White Sky Woods Homestead
Originally written for and published by MSU Extension – Michigan Small Farm Newsletter. The monthly digest intends to give a quick snapshot of what’s going on around here on the homestead. Since many of our subscribers do not get that publication, I post the article here too.
Bountiful wild foraging, several healthy litters of rabbits, progress on our homestead vacation rental and good feedback and sales from our first year farm stand have been some of the best highlights of the start of the summer season.
The farm stand has been a rewarding new project. Every Saturday we sell 3 varieties of fresh baked bread and seasonally available produce fresh from our garden. We serve a very low population, seasonal, rural community, so bringing small amounts of fresh produce to sell each Saturday is our goal. Recently it’s been all about greens, but soon we’ll start having more variety such as snap peas, green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and more. We also sell jellies and jams made from hand-foraged wild edibles along with herbal teas, also sourced from hand-foraged wild edibles, all harvested in our own property. We do everything on a small and personally sustainable scale.
Aphids, grasshoppers and maybe other pests in the garden, some struggles with root crops (maybe thanks to the aforementioned pests), a broken down chainsaw, lack of time and extreme heat have been some of the challenges of the summer season.
We are thankful to say in the past 3 years of gardens we haven’t had much problem with pests, but year 4 of the garden is giving us new challenges. The great news is that we have much more growing space with the new high tunnel so if we lose some crops while trying to naturally manage the pests, our harvest will hopefully still be on track. However, some of the harvest will be missing almost completely: our beets, rutabaga, and parsnip. We’ve done several replantings and the best we can come up with is that the plants are being gobbled up by the grasshoppers or another pest immediately after emerging. If anyone has had this problem in the past, we would be so thankful to hear from you on what the pest was and what natural solutions were implemented.
Cheers! Peace, Love and Nature,