How to Tell if a Watermelon is Ripe

How to Tell if a Watermelon is Ripe - 4 clues to look for to tell if your garden or store watermelon is red, ripe, and ready to pick.

This post is primarily for those who are wondering if their homegrown watermelon is ripe and ready to pick, but most of the same tips apply for those rooting through the produce bins at the supermarket or scouting out the farmers market.  Watermelons are a little sneakier than muskmelons, which slip right off the vine (i.e. come loose on their own) when ripe.  Uncut watermelons are also less fragrant than muskmelons, because they don’t have that open end where the vine was formerly attached.  You will never find me sniffing watermelons in the grocery store, but you may find me sniffing cantaloupes.  (I do my own stunts. ;-) )

4 Clues to Tell if Your Watermelon is Ripe

Back in my late teens and early 20’s, my jobs at the family catering business included picking out the watermelons and carving the watermelon boats for parties.  I was known as the resident watermelon expert, almost guaranteed to be able to pick out the perfect melon, if there was a perfect melon to be found. [Read more...]

Gummy Zucchini Candy Recipe – Naturally Sweetened

Naturally Sweetened Zucchini Gummy Candy Recipe - Tastes like commercial gummy treats with no artificial flavors, colors or refined sugar.

Overwhelmed by zucchini or summer squash?  Make some zucchini gummy candy!  I saw a recipe online that made them with drink mix and sugar, and coated them with more drink mix – more sugar and artificial color and flavor than I prefer.  So I decided to experiment with a simpler version using fruit juice concentrate.  It worked out great!

Naturally Sweetened Zucchini Gummy Candy Recipe

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My Worst Gardening Mistake

Parsnip Burn - my encounter with phytophotodermatitis (PPD) after a morning in the garden. Learn what it is and how to avoid it and treat it if needed.

It was a series of unfortunate events, or perhaps the perfect storm of things I just shouldn’t have done.  If I had realized what the results would be when I was doing it, it would have been simple to prevent, but the pain didn’t start until two days later.  By then, the damage was done, and the only thing I could do was treat the symptoms.  I’m sharing my story here so you don’t make the same mistake I did, and end up with parsnip burn, AKA Phytophotodermatitis (PPD). [Read more...]

Homestead Update and July Garden Tour

Homestead Update and July Garden Tour

People often ask how I get everything done.  The short answer is, I don’t.  We make to-do lists, I have a scheduling notebook, and an online calendar, but sometimes things simply don’t get done.  This is one of those weeks.  In spite of my best intentions, a few big, time sensitive projects dominated the week.  On Monday, I thought I’d quick video garden tour so you could all see what really goes on behind the scenes here at Common Sense Homesteading.  (I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy investigating other people’s gardens.)

What I thought would be quick and easy turned into a very time consuming and aggravating mess.  Between our slow internet connection, youtube editing combining sound from one video with pictures from another video,  youtube simply eating three videos (WTH???), and my utter lack of experience with video editing, it was ugly.  I started Monday, and am still reloading damaged videos on Saturday.  Oy.  I hope you still enjoy the garden tour, in spite of the wind and rather primitive video.

Big News at Common Sense Homesteading

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5+ Terrific Tomato Trellis Ideas

Tired of wimpy tomato cages? Check out these homemade tomato trellis ideas that are wind resistant, tall, short, funky and budget friendly to find the right one for your garden.

Tired of wimpy tomato cages?   In this post, I’ll be sharing my tomato trellis system, as well as several other tomato trellis ideas from my homesteading blogger friends.  We have trellises that are wind resistant, tall, short, funky and budget friendly, so I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that works in your garden. [Read more...]