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Comments in the moderation queue: 43

View the most recent comments below. To join in the discussion (or see a comment thread in order), click on the title of a comment, then follow the directions on the subsequent page to add a comment of your own.

My sweet potatoes are in full bloom this is the second year that I have them in the garden. Last year they didn't bloom, I moved from the ground to raised beds. The potatoes are much larger better quality and profuse they have runners 10 feet long and have moved into the other beds all by them selves without any help. Every junction has potatoes, last year I pulled up some of the very small tubers they were about two inches long about 25 of them and cured and stored and this is what I used for my new beds this year. My sweet potatoes have done super well. And get very sweet in about 3 days after digging up, I don't dig up the plants I go around and snip only the potatoe off and leave the runners in place so that the smaller ones further down the vine can produce the little tubers for my new plants next year, that's what I did last year.
Comment by Dalia Castello Mon Oct 20 09:23:35 2014

Teresa --- We're always tweaking our winter-protection campaign. This was our technique last year, which worked pretty well except when the tarp on top slid to the side. This seems to be sufficient for a young fig tree, unless we get an extreme winter like last year.

As for indoors ripening --- I haven't tried it, but wouldn't expect it to work. Figs plump up to about four times their normal size as they ripen, and I can't imagine that happening without access to phloem!

Comment by anna Mon Oct 20 09:06:51 2014
Kathleen --- What fun! Thanks for sharing. :-)
Comment by anna Mon Oct 20 09:03:36 2014
I came across a plug for your book, weekend homesteader, and it made me smile. I just had to let you know word is getting around how amazing your book is.
Comment by Kathleen Mon Oct 20 00:48:00 2014
Are you going to wrap your fig trees for the winter? And do you pick the ones that won't ripen before freezing, will they ripen in the window?
Comment by Teresa Lee Sun Oct 19 15:30:14 2014
Elizabeth --- Since you're in the southern hemisphere, a west-facing hillside should get morning sun only (I think?), so it's a pretty good location for a root cellar of any type. You can read much more in my ebook, which is indeed completed. :-)
Comment by anna Sun Oct 19 10:33:29 2014

Hi, love the fridge idea. Have thought about a cellar for many years but have never got around to doing it. Now as we need to conserve our produce I am looking for ways to store it as we are not connected to a power grid. (I live in Australia in the mountains, occasional snow here but more like weeks and weeks of frost over autumn winter spring). I w8uld like to know more about the fridge idea and the only suitable place is in a hill side that faces west. Any suggestions and did younget your book done. Any help will be gratefully received. Thanks Eluzabeth

Comment by Elizabeth Benton Sat Oct 18 22:23:38 2014
Beautiful area! And not too far from Abington, VA which is a local arts center for SW VA.
Comment by Nayan Sat Oct 18 09:31:24 2014
Hi, I recently found a quince tree growing in my yard. No idea how it got there. I know you are into fruit and I would be happy to send you some seeds if you want. According to Wikipedia they are easy to grow from seed and are sometimes used for root stock. Really enjoy your blog. Penny
Comment by Anonymous Fri Oct 17 16:50:21 2014

hi guys, I so love your posts!! Would you mind putting up an article about the pros and cons of making and using your Fridge Root Cellar? Thanks so much JOHN

Comment by john Fri Oct 17 15:37:56 2014
Kathleen --- I'd have to ask Mark (the memory in the family) to try to figure out when was the last time we got sick. Maybe two or three years ago? We only tend to get sick when we're around small children. The effort we spend on good food and environment definitely pays off!
Comment by anna Fri Oct 17 13:15:43 2014
I was watching the news and with disease spreading and new illnesses taking people out left and right I was wondering if with your semi-hermit life style and limited public interaction along with your healthy diet, do you guys get sick much?
Comment by Kathleen Fri Oct 17 11:26:55 2014
I can't wait to show my husband that picture of your giant carrots, ours are tiny!
Comment by Teresa Fri Oct 17 07:38:15 2014
Nope goats don't eat weeds to the ground but if you put them into the area a few times they will kill the weeds due to repeated defoliation. Just think of it like your chicken pastures but you want the extra pressure on them :)
Comment by Bw Thu Oct 16 09:39:45 2014
I am not sure about the shipping or availability, but we have been very happy with Fertrell's minerals for sheep, goats and beef. Our local dealer has a huge area and is extremely accomodating. Maybe your local dealer could deliver to the end of your lane at an appointed time and save shipping on excellent mineral.
Comment by Lilac Hill Thu Oct 16 08:19:17 2014
Su Ba --- The short answer is Logan Labs. The long answer is that I recommend these labs in general, but that this time around I chose a lab that uses the same kind of soil test that Solomon bases his worksheets on.
Comment by anna Wed Oct 15 17:21:23 2014
Pltrickey --- Unfortunately (in my opinion), our dog kills snakes on sight. We don't get snakes larger than a few inches long that close to our house as a result.
Comment by anna Wed Oct 15 17:18:36 2014
Did you get the truck out of the mud? If not this will not help.
Comment by Gerry Wed Oct 15 12:54:02 2014
I was wondering how you keep snakes from climbing up the vines. Snake away has to be put down after each rain. It rains daily half the year here in this part of FL. There is a bedroom balcony above the grape vine trellis shading the porch. It would be best not to wander out at night and step on our poisonous snakes. I need ideas. Thanks. I have just found your blog and am enjoying learning about living off the land. You inspire this old lady.
Comment by Pltrickey Wed Oct 15 09:56:18 2014

Your photos are so-o beautiful--save them!! I do sympathize with your having to put on wet clothes!! You actually do have some space on your porch to string up a line, which would help them dry, if there were a draft--you even have a fan there, too!! Or you could have a small fire inside? Don't forget that sometimes you can roll clothes in towels, to wick up the dampness. Then hanging them up as high as possible, with clothespins, is so much better than just draping over a chair!

There's sun here, this a.m. so I've already forgotten the worse extended rainy days. I hope your feet do dry out!!

Comment by adrianne Wed Oct 15 08:21:35 2014
Love the goat posts!! Getting my two girls very soon.
Comment by Karla Wed Oct 15 06:50:24 2014
Who did the soil test? I am thinking of sending a soil sample away.
Comment by Su Ba Wed Oct 15 00:24:21 2014
I missed your entire post that was about free choice minerals... Reading it now...
Comment by Stephen Tue Oct 14 12:13:27 2014

Is it possible to use the goats to remineralize? I've heard multiple ranchers (Darren Doherty, Salatin, Greg Judy, etc.) talk about "free choice minerals" wherein you let the grazing animal choose which mineral they need to supplement. As time passes, those minerals end up in the pasture, but in a more bio-available way since they'd be in the decomposing manure, then through the earthworms and decomposers, and eventually back into the grass that gets grazed again.

I have no clue if it works with smaller groups of animals (i.e., two goats), but it might be a less-expensive and more gradual way to improve the ground there.

Comment by Stephen Tue Oct 14 12:08:36 2014
You need to install a cargo-hauling zip line, or maybe two: downhill each direction. Then you can slide cargo across the creek without carrying it.
Comment by Robert Tue Oct 14 10:55:53 2014
How permanent is the change in pH after adding lime? Is that a dumb question? I know that salts can wash out of soil after very wet seasons. Is lime that way?
Comment by jen g Tue Oct 14 09:38:27 2014

Hi Anna and Mark,

Carey Ream's method was Cal-Phos first. Then Lime/Gypsom. Wait 2 weeks. Then LOTS of manure.

The other method would be live, fresh brewed compost tea to get the soil biology going so that could make minerals already there available.

And then there is the 'just put on lime' crowd.

IMHO - measure, treat, measure, treat, ... Where measure can be lab tests or careful observations of plants growing and which plants grow and how they look. See for example the writings of Joseph Mittleider and his plant doctor book series.

Just my two cents :).


Comment by John Tue Oct 14 08:07:56 2014
Cheap and chearfull electric fence ,they don't like them at all
Comment by diogenese Mon Oct 13 18:09:16 2014
I'm LOVING all the goat postings so keep them coming! I look forward to getting goats in the future and it is really helpful to hear your experiences from the start. Thanks for all of your great posts!
Comment by future homesteader Mon Oct 13 12:10:48 2014

Hi Anna and Mark,

Most folks know that testing plants for proper mineral uptake is the ONLY way to know if the soil mineral mix is really working.

Same for animals. Do a hair trace mineral test on your animals (and yourselves?). Later see how their mineral content has changed. A poor man's version is Cary Reams RBTI tests.

For whatever reason getting real data and using it doesn't seem to be popular? Maybe $$ and lack of familiarity? Doesn't change the basic point :).

John (engineer in case you didn't guess :) )

Comment by John Mon Oct 13 08:31:47 2014
That's a beautiful name! I'm glad you waited until the 'right one' came along.
Comment by Rhonda from Baddeck Sun Oct 12 15:34:14 2014

I've used the Manna Pro mix for years. They like it, it's fairly cheap, and I can always find it at Tractor Supply.

Comment by Julie Sun Oct 12 09:11:21 2014

Ah yes, the great copper debate. I definitely have to add it for my cows, but people really think you're crazy when they see it.

I've had good luck with Jolly German's dolomite. Hard to find good quality except online.

Great post!

Comment by Nita Sun Oct 12 08:17:08 2014

A few eclectic thoughts:= grains are really lousy sources of nutrition. A pile of grain is essentially a pile of sugar. Too much grain in a ruminant's diet may deter it from eating the healthier hay/browse it needs to keep the gut flora right. OTOH- the carbs do help spare protein to defer it into milk & muscle production. A little moderation is always a good thing.

=how can inorganic salts be "organic"?

Comment by doc Sun Oct 12 06:27:01 2014
The farmer I get my goat milk from says he doesn't feed grain partly so he only has to milk once a day, instead of twice.
Comment by Ghislaine Sat Oct 11 21:59:53 2014
Candy --- I suspect you're looking for this basic recipe? Thanks for reading and trying out one of our waterers!
Comment by anna Sat Oct 11 18:21:41 2014

I don't go overboard with all the compartments since I move my mineral box each day and it has to be easy to move and cow-proof (goats are a little easier on stuff), I've seen stock with a plethora of mineral choices and they still look like they aren't getting what they need, you see rough coats, general unthriftiness etc. The most important thing is to make sure you don't mix the salt in with the other minerals because it can inhibit the animal's intake of the other minerals it needs. But like all things, minerals for stock is pretty subjective and some folks swear by certain things and others swear by the opposite. The best thing is to buy in small amounts, offer as much as you can afford, and watch your animals for signs they are getting what they need or not getting what they need.

My standbys are Redmond TM salt or Sea-90 salt (if I can get it) Icelandic kelp, Fertrell Nutribalancer (contains some Redmond salt and kelp), and sometimes Copper Sulfate, Azomite, or sulfur. Depending on the time of year and quality of feed, intake varies quite a bit.

You will find this an enlightening journey :)

Comment by Nita Sat Oct 11 18:01:36 2014

There aint a lot of feed value in browse come spring , just dried out dead stuff So feed hay , it dont need to be "Quality " hay just the cheap stuff that aint been wet , (not Musty ) then add a little good feed , I use horse and mule (they love the molases and i add diotomacious earth for a week once a month to head off worms ) , about a pound between four of them twice a day and s little alfalfa pellets when i start milking , about a coffee cup per goat per day , that has most of the minerals goats need , goats will waste hay so set op a feeder where they cant pull too much out and trample it into the dirt , mine is made from 4 inch hog pannel , small enough to stop waste yet big enough to get their nose through . basicly just watch them ,if they loose condition feed a little more , keep them dry with a warm shelter secure from varmits and enjoy them .

Comment by diogenese Sat Oct 11 17:24:57 2014

I loved your bread recipe and thought I wrote it down. Wrong I can't find it!!!! Would you please tell me when you posted it so I can look it up. My Granny and GA GA grew up in Appalachia Virginia. I have been there a lot of years ago They married And moved to Gate City Virginia. Love following your blog. We have purchased you chicken waterer . Sincerely Candy

Comment by Candy Thomas Sat Oct 11 16:15:27 2014

Nita --- Very timely comment since my goal for today (and my post for tomorrow) is researching goat minerals. I'm leaning toward a complicated arrangement with free-choice goat minerals in one feeder, plain salt in another, and kelp in a third. Over-complicated, do you think? (Or not complicated enough? :-) )

And very good to hear your take on the feeding while pregnant issue.

Comment by anna Sat Oct 11 16:00:50 2014