It is time, once again, for the Independence Days Challenge. For those of you who are new to the Independence Days Challenge, you can read about it here.

Here are a few of the things that I have been doing recently.

Plant Something: I have been doing a lot of work in the garden. My sweet potatoes are doing well. The corn is about 4.5-feet tall and tasseling (see above), and my peppers and tomatoes are ready to be planted. The white potatoes are up. The buckwheat cover crop is growing well and just beginning to bloom. I am excited about that, since the blooms are supposed to attract beneficial (i.e., predatory) insects.

I sheet mulched the paths between my garden beds with cardboard, brown paper grocery sacs and leaves from last Fall. I have two more beds that I want to build, one for the tomatoes/peppers and another for flowers and a cover crop. The last bed will sort of be a fallow bed, to get rid of diseases and build the soil, for planting next year.

Sadly, I had to pull up all of my beets and some of my chard, due to the infection with Cercospora beticola. You can read more about Cercospora beticola here. I am contemplating how to deal with this problem in the long term.

Finally, I sprayed the beneficial nematodes in the garden and yard (twice).

Harvest Something: Nothing except some herbs.

Preserve Something: Dehydrated tomatoes and apples.

Waste Not: Trying to make sure we eat all of our purchased fruit before it spoils and all of our left-overs. Recycled, as usual. Donated lots more stuff to Good Will.

Want Not: Nothing.

Eat The Food: Locally grown raw milk from Gasper Family Farm, dehydrated tomatoes and apples.

Build Community Food Systems: Visited the Gasper Family Farm and learned about raw milk. Shopped at the Farmer’s Market.

Skill Up: I finally learned how to use my Excalibur dehydrator (affiliate link). I have had it for a while, but just wasn’t able to get to it. Now that I have started using it, I think that it will be a regular activity (for me). Additionally, I have been reading up on organic management of beet and chard diseases.

What have you been doing around your house?

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