Homesteading Skills

Choctaw

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Tomatoes are supposed to be one of the easiest things to grow. My tomatoes from seed germinate well but get real tall and thin and then fall over. Sometimes with a dead brown spot at soil level. I have a small indoor greenhouse with heating mats and grow lights to start them early. The same setup with marigolds did real well last year but I had to buy tomato plants since mine looked so anemic. I have tried the grow lights at different heights.

One video I watched suggested compressing the soil so that you get good contact with the seed. A different video said just put soil loosely in the tray so that it doesn't impede root growth.

If I buy plants they always do extremely well. I am just not proficient yet at keeping the wee ones alive.
 

BarnBuilder

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I learned right from the Ball Canning book and two youtube videos and have canned a few thousand jars of food over the past fifteen years.
Last year alone I did almost 600 jars between tomatoes, pickles, relish, beans, pickled beets, chicken and beef.
What recipe did you use for the chicken and beef?
 

Uzi2

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What recipe did you use for the chicken and beef?
Meats are Pressure Canned, NOT WATER BATH CANNED.

Raw pack sterilized quart jars with chunks of chicken or beef, leaving 1 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles that might form using a knife, canning probe, I use a kabob skewer.
Add 1 teaspoon of canning salt,
You can add liquid if desired but maintain 1 inch headspace, I do not add any liquid.

Wipe jar rims clean and place lid and ring tightening just finger tight.
Follow instructions of your pressure canner regarding amount of water and pressure for your altitude.
Process at pressure for 90 minutes for quarts.
Process at pressure for 75 minutes for pints.

Let pressure canner cool and pressure drop to zero, open and remove jars.

I let the jars cool then remove the rings and wipe off jars with a warm soapy cloth and rinse to remove any food residue that might leak out during canning.

You shoud have a good vacuum on the lids when done and the lids should be concave.
 
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Uzi2

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Tomatoes are supposed to be one of the easiest things to grow. My tomatoes from seed germinate well but get real tall and thin and then fall over. Sometimes with a dead brown spot at soil level. I have a small indoor greenhouse with heating mats and grow lights to start them early. The same setup with marigolds did real well last year but I had to buy tomato plants since mine looked so anemic. I have tried the grow lights at different heights.

One video I watched suggested compressing the soil so that you get good contact with the seed. A different video said just put soil loosely in the tray so that it doesn't impede root growth.

If I buy plants they always do extremely well. I am just not proficient yet at keeping the wee ones alive.
Your plants are getting "leggy". This is from the seedling plants becoming root bound. They need to be put in larger individual pots at 4-5 inches tall which is usually when the second set of leaves appear.

I start my tomato seeds in a seed starter mix that is very light. Using egg cartons or peat pots, fill to top with mix, use a pencil to make a depression about 1/4 inch and plant two seeds per. Keep moist until they germinate and make sure the pots drain well. Tomatoes do not like wet feet....

When young plants reach 4 inches, I repot into individual pots and sparingly give a weak solution of Miracle Grow ( about 1 teaspoon per gallon). Water as needed but don't over do it, the soil should be kept damp not wet. This encourages the roots to grow and seek out moisture.
When they develope a third or fourth growth of branches and they are hardened off to the temperatures outside, I transplant to the garden......pinching off the lower two brances and burying the plant deep.
Tomatoes are a vine and will put out roots on any surface of the stem that is in contact with soil so burying them deep will produce lots of roots along the lower trunk of the plant, enhancing its growth.
 
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Your plants are getting "leggy". This is from the seedling plants becoming root bound. They need to be put in larger individual pots at 4-5 inches tall which is usually when the second set of leaves appear.

I start my tomato seeds in a seed starter mix that is very light. Using egg cartons or peat pots, fill top top with mix, use a pencil to make a depression about 1/4 inch and plant two seeds per. Keep moist until they germinate and make sure the pots drain well. Tomatoes do not like wet feet....

When young plants reach 4 inches, I repot into individual pots and sparingly give a weak solution of Miracle Grow ( about 1 teaspoon per gallon). Water as needed but don't over do it, the soil should be kept damp not wet. This encourages the roots to grow and seek out moisture.
When they develope a third or fourth growth of branches and they are hardened off to the temperatures outside, I transplant to the garden......pinching off the lower two brances and burying the plant deep.
Tomatoes are a vine and will put out roots on any surface of the stem that is in contact with soil so burying them deep will produce lots of roots along the lower trunk of the plant, enhancing its growth.
Good Adviceright there.

I actually start my tomatoes in four inch pots or soil blocks. They root quickly. I use Espoma Plant-tone for fert. It’s organic poultry manure. Not a fan of eating Miracle Gro.
Tomatoes are tricky and finicky. Don’t get discouraged. I’ve saved seeds from heirloom tomatoes for over fifteen years.
 

Uzi2

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Good Adviceright there.

I actually start my tomatoes in four inch pots or soil blocks. They root quickly. I use Espoma Plant-tone for fert. It’s organic poultry manure. Not a fan of eating Miracle Gro.
Tomatoes are tricky and finicky. Don’t get discouraged. I’ve saved seeds from heirloom tomatoes for over fifteen years.
Understand.

I only give one dose of MiracleGro at the very early stage so any residuals are well processed out of the plant by harvest time.

I grow my plants in well rotted woodchip compost and water only if there is a dry spell just after transplanting. Other than that, the compost holds sufficient water from what ever rainfall there is and watering isn't really necessary here.
 

peterk123

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Meats are Pressure Canned, NOT WATER BATH CANNED.

I let the jars cool then remove the rings and wipe off jars with a warm soapy cloth and rinse to remove any food residue that might leak out during canning.

You shoud have a good vacuum on the lids when done and the lids should be concave.
My stash has too many empty bottles. In addition to canned goods, I also have some infusions going on. I have three jars of vanilla extract; this takes a year and half. But I have bottles of limoncello, and some weird berry my parents grow that is also infused using grain alcohol. These take a couple months. But one of my favorite infusions is vodka with pineapple and oranges. The vodka infusion takes a couple of weeks and makes for an awesome summer drink. Careful though, it will rock you because it does not taste like straight vodka, which it is :)


20200203_170640.jpg
 

Uzi2

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My stash has too many empty bottles. In addition to canned goods, I also have some infusions going on. I have three jars of vanilla extract; this takes a year and half. But I have bottles of limoncello, and some weird berry my parents grow that is also infused using grain alcohol. These take a couple months. But one of my favorite infusions is vodka with pineapple and oranges. The vodka infusion takes a couple of weeks and makes for an awesome summer drink. Careful though, it will rock you because it does not taste like straight vodka, which it is :)


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I see some jars there on the right that look like chicken?? You might think about removing the rings from them and clean the tops to deny any bacteria.
Makes it easier to monitor the seal. I put rings on if transporting as a gift to others but leave them off in storage.
 

peterk123

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I see some jars there on the right that look like chicken?? You might think about removing the rings from them and clean the tops to deny any bacteria.
Makes it easier to monitor the seal. I put rings on if transporting as a gift to others but leave them off in storage.
Agreed. My wife brought them down before I could my hands on them. They only last a couple of weeks though because it is my dog's food.
 

Uzi2

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Agreed. My wife brought them down before I could my hands on them. They only last a couple of weeks though because it is my dog's food.
I give my dogs raw Perdue chicken quarters, ( leg thigh and back) about once a week or so. Bought on sale @ $3.98 for a ten pound bag. I filled the cart with them and then into the freezer.

They get the benefit of the collagen in the skin and bone joints, the calcium in the bones, the protien in the meat and the fats. Its easily digested and along with some kibble makes a healthy diet.
They always seem more satisfied after eating one.
 

mike1960

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Tomatoes are supposed to be one of the easiest things to grow. My tomatoes from seed germinate well but get real tall and thin and then fall over. Sometimes with a dead brown spot at soil level. I have a small indoor greenhouse with heating mats and grow lights to start them early. The same setup with marigolds did real well last year but I had to buy tomato plants since mine looked so anemic. I have tried the grow lights at different heights.

One video I watched suggested compressing the soil so that you get good contact with the seed. A different video said just put soil loosely in the tray so that it doesn't impede root growth.

If I buy plants they always do extremely well. I am just not proficient yet at keeping the wee ones alive.
Wife suggests no bottom heat for the tomatoes. Lower the light so they are just inches above the leaves. And as soon as the days start turning warm bring them out onto the porch to start hardening them off. Or just buy your plants.
 

ccm75

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There's no need for your kids to lack gardening or canning skills. In a 12x12 sunny spot with some well amended soil you can grow more tomatoes and pickling cukes than you could eat fresh.
Small batch canning is fine for learning the skills.

Put out 6 good tomato plants and 8 National Pickling Cuke plants and you'll have plenty to can.

Hundreds of youtubes on canning.
Ya, thanks. We always do a bunch of tomatoes and peppers in a raised bed, just no canning. Little bit of freezing.
And I did butcher a deer on my wife's granite breakfast bar this Fall [smile] and she even helped me wrap! Kids are all off to college soon. They have a good base for the basics...
 
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01bmf

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Picked up a book from the clearance shelf years ago called "Back to Basics." It starts with the piece of land and covers everything from building structures to gardening to cellaring, mostly with hand tools. Been trying to develop the skills and incorporate them into our land for a few years now. Take it one project at a time. Best $4 ever spend on a book.
 
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I have been trying my hand at different wine and hard cider, plus apple pie moonshine. The apple pie moon shine is very simple and my wife loves it, its strong to.
The wine I made about a month ago with apples and strawberry's and i'm waiting for it to fully ferment. The wine was simple, I cleaned and prepped 6 Mason jars, boiled about a gallon of polland springs water, added two cups of sugar bring to a boil. While that was coming up to a boil I chopped around 8 large apples and put them in equal parts in the mason jars.
Added the hot water to the jars and let cool down, leave plenty of room for expansion and don't tighten the jar lids, just put them loose.
You have to let the gas escape, but also make it so nothing can burp back in. My grandfather told me this is how he did it back in the depression and make a ok living selling it. Biggest thing is you have to strain it several rimes to get it clear.

The moonshine is really not moonshine, its grain alcohol mixed with apple cider. Take the cheap stop and shop apple cider and apple juice, half gallon containers. Add them to a large pot, bring to a low boil add one cup brown sugar and one cup regular, add one half tea spoon of cinnamon, let it dissolve and let it cool down.

The cinnamon wont break down and it will need to be strained off. I filter threw a funnel back into the juice bottles and using paper towels, this is the longest part of the processes, but its needed as the cinnamon wont break down unless you really boil it and that kinda kills the flavor of the juice, trust me.

Once its filtered good and its clear ( several time back and forth ) you wipe out your boiling pot ( no cinnamon ) and then add the juice back in, open the bottle of grain alcohol and the hole liter, get a liter of Smirnoff whipped cream vodka add half of that and stir.

Very simple and taste like apple pie. My next adventure is making the moonshine from corn in a mash. But i am seeing that the head or the first bunch that comes out can make you go blind, so I think for now I will stick with the Graves lol.

Already can weld and have a nice shop at my house, did that for 20 years, can fix most anything on wheels or tracks so figured why not do something I've never tried, making booze.
 
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@Jason m I make Apple Pie Bourbon. Choose your bourbon, Slice up one or two of the sweetest type of apple that is available, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean and some all spice. Store it for at least a month. Shake it every day. Yummy :)
Do you have to strain off the pulp of the apple? I am stopping this week to get another bottle or two of grain alcohol I will get some Bourbon and try that.
 

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Just run some white vinegar threw it watch all the green come out, but thats a good thing it will clean it and be just as good as the day it was made. If I do make a still for shine it will be out of stainless steel and tubing.
 

Al-Jim19

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Before i moved into my current apartment i used to brew a good anount of beer. I wouldnt say im great at it, but id say 90% of the recipes i tried were at least as good as a Sam Adams. On top of it each beer came out to about $1 each. That nimber probably could be cut in half if i was thrifty on ingredients.
 

SgtHal75

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I made another thread about buying a house with some land or at least a big backyard recently. I really like the idea of some self sufficiency, mostly in the way of producing some of my own food. I have a few ideas which i will list below, but im hoping others can add. You can add something you do or are hoping to try.

So far my list of things i think i can do includes:
-Vegetable gardening
-Hunting
-Raising chickens/quail/ducks for eggs and meat
-Making maple syrup
-Bee keeping
-canning vegetables
-turning meat into jerky

Anyone ever kept a sheep or goat on a relatively small plot? How much space does it take?

Any other skills you can think of that fall within or outside of producing your own food?
Awesome, Hope to be there myself soon
 

hv55maxx

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Tomatoes are supposed to be one of the easiest things to grow. My tomatoes from seed germinate well but get real tall and thin and then fall over. Sometimes with a dead brown spot at soil level. I have a small indoor greenhouse with heating mats and grow lights to start them early. The same setup with marigolds did real well last year but I had to buy tomato plants since mine looked so anemic. I have tried the grow lights at different heights.

One video I watched suggested compressing the soil so that you get good contact with the seed. A different video said just put soil loosely in the tray so that it doesn't impede root growth.

If I buy plants they always do extremely well. I am just not proficient yet at keeping the wee ones alive.
try some bone meal if they are leggy. the phosphorus will promote root growth. night and day difference with my garden from two summers ago to the past summer. or if you have an acquaintance that has animals, ask for the bones after processing to grind em to powder (essentially what the bone meal is).
 

greencobra

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i watch a lot of youtube channels about homesteading and living off the land. sustaining the family seems to be a full time job for these people. just simple stuff like making soap is a chore, never mind keeping bees and making syrup, planting and tending a garden and keeping animals. that's why they call it farming.
 
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