Growing Now! (September)

Growing up in the North, September was always a month that I looked forward to. Summer was ending, you could see and feel the seasons change, school was starting, and the new year wasn’t far away.

I still love September for some of those same reasons, but over the years it became extremely special because this was the time of year that my Mother-in-Law would come to finish out the year with us. She passed away in July of 2015…..right before we moved to this area and we all miss her dearly. She and I shared a love of Fall and so this month is bittersweet.

I think it’s important that you all know your farmer, so from time to time I try to share just a piece of our family. I love learning about people, so if you have a favorite season or a special memory to share, please do!

Alright now for the real reason you all are here…..what do we have growing now? This month the question should really be, what don’t we have growing?

Usually around this time of the year, we’re clearing plants to make room for new ones. This year however, we are letting it “grow!” So we have a mixture of Summer and Fall all around the farm.

Let’s start with sweet potatoes. I told you guys last month that we’re expanding beyond our family to all of you and so we expect our first round of sweet potatoes to be ready for harvesting at the very end of the month. They started to blossom not too long ago and their leaves have grown outside the box so we’re hoping for a nice bounty underneath.

I also told you guys last month that we’re bringing back our Asian garden, only bigger. I’m excited to tell you now that everything is growing well, but mum is the word until harvesting time! The photos below are a small hint…..

The greens come back with cooler temps and we have just a few that are surviving despite the heat. I’m working hard everyday to keep them alive and keep the bugs off of them, but with organic gardening sometimes you just have to share with the bugs too.

We grew okra last year for the first time after Brandon decided he liked it. We didn’t get to share any then and I’m not sure that we will this year, but our Sister Farm has theirs up and ready for all of you to try now. You can find it here.

The last of the pears were picked the other day. I’ve been in the kitchen canning up fresh pear preserves and my personal favorite, Lemon Ginger Pear. They are all available here.

With the pears, jam and jelly season comes to an end. Well…….as I type this I think about the peppers we have growing, so there may be more pepper jelly, but after that I will finish up canning tomatoes and beans and then canning season also ends.

All our Fall root veggies are in the ground and our brassicas were started again (long story) earlier this week. Salad greens are on their way and spinach will be planted soon.

Life is always super busy, but we try to make sure that we take time out for this segment every month. Thanks for being here and we hope to see you all back again next month.














plants to make room for new ones


Growing Now! (August)

Hey guys! Welcome to August! Well almost….Here on the farm there is a lot happening! We are gearing up for the new Fall Season of our Kith & Kin CSA. It officially begins on the first day of Fall. So you can imagine the amount of food we have growing right now. We have had to find interesting ways to protect some crops from all this rain and to shade others from the intense sun, but thankfully our prayers are working and our research is paying off.

In chicken news, our birds aren’t very happy with the heat or the rain so some of these spoiled hens have pulled back on their laying. Not to worry though, we still have eggs!


If you’ve ordered meatbirds, we’ve contacted you to let you know when your birds will be ready. I sometimes feel like the heat is going to take ME out, so we have to be especially careful with our animals. We are definitely looking forward to cooler weather coming in the next few months. I’m sure the birds are too!

In July we picked figs for the first time, thanks to a special someone! We really enjoyed learning all about how to pick them, the taste tasting, and being sent home with our own bundle! This gave us the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen ourselves. If you haven’t heard by now, our fig preserves are up and ready for delivery. We also made cherry jam and it is a hit! Add either one or both of them to your order and pay upon delivery!

Jams and jellies are constantly being made throughout the Spring and Summer seasons and pears are what’s next on the menu. Be sure to be on the lookout for some old and new flavors as they become available.

Fall plantings were started a while back and they are growing well. We always try to get a jump on the next season in order to have what we need and this year is no different. We start just about everything under grow lights or inside our mini greenhouse.

What did we plant? Well there is always too much to list, but the purpose of this monthly segment is to keep you informed on what’s available now and hopefully give you something to look forward too. We strive to be your fresh, local, and organic stop here in the Wiregrass, so let us know what you’re shopping for.

Tomatoes are our bountiful harvest this year. We have several varieties growing, but the cherry tomatoes are our farm winner. You can find them here

We are in a love/hate relationship with peppers this year. Why? Well because they have given us the most trouble. Sounds funny, but the more you fight to keep a plant alive, the more you appreciate it!


Brassicas are growing for Fall, along with our organic potatoes. Speaking of potatoes, we are also growing organic sweet potatoes! We’ve grown them for our family in the past, but as we expand the farm, we expand our offerings. So we are excited to bring them to all of you soon!


We’re bringing back our Asian garden again for Fall so be prepared for Asian Greens and our Asian Stir Fry Blend. These were extremely popular last year and will be here before you know it. We are also adding in more items to our Asian garden. It is all so exciting and we will share more as they grow. The pictures below are just some of what we offered last year.

All in all, so far this year has had many challenges, but prayer has been such an important part in helping us to overcome and not wallow in whatever those challenges were. Prayer helps us to learn and grow….literally!

Along with the challenges there have many great blessings and we’re so thankful for every single victory, big or small. So we will keep praying, researching, farming, and growing. We hope you will be with us for it all! We thank you for being here! See you next month.

Growing Now!(July)

Half the year is gone! Yes that’s right! 6 months have came and went! What did you guys grow in the first half of 2019?!? What successes and failures did you have? What was one thing you failed at before, but finally got it right?

Well you guys know what we’ve grown right? If you’ve followed this segment, you know that every month we post some of what we’ve grown on the farm and this year it’s been more than ever with our Kith & Kin CSA. One huge success for us was the CSA, but another is we’ve been able to grow our very own sweet potato slips. Hopefully, we can update everyone later in the year with an abundant sweet potato harvest….prayers for that!

So what about this month? What are we growing? Well with Summer just starting we are growing plenty of Summer veggies. Just about everyday we are harvesting tomatoes and beans. Here is a small harvest from a few of our tomato plants, some long beans, and one early squash I picked before the stink bugs could get to it.


We are gearing up for our Fall Season for Kith & Kin so, SO much is bring planted right now! Below you will find just some of what we have growing, but there is always more. If you have questions or requests, contact us! We also grow to order! See you next month.

Fall Kith & Kin Season

If anyone were to tell or even better ask the younger me if I would ever want to be a farmer, I would have laughed and laughed. I mean really I was born and raised in NY! I knew there were farms, I just had never been to one. Upstate NY is cold 9 months out of the year. The closest I got to animals outside of dogs and cats was our local zoo.

Like most people my family mostly purchased our food from the grocery store. I say mostly because my Dad used to hunt every year and so would have venison in the freezer, which I didn’t care for at the time.

Fast forward to our slow trek into the south and I realized the importance of food and the effect it has on our bodies. Now when I say food, I mean good wholesome food. Not the artificial sugar, genetically modified corn based snacks, or microwaveable dinners. I’m referring to fresh vegetables, fruits, culinary herbs, and just the best all around produce that you can get in our area.

My realization of food helped me to change my eating and that of my family as well. I have to admit a farmer I never thought I would be, but I am so proud at what we’ve been able accomplish and how.

Kith & Kin was brought about through prayer, careful planning, and persistence! The BIG secret is that we did it!!! We grew food and we fed families every single week! We are so thankful and proud of that!

We worked despite having other jobs, homeschool, spiritual routines, and being wives and mothers. We worked through  hardships, a drought, crop failures, major freak outs, and little baby ones too! Life still happened around the Spring CSA season, but we made it AND we are doing it again! Call us crazy or just call us two women on a mission to help families, our communities, and provide an alternative for the Wiregrass area.

Kith & Kin Fall Season is up and running. It begins on the first day of Fall and we want YOU to become a member! Join today!







Education- Did YOU Grow This?


Who says you can’t have basil in March? Not us!

We took this short video clip a few months back as we planted our organic basil in its permanent space for the year. If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen this clip when we originally posted it, but we added it here because it goes perfectly with this topic.

Each year as the seasons change, we begin to plan and plant for the next one. This is important to note because we only grow what’s in season. You won’t find us with items like watermelons in April or peaches in March because they’re not in season.

Why is this an important topic? Well for one we want you to be an educated consumer. We see so many people going to Farmers Markets or road side stands without asking any questions. If we’re buying locally the number one question we always ask is:

Did YOU grow this?

Why?!? Well we are making a choice with our dollars to support LOCAL and want those dollars to count for our community.

I recently posted on Facebook that by buying local, you strengthen your farmers and your community. Let’s illustrate this:

  • You go and purchase food items from your local farmer.
  • Your farmer uses that money to buy seeds, feed, equipment, soil, etc., thereby putting money back into the community.
  • The farmer uses those items to grow more food for you and others in the community to purchase.
  • You are happy to have a trusted local food source.
  • Your farmer is happy making a living doing what she loves.
  • The process repeats itself.

This motto only works if the person you’re buying from has produce that was actually locally grown. We follow various charts for our zone. From these we’ve learned how to plant for the seasons as they come in.

This year in preparation for Kith & Kin CSA we purchased a small indoor setup that allowed us to get a jump on the season. This was necessary for the success of our CSA. So we’ve started early, but we’re still planting what’s in season.

The bottom line is this. If it matters to you how something was grown or if the person you’ve purchased from actually grew it, then please ask questions. After all, if you make a trip to a farm or a farmers market instead of the grocery store think about why you’re doing it….

We do it because we want to keep money in our community! We want to support those small farmers who take pride and care with their plants and animals. We want to eat fresh organic and chemical free vegetables. We want to eat eggs and meat from animals who lived outside and ate grass and bugs the way God intended them too. We want to support those who support us. We want to shop from people we trust who are hardworking and honest. Who take the time to grow the food and can tell you what challenges they faced in doing it and how they overcame those challenges. We want to sit around and “garden talk” or “farm talk.” These things are important to us! We hope they are to you as well. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. When you see us, ask us questions. We are always ready to share!


Growing Now! (June)

Hey guys! Thank you for being here again this month for our “Growing Now” segment. We have acquired quite a bit of new followers and want to take the time to say welcome and thank you for joining us in our quest to bring truly clean and organic food to The Wiregrass area. Something that’s a little different about this post is that it’s late. We usually have this segment ready for the last day of each month, but May has been a hard month for farmers to say the least! So please forgive us on our tardiness!

As we go into June we are hopeful and excited about rain! Last year around this time, our gardens were flooding and there was way too much rain. This year we’re all literally praying and hoping rain comes. Nevertheless if it doesn’t, we will keep working hard and getting up early to take care of our land, plants, and animals. This is the part of farming that gets serious and although we’re small, we feel the effects just like the big farmers do. At last check, rain has been forecasted for later in the week, so hopefully it will.

In the month of June, we are heavy into the garden change over. We are pulling the last of our Spring crops and rearing into Summer. Everything is a bit late this year, but we have the most beautiful tomatoes growing! Some that have began to color and others that we’re trying hard to patiently wait for.

We saw our very first pepper on the vine over the weekend. It’s so super cute and even though the plant is small, we look forward to harvesting peppers soon.


Our always non-GMO and organic corn was given a compost feed yesterday. It has been fighting to stay alive and was looking pretty sorry. We are going to baby it to ensure that it can perk up and get the nutrients it needs. According to the records, we should have corn this week! There are a few ears developing, but very slowly. We are pushing through and hoping the compost along with the expected rainfall will do wonders for it.

Our herb garden is expanding and I’m happy to say that all herbs are doing well. Here is a new one for us this year!


Cucumbers and squash varieties are flowering! Oh and pumpkins are thriving.

This is the last month of our Spring CSA. It has been a great season and it’s bittersweet to see it end. Thank you to all our members and those to come!

As we go out to meet all of you during Farmers Market Season we are so excited. Our customers keep us going and we love meeting everyone and hearing your feedback.

In chicken news, we’ve got them growing and like we do every summer we’ve bulked up our birds to be ready for all our customers! Our originals and new ones to come! Be sure to check our “Announcements” to see where we will be. You can also follow our Facebook page. See you next month!

Dog Days of…..Spring?

That term usually applies to Summer right? Well not this year! This week on the farm it’s been SUPER HOT! I know, I know it’s not just on the farm, but at your house too. It’s always something, isn’t it? Last year it was rain and this year it’s a heatwave. So what do we do? Well let’s talk about it as I share with you some tips that work for us. 

Just about every morning I have a conversation with Shena of Bain Home Gardens. This is usually right after the crack of dawn as we are both working diligently to beat the heat. Yes! I said the crack of dawn……we have found that this is the coolest part of the day. Take for example Sunday, I went out around 6 pm to finish up farm chores. Right before this I checked the weather and wouldn’t you know it was still in the high 90’s? 97 to be exact!!! So I sprayed myself to fight the mosquitoes and headed out. I had started that morning, but didn’t get it all done so I had to wait until the second coolest part of the day to finish out the work. 

Side note: Sometimes the weather can be deceiving. As the sun goes down it may seem like it’s not that hot, but this is where you can get yourself into trouble if you’re not careful. Heat exhaustion is real and it can creep up on you without warning. So be observant and take precautions. 

Back to  Sunday……About 45 mins after I went out I was pouring sweat. Even still the meatbirds needed to be moved and watered. (Hens have an automatic waterer) Plus my evening garden inspection was absolutely necessary since we’re heavy into bug season.

A few things that we do to beat the heat is number one you guessed it, go out early. The plants have previously had a long day of full sun and an equally long night battling with bugs, so getting a nice cool drink in the morning helps them to soak up water in the soil throughout the day. I like to get down right at the soil level and make sure everything gets a good soaking at the roots. Thankfully we have some drip irrigation, but it’s not everywhere. 

The importance of staying hydrated cannot be stressed enough! Drink water before you go out and then take water with you to ensure you have enough to keep you well while outdoors. This is our second tip. 

Our third one is take sun breaks. Have your chair ready in the shade and sit for at least 5 mins to give your body a break. While you’re there enjoy it! Don’t stress about what has to be done next. Sit, sip, and relax. Be thankful for what you’ve completed thus far.

Just because it’s hot doesn’t mean the work stops. So as farmers and gardeners it’s up to us to find what works. Of course the list could continue, but these are just a few. If you have a suggestion or would like to share something that works for you, let us know. Until then, we hope these tips work for you. 


Tools of the Trade

I was out in the garden the other staking tomatoes and realized that I needed some garden clips. Don’t know what those are? Well they are the featured image for this article and pictured below. Garden clips have become one useful tool in the garden that we can’t function without. Can you see why?


Do you garden? Are you a farmer? If so what “tools of the trade” do you use? What makes your life so much easier and enables the time you spend in the garden to be productive and efficient?

Now if this is your first time here, then let me tell you that we are not a large scale farming operation. We are an urban farm. Meaning we live and farm in a community. So you won’t find any tractors or backhoes here. We don’t even have a riding lawnmower! What we do have are a few tools that for us have become invaluable. Let’s talk about some of them….

Raised beds: Having had a back injury which sometimes likes to rear it’s ugly head to send me a reminder, having raised beds is a must! Just the slightest elevation helps me to not have to bend or stoop as much. We have them in all shapes, sizes, and heights.

Garden Hoe: Lifesaver! We used to hand pull all weeds, but not anymore. This tool has liberated everyone. From time to time we do have to get down there and get our hands dirty, but not so much. We use it hill potatoes, clear weeds, and mix up dirt or compost.

Pickaxe: This tool is for the guys of Hawkins Homestead Farm. They are the ones responsible for digging rows and this is their preferred method.

Diatomaceous Earth: Having first learned about this for use with our chickens, we were absolutely thrilled to learn that we could use it in the garden. Being organic means that we have to find different ways to combat bugs and this is one of them.

You guys know that the list could continue, but these are just a few that for us make farming so much easier. If you have a special tool or something that makes a hard chore seem like light work, please share in the comments below. We’d love to hear about it!




Growing Now! (May)

In May we switch our focus into Summer vegetables. Of course our Spring veggies are still growing, but Summer produce yields an abundance and we love how much we can preserve from this season. Think cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. Then think pickles, sauces, and  salsas. We have all that growing and more. They have a long growing season and we usually have them into the Fall.


Everything we grow on the farm has a purpose. Flowers are no exception to this rule. Sunflowers are always in bloom this time of year. Whether we have volunteers or those planted, they’re such a joy to grow. Look out sunflowers! This year there’s a bit of competition from the marigolds and violas.


May has become the official month of potatoes here on the farm. We planted early this year and have already dug some up in April, but we’re hoping for mounds of potatoes. More will be dug and available very soon! Plus we’re succession planting to have them continuously throughout the season.

We still have peas growing, but they may be at their end soon. We were saving seeds from a few plants, but the peas sprouted inside their pods. Of course I threw them in the dirt. Maybe, just maybe if I can keep them shaded, they will continue to grow.

By way of fruits our mulberry tree is in heavy production right now and we’re enjoying picking berries throughout the day. If you follow our Facebook page, then you know that we also made mulberry jam and it’s good! It’s available for purchase, but since Alabama Cottage Food Law doesn’t allow for jams and jellies to be sold online we have zeroed out the price allowing you to place the item in your cart and pay upon delivery.

Onions is another thing that we’re growing in abundance this year. We have plans to dehydrate and make our own dried herbs. If we’re successful we will make them available to all of you. Onions too when ready.


One of our goals is to preserve more food than we have ever before. In keeping track of our grocery budget this past year, we can easily see how growing certain produce in plenty will cut down on our buying. Last year we ate tons of frozen okra (mostly because we chose not to sell any), we enjoyed pesto from our basil plants, onions, and pickles made fresh from our organic cucumbers. We preserved quite a bit, but we’re looking forward to so much more. If anyone has a favorite recipe please comment below or send us a message. We always love to learn. We’re looking forward to a great month to come. Thanks for joining us for our “growing now “ for May. See you next month!





Dreams Realized!

Lately we’ve gotten an increased number of inquires from people who are interested in starting their own farms. The fact that someone took the time to reach out to us for advice is amazing and it definitely inspires us to do more. We feel like we are in a constant state of learning and growing. The sharing of knowledge is how we continue the cycle of clean farming. So although I can’t take you by the hand, what I can do is give you our story to follow. Maybe then your dreams can become a reality.

You guys have heard me say that everyone should have access to fresh organic food locally. When we moved here we thought we would. Really had we, I doubt that Hawkins Homestead Farm would even be necessary. We were content being supporters of local farms.

Of course we’re here now and we don’t plan on going anywhere, so no worries there! What did it for us was a need. A need to eat the way we had become accustomed to before moving to this area. A need that could not be filled at the grocery store, but one that was very necessary. Not just for my health, but for the health of my family as well.

So what did we do? We prayed. We researched. We read books. We watched videos. We joined forums and groups. We asked questions. We made ourselves very familiar with the local laws and requirements. We found out how important it is to pay attention to the weather and to keep good records. We learned all that we could about soil health. We researched what was being grown in this area and how. We found what specific chicken breeds we wanted to raise for meat and for eggs. We wanted to stand out…to be different than the norm. We educated ourselves on what would make us successful at feeding our family. This was our first goal.

So what happened? Well OUR need turned out to be a need a lot of others had as well. I remember when Shena, of Bain Home Gardens asked me if I planned on selling our eggs when we first got chickens. My answer was no. I would have gladly shared, but sell them… That slowly evolved into well I guess I could sell some, but I need more chickens. Our tag line really says it all. “What started as food for our family, has blossomed into food for yours.” This one statement is literally how Hawkins Homestead Farm started. Just by growing our own food, we found family, friends, friends of friends, and others also had a need and a desire to eat fresh clean healthy food.

What’s HUGE for us is access to LOCAL, fresh, chemical free, organic food. Having the satisfaction of knowing that we planted, watered, and weeded while God made it grow is awesome to say the least! Over the last few days, the start of our Spring Kith & Kin CSA season started and as I was pulling carrots out of the ground I was super thankful for each one. Thankful because every carrot was proof that we CAN do this. We ARE doing this! We are the local that we have supported all along. It’s crazy to type that out, but true. We are feeding our own family and many others!

Something else that is super exciting for us is the education. I have always been aware of how I choose to spend my dollars, but once you start farming the knowledge you glean is unreal. The learning never stops. You just have to be willing to take it all in. I have books, magazines, newspapers, websites that I’ve bookmarked, etc. I just love learning.

Raising animals is definitely a bonus. The joy of learning about, watching, and caring for our birds is fascinating. I could talk about chicken breeds, genetics, egg shell colors….. for days! Chickens are such funny creatures. They have attitudes and personalities. Some are snobs and picky eaters. Others are just plain greedy. Chickens always want to be in the know. I haven’t quite figured out if it’s curiosity or just plain nosey, but I’ve had chickens jump up in my lap and others who just plop themselves right next to me. They want to be seen and heard.

I used to say that all roosters were going to the freezer, but after buying some on accident, I fell in love with them. Their colors, their stature, and what they bring to the farm as a whole is just wonderful. I have yet to have a favorite hen, but roosters OMG! Sadly, some didn’t like me as much as I liked them, but that’s alright too.

Of course there are cons to farming. For us, more than anything they are due to things that just come along with being a farmer. Like HOT weather, bugs, and losses.

Alabama is hot! You guys know this! Would you believe that we’re still trying to adapt to the humidity and heat here? One thing we learned quick is to get out early and go back late. We water the garden and the animals early in the day. We check in mid day for refills on the animals and of course to collect eggs. Then we go back in the evenings to finish out farm chores for the day. This is what works for us.

Of course the bugs are a big one. I have to remind myself that they need to eat too and when you’re growing food pesticide free, bugs will come. The problem is when they try to stay and make families. That’s a no no! Sometimes we’ve been too late and either everything has holes or it’s completely gone. Like overnight gone! Then there are those times when we’ve learned what to expect and when. With organic farming bugs may be difficult to manage, but not impossible. Often times nature works within itself. It’s up to you to figure out how to make nature work for you.

On to losses. They definitely happen. It’s just a part of farming that you have to accept. Sometimes plants don’t grow. Or some disease, like powdery mildew takes them out. You can do everything right and the weather changes suddenly. Then bam, your crop can’t handle the shock and it dies. It could be that maybe your dog who you’re training decides to taste a few chickens instead of protect them. Or a hawk who has put your chickens on his menu. It could even be that you have an aggressive bird who attacks. Although you want to keep him, and may need him to keep up your genetics, he has to go to the freezer and that’s not how you planned it. You could go to sleep at night and wake up the next morning to chaos. These things are all a part of that constant learning.

The best advice I could give anyone who wants to grow anything is to pray about it. There are days where I’m out in the gardens or with the animals just talking to God. It’s important to our family that we do things the right way, so who better to talk to than the one who created all of it?

Then get to work!  Do the best you can to have a quality consistent product. Be honest and safe in your practices. Never become overconfident. Have fun. Take time to enjoy what you’re doing. Hopefully you will find more pros than cons and create something special of your own. Maybe then you can realize your dreams. Hope this helps!