PictureCool season greens make great salads
As summer progresses parents think about sending their kids back to school and gardeners think about the end of their bountiful summer garden. 

It might surprise novice and veteran gardeners alike that the fall garden season can produce hefty yields just like your summer garden.  While the produce may change from tomatoes to leafy greens we can still grow fresh veggies deep into football season. 

We will be having this years Fall Gardening Class on Saturday September 5 from 10:00-12:00. 

Topics for this years class include:

When to plant your fall garden

How to plan your garden space to include fall plantings

What to plant, what not to plant

Do I need a greenhouse

What do I need to do differently in my fall garden

It's too late to plant, what can I do

If you are new to fall gardening or new to gardening in general come by for this fun and informative class.  Cost for this years class is $10 per person.  As usual everyone will be going home with a few potted plants to get their fall garden off to a good start.    

Email dave at hunthomesteadfarm.com to RSVP so I have a rough estimate on how many people to expect.  If you have any other topics you want to include in the class email or add them to the comments


Egg Hunt



When I was a kid I always enjoyed hunting for Easter Eggs.  Although I enjoyed it, I always seemed to have the fewest eggs in my basket, thanks to my competitive older siblings!  Little did I know that years later I would be participating in these egg hunts again.  This time it’s not as much fun and to be honest it’s a little aggravating.  It appears that about half my flock has decided to start laying their eggs anywhere they please.

If we go back in time just after the first chicken egg was laid, wait was it the chicken or the egg?  Either way, the chicken, before becoming the domesticated bird we know today, was a wild jungle bird more akin to the ptarmigan or grouse.  I know it’s hard to believe but these birds would live or die on their own awareness and elusiveness.

So back to today, I let my birds free range within an electric net fence.  As Joel Salatin says about the pigness of the pig, well I want my chickens to have that same chickenness (if that makes sense).  When preparing the area that my flock will be rotated to I look for a couple things.  Tree cover is paramount, this helps them avoid the birds of prey we have in the area while also providing them with shade.  If shade is satisfied I then look for edibles the birds can forage on.  These edibles will help supplement any feed that you provide your birds with, these are generally more nutritious than most bagged feed and way cheaper too!

Next is that wild jungle bird idea.  Once the flock is rotated off a pasture I will broadcast seed over these areas kind of like a cover crop/pasture improvement seeding.  If my timing is right I will bring my flock back to these spots and they will be full of tall grasses, legumes, clovers, and sunflowers.  To the untrained eye you could walk by and look into the chicken paddock and not see a single bird.

Of course my problem now is that they are starting to lay there eggs in this jungle paradise their ancestors used to call home.  Reframed like that I guess it’s a good problem to have.  At least I know that come Easter my kids are going to be finely tuned egg spotting machines!
PictureTransplanting my seed grown Paw Paw's.
Paw Paw's are the Northeast's version of a tropical fruit tree.  Often called a custard apple the Paw Paw tree is native to eastern North America.  Despite being a native tree to the region not many people have heard of the Paw Paw tree.  Even fewer people have ever seen a paw paw tree or better yet tasted the sweet fruit it yields. 

To get the word out on Paw Paw's I decided two things were necessary.  First, I need to grow hundreds of paw paws trees and spread them across the region.  Being a farmer it goes without saying I need to be budget conscience in every farm enterprise I take on.  So the best way to grow paw paws on a budget is to grow them from seed.   

Secondly I will write a series of blog posts featuring the paw paw and all its glory.  Along the way I will be sure to feature photos of my progress and hopefully the successful transformation of my paw paw seeds into trees!

Be on the look out for upcoming Paw Paw Project posts in the near future!  

Have you ever heard anyone tell you how delicious a fresh elderberry is?  You haven’t?  Well come to think of it neither have I!  Thankfully we don’t have to eat fresh elderberry to benefit from its medicinal qualities (CMA disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV, if unsure about any medicinal always consult a doctor). 

Despite not being a tasty fresh eating berry, the elderberry plant has many uses we can all benefit from.  Elderberry antioxidants can help to improve immune systems, lower cholesterol, improve heart health, and treat flu symptoms.  Elderberry can be made into syrup, juices, tinctures, and my favorite wines! 

Whatever you make with your elderberry chances are it will have a beneficial effect on you and your health.  So go out and get some elderberry planted so you too can have a great medicinal plant growing in your back yard!  And if you don't know where to buy your elderberry plants I will have bare root plants for sale in the late fall/early spring.    

In the coming weeks I will show you how to make your own medicinal elderberry syrup.