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Back to Basics Homestead

It's been almost a year, but we finally settled into our new homestead in the country.  After mauling over lots of names, we decided we'd call our new place Back to Basics Homestead.  We thought the name fit as our goal is to live simple, learn old school crafts, be as self sufficient as possible and teach our your son and daughter these same great life lessons.

Please check out our new site BacktoBasicsHomestead.ca and join us on our journey to get back to basics!

Since our last post we were super busy:

  • We moved to our new place in the country, a 5 year old 2 bedroom home with an inlaw suite.  You can read more in our About Us page.
  • We 100% renovated the in-law suite where my parents now call home.
  • We finished the basement on our side to build a Family/Kids room and my home office.
  • Put in new floors on the main floor.
  • Paint the kitchen and living room

Yup it was a busy past 10 months, but it's been worth it.  We have big plans for our new place and the space we have, frustrating there aren't enough hours in the day to do them all.. or all the money in the world as well ;o)

I hope you check out our new site and help us along as well...


Lots of Change At The Homestead

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Well to say the last two months were busy is an understatement! We were blessed with the healthy birth of our Daughter, Saria, on Aug 19th ;o) She came a few days early which was a great surprise.

Another HUGE change is that we decided to move 2 weeks after Saria was born.  Now I would not recommend this to my worst enemy, but it was an opportunity that presented itself, so we jumped on it.  We purchased a home in a small country community of Saint Marie de Kent in New Brunswick, Canada.  It's only about 30mins from Moncton where we lived, but a nice new home with an in-law suite sitting on 2 acres of land across from the River.  My parents live in the in-law suite and we live in the main house. 

It's very tranquille and relaxing... having a coffee in the morning watching the river flow by and people rushing off to work.  Since both my wife and I work from home, living in the country vs the city is not a big deal commute wise for us.  The main reason for the move was to have more land and have our kids grow up in a smaller community.

We absolutely LOVE the community and have many plans for the extra land.  We are a bit sad to leave the city, but this was a great move for our family to be able to have more land and more relaxing atmosphere.  Our son loves his new school which is small and personal.  His new school only has 1 grade 2 class with 15 students... 105 students in total which means much more one on one time and you actually know all the teachers and most students and parents.

I've now been contemplating what to do with this blog ;o(  Since we are no longer "Urban Homesteaders", I will most likely be starting up a fresh new blog to chronicle our move and changes (many plans) for this new home, land and adventure.  Lot's of decisions to be made now that things are settling a bit... stay tuned!

Picture Post: Garden Update

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This year's weather has been great for the garden... it's been beautiful and rains when it was needed, not cold and wet like last year.  Some veggies are doing better then others, but overall doing good.  Already eat a mess of Snow Peas and Green Beans, plus all kinds of Lettuce and Spinach.  Went out and took some pictures this morning...

Potato Bugs: Colorado Potato Beetle Control

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Checking out the garden last night I was horrified to see all these little bugs on my potato plants.  At first I thought they were Lady Bugs with a quick glance, but looking closer I realized they were the pesty Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) larvae.

I had read about the potato bug in the past while researching garden insects and pests, but this is the first in 3 years growing potatoes that they showed up.  A quick look through google nested some interesting sites for information.  Here are a few:

I'm not interested and never used pesticides in the garden, so was looking for a natural control method.  From what I've read about many different options, but these make sense to me:

  1. Manually go through the garden daily or even twice daily and pick the potato beetls into a container with soap and water.
  2. Can use 100% Neem oil as a diluted spray.  Neem oil is a natural control and works by discouraging the potato beetle from feeding, but not directly killing them.
  3. Attract or bring in natural biological predators for your garden such as green lacewings, ladybugs, predatory stinkbugs and spiders.
  4. Use BT (Bacillus Thuringiensis), which is a naturally occurring bacterial disease.  It's available as a spray solution at your local garden center and is effective in killing potato beetle larvae, but not as effective on adults.  Best to use if you catch early.

Since I only have a small patch of potatoes and am outside daily, I decided to just check a couple times a day and manually pick them off.  Some are in pretty bad shape so I hope I caught them in time.  Would hate to not have fresh garden potatoes this year and into the fall.

I'd love to hear how others go rid of these buggers.  I haven't personally tried the Neem oil or BT, but that would be my next move.  I also practice crop rotation to reduce the chance of recurrence... but I'm also looking into what I can do to the soil to possibly eliminate or reduce the change of them coming back next year in that bed.

Pole Bean Tent

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This year we planted pole beans and Oregon giant snow peas where we had planted potatoes last year.  It's a small plot, about 15 feet long by 5 feet wide.   I wasn't sure what to do for the beans to climb.  Last year I tried a tee-pee with miserable results.. my own doing.  I didn't stake the tee-pee in the ground properly and we had a rain storm with some heavy gusts just when the pole beans were getting going.  The wind tipped over the tee-pee and we loss pretty much everything as it ripped the plants right out of the ground.  Wasn't going to go through that again ;o)

This year my son saw a picture of a tent style structure with garden netting on it so we decided to build something similar.  Easy to build and fun too... we just went to the back of a dead end street and cut down some alders.   I sharpened the ends and put them firmly into the ground and used screws to hold them together.  We kept it like that for a couple days, then decided to pin it down with twine to keep it steady... didn't want this one blowing over.

We kept it like that until the pole beans and snow peas were about ready to start climbing.  We added some garden netting held down with some zip ties I had laying around.  So far so good... We hope this one keeps up and it's nice because we can easily reach both sides for the pole beans and the snow peas on each end.  The only issue we had is at the beginning, birds would get caught under the net and fight to get out.   We had to help a few out actually, but that doesn't seem to be an issues now that the plants are higher then the bottom of the netting.

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