Joshua LeDuc

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since Mar 25, 2019
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dog forest garden trees cooking food preservation homestead
On 4/20/19 my wife and I moved out to an old farm on 27 acres from the suburbs. Starting over is a lot of work, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. I'm planning on developing a robust vegetable garden, orchard (food forest), and want to get some livestock.
King William, VA
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Recent posts by Joshua LeDuc

I like to dip pita bread or veggie sticks in it! ;)
17 hours ago
Hi Ana,

To piggyback on what Susanna mentioned, Johnny's seeds has a very handy excel spreadsheet for fall vegetable planting dates.  You can find it on their website.  All you do is type in the date of your average first fall frost and it will give you planting dates for several vegetables.

Stacy Witscher wrote:My favorite pickled red beet recipe is 2 cups red wine vinegar, 1 cup water or red wine if I have it, 1 cup sugar or to taste, 1 Tbsp. salt and per jar - one bay leaf and two sprigs of thyme. Usually I do these in pint jars. Scale up or down as needed.

Thanks for that!  I have about 20 golden beets in the garden, and I was wondering what to do with them all because I didn't think that they would freeze very well.  Pickled beets is the answer!!
2 days ago
They are selling pre-made pizza dough at Whole Foods now.  Stretch that stuff out in a large cast iron skillet, add some pizza sauce, pre-shredded mozzarella (good quality stuff also at Whole Foods), and your favorite toppings.  Walla!  Dinner done in a half hour and who doesn't love pizza?

I learned this cast iron skillet method from this recipe.  Cheers!
2 days ago
By far, the tastiest pickles are the lacto-fermented kind.  The bonus is that they are pro-biotic and will help improve one's gut biome!  Sauerkraut is made by lacto-fermenting cabbage as well.  A book by Shockey named Fermented Vegetables is a very good hands on guide that teaches the reader how to start lacto-fermenting, with lots of recipes for almost every vegetable.  I also found this blog which explains it well.
2 days ago
Cy, I use straw mulch in my beds, and do not see any major problems with moles or voles.  I like to put my fresh straw in the paths between the rows and let it decompose for awhile, and then take that material and put it around my veggies in the planting beds.  The partially decomposed straw is much easier to place without smothering out young seedlings.  I have also been experimenting with using deep compost 4-6" in my raised beds.  I have been having good luck with this method too.  I am noticing that the weed pressure is much less than when I just sprinkle a little compost over the native soil.  I did have to purchase a dump truck load of compost though, which was $350.  Hope this helps!
2 weeks ago

May Lotito wrote:Yes, marigolds are wonderful! If you already have a plant and want some more, the quickest way is to take cuttings and root them. Remove flower buds if there's any. It usually takes 10 days to grow roots.

Here is the cutting I took on june 1st and it's ready for transplanting today 06/13.

I had no idea.  Thanks for the great advice!  I have a note to take some cuttings when I get home!
2 weeks ago

C Davis wrote:I love this topic! My family is also preparing to bring in a few goats. They will be rotational grazing in about 8 acres of woods. We have a ton of kudzu, brambles, and grapevines on the edge of our woods, too.
I have a question for all of you who have experience with rotational grazing in the woods where you move them from one electric netting paddock to another… what do you do about shelter for the goats, since they need shelter from rain? Do you have some sort of lightweight skiddable shelter? I have been trying to come up with a plan for something that the goats won’t be able to knock over/climb on/fall through, yet is light enough to move around in the woods by one person.

C, I built a plywood floor on two pallets that I screwed together, and then built a back wall, two side walls and a sloped roof.  I then covered all in corrugated metal sheeting.  This way I can move the shelter around with the pallet forks on my tractor.  I also put wooden "skis" on the bottom of the two pallets so I could pull the shelter as well with a chain or strap.  Finally, I put 4 brackets with holes on the sides of the skids so I can stake down the shelter.  I use trampoline wind stakes.  I learned the lesson of staking down the shelter the hard way.  One evening we had a storm roll through with really high winds and the shelter tipped over trapping one of the goats underneath it.  Luckily she didn't get injured and is doing okay.  
3 weeks ago
I wanted to add to the "don't tether" your goats comments.  If you have a collar on your goats and you decide to start moving them through the woods, make sure that it is a break-away collar, or else the goats could get the collar stuck on a tree branch and hang themselves.  I use a plastic chain material with a break-away clip as one of the chain links.  
4 weeks ago
What a nice looking flower bed!