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Showing posts from July, 2019

Update On My Homemade Garden Bug Spray

I just had to show you this. Here's what happened to my collard plants in less than two weeks after applying my Homemade Garden Bug Spray.

A picture speaks louder than a thousand words!

The collards were fall planted and pretty much neglected once the weather turned warm. The bed is resting this summer, so all I did was add more leaf mulch after pulling the onions. I have barely watered it and just left the collards to die and decompose on their own. They were still hanging in there at the end of July and looking pretty bad due to cabbage moth larvae damage. When I made up a batch of the spray I dosed them good. I sprayed them well for two days and reapplied after it rained a few days later.

The plant in the photo has the most spectacular results, although the others are recovering as well. I rewarded them with a good watering!

In case you missed it, you can find the recipe for the spray here.

Update On My Homemade Garden Bug Spray© Aug 2019
 by Leigh at

Photo Wrap-up For July

Summer has been moving right along and here it is, the end of July. What's really amazing is how the temperatures have dropped since last weekend. Very unsummerlike for us! And very welcome! To finish up the month, here's everything I didn't have time to blog about.

Since Dan finished his tractor wagon he's been busy with firewood ...

... and making woodchips.

If you read my blog much then you're probably aware that we've had a lot of downed treed in our wood lot over the years. They're mostly old pines and they've sure left a mess. Some of them Dan has milled into lumber. The rest we'll put to good use as chips.

Last week I showed you the garden and how it's doing. Also growing...

I lost my original ginger plants the winter before last. Usually they overwinter on our enclosed back porch, but ginger is a tropical plant and the temps that year were just too cold.

July is also the month we start fruit harvest. Blueberries ripen first and that means...

Homemade Garden Bug Spray

Speaking of the garden, here's something I wanted to share with you. I've been experimenting some with homemade bug sprays for the garden, and last year found one that really helped for cabbage moths damage. I found the recipe at An Oregon Cottage, and she sources Keeper of the Home for it. So I'm not taking credit for this garden spray myself, just passing on something I found that works!

The ingredients are simple and easy to grow.

3 C fresh mint2 bulbs fresh garlic1 or two fresh cayenne peppers or 2 tsp cayenne powder3 qts waterbiosafe dishwashing soap

To Make

Chop garlic, mint, and cayenne peppers if using fresh. No need to peel the garlic because it's strained later. Just chop it as is. When handling hot peppers, always be sure to wear kitchen gloves! Put these three ingredients into a gallon pot with the water. Bring to a simmer.

Cool and strain into spray bottles. Add a small squirt of dish liquid and you're ready to go. Don't forget to spray the u…

Summer Garden: July 2019

Speaking of summer, here are some shots of my summer garden.

In the hoop house.

Summer! (Is It Over Yet? LOL)

Oh my, but the heat of summer has set in and it's no fun. Our daily highs are in the mid-90s (35°C) and the humidity has been high with false promises of rain. It isn't so bad if it cools down to the upper 60s at night (20°C), but once summer kicks into high gear with its nightly low of around 75°F (24°C), it's difficult to cool down the house. Using window fans at night to vent the heat and pull in cooler air helps. So does keeping curtains closed on the sunny side of the house. So does venting the attic with our solar attic fan. And so does keeping our ceiling fans going all the time. So does using my summer kitchen or solar oven instead of cooking inside. Needless to say, it's still hot.

Living without air conditioning (why? here) has both negative and positive sides. The negative is obvious; the house gets hot! It's cooler than outdoors, but by the end of the day the inside temp is around 85°F (30°C). The positive side is that there isn't as great a temperat…

Tractor Wagon

We get a lot of use from our wheelbarrows and garden cart. But Dan wanted something that could carry larger, heavier loads than what we can manage with those, especially since most of this year's firewood is down the hill in the woods. We looked at both new and used pull carts for lawn tractors, but in the end, he decided to build a wagon from an old riding lawn mower.

The only advantage a commercial cart has over Dan's is that they can dump their loads, while this one can't. But that's a small trade-off for making something mostly out of materials we already had. Dan bought only the decking boards, so the entire wagon cost under $20 to make.

Being able to transport larger, heavier loads is the kind of useful convenience that enables us to work smarter not harder. We need to get the job done without wearing ourselves out! And that helps us keep things manageable as we get older.

The right equipment is so important around a homestead, although I have to say it usually take…

Digging Potatoes and Soil Discoveries

I dug our potatoes over the weekend. These are the grocery store potatoes I decided to try. Seed potatoes have gotten so expensive that I thought, what the heck. So I bought some organic russet potatoes and planted them in two of my hugelkultur swale beds along with cowpeas and my winter potted pansies. I was thrilled with what I discovered.

The first thing I noticed was the moisture in the soil. I haven't watered these beds much even though it's been hot and dry. I wouldn't have been surprised if the soil was bone dry when I dug but that wasn't the case. So that was like a pat on the back for my soil building efforts.

The second thing I noticed was the soil texture. Here's what my soil used to look like. (Ha! And still does in lots of places.)

Here's a chunk I turned up while hunting potatoes.

The combination of soil microorganisms, organic matter, roots, soil, and air all point to improved soil structure, which helps with moisture retention. I was so happy to see…