We worked hard to get all the various crops planted in all of our big gardens. Rain was forecast and as we all know, rain on newly planted seeds makes them spring up lustily. Well, so far, no rain but it’s cloudy today with an 80% chance, so we’ll see. Yesterday, Will and Alisha were busy weeding and mulching all of the tomatoes in the main garden — there are 159 all together. After they were all mulched and steel T-posts driven in next to them, David, Ashley, Will, Alisha, and I went to work carrying cages to all of them. Of course, we didn’t have enough, so Will made 20 more. We make our tomato cages from concrete re-enforcing wire. We laugh at the store-bought tomato cages as our tomatoes top out at 7 feet and produce many pounds per plant. The store-bought tomato cages just fall over! (You can learn more about how we grow fabulous tomatoes in the Twenty-Third Year Anthology.)

Alisha and Will carried reed canary bales from the hayloft in the barn to the garden in our little garden trailer.
Then they got busy, spreading it out around and in between the tomato plants.
Here are the finished tomatoes, all mulched, staked, and in cages.

Our corn is up and doing nicely. Of course we had to “pay off” the local ground squirrels by dumping piles of corn around the patches so they’d eat that instead of our sweet corn. They dig up and eat the seed just as the corn is up and to about three inches tall, when the seed dissolves. Strange maybe, but it works.

Will tilled up our central garden for the final time and I got busy and planted the whole thing. Yep, it sure got my bad knee, but it’s planted and maybe now I can rest the knee a little!

David bought a load of gravel from the fellow who bulldozed our driveway free of snow when we first came here. (I’m sure he thought we were nuts!) David has a nasty mud hole between his cabin site and the camp site where they’re living during construction. He hopes to have enough left to fill the wet ruts in his driveway by the cabin too.

Ashley and Alisha picked another huge basket of asparagus yesterday so when I finish blogging, I’ll get busy and can it up. Our shelves in the pantry are already filling up nicely and it’s not even “harvest time.” And the last two days, I made two rhubarb pies. It only takes three stalks of rhubarb because ours is so HUGE. Boy do we ever love our rhubarb. — Jackie


  1. I’m so glad to hear your garden is doing nicely. And am glad your grandchildren love the peas! Yum.

  2. I’m by no means a BIG garden person,yet. I have 2 small raised gardens this year, concentrating on tomatoes 🍅 and red potatoes 🥔 and of course, a good variety of herbs 🌿. I too have had more than my share of pesky backyard creatures even with my little space. This past week, my husband and I went on a mini vacation for 3 days. Upon our return, we discovered 4 of our 7 healthy looking tomato plants 🌱 had been broken down and ravaged by SOMETHING!!! I was angry 😡 and discouraged, but replaced and salvaged what I could. I don’t know what else to do. We have used the repellent from the hardware stores, ultra sonic pest control devices, and moth balls Everywhere! And now we have the Scare Crow water spraying thing on the way. If this doesn’t work?????

    • Then there’s a fence….. It’s the ONLY thing that saves our garden from the deer.

    • Just open my Pantry Cookbook to page 176. (See, everyone should have a copy!) Anyway, if by some wild chance you don’t, here it is:


      Pastry for one-crust pie
      2 Tbsp flour
      1/2 tsp salt
      1 1/2 C sugar
      1 Tbsp butter or margarine
      3 egg yolks, slightly beaten, whites reserved
      water or reserved rhubarb juice
      6 cups cut rhubarb pieces or enough to fill a 9-inch pie tin, heaped in the center. Or may use 1 quart + one pint canned rhubarb, drained, saving 1 cup of juice

      In a mixing bowl, mix flour, salt and sugar. Mix in melted butter. Add egg yolks and just enough water to make a batter which will pour from a spoon. Put rhubarb in unbaked pie shell and pour on batter evenly. If using canned rhubarb, add 1 cup of reserved juice to batter instead of a bit of water, then pour over drained rhubarb in pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees F until edges are golden brown and rhubarb is tender.


      3 egg whites (I usually have tons of eggs in the spring so use 6 egg whites to make a tall meringue)
      pinch of salt
      3 Tbsp sugar

      While pie bakes, beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks hold when beater is held up from meringue. Spoon meringue on hot pie, completely sealing to edges of crust. Lift up peaks nicely with spoon. Bake in oven at 375 degrees F until meringue is golden brown on peaks and edges.

  3. Take care of that knee Jackie- I know it’s easier said than done during this busy time! I thinned chard today so will have a first feed- can’t wait! My new raised beds are doing well- it’ll be a treat to have veg from the garden this summer after a couple of years break. It feels wonderful to be digging in the soil again. I am in awe of the work you and Will and the younger generation do at your place! I’d love to see your garden in person but as I live on the west coast and don’t travel great distances any more will have to be happy with the photos you post here! Your blog is such a pleasure to read. Best wishes from a Canadian admirer

  4. Reading your blog for years and love it. I have had to give up gardening because of back problems. Its hard when you have gardened all your life – I grew up on a farm. You inspire me though. I think we are out of home canned tomatoes and I might have to can some this year if I can. We can buy them at the local farmers market. Your garden looks really nice. I admire you for all the work you put in to live a homesteading life.

    • It’s a good thing you have a local farmer’s market handy. I hope you’re able to can up lots of yummy tomatoes! Thank you for your kind words.

  5. Impressive. I have 60 tomatoes in cages-most from your seeds, some are setting tomatoes (I’m zone 5a). This has been the year of the rabbit for me. I fenced to 30×90 gardens with 2×4 mesh and had to fence (chicken wire) around individual plants. Corn/beans up and robust. Lot’s of rain here and cool weather. I have been mulching with tree leaves and will see how this works (first time). Can’t wait to see how big Bill Bean tomatoes get. ER Lindsey, Wisconsin

    • Hi Everett! Sounds like you’re off and running, too. Oh oh. Bunnies. Those little buggers can sometimes run through a 2″x4″ wire fence but as you know, they can’t run through chicken wire. I hope you get lots of BIG Bill Beans this year. I want photos!!!

  6. Don’t you love it when that first weeding has been done and you can lay on the mulch! So satisfying, and it looks so good and now most of the work is up to the plants (at least for a while).

    I’ve got one of my raised beds mulched, but need to pull a bunch of volunteer dill and mulch the other one. At least the dill crowed out any grass growing in, and it smells great when I pull it.

    • Yes, it is wonderful to stand back and look at a well-mulched garden. We know we won’t have to weed again, other than a stray, weak weed here and there over summer. Love dill, even if it sometimes “misbehaves” a bit.

  7. I got the peas, carrots and beets in yesterday just in time for more than inch of rain over night. High today was 49. The pass to the west of us had eight inches of snow! Still have some raised beds to plant but they need a day to dry out. I use some woven and black plastic for ground cover but hay or straw mulch tends to keep the ground too cold. Your gardens look good.

    • I hope your newly planted spots dry out soon. Yep, I know all about that snow thing; when we lived in Montana at 7,600 feet, we had planned on going to the Fourth of July fireworks….but got a blizzard!

  8. I am just amazed at all you plant and preserve. So glad you have some extra help. My garden is all in and doing fairly well, a little slow. Greatgrands were all excited today to see carrots coming up in their little plots. They are also busy eating peas right in the garden, even the baby at 18 months loves them. It is a fun time of the year. My roses are doing so well and so lots of arrangements in the house. Rest your knee if you can find a minute.

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