Tag Archives: Gardening

Preserving The Harvest: Dehydrating Carrots

by Tammy Taylor~

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I was given a boatload of fresh carrots recently and I didn’t want them to go to waste.  Now I’ve written before about turning ugly carrots into beautiful carrots by chopping ugly carrots into uniform pieces.  But these carrots were already beautiful and there were WAY too many for us to eat fresh.  And I didn’t want to waste any of them so I decided to dehydrate them.

In past carrot dehydrating I’d steamed the carrots instead of blanching them.  Then I dehydrated them using my small household-sized dehydrator.  But now I have a 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator.  I can really do some damage to that mountain of carrots now!  Come see what I did.

I was recently given way too many carrots to eat before they went bad. So I dehydrated them, now I have lots for winter enjoyment. #TaylorMadeHomestead

 

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New To Composting? Don’t Worry, Compost Doesn’t Stink!

by Tammy Taylor~

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Any gardener knows that compost is ‘Black Gold’.  It’s invaluable to your garden, helping your plants grow strong & healthy using an all-natural fertilizer.  I plant a veggie garden every year and of course that black gold is incorporated into each planting hole.   There are some tricks to making a ready-to-use compost for your garden.   But for those just starting out, there’s often some hesitation.

You’re rotting things in a pile, doesn’t that stink?

The answer is:  No!  Well actually, yes and no – the result depends on you.

 

Don't Be Afraid - Balanced Compost Doesn't Stink! For those starting out with composting there's some hesitation. You're rotting things in a pile, doesn't that stink? The answer is: NO! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Homestead Hack: MYO Low-Waste Chicken Feeder

by Tammy Taylor~

RancherMan & I enjoy raising chickens.  But we’re also fans of doing things ourselves.  So when we needed a chicken feeder we took a trip to a thrift store.  We made our own feeder from thrifted supplies costing only about $2 total.  All we used was an old metal lid and a plastic Rubbermaid canister.  It served us well for years but finally the canister portion succumbed to the elements.  Now what??!

You know what I say: “Use Whatcha Got!”.  Check out this Homestead Hack & see how we easy (and with NO out of pocket) repaired our chicken feeder for many more years of service.

Check out this Homestead Hack & see how we used an empty, repurposed coffee canister to make a low-waste chicken feeder for cheap! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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How We Save Seeds To Save Money On The Homestead

by Tammy Taylor~

I have to have a garden every year.  It’s just in my blood.  My hands must be in the dirt, coaxing that young tender plant. The payoff is of course that home-grown produce to nourish our bodies.  Healthy produce picked right before supper.  Produce that I’m able to preserve for colder months, and share with others around me with my weekly #BlessingBasket.

I try to only grow heirloom plants in my garden.  One of the main reasons behind this is so that I can save the seed to plant each and every year.  You see, saving hybrid seed might not be productive.  That’s because hybrid seed may not come back true to the mother plant the next year.  But heirloom seed will!  You know exactly what you’re gonna get with heirloom seeds. Come see how I carefully put back that precious seed in anticipation of next year’s bounty.

Heirloom Seed-Saving for Next Year's Garden. I save garden veggie seed to plant each year. Come see how I put back that precious seed in anticipation of next year's bounty. #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Garden Update: August

by Tammy Taylor~

Whelp, it’s August y’all.  In TEXAS!  August typically means hot and dry weather.  Late July and early August are usually when I quit fighting the garden altogether and let it go dormant.  I mean, when it’s this hot nothing wants to set fruit anyway.  And during our typical summer when the taps of rain turn completely off in June, it’s impossible to keep the garden watered too.  Oh you can mulch and you can water and of course it helps.  But the water you drop on the garden will probably be wicked away quickly without really soaking into the ground next to the plant’s roots.

But this year our July was different.  Oh it was stiflingly hot and humid, but we got rain.  NINE different days of rain!  And not just a paltry 1/8″ but good, healthy 1-inch rains!  So although the garden is still bound to go dormant this month I’ve been lucky to have some harvest remaining.

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Homestead Hack: Reusing Potato Bags In The Garden

by Tammy Taylor~

I.  Hate.  Plastic.  Now in our area of NE Texas, plastic bags are not recyclable.  Actually from what I hear, even much of the plastic bags that are sent for recycling end up int he landfill anyway.  There’s just not enough demand for the recycled material from plastic bags. I personally think recycling is only a tool, not the answer anyway. To me, the answer is to eliminate as much waste as possible in the first place.

Let’s take a bag of potatoes for example.  Buying individual potatoes is the way to go for environmental reasons of course.  But our tiny budget and the limited shopping avenues we have available out here in the boonies means we have to take what we can get.  Sometimes that involves a bag of potatoes.  Now that bag is purposely made with holes to allow the potatoes to breathe. So I can’t even reuse them for dividing servings of Cook-Once, Eat-Twice entrees for the freezer.  But when they’re empty they still don’t go to the trash.  Nope, I’ve got another use for them.  You know my battle cry: Use Whatcha Got!

Homestead Hack: Rusing Plastic Bags In The Garden! Sometimes we buy a bag of potatoes. I've got another use for the bag. My battle cry: Use Whatcha Got! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Make A Raised Planter Using A Small Tire

by Tammy Taylor~

A few months ago RancherMan & I joined my parents for a quick dinner at a local restaurant.  On the sidewalk outside the restaurant was a cute planter.  Upon closer inspection, it looked like a small, thick tire that was painted & planted.  RancherMan said it was probably a riding lawn mower or golf cart tire.  I loved it!  Heck you always wonder what to do with an old tire anyway.  And their disposal is always an issue.  Plus I often worry that planters that you buy just can’t hold up to the rough Texas weather year after year.

These repurposed-tire planters seemed to be the best of both worlds – pretty, very durable and using something previously wasted.  I decided to give it a try.  But I didn’t have an old lawn mower tire and I really didn’t want to buy a new one.  It seems like such a waste of resources to buy a perfectly good usable tire & paint it up!

A cute nearly indestructible planter that can endure year after year in the challenging Texas weather. A repurposed tire to the rescue! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Plastic Free July – Our Successes & Failures

by Tammy Taylor~

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I’d never heard of plastic-Free July before, but I’m willing to jump on the bandwagon to eliminate as much extra plastic from our lives as possible.  Now I hate plastic and I shun it every day anyway.  But for me, it’s all about balance.  If I stumble I don’t obsess about it, life’s just too short.  But I’m usually pretty successful in eliminating lots of plastic with super-easy changes.  Come see ways I’ve been able to stop lots of plastic from coming into our home.  Maybe you can pick up a few tips.  We’d love to hear your tips too, be sure to share in the comments.  We can all learn from each other!

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Repurposing An Empty Coffee Canister: Dried Herbs

by Tammy Taylor~

Y’all know we love our coffee.  We prefer Folgers to other brands of coffee.  Although I hate that it’s sold in plastic, at least the plastic canisters are convenient.  I’ve used them for simplifying Garden Weeding Chores.  And we’ve stored chicken feed and dog food in them too.  I’ve Painted Canisters for a cute planter for our back porch. (and also a cute way to share plants with friends).  And I even FINALLY figured out how to Remove The Print from canisters so I can use them for cute decorative pieces in my kitchen (more on that later).  But since this canister is food-grade plastic, I’m able to do even more with it.  I can store large quantities of dried herbs in them.

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Vegetable Garden Update: July

by Tammy Taylor~

Whelp, we made it to July, y’all!  As is typical, it’s feast or famine with the rain.  Although much rain has fallen in the area it always seemed to miss us.  But then?  Oh then my friends, the rain fell!  We got almost 3 glorious inches while we were away visiting relatives.  The garden responded with a hearty rebound.  Now I know here in NE Texas the rain taps will typically turn off about now and will stay off for the rest of the summer.  So we may get a little ole 1/4″ inch or so every now & then, but we can count on manually irrigating the garden from here on out.  But let’s stroll through the garden and see how it’s doing, shall we?

NE Texas Zone 8 Garden. Summer is here, y'all. July promises to be hot & dry here in NE Texas. But the garden has provided quite nicely. Come check it out! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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