Our lowcash vehicles purchased for cash are doing quite well in the snow. Our area is very hilly and the hill to the top of the ridge is not steep but does collect ice with freeze thaw cycles.
The littlest kids are fighting over moving while my son mops the floor…And a bluray in the fish tank!
We also have been adding infrastructure to our high tunnel. We added nesting boxes to the chicken tractors, fans to keep the air moving, gate valves to isolate each raised bed in each bed run, and some temporary power lines to supply our fans and pumps. We have also added an EZ Flow nutrient regulator bottle to our irrigation system. For our root crops we are using Bonticare CNS 17. CNS 17 has the three major nutrients and 17 micro nutrients. Combine the commercial nutrients with the EZ Flow dispersing system and our root crops are showing improved growth. Our Dragon fruit plants are also starting to grow and are starting to produce new buds and off shoots. We also have plans to update and expand our hydroponic sections of the high tunnel.
Privacy barrier trees, growing a hedgerow. We are building or growing a privacy barrier. So far the privacy barrier has black locust, rosa commenia, switch grass, cedars, and a few others I don;t know the names of. We are adding Staghorn Summac.
Across the property we planted 25 firewood production trees, hybrid poplar. At first I started planting the trees with a post hole digger. But then decided to use the moldboard plow to cut trenches to plant. When planting trees with a plow it becomes super easy to replace the dirt.
Next we decided to use drip tape on a rain barrel to water in the trees. The nutrient cocktail for the trees is: Jobes all purpose, Alaska fish fertilizer, Superthrive, a pinch of epsom salt, and a bit off all purpose Miracle Grow.
Season extension. We have been working on the caterpillar tunnel, the structure of the tunnel is complete. We purchased the 50 foot gothic pro. The gothic pro has the 16 inch extension legs, wind bracing, cross supports and solid center purlin. We plumbed each of the six end bows while adding the wind bracing. With the center purlin installed we then went back and loosened the saddle clamps at the bows and slipped the remaining bows into plumb.
Then we started filling the frame structure with leaves and yard debris to prep the soil.
We also built a new raised bed from slab wood using the same cleat system as before on the other boxes.This box is for our garlic and elephant garlic.
The tube hydroponic system is starting to grow lettuce.
Harbor Freight products for your homestead. Harbor Freight has many products that are useful around the homestead. Moving blankets to keep your chickens warm. Air filled wheels for chicken tractors and projects. Tarps for cheap.
We have also been working on the infrastructure for the high tunnel. Setting up power supplies. Our hydroponic lettuce system. Adding wheels to one of the chicken tractors( the round design makes them easy to work on).
Also making more mulch from leaves with our wonderful mulch maker.
And finally we made some awesome focaccia bread baked in iron skillets.
Greenhouse heat and co2 the easy way. Mulching the ground is just the first step. The mulch performs several functions. First the mulch provides a layer of insulation. Second the mulch reduces weeds around the boxes and in the underdevelopment areas. The mulch also protects the soil under it. By priming the mulch with a high nitrogen fertilizer we can speed up it’s decay causing the release of heat and CO2. Both heat and CO2 are important for growing in winter.
My fine Miss is so sexy when she’s chasing the dog to get her shoe back,and even hotter running in heals. And boiling fire when she rides my tractor!
The mulch maker is getting a lot of use on TheLowCashHomestead. Turning all that yard debris into valuable compost/mulch.
We also added air filled tires to the chicken tractors, and repaired a broken water pipe for the chicken nipples. We also seeded out the small hydroponics system in 6 lettuce types. 4 are leaf lettuces and 2 are head lettuces.
We are also finally getting started on building the caterpillar tunnel from farmers friend.
The Mulch Maker Rides again! We have a lot off trees. That means we often have a lot of leaves and a good amount of dead fall. The chipper function on the mulch maker is great for turning the dead fall into mulch, while the leaf vac grinds the leaves into into a fine leave mulch.
Perfect garden cover, leaves and ground up wood chips. It is easy to cover our gardens with 20 or more inches of leaves and yard waste while making mulch and compost. The leaves do compress over the coarse of the winter given the rain, snow and ice that we often see on the homestead.
Sure beats lighting the yard waste on fire ( a common practice in these parts)!
Lightning hit a tree and took down a good chunk of it! We got out the mulch maker chipper shreader vac and chipped up the branches using the wood chipper function. There is a difference in brands of lawn vacs, some only vacuum the yard debris, while others also chip or shread the yard debris. Our Craftsman mulch maker chips and shreads the yard debris.
We also had to rebuild the frame of our garden tractor. When the frame repairs where finished I tested the repairs with the toughest work I could think of for the tractor. Ground engaging! I hooked up the sleeve hitch and the mold board plow and cut another garden. The repairs seam to be holding. We then dumped all the mulch we just made into the 3rd garden plot.
The temp dropped way below normal for this time of year and killed many of the crops that were still doing well inside the high tunnel. We also started to cardboard and mulch the floor of our high tunnel.
Our High tunnel is Complete!! NRCS and USDA have verified the installation and marked the GPS location. We have filled paperwork for a second high tunnel for the secondary garden. We are also in process for some other programs to help build our farm.
We also planted our test bed of adelaide carrots. I dibble the holes for the carrots with my fingertips and then cover them with sand. When it is time to refresh the carrot beds the sand will get turned into the soil mix. We also planted a test bed of parsnips. I use the same procedures for planting parsnips as I do for carrots. Based on my own research the freeze/ thaw cycles should make the parsnips even sweeter.
I don’t know what the NASCAR sidewalk series is?!
I have rebuilt the tractor frame myself using 1/8 inch thick 2 inch angle iron and hardened steel fasteners.
Garden Cultivation. What is a grind and grow? We take a weed eater and grind off the first couple inches of your bed (not raised beds) and then run chickens across it. Doing so drops the cut material on the ground where the chickens can come behind the grind and grow and eat any seeds or root material that may be remaining. The area of the grind and grow was our comfrey patch. The comfrey served it’s purpose for the 4 years prior. Hopefully the comfrey will not come back in force. We will cover the area with cardboard and ceder mulch. My sons and I also assembled a small hydroponic system. The system is not a true NFT system but was a cost effective option for testing a small hydroponic system. We also refreshed a garden box and planted elephant garlic and adelaide carrots. The adelaide carrot is said to be a true baby carrot and can overwinter inside a high tunnel (according to the manufacture). We also transplanted our pepper plants into a new box and mulched them in, hoping they survive the winter.