Peabody Rudd

Contain This: Setbacks

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Well, I am 3 months into my Home Farm project and even with some recent setbacks I can say that I am still overjoyed with what my Home Farm has taught me (and produced) this summer. Setbacks you say? Yep.

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My first setback was one I didn’t account for as I always assumed that sun and warmth would be a good thing. And while they are to some degree, we had one really warm day which produced me a TON of snap peas (peas for Peabody!!!) but also caused my broccoli to form flowers. Once the broccoli grows flowers you can’t eat it. As you can see from the picture I got flowers. Luckily for me though I still had quite a few other stalks, though I panicked at the idea of not getting to use them. So I probably prematurely chopped some of them to make soup. But I wasn’t missing my chance to make Broccoli Cheddar Soup with broccoli from my very own patio! So even though many of my plants when planted said that they needed 5-6 hours of sun, they seem to like the rainy overcast weather better.

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Setback number two I definitely did NOT account for was that my Home Farm is doing SO well that I am running out of space. Things are growing much faster than I can eat them or the plant is getting so large and mingling over with other plants. While I love the growth I only have so much space to work with, especially now that I own a grill that is out there as well.

Setback number three is that the majority of my plants that were planted in small pots have reached their demise (moment of silence please). The only survivors were the mint, because mint I believe is the cockroach of the herb world, you have to work hard to kill it off. So I bought another big pot (this was before I got a BBQ) and plan on planting something new. Suggestions? What do you all think? What would you like to see me try and grow?

Despite my few setbacks I am not giving up. This is after all an experiment of sorts and you are going to have the good with the bad and you learn from all of it! How about you? How is your Home Farm coming along? If you don’t have one, summer is only half way done, if you did plants and not seeds, you could still join the Triscuit Home Farm movement!

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 TBSP unsalted butter, melted

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup flour

2 cups half-and-half cream

2 cups vegetable stock

1/2 lb. fresh broccoli

1 cup carrots, julienned

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (use GOOD quality cheese)

salt and pepper

Sauté onion in 1 TBSP butter. Set aside.

Cook 1/4 cup melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half.

Add the vegetable stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes.

Add salt and pepper. Can be puréed in a blender but I don’t. Return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg.

Recipe adapted from Panera Bread Company

If you are interested in seeing other ideas, please visit the other bloggers who are participating in the Home Farming Movement which you can find here at the Better Homes and Gardens Home Farming Challenge Page.




Catherine Davis

Home Farming Challenge – Training Vertical Vegetable Plants

Two months ago I began my home farming journey with the expectation that if I was lucky, I’d make it through the summer with a few fresh herbs and possibly some cherry tomatoes. At the very least, I was thinking if I failed at everything else, I’d be happy if I came out of this with some fresh salad toppings. What I hadn’t expected was my home farm to not only survive the unpredictable spring weather but to truly thrive.

Tomato plants that went in the ground just a few inches tall have now grown to monstrous bushes producing dozens of tomatoes. The grape tomato plant even has large bell shaped tomatoes just days away from being fully ripe.

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Our larger Better Boy and Big Boy tomatoes have begun to grow in abundance. Each tomato plant already has over a dozen tomatoes growing and we’ve got five eager mouths ready to eat them. Unfortunately, we have a few more weeks to go before they’ll fully ripen.

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You may have noticed that we have large sticks poking up through our raised bed farm. We’ve been training the tomato plants to grow vertically so we can maximize our garden space. According to the Home Farming 101 resource you can use stakes with soft ties or a store bought trellis. We decided to take a budget friendly route by using cheap lumber, hand sawing the end to create a point and old pillow cases torn up in thin strips. Heavy branches of the tomato plants are gently tied to the stakes to encourage the plants to grow vertically rather than outwards.

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In addition to our vertical plants, our underground vegetables are doing quite well. The onions are beginning to emerge through the soil with large healthy bulbs. Even the turnips I planted a few weeks ago are beginning to mature.

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Keep an eye out later this week for my herb farm update where I’ll be sharing how I’ll be storing fresh herbs and drying ones to add to my spice rack.

Home Farming Blogger Challenge Journeys

DisclosureThis is a compensated, sponsored post for Triscuit. All ideas, thoughts, experiences are my own. Be sure to check out my posts as well as the other bloggers participating in this challenge on Better Homes and Garden’s Home Farming Challenge page.


Annie M.

Oven roasted kohlrabi, fresh from the home farm

My favorite time of day to go check on my home farm is early in the morning. The kids are still sleeping, the birds are chirping cheerily, and the grass is wet with fresh dew. Everything seems so new, so clean. Peacefully, I walk through the rows of my home farm. I giggle as I glance at what we are growing.

I do not know how to cook half of it!

Thankfully there are plenty of recipe ideas at homefarming.com.  It is my go-to resource, since not once have I purchased or prepared fennel, kohlrabi, cabbage, or tomatillos.  Below, I will share how I prepared the kohlrabi – and I bet you will love it!

When I took Lizzie and David out to see the home farm progress, they measured the success and learned the names of all the plants.

I am slightly disappointed with the lack of progress some plants are making – namely my broccoli, cauliflower and cilantro.  The cilantro already went to seed and the broccoli and cauliflower are not blossoming at all.

Our carrots are still itty bitty! Look how cute this one is in Lizzie’s hand! According to Home Farming, the carrots will probably take another month or so to mature. I cannot wait!

We found a kohlrabi bulb that was fully matured and picked it! The leaves are very large, and we discard them into our compost bin. Lizzie was ecstatic with her job of carrying this odd vegetable back to the house.

Once inside, I read that oven roasting Kohlrabi with seasoning salt and parmesan cheese is a popular way to prepare it.

Small slices cook faster! And we have some hungry kids

Toss the slices in olive oil and seasoning salt! Others suggested salt, pepper, paprika and garlic. This brand of seasoning salt has those ingredients and a few others in it.

Bake for 10-15 minutes at 450 degrees.  Take it out, turn the slices, sprinkle the parmesan cheese and bake for another 5 minutes.

My kids ate them up! I was thrilled because kohlrabi is an excellent source of vitamin C, dietary fiber and potassium.

Now I am dying for my other veggies to grow! I cannot wait to pick fresh green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes!


Peabody Rudd

Contain This: Floral Arrangements

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First off I want to say that who needs a traditional flower garden when you can have a Home Farm? Not only has having a Home Farm on my patio brought lush green to gaze upon (as well as all the salad greens I need), but many of those herbs and plants also produce flowers. Some of those flowers, like the one pictured above, are even edible as well. In fact, every flowering plant I chose for my Home Farm is edible.

In case you are wondering what the lovely yellow flowers above are, they come from arugula, also called rocket in the UK…my former neighbor is from Britain and she was more than excited to learn they were the same thing as she was wondering why there was no rocket here in the states. My particular flowers are yellow, but I am told they are often white. I’m happy to get the yellow as they add a pop to my lovely farm. Normally you want to remove the flowers but I am trying to promote bees to come on by since my strawberries don’t seem to want to produce any fruit and my local garden store guy suggested promoting bees. The arugula flowers go nicely in salads and add a beautiful and summery touch, perfect to serve at a dinner party. Though keep in mind, that just like arugula itself, the flowers also have a spicy, peppery flavor.

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The other two flowers that are adding beauty to my Home Farm are chive blossoms, which I have had for some time now and pea blossoms. The chive blossoms produce a gorgeous purple color and can be used basically where you would put onion, for just like the arugula flowers take on the flavor of the arugula, the chive blossom takes on the flavor of the chive, though slightly less pungent. I personally like to scramble them into my eggs. Looks a little odd, but tastes really good. You want to take your chive blossoms off as they grow, if left on the plant they will go to seed and stop producing chives.

pic3-homefarmjune183Pea blossoms, though edible (note that flowering ornamental sweet peas are poisonous so do not eat if that is the kind you have) I won’t be using them, for if you take away your pea blossoms you will diminish your pea harvest and I don’t want that.

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And while all of the flowers are pretty, it was one, not so pretty flower that had me the most excited of all…my broccoli. That’s right, broccoli is a flower…kind of. The broccoli parts that we eat are called florets. Each floret has the potential of opening a tiny flower. When broccoli goes to flowering, it has bolted and is not edible. Bolting means the plant has finished its reproductive cycle and is now going to make seeds (just like the chives). This I think is going to be the hard part for me. I am not sure totally how large my broccoli is going to get before I harvest it. According to the Triscuit Home Farming website (crop guide), broccoli takes 112 days till harvest, but I have a slightly different variety, one that is more forgiving to the Pacific Northwest Weather. For right now I will just play it by ear. No matter what, I was mostly just excited that for the first time ever I got a vegetable to grow! No, like really excited. Called my mom excited, yes I am a nerd.


Catherine Davis

Home Farming Challenge – Pesticide Free Farming

I first started the home farming challenge with grand ideas of growing an entirely organic farm from soil to seed. Unfortunately, to keep costs as low as possible we had to forgo a few organic choices in our product selections.

One thing I am doing to keep our garden healthy and our produce pesticide free is using natural pest deterrents. Using the Triscuit Home Farming Community Q&A as a resource, I found a few suggestions on how to keep pests out of my home farm without using pesticides including:

  • Garlic – randomly planted throughout a home farm, garlic helps deter pests that attack cabbage and is said to have natural fungicidal and pesticidal properties.
  • Marigold Flowers – planted along the perimeter of a vegetable farm, annual marigolds deter squash bugs, thrips, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies.

While it’s not an option for some home farmers, our best defense against rabbits and small animals are the family pets. Claude and Ray, our one year old kitties not only use the topsoil as a cool place to take a nap but keep the hungry rabbits away from our young tomato plants.

From Home Farming 101

Throughout the entire process from planting to growing my vegetable crop I’ve been using the Home Farming 101 resource to learn the basics of how to plant and maintain my farm. One section I’ve recently found particularly helpful is on how to prevent pests and diseases.

There are several ways to triumph over pests without toxic pesticides! There are organic sprays available that are effective and safe. You can also mix your own anti-pest formula. Try mixing water with crushed garlic, hot pepper, or pulverized onion and spraying it on your plants.

Since we began treating our garden with organic pest preventatives, our plants and vegetables have grown even more incredibly than I would have imagined. Years ago our first home farm was taken over by pests and worms. As you can see from the photos below, we are having no such problems this year. Our grape tomato plants have sprouted their first green tomatoes.

The mixture of red and yellow onion bulbs have started to grow so big they are emerging through the topsoil.

Even the peppermint that started out as a small plant with only a few leaves has grown into a robust bush that I plan to harvest soon to extract the oils for candy making.

In the coming weeks I hope with any luck, we’ll have some ripe tomatoes to enjoy at the family table. In the meantime, feel free to browse our farm fresh recipes we’ve created using what seems like, an endless supply of herbs.

Home Farming Blogger Challenge Journeys

DisclosureThis is a compensated, sponsored post for Triscuit. All ideas, thoughts, experiences are my own. Be sure to check out my posts as well as the other bloggers participating in this challenge on Better Homes and Garden’s Home Farming Challenge page.


Annie M.

In Plot Update and Deer Control

Here we are in the beginning of June and my in-ground home farm is starting to really blossom (finally!). Since we endured a late frost, we lost a few plants we started from seeds, like my cucumbers and pepper plants. But we just bought some pepper plants and planted more cucumber seeds and now we are back in business!

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We live in the woods in Kansas and our biggest pest is the deer. We have photos of trampled plants with deer hooves next to it and I really want to eat my food, not just feed those animals. I went on HomeFarming.com and read some really creative and helpful tips from the Home Farming community. Some people suggested spraying the plants, others suggested tying old CDs/DVDs shiny side-out and hanging them up around the farm. Another suggestion was to plant really hot pepper plants around the outside. I liked the motion sense sprinkler idea too! That site is so very helpful, the community really joins together to provide support and tips.

Josh installed an electric fence around the outside of our home farm. It was easiest for us to do it that way because we already had the supplies from when we owned goats. So far it is working well, but only time will tell!

Here are some photos of our little sprouts! I am really getting excited about the cucumbers, tomatoes and sweet corn. I can’t wait for those to bloom and grow. I’m researching and learning how to use kohlrabi, anise, fennel and beets. Those are a few plants I have never grown before, nor have I ever prepared.

Cool beans!

Cool beans!

Tomatillo with flower buds

Tomatillo with flower buds

Sweet corn stagger planted

Sweet corn stagger planted

I learned a whole lot about food since I started to grow my own. I learned that not picking the arugula when it was small and young means it now tastes burnt. I also learned that some plants (like cucumbers) are a lot more “wimpy” when it comes to cold temps. Triscuit’s creation of the HomeFarming site and community is a huge help for beginners like me. Being able to use those experienced farmers as resources is priceless!

Would you like to take a walk with me through my home farm? Here I am on an early Sunday morning!

I will be back in two weeks! Hopefully by then I can show off a few teeny tiny tomatoes or peppers! I hope your home farms are sprouting and growing too. What are you growing? Are they bigger or doing better than mine?