Tag Archives: homesteading

5 Things You NEED to Know to Grow Summer Squash!

Summer Squash:

One of my favorite things to eat but not to grow…

Some reasons why; squash bugs (stink bug), squash vine borers (moth larva), and powdery mildew (fungus)…

I have grown squash as long as I can remember and in every state I have lived in across the US. Growing squash in Georgia is hard! The pest here are so bad that it makes it a loosing battle every time! I’m lucky if I get a couple of fruit per plant. But for some reason I still plant it! I really do love squash!

 

So here are my issues and the best ways I have found to deal with them.

    • Squash bugs: Monitor plants daily and remove every stink bug you see, crushing or drowning in soapy water. Also, scout for shiny copper eggs on and under side of leaves and remove and destroy them. 
    • Squash vine borers: Repel the adult from laying eggs by putting foil around base of stem at soil line or wash same area daily with horticulture soap or oil to remove and/or kill the eggs.  If already in stem, frass (poop) will be evident at base and plant will be wilting, surgery will be only hope now.  Early in morning cut into stem with clean sharp knife going upward with stem without cutting through to the other side, look inside hollow stem for white worm like larva and kill it. Cover cut stem together with moist compost to encourage rooting, keep watered while new roots develop. Some people have success covering with floating row covers but they must be removed at flowering to allow pollinators in to do their job. Also, planting a few weeks after the peak of squash vine borers may give you a better chance. Some squash varieties are more resistant like the ‘Lemon’ squash in the picture at the top.
    • Powdery mildew: Warm and wet weather encourages this fungus so be sure to avoid watering leaves. Many people suggest different home remedies for this like, Epsom salt, baking soda and milk but I had little success with all that. Using a neem oil spray will help prevent and treat this. It must be reapplied often. Prevention is key when trying to control any fungus so make sure you keep leaves as dry as possible and allow for plenty of air circulation. Always trim off the most infected leaves and dispose of in the trash not your compost and wash hands and tools well to help prevent the spread of the spores.
    • Pollination: Squash plants have both male and female flowers on the same plant. The male flower has a long upright, thin stem and tends to be the first blooms on your plant. These early blooms are great to harvest for stuffed fried squash blossoms. Female flowers are closer to the main stem with shorter, thicker stem and often a fruit like structure. The pollen from male flower must enter the female flower in order for fruit to develop. This is typically done by bees and other pollinators. If you are lacking in pollinators in your garden you may have to hand pollinate. If you have female flowers falling off with no fruit growing its time to step in.
    • Seed Crossing/Cross Pollination: Summer squash are classified as Cucurbita pepo as well as many others including, zucchini, pumpkin, gourd and many more. So having two different species of these planted in the same garden can make saving seed difficult or at least interesting! The fruit will grow and look the same this year but the resulting seed could be cross pollinated and there is no telling what you could get! I once had ‘Lemon’ and ‘Zephyr’ summer squash cross which was a nice accident! So if you have a desire to save seeds you will need to keep them very far away from each other and hand pollinate.

 

All in all, it’s really worth it when you get to harvest yummy squash!

Do you have any advice to share about squash!?

Garlic Ginger Paste for Goats (or others): Immune Booster and Natural Dewormer!

Garlic Ginger Paste

This easy to make paste will give your animals extra immunity when sick and can be used as a natural weekly prevention for worms and parasites. Garlic, Ginger, Cayenne and more!

I started making this when my sweet Fancy Girl (my favorite goat) became very ill.

 

It really helped her keep her immune system functioning well while I got her past a bad sickness. I will definitely be using it again if anyone is unwell. I may even add it to my weekly routine with all my goats.

 

I got this recipe for Garlic Ginger Paste from HAPPY VAGABONDS FARM who gave me permission to share it.

 

“This is literally a health panacea! This tonic is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, super anti-oxidant, immune booster, prebiotic, great for aiding in digestion, a source of potassium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, magnesium and selenium, loaded with vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E! ” – Happy Vagabonds Farm

 

Recipe:

Ingredients:

4 oz of garlic finely chopped

4 oz of ginger finely chopped

drizzle of Olive Oil

1/4 cup of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with Live active cultures

2 TBSP of good cayenne

3 TBSP of black strap molasses

 

Directions:

Drizzle a little Olive Oil over the fist two ingredients in a blender to assist in blending and blend till all chunks are gone.

Add the rest of ingredients and blend well.

Add 1/8 a cup of hot water and shake vigorously to pour into a quart glass mason jar and cover with a non corrosive lid and refrigerate to use as needed.

To serve:

Mix 1 TBSP of Paste with 2 TBSP of warm water and pull into a syringe or drench gun and drench each goat with this amount. This should be done weekly as a maintenance or 3 x a day for an unwell goat.

If you use other herbal supplements (Like Molly’s Herbals, GI Soother, or turmeric) and/or pure essential oils, they can also be added to this drench!

Here is a video tutorial I created on my YouTube channel.

 

Thank you for reading and watching Wholesome Roots!

 

Grilled Georgia Peaches with SPECIAL Toppings!

The BEST Thing You Will EVER Put In Your Mouth!

Grilled Georgia Peaches with SPECIAL Toppings!

 
The perfect summer Dinner! Grilled peaches with Balsamic Reduction and homemade goat cheese was the star of the show!

The Mexican street corn with homemade mayonnaise and our homemade cheese with sriracha was pretty close runner-up! Rattlesnake beans from a friends garden and a burger with our first ripe organic, heirloom, white, slicing tomato tied it all together perfectly!

 

The Peaches we bought fresh from a local Georgia farm, Gregg Farms, home of the best peach ice cream! We make it an annual tradition to go eat ice cream and buy a bushel of peaches and whatever other fresh produce they have! Fresh peaches are not refrigerated like store-bought peaches so the flavor profile is off the charts!

 

The first step to creating this masterpiece, is to cut peach in half and remove the pit from the center. If too ripe it is a little difficult, so choose ones that are still firm to make it easier. If you want to you can coat in oil or just go straight on the hot grill! Grill both sides briefly to get nice charred lines on peaches!

 

 

 

 

You can make or buy your balsamic reduction, we make it because it is so easy. Just put balsamic vinegar in a small pan and slowly simmer on low till reduced to a thick glaze but be careful not to scorch towards the end! It is better to pull it off too early and it be a little runny than to burn it! Generously drizzle over grilled peach.

 

If you are lucky enough to have dairy goats and therefore an abundant supply of milk that you turn into cheese then top it with said cheese! Or cottage cheese or goat cheese or even ice cream if you want a savory dessert!

This was so good! I ate three! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

 

Here is a video of our awesome trip to Gregg Farms last year. Feel free to subscribe to our YouTube channel while you are there! We do a daily video!

 

Thanks for reading and watching Wholesome Roots!

Tomato Tidbits: Saving Seed

Tomato seed saving!

Tomato seed saving!

Tomatoes have always been my favorite plant to grow! We grew them when I was a child and I have been growing them on my own for twenty years now! To say I’m obsessed with tomatoes is an understatement! The last five years Ryan and I have been actively saving the seed of our heirloom open pollinated tomatoes we grow. We grow more and more varieties and colors every year!

I love saving seed because it saves me money on seed orders and I can trade with other seed savers and get even more variety! This year we grew over 40 varieties of heirlooms, next year will be even more!

So to start, be sure the plant that you are saving from is an heirloom so the seed will be true to parent plant. Hybrid plant seeds can have all different results from their lineage. If you don’t know you can just research the name of your tomato plant and find out easily. Next, choose your healthiest plant with the best fruit.

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Water Kefir, Starting My Dehydrated Grains!

So I recently received some dehydrated water kefir grains in the mail from a trade on Facebook for some of my 300 year old sourdough starter. Fermenting folk tend to be quite generous and trade and share often if you’re looking to get started…

If you liked my post about Milk Kefir than you will also like this! Water Kefir (WK) is a carbonated probiotic beverage that is quite simple to use and tasty! Many people compare it to soda and use it to get away from that unhealthy beverage. I have done water kefir in the past from already hydrated grains I got from my mom (but I lost them in a box during the move and killed them…oops!). This time I had to learn about rehydrating the grains and getting them active again. It ended up being quite simple…

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