We’re preparing to fence in our new 7 acres next spring and are debating how to anchor our wood fence posts. I know you’ve done a lot of fencing over the years! Do you prefer a concrete anchor, gravel, packed soil…? I’ve read many of the pros and cons of each method and would appreciate insight from a homesteader I trust.

Gloria Meyer
Wauseon, Ohio

The very best way is to use concrete but we’ve always just used very well tamped soil, tamping it down hard with a shovel handle or some such tool with every few inches of new soil added to the hole. Make your holes at least three feet deep; four is better and large enough around so you can adequately tamp the fill soil. Don’t forget your brace posts (H braces) on each side of each corner and beside each gate opening. Check out my fencing article in Issue #77 (13th year anthology) for more detail. — Jackie

Broccoli not heading

My broccoli plants started beautifully this year however, they never went to a head — they produced “branches” that quickly flowered out. Is my soil in need of something or would it be the plant (I got them from a nursery)?

Michele Gerdes
Rhinelander, Wisconsin

This sometimes happens when the plants are root bound in packs. When buying plants, try to choose the smallest, yet healthiest plants, over the great big ones. Also, sometimes intense heat will cause broccoli to not form heads; all cabbage family plants like cool weather best. Another thought: What variety was the broccoli? There are non-heading old-time varieties that don’t ever produce heads. It isn’t your soil. — Jackie


  1. Michele,

    Rootbound broccoli and cauliflower often just dosn’t perform well, often producing button heads and little else.

  2. Thanks Jackie. I never thought about the root bound factor. I recall they were quite bound and I gently broke them apart a bit before planting. They were a packman highbrid which I’ve gotten before & never had an issue with. I forgot to start them so thought I’d go the “easy” route – not so much. Next year I’m doing my own!

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