As the snow finally melts away, we are left with what remained at the end of last season. It’s a new war that is dawning: an adventure to parallel the likes of the Ring Bearer making his way to Mount Doom. The last few years have been trial and error when it came to what we need for gardens and how to fence them in. This year will be the year of massive planning and retrofitting the existing beds to work for a more long term mindset.
When we first moved into our home it was with the idea that we wouldn’t be here for more than a few years. Things change. We decided that starting a family was (and still is) more important than waiting until things are “prefect” – which they never really are. With that in mind, we’ve both finally come to terms with the fact that we’ll be here for another five, possibly ten, years.
(I will admit, it took me a lot longer than the Hubster to come to terms with that.) I finish my Master’s this December, so this is the last season that I will definitely be on site pretty much 24/7. These two things mean that this is the year to really hammer out the homestead. Or at least get the gardens up to snuff.
The plans, in no particular order, include:
* Re-fencing both existing southern gardens (seen in the photo)
* Tilling, fencing, prepping, and planting the new 10’x30′ plot. (This will go to the far right on the other side of the bed that’s going to be turned into two raised beds with trellises. We started work on this last fall.)
* Re-fencing the north garden
* Starting two potato towers made from locally sourced, free, untreated pallets.
* Mulching the bahgeebers out of the garlic patch.
* Fencing in the cucumber bed
* Re-fencing the old pepper bed for Little Mister’s growing spot
None of this includes making the “run way” for the sun flowers, herb boxes, lettuce boxes, of the mini greenhouse for the hot peppers.
On top of all the gardening, there will be foraging, wood splitting, house repair, animal raising, and all the other crazy goodness that comes with the spring.
We might not win every battle, but we’ll surely win the war. ;-)
Here are the seeds that we’ve ordered from FedCo for this year:
- Ireland Creek Annie Bean OG
- Patriot Shell Pea OG
- Green Arrow Shell Pea OG
- Little Leaf H-19 Pickling Cucumber OG
- Tonda di Parigi Carrot
- Atomic Red Carrot OG
- Danvers Carrot OG
- Antares Lettuce OG
- Lollo di Vino Lettuce OG
- Summer Lettuce Mix
- Winter Lettuce Mix
- Czech Black Hot Pepper OG
- Thai Hot Pepper OG
- Oregon Spring Tomato OG
- Principe Borghese Cherry Tomato OG
- Wild Bergamot
- Bodegold Chamomile
- Caribe Cilantro OG
- Bouquet Dill OG
- Greek Oregano
- Mammoth Grey Stripe Sunflower
- Plum Purple Radish
We still have pole beans, bush beans, Ireland Creek Annies, radish, spinach, pie pumpkin, cucumber, carrot, Coral shell peas, tomato, and bell pepper seeds as well. We’re picking up a couple different tomatoes this year – Oregon Spring and Principe Borghese Cherry – as the Glaciers and San Diegos didn’t seem to do too well. I’m really excited about growing bergamot, catnip, and chamomile, as it will lower our necessity to buy tea a ton, especially when you consider that we already have a surplus of mint in one herb bed.
For potatoes we decided to be a little more selective this year. Last year we bought the “classic keepers” variety pack which really helped us to take note of what does and doesn’t grow really well for us. Out of the five types we got to try, we’re ordering Kennebecs and German Butter Balls, both late varieties. We’re also going to take a stab at Rose Finn Apple, which is an early fingerling, and Red Golds, which are about a mid season potato.
I’ll update more on what the gardens will look like and such later.
We’ve officially had our first harvest here at the Raymond Homestead. I was able to pull out about 80% of my radish patch two days ago. The haul was great and tasty! The down side? I’m the only one that likes radishes. Oh, well. More for me!
In other gardening news, all the beds are doing well. We’re having a bit of an issues with the cucumbers this year as we tried a new location for them. Given that they’re not taking too well to it, I think we’ll be adding yet another garden on the south side of the house. The lettuce seed and beets seem to have all washed out early on, so I’ll be replanting those soon as well. (Most likely tonight or tomorrow.)
The most ironic part: the second bean and potato bed that we planted is doing well. When we moved our shed to a more stable and less floodable location we decided to throw in left over seed potatoes from this season and bush been seeds from two years ago into the dead area from the previous shed location. The only prepping we did was to till up enough of a workable hill to get the potatoes into the soil. The soil, by the way, is about 90% clay. It’s the type of Maine clay that you could sculpt out of, leave it in the sun, and then never break it. It will be really interesting to see what we get for a yield from it.
We’ve also come to the point where the chicks needed more room and have been separated into the two tractors. Five of them were a bit beaten up from the three bullies, so we put the bullies by themselves. Before long we’ll need to have a run between the two tractors…or figure something else out for space.
On an interesting note, the past two days we’ve been awoken to crowing by one of them. We think we have it narrowed down the most beaten of the five in the larger tractor. The comb on that one is much larger and redder than the others, not to mention the feathers have a bit of a luminosity to them that the other birds lack.
Posted in Animals, Frugal Living, Garden
Tagged animals, chicken, chickens, food, frugal, Garden, gardening, homestead, homesteading
We have a friend that’s been around for a few years now, but he’s now making daily appearances. He loves to hang with the chickens!
The new game that the ladies have created is “Break In” – they try to see how far into the kitchen they can get when no one’s looking.
In the background you can see the new method we’re trying with the pepper plants. Here’s hoping the extra heat from teh window and wood stove give them a decent start.
The San Diegos and Glaciers are growing like mad already!
Posted in Frugal Living, Garden
Tagged animals, chickens, Garden, gardening, green, growing, homesteading, peppers, seedlings, spring, tomatoes
The Christmas and Yule decorations are put away and another festive season has ended just in time for the round robins of nor’easters to start. Today’s storm is slated to drop 10″ – 18″ on us. Who knows what next week’s storm will grace us with. In the meanwhile, we stoke up the fire, throw on an extra layer, and huddle like chickens in our coop, keeping warm and fed.
The past couple years, as I’m putting away the Christmas decorations, I begin planning for the spring. However, until now, it’s all been pipe-dreams until it comes crunch time. This year the Raymond Homestead is right on the ball. So far we have all of our seeding selected and the order form ready to fill in. It’s just a matter of sending it. This season’s selection will consist of:
- Tomatoes: San Diegos and Glacier Organics
- Bell Peppers: King of the North Organics
- Carrots: Over the Rainbow Mix
- Sting Beans: Kentucky Wonders (This is the third second year growing strong beans from our own saved seeds.)
- Broccoli: Will be purchased as seedlings from Hoof’n’Paw
- Pumpkins: Long Pie Organics
- Lettuce: Organic Lettuce Mix
- Shell Peas: Coral
- Hot Peppers: Long Red Cayennes (We’re hoping to use seeds that I saved from last year to start these, but we do have the back-up option of buying seedlings from Hoof’n’Paw.)
- Cucumbers: Ministro
- Drying Beans: Ireland Creek Annie
- Basil: Sweet Organic
- Dill: Fernleaf
- Spinach: Donkey
- Thyme: German Thyme
- Beets: Early Wonder Tall Top Organic
- Radishes: Easter Egg
- Celery: Ventura
- Potatoes: Classic Keepers 12 1/2 pound mix
While this seems like a long list, I’m hoping to add more variety in the follow years as well, but this was a good start that the hubby and I agreed upon. Given that the entire north garden will be converted to raised beds, we definitely have our work cut out for us. On the plus side, all the gardens are fenced in now, so that’s one less thing on the list.
As far as where we’re going to get our seeds, the answer to that is easy: FedCo Seeds. After having very submarginal luck from store-bought seeds, we decided that this year we’re going to go with a company known for their quality – both in seeds and service. More importantly, this ensures that we’re buying from lines that are able to survive in the north east regions and we’re helping to keep other farmers going. Please, even if you’re only doing containers, buy from FedCo, not Agway, Walmart, or any place else that sells seeds!
Now that I’m done my public service announcement, what do you lovely folks plan on planting in the spring?
Posted in Garden
Tagged beans, energy savings, food, frugal, Garden, gardening, lettuce, natural, organic, peas, peppers, plants, potato