tiny garden

We are easing back into developing our garden and farm again.  The exhaustion and business of life led us away.  I have allowed myself to maintain a small garden.  I say allowed because I want more.  It isn’t what I imagine as being great, but sometimes you have to get real with yourself about what you can pull off.

This is our small garden.

Planted late.

Planted hurriedly.

Planted.

Last year we had no garden and I see this as a huge improvement.  Strawberries, onions, cucumber, zucchini, sunflowers, pinto beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, peppers, potatoes are all coming up and doing well.

I can’t ask for more than that.  Every year no matter how much I know it will happen, I always feel surprised and in awe by what can come from such a tiny seed.

A tiny garden baring the fruits it ought to is a wonderful thing.

Have you planted a garden friend?  What is your favorite part of watching your garden grow?

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humble homesteading: our garden prep

Over the years, I’ve attempted gardening on several occasions.  I’ve grown things in tiny peat pots, bought from the nursery, and direct-sowed.  Varied success has resulted.  This is our third spring here at the farm.  I think we’ve finally figured out what works for us and what works in our area.

First we till and make ditches.  Luckily, our neighbors are gracious enough to loan us their machine.  We then flood each ditch and fill in low points.  I also like this done because planting is easier when it’s wet.  It’s also better to plant in moist soil.

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Now for planning.  I like to sketch up the plan so I know what and where I’ll plant.

Planting time comes next.  After each row is planted I flood the ditch again.  Notice we plant in the ditch- not the hill.  This give the plant a great soaking.  The soil stays moist for 3-5 days (depending on the weather), and it catches all the rain during monsoon season.  We stomp the hills down to make a sturdy walking path.

We have a few garden boxes set up.  I’m making one of them the permanent strawberry patch.  Onions are in one, and the other will have pole beans soon.

We spent two eight-hour days in the garden this weekend.  I’m so glad it’s almost fully planted.

I filled the rows with seeds.  Every child had some part in the prep and planting.  Little ones love dropping seeds into the holes.  Nobody likes pulling weeds.  Me either!  IMG_1567IMG_1587IMG_1589IMG_1594

We have found through trial and error that I can’t grow peppers or tomatoes from seed too well.  I’m working on it.  For this year we decided to buy plants from the nursery.  I buy bulbs for onions and garlic.  Everything else is seed sown directly into the ground.  I’m worried about the carrots coming up.  I had no success last year.  Any tips for carrots?

Here’s our list of what’s in the ground right now:

pickling cucumbers, corn, tomatoes (variety), peppers (sweet and hot variety), bush beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, carrots, romaine lettuce, blue dwarf kale, zucchini, spaghetti squash, onions (red and yellow), garlic, asparagus, herbs (variety), pie pumpkins, and eggplant.

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By the end of next week I hope to add:

potatoes, blueberry bushes, raspberries, black berries, pomegranates, strawberries, pole beans.

What are you growing?  How do you adjust for your climate?

 

 

 

humble homesteading: unexpected tractor

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Mr. Nick, the unexpected farmer was gifted a tractor.  Yes, free.  He can already imagine himself doing all sorts of projects.  His excitement has been dulled by the integrity of the mechanics.  He has worked every spare moment trying to get it to perfect running conditions.  It’s runs, but not well.  He’s been employing the advice from friends and family.  What a blessing this gift is for us.  We were thinking of buying one in about six years.  I like those sorts of plans getting changed.

With most hours devoted to this endeavor, I’ve been on my own with my thoughts.  This is a dangerous thing for me.  I’ve mostly been thinking about what to plant and where.  When, too.  He’s been busy like a regular kid in the candy store.  I’ve been thinking too much with no husband to dump my every idea on.  So, I’ll dump on you instead.

First, these chickens need their own big yard.  We’re all tiring of the poop on the porch.  They’ll have a huge yard.  Don’t worry about that.  I can hardly wait.  I haven’t had flowers planted yet, since those little feather fluffs like to dust themselves in my pots.

My next quandary is what to plant in the garden yard and what to plant next to the house.  Have you a herb garden?  Nick suggests next to the house for easy picking, but I know the fragrances are good insect repellents.  Have you tried herbs as repellents before?  Do they truly help?

The Winter is over, and I feel so behind the farming tasks.  Tilling and weeding and planting have barely started.  I’m feeling the pressure to get things into the ground.  I have many seeds to go through.  It’s time to make some decisions.

I made an impulsive purchase of strawberry roots the other day.  I find myself wondering where I want a permanent patch.  Don’t impulsively buy perennials.  I have eighty onion bulbs and some herbs into the ground now.  Yay!

What are you planting?  Perhaps nothing if you live East.  I for one am feeling that I’m a bit behind.  This Winter has been the warmest I’ve ever experienced.  I pray the summer won’t be brutal.  Lord knows, as soon as I get everything in, we’re going to need some good rain to keep it alive.

 

 

humble homesteading: catching up

IMG_1244 IMG_1249 IMG_1238 IMG_1234 IMG_1232 IMG_1226 IMG_1225 IMG_1219We’ve all been scurrying around lately.  Though we’ve enjoyed winter weather in the 70s, the last load of firewood needed cutting and stacking.  Certainly, the sound of a chainsaw will forever remind me of my cousin.  That builds up emotions.  I found myself in the perfect place for emotional outlet.  Pulling weeds.  Still.

The toddlers “helped” with this.  Half of the onions are planted, along with a bit of garlic.  Most of a second garden bed has been freed of the entangled, cursed grasses.  My hands are blistered, but by golly, we shall have onions and garlic.

We enjoyed some gluten-free pumpkin spice muffins.  Pumpkin from the garden taste better, do they not?  I have four more gallons to use before the next planting begins.  Perhaps we don’t need ten plants this year.

Our ladies (goats) are swelling.  There is just nothing more pleasing to me than assisting in the births.  It’s so precious.  It’s also a gooey mess, but in a wonderful way.  We are all excited to have milk again.  Last year’s season was cut short.  This year we plan on expanding to cheeses and such.

The farm is rearing and ready.  I can’t believe it’s still Winter though.  Will it ever get cold here?  This knitting mama gets robbed of wearing woolins far too much.

How’s your Winter?

weekly recap

Winter on the farm is a time to prepare for Spring and Summer.  These last couple of weeks I have lined out goals and tasks.  Ordering of animals and seeds need planning now.  Discussing what to expand and what to change is happening.  Our goals entered the realm of wanting to make money, and not wanting to go into debt while doing it.  There are exciting new things coming.  We give our plans to God and ask His direction and provision.

IMG_1145 IMG_1124Schooling the children is going great.  We have all adjusted to the new system of workboxes.  We all LOVE them too.  I really can’t believe how well they work.  It’s like a tiny piece of the plan that was missing before.  Everything is much smoother.
IMG_1131 IMG_1132 IMG_1135 IMG_1136Our mama goats are pregnant too.  I am so excited to see the new kids in April.  This is Poke A Dot, looking like a blob.  Last year she was three times bigger than Agnes and had less kids.  She also seemed the most miserable of the two.  Animals are just as different as people are in regards to pregnancy.  It’s pretty funny to see the differences.
IMG_1142 I made breakfast that took time.  This is one more step for me in getting my booty back into the kitchen more.  We are finally settling into the old ways.  These are pancakes smeared with apple butter and topped with real whipped cream.  Yummy.IMG_1148What has your week looked like?  Have a great weekend!

humble homesteading: preparing the garden

This week I’ve tried to prepare the garden.  I say “tried” since the duck weed and crab grass are the bane of my garden.  I refuse to use round-up or other chemicals. Sometimes I regret my conscience.  I just can’t do it!  I know it’s wrong.

I’ve raked and pulled, and felt the reality of The Curse.  Thanks Genesis for giving me a person to blame.  Yeah, I know, pathetic.  It’s just help to randomly shout, “Thanks a lot Adam and Eve,” as blisters form on your hands.  It’s therapeutic.

Somewhere in this mess are three garden beds.

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We did all we knew last year to prevent this from happening.  We mowed and weed whacked all around the beds often.  We put that black screen stuff in the bottom and sides of the beds to prevent this.  It happened anyways.  Why?!  I don’t know.  That stuff is just brutal.

Homesteading is humbling.  I never knew the depths of exhaustion I could feel from weeds.  I look forward to planting onions and garlic in a lush garden bed soon.

I’m closing my eyes and dreaming of that now.  *It’s so pretty and yummy*

Yes, that will keep me in that darn bed removing that network of intruders that are trying to make me quit.

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Here’s what it looked like when the raking was done.  Not much better huh?  Now I’ll be soaking the weeds a few more times to loosen the roots.  This is the best tip for digging holes and pulling weeds.  Soak the junk out of it!

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What are you planning for your garden?  Lets dream about weeds disappearing together, shall we?