It poured. The rain came down and made us wish for sun and warmer days. Our wishes were answered and the last days have been delighfully sunny. Blueberries have been planted, dirt dug, coops cleaned, and my skin is a little less full. I love the spring and its promise of life returning!
These three crops found dirt today. Also planted carrots, turnips, and salad greens under a layer of plastic.
The sky was partly cloudy, the wind a bit chill. The chickens escaped again.
I recently read something beautiful. This man had found his grandfathers farm journal. Each day, his entire farming life, he made an entry into a journal. Just one sentence or two at most. It was always unbiased and to the point. "Today it rained" or "There are bugs in the cabbage, lost the crop" Years worth of these entries in just a few small journals.
Today everything is so fast paced. We all have busy lives and hectic schedules. What if we took a moment to just write down a sentence? The sky is clear, the car had an oil change, the neighbor shared potatoes.
I will not post this daily. I feel a blog could be kinda boring to read that way. Perhaps each Sunday I can try to make it my goal to post farm related happenings that are word light, unbiased, and just because.
March 9, 2014
The tree was felled today. There will be more light on the property.
Deciding to start a garden in your own space to provide fresh vegetables is exciting, fun, and very rewarding. It can also be overwhelming.
Successful gardening comes when you have some sort of plan. No, you dont need a sketched design and every month of veggies plotted out. It does help to have a loose idea of why, what, where, and when.
5 tips for the New Gardener
Each of these reasons will have a different answer but all will start in a similar way. SMALL Don't turn your backyard acre or 1/4 acre or 5 acres into garden right away. It can be pricey to make raised beds or run a tiller over that much ground. I suggest starting with 2-4 3x8 or 4x8 garden beds. Dont build raised beds YET. Instead, mark your corners with stakes and run string to show where your beds will be. Then dig up the sod and dig up the dirt to loosen the soil underneath. You can use the double dig method your beds too. I would not bring in soil your first year. Sure you will have more weeds to contend with but $200 to bring in soil your first year is an expense I do not reccomend. I gardened for 2 years in my space before I decided to invest in raised beds.
2. What should you grow?
A common question I hear and that I had is "what should I grow?" Well that depends. If you love tomatoes but hate green beans DONT GROW GREEN BEANS! Just because they are deemed "easy" does not mean you should grow them. In fact, almost every person that gave me advice said grow raddishes. So I did. I really, really, really, dislike raddishes. While it was fun to watch them pop up quickly and gave me a feeling of success.....they were left to the compost because, umm, EWWW.
I would also limit yourself to ten, yes 10, types of food( or flowers if thats your thing) the first time. It may not seem like much but you are starting small. No sense in growing a bunch of things, to become overwhelmed and let it all go to weed. Still wondering what to grow? Here is my list of easy favorites, tomatoes is NOT on there but if you rally love tomatoes the give it a go.
Best plants for Beginners (IF YOU LIKE THEM)
3. Where to put your garden?
You need to look at yoru yard and decide where gets the most sun. Is it out of the way from foot traffic but close enought that you are encouraged to visit you new garden daily? Are you container gardening or in ground gardening. Perhaps, before you dig up your yard, you can look into a community plot for the year IF you think you will visit it several times a week. Mostly remember that all plants need light. Maybe not direct but at least some warmth/light. A southwest facing area is great for early spring planting and heat loving summer plants.
4. When do I plant?
This will depend on where you live. For me, in the Maritime NW, this means April 20th is pretty much a safe bet that my plants will live. If you are planting a seed in ground you do not want to do it before the last frost. And honestly your first year, you are hopefully saving money on garden costs by NOT using raised beds or new dirt, and can splurge on starts from a local company. These seedlings are hardened off for you by the local nursery and ready to plant in ground with minimal if any protection. To find out your frost dates, moon planting schedule, and just a good all around resource, use the online farmers almanac. I look at this every year in January or so.
5. Have fun!
The point of gardening is to enjoy yourself, your food, and bring a little country in your life. If its stressful, you wont want to do it. So start small, dream big, and get your hands dirty.
I am working on setting up a full website and store to help support the farm. Please bear with me as I work out the kinks and wait for the dust to settle.
Before I deleted my blog the last time, I had made a post about how I built our goat shack. It is made with 90% recycled and reclaimed materials. Roofing that was new, but was the leftover from another project. Old fence boards, pallets, and leftover OSB from neighbors and my own projects. The new pieces were the 4x4's used to support the roof and the screws.
I found the pallets at a pipe company. They give the old ones away by the hundreds. Many people burn them but I saw building potential. I dragged these home a few at a time in the back of my tiny little hatchback until I had enough for the goat palace.
This is not the final rendition. I will build a prettier something eventually, but for trying it out....this works well. The goats are dry, out of drafts, and honestly dont care much if they have a pretty building.
I have this problem. You see, I am blessed with a fabulously curvy body. With this comes the tendancy to wear holes in my jeans and NOT in my knees. My holes appear on the inner thighs of my jeans. Holes in the knees are no biggie, but the holes in the thighs are unexceptable to wear at any time. You never know when a neighbor might pop over to ask for gardening help.
Being the type that prefers to make due with what she has I grabbed my siscors, the offending pair of jeans and another pair of jeans that was menat to be used for a quilt as they were beyond repair. I cut two 4in x 8in patches to give these jeans a bit more working time.
I set them on my machine with the patch over the inner seam. I used the 3 step zigzag for better durability. I dint not turn under the edges, or reienforce the inside. These are to be working jeans and I did not want the extra bulk. I used pinking shears to cut out the patches for less chance of fraying.
See, no more holes. It took ten minutes of my time, a bit of thread I had on hand, and scrap fabric. While I wont be wearing these to the next social, I certainly saved them from the trash and gave myself a servicable pair of hard working grub jeans.
Make it do, or do without!