) This week’s apple recipe is ​apple jam​.

It’s a presidential election year in the US, which historically has sometimes led to unrest and pricing volatility. For those interested in doing a little prepping without breaking the budget, ​check out this article​.

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