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“Back to the basics” is a term that many in our country seem to be using lately. We all seem to have this yearning for a simple, from-the-earth lifestyle. A homegrown lifestyle is something I pride myself in living. Having a farm, I am constantly curating the yards, adding flowerbeds, extending the vegetable gardens, and creating a vision that never seems to be completed. I mention Knollgate Farm quite frequently and would like to introduce the area. The farm is located in the great Midwest, amongst rolling hills and spectacular corn and soybean fields.

I am excited to introduce a new and recurring section of our site: “The Farm.” Here, I will keep you updated on happenings around Knollgate Farm: how the vegetables are growing, what I am currently expanding, flowers I am adding, projects that are underway, and tips for keeping up your own yard. Hopefully, my farm will inspire you to start or expand your own garden and give you tips and tricks for getting your vegetables to grow more abundantly. I have grown up with generations of farmers and gardeners who have tilled the same land and given me vital advice that I am excited to pass on to you!

Recently, a lot has been happening around The Farm. The vegetable garden is in full swing: lettuce, radishes, mustard greens, and kale seedlings are all bursting through the soil. The herbs have been planted, and the cabbages, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are growing rapidly.  This week, the starts of tomato and pepper plants were planted, as were the eggplants and zucchini.

Garden bed soil with small little starts of plants sprouted and beginning to grow.
Rows of vegetables planted in the garden including onions and parsley all in fresh soil.
Mounds of soil in the garden with plastic jugs covering some of the plants with a tractor in the background.

Orchard trees are in full bloom, adding an aroma around the farm from the amazing ornamental crab apple trees that is extra inspiring this year.

Flowering crab apple trees with lots of bright purple blooms with hostas all along the base.
Flowering trees in an orchard with pruned shape to the trees all with green grass.
Silhouette of trees in yard with flowerbeds planted with shrubs showing the fields in the background.

With the hosta beginning to sprout for the season, I have been busy separating some for smaller starts in areas that require more.

Large hosta sitting in a flowerbed with soil and grass clippings all around showing its bright green and white coloring.

Hosta and ornamental grasses are perfect for separating to create more starts. This way, you do not always have to purchase more!

As you may recall, last fall, I decided to move the “kitchen” vegetable garden to a new area. This move also includes a new format: long strips for planting and grass paths in between the beds.

Large grass area with new garden beds dug out with a decorative urn on a pedestal in the center.

That left the old garden space vacant, and, being the gardener I am, I was immediately inspired to create a new patio in its place! Currently, there is not much to look at in that area. But it is slowly coming together with the vision I am developing in my head. I picture a serene and very natural pea gravel patio surrounded by ornamental grasses and a wonderful fire pit! I will be sure to keep you posted on my choices and the progress that ensues.

Flowers are springing up all over the place. Their vibrant colors are a pleasure to admire. It’s exciting to know that even more flowers are on their way!

Bright pink flower growing in a flowerbed with a bright yellow center.
Two side by side pictures of flowers, one with daffodils in bloom and the other with a bright purple flower.
Bluish purple flowers called muscari in a flowerbed with green grass in background.

Please follow along as I work on The Farm. I’m sure to make a few mistakes, so let’s learn together! I am always up for a new gardening challenge and will happily admit they do not always turn out as planned. It’s the experience and knowledge gained that truly matters. Stay tuned!

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I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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  1. The beauty of this spring is just wonderful. So grateful for the Creator. But you put wonderful touches on it, Caleb. thanks for sharing your ideas.

  2. Hi Kaleb & Joel
    Absolutely beautiful! I have always wanted a “gentleman’s farm.” Now I can just live vicariously through you both. Love the hosta tip. Unfortunately I don’t have time to separate my hostas…the deer eat them before I can get my spade near them 🙁
    Lovely pictures guys!

    1. Amy! Well we will live vicariously through each other because we love living through you and your projects, always amazing!!! Thanks!

  3. Spring is a wonderful time of year even though it requires lots of work with all the new growth. The farm is looking beautiful; thanks for sharing all the photos. I’m looking forward to pictures of the patio progression.

    1. Thanks Donna! We’ll keep you updated on the patio: it’s sure to be a giant work in progress!

  4. I’ve quickly become a fan! I think it’s your positivity and the fact that you actually make cooking and gardening less intimidating with your videos. (I’m actually making the Chex mix to deliver to neighbors for New Years. ). My parents are New Yorkers who relocated to Texas to begin their family. A Jewish family that were food focused but the cooking gene was skipped by my mom. As a mother now myself, I’ve tried to cook, craft, and create things for my children. You are an inspiration for me and I just wanted to say thank you. Happy Holidays!

  5. Kaleb, I was born in Grinnell and both my parents grew up there. My grandpa farmed corn and my grandma had her garden. I don’t remember exactly what she raised, but I know she had tomatoes. I spent the summer when I was nine. We moved to Colorado when I was four. When my grandparents came to visit, they brought big boxes of corn and tomatoes. They were so delicious! I live in Phoenix, AZ now and none of our fruits and vegetables have any taste! I wish I were still in Iowa, but I’m 71 now and I wouldn’t be able to drive in the snow. I still have an aunt in Grinnell and cousins in Des Moines. Maybe I’ll try to visit them sometime. Anyway I have been following you on Facebook and really enjoy your videos. Thank you

  6. Hi Kaliab, I live in Waukee IA and watch you cook program on my cell phone. I noticed your scoops in your flour and sugar canisters. Can you tell me were I might find some. I have looked high and low with no luck. Thank you Marilyn